During the 90s, my typical Filipino mom would ask me to bring a small towel called “lampin” to school. It is an all-around piece of fabric to wipe food, sweat and dirt away from my 7-year-old careless self. Rewind further back to the 80s, parents use this piece of clothing as a diaper for their infants. I never heard about lampin for a very long time, until this year, when I met Pearl, the owner of Made by Pearl. It is a micro business located in Pampanga, Philippines.
Pearl and the group of sewers innovated the concept of Lampin. They turned it into washable diapers and panty liners. You may raise your eyebrows, but the millennials fell in love with this concept. In fact, teenagers and young professionals are the primary buyers of this business.
I had the chance to interview Ms. Pearl about her business and her products.
Pilgrimage to Wherever (PTW): Hello Ms. Pearl, thank you for allowing me to interview you. Anyway, I would like to ask you a couple of questions. When did you start your business?
Pearl: Made by Pearl started its business operations last February 2015, and I only sell my products online.
PTW: Why did you decide to put up this business? Please tell us more about your business.
Pearl: Initially, these washable/reusable products, particularly the pantyliners, menstrual pads and cloth diapers were for my personal use. But later on, I decided to offer it to the general public to spread awareness on how we can help save Mother Earth. Instead of the disposable ones available in the market, why not use eco-friendly products? These products are sewn by yours truly with the help of my family. With the support of the government, Made by Pearl has been joining various exhibits in and outside the region. These government efforts paved the way for the exposure of our products. Media exposures, through interviews and product features also helped in making our products reach people of various walks of life.
PTW: What was the greatest challenge you faced in this type of business?
Pearl: Actually, it would be the awareness that these products exist and can be used. Some even asked, “Are these for real?” the first time they saw the products. If you’re going to think of it, they have been in existence way way back. Menstrual pads, for instance, are what we have known then as the pasador and the cloth diapers as the lampin. We modernised the idea by using coloured fabrics and designs. In fact, it is also a healthier option because no chemicals were used to manufacture these pads. I choose high-quality fabrics too.
PTW: I heard that most of your customers are young adults. Do you think the next generation will be friendly to mother earth?
Pearl: Yes. Because people now, especially the young ones are more concerned with our environment. The news of flooding, global warming and other forms of catastrophes are on the rise. The young ones are very vigilant now and are very conscious about what they consume. Take for example the balloon drop event. The said event was an attempt to make a Guinness World Record for the largest balloon drop during New Year’s Eve. The millennials, through the use of social media campaigns, spread the possible effects of this event to our environment. They were successful, and the event was eventually cancelled. Other similar non-environmental friendly events were also cancelled. See? That’s the reason why Made by Pearl focused on products that are cost-effective and environment-friendly. For now, using these products may seem to be a “tiny dot” on the bigger picture of our eco-friendly initiatives. But I am pretty sure that it definitely has a significant effect not only to us humans and the future generation but to other living things in our planet. As what Matt Bevin says, “While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.” We can all make a difference!
PTW: Where do you see your business 5 years from now?
Pearl: Of course, I see it as a thriving business. With the continuous support of the government, I am seeing it has reached the international market, carrying my advocacies.
PTW: And we wish you the best because you are doing a good job! How can people reach you?
PTW: Thank you very much Ms. Pearl! I hope businesses like yours will thrive especially this year! God bless you!