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Say hello to this LGBTQIA-themed tarot deck

Introducing the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, what Henson Wongaiham describes as “a testament of the LGBTQIA people – our triumphs, adversities, and our quest to love and be loved.” It can be used for divination, meditation, self-reflection, or even for fun.

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“Creating an LGBTQIA- themed tarot deck was never part of my life plan,” said Henson Wongaiham, a certified tarot master and advertising professional from Manila. Instead, there was this “unexpected yet seemingly divine development which I boldly decided to pursue.”

But Henson said that it was always “a personal struggle of mine to find an inclusive tarot deck that I can fully resonate with.” And though the physical deck may have taken almost a year to create, this may actually have been a work-in-progress for decades.

And so introducing the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, what Henson describes as “a testament of the LGBTQIA people – our triumphs, adversities, and our quest to love and be loved.” It can be used for divination, meditation, self-reflection, or even for fun. There are no set rules to using this deck. 

GUIDED FOR TRANSFORMATION

In the development of the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, Henson said he did not hesitate to seek help when he felt the need. 

“I consulted on art, since I don’t consider myself an artist and I can’t draw to save my life. I also sought help to edit the guidebook. Furthermore, I sought the help of my spirit guides to transform seemingly basic shapes and colors into art as an instrument of empowerment,” he said.

And the collaborative effort shows, helping make these cards different from those already out in the market.

“Generally, where a lot of tarot and oracle cards have complex, detailed, and mind-blowing artwork, the Rainbow Seekers Tarot took the minimalist, graphic route. It used preset shapes and colors to form powerful images that capture how I personally understand the tarot. Somehow, despite the minimalist design, the cards are still extra open to interpretation,” Henson said.

True to its name, though, “what makes this deck unique is how it incorporates Pride flags into the card designs while still trying to convey the traditional meaning of the tarot card.”

There’s also a tribute to the Philippines in one of the cards, too, since this is a proudly Filipino-made deck. 

DEALING WITH INTERSECTION 

The fact is, there’s an analogy – in a manner of speaking, i.e. the use of tarot cards remains non-mainstream, just as the LGBTQIA community as a whole is also still largely misunderstood. 

For Henson, “there is definitely an intersection. Imagine, two taboo topics in one Rainbow Seekers Tarot: 1) Tarot, which, for some, are still believed to be evil, and 2) LGBTQIA, which admittedly, is merely tolerated and not accepted. Bingo na Bingo, di ba?”

But for him, that these are seen as “taboo” at all “are products of colonization and the patriarchal system that came with it.” And “we must learn to unlearn.”

Henson added: “We need to start having these conversations to educate people that: 1) Tarot is not evil; It can be used as a tool for empowerment; and 2) LGBTQIA people are not abominations; we are people worthy of love.”

True to its name, though, “what makes this deck unique is how it incorporates Pride flags into the card designs while still trying to convey the traditional meaning of the tarot card.”

GRAB, GRAB, GRAB

There is no need to be part of the LGBTQIA community, or be a tarot reader to be able to use this deck.

“We’re all seeking our own rainbow. Anyone can use the Rainbow Seekers Tarot to empower him/her/them to find his/her/their own rainbow, whatever it may be,” Henson ended.

The Rainbow Seekers Tarot comes with a bonus “When Oracle: Rainbow Edition”, which was done in collaboration with Ledz Lim. The basic set (Rainbow Seekers Tarot plus a bonus When Oracle: Rainbow Edition) cost PhP1,234. 

The Rainbow Seekers Tarot also has special sets with crystals, spell jar, candle and bracelet – all rainbow themed. These magical rainbow items are from Chakras.ph, Eclectic Femina PH, Marikit MNL Candle Co., and House of Mystics

For information or to order, head to IG: @king.of.rainbows.

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5 Ways WeClean is changing the laundry industry

Fully integrated laundry service provider WeClean has doubled down on its business expansion strategy over the past two years. The company is on track in its plans to become one of the top-of-mind laundromat brands in the country.

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Laundromats in the Philippines have continued to thrive over the years as Filipinos have been given the option to make laundry less of a burden with the continuous innovations in the industry. More Filipinos are outsourcing their chores to buy themselves more time for the things that matter: time for friends, family, hobbies, side hustles, and selfcare. Since the huge growth they have experienced in the last year, WeClean has managed to process more than 1,200 daily orders across all of their branches.

Fully integrated laundry service provider WeClean has doubled down on its business expansion strategy over the past two years. The company is on track in its plans to become one of the top-of-mind laundromat brands in the country.

WeClean Head of Strategy Alejandro Gonzalez Sacramento, from his bird’s eye view, shares five ways the company is helping change and drive the local laundry industry.

  • Quality Laundry Services through Top of the Line Equipment

WeClean is not your ordinary laundry shop. All their shops are decked with top notch washing machines, detergents, and fabric softeners that are able to produce the freshest, cleanest, most fragrant laundry for its customers consistently, and efficiently. WeClean also offers dry cleaning services that have been considered a top choice for many of their customers. They are likewise able to provide quick pickup and delivery services customers continue to recognize.

This has motivated WeClean to beef up operations and install digital point-of-sale machines to better manage inventory and supplies, including an upcoming and soon-to-be launched mobile app that can help more customers with their laundry needs.

  • Standardization of Laundry Services

With over 63 branches across the metro, WeClean standardizes its offering of free pick-up and delivery services for their customers’ laundry needs. Have clothes, linen, towels, or household items (rags, tablecloth, runners, flags/banners, and placemats) picked up, washed, and delivered right to your doorstep within 24 to 48 hours. They also offer pickup and delivery within the same day for regular clothes and household items.

WeClean’s brand is a guarantee that no matter which branch customers reach out to, they will be taken care of by properly trained employees and high quality equipment.

Busy professionals with erratic schedules and heavy workloads, students with piling deadlines, and housewives and entrepreneurs too busy to deal with laundry can save time and stay safe within the comforts of their homes with WeClean.  From washing, drying, folding to steam and dry cleaning, WeClean is ready to take on whatever their customers need.

  • Two-Fold Expansion Strategy

For the company to reach its target goal of opening and operating 500 successful branches by 2025, they are implementing a two-fold expansion strategy. First is in identifying strategically located existing brick and mortar businesses whose owners are looking for a change.

WeClean then evaluates, closes the deal, and purchases small players and turns them into WeClean branches that are operated under the company. The other approach the executives implement is looking for strategic lots, spaces, and locations where they know that there is a demand for their laundromat services. They spot residential areas with high traffic and within distance from high-rise condominiums where people cannot afford to have washing machines at home.

These two expansion strategies have helped them be on track at opening one store after another since its launch in 2017. 

  • Job Security

With its aggressive expansion and business plan intact, WeClean executives have made it their priority to provide stable jobs in all their branches across the metro.

They have already started implementing standardization of their internal processes including payrolls, cash collection reporting, task distribution, among others. To date, WeClean supports 135 employees across 63 of their branches in the country.

  • Client-centric Feedback

WeClean prides itself not just on its capabilities to run seamless laundry services across its branches in the country but also in the company’s ability to listen to customers’ feedback.

“We make it a priority to listen to what our customers need, what is important for them, and what they would like to see at WeClean so we can make their overall experience a memorable one,” shares Sacramento.

WeClean’s exponential growth is a reflection of its consistent and trustworthy services that become a dependable life partner for all its customers. As WeClean continuously grows, they are also making sure that the people they help receive quality service with their keen attention to detail and commitment to improving their operations.

To learn more about WeClean Philippines, visit weclean.ph.com or their Facebook  page for updates and announcements.

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WeClean creates more job opportunities for local communities

Company is here to stay long-term, aims to hire over 1,200 employees by 2025.

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Creating job opportunities while providing quality laundry services is what fully integrated laundry service provider WeClean has always committed to since its establishment in 2017.

“We’ve always set out to help not only consumers but also provide the necessary employment to Filipinos within the local community. Our aim by 2025 is to have 500 operating and successful branches across the Philippines and in nearby Southeast Asian countries that will help us hire and offer jobs to roughly over 1,200 employees,” shares Alejandro Gonzalez Sacramento, WeClean Head of Operations.

To date, WeClean has opened and is operating over 64 branches in the metro with 130 employees ensuring that quality laundry services are offered to their growing customer base. “We are hiring aggressively right now as we continue opening branches and extending our operating hours from 6am to 10pm and we are already open 24 hours in our branch in Ocampo. We are eyeing to be able to hire more people in the next few months so that we are able to open another four to six branches,” Gonzalez mentions.

The company is also targeting to acquire more laundry shops to bring the total number of operating branches to 100 before the year ends, so it is vital for WeClean to find the right people and hire more branch personnel.

Hiring Process

WeClean believes in the adage where happy workers bring satisfied customers. They offer competitive wages and ensure all mandatory benefits set by the government are implemented and strictly followed to ensure that their staff and employees are happy and proud of working at WeClean. “We make sure our employees are happy and receive not only their basic pay but also on holidays and overtime. They are also given SSS, PAG-IBIG, and PhilHealth benefits,” shares Gonzalez.

In the last two weeks, WeClean has recently hired 15 more attendants, placing their current count of employees to 145. They have job postings on social media and are likewise working with some HR agencies to ensure they get the right personnel for their branches.

They hire both undergraduates and college graduates with experience working in the laundry business or service industry. WeClean is also on the lookout for customer-oriented individuals who can not only greatly appeal and deal with customers on a daily basis but also tech-savvy individuals who are able to learn new things as the company is digitizing their branches with POS machines.

“We are very much open in considering employees for our various roles across our 64 branches in the country. We train our personnel with our equipment, our services, and in running the businesses as well,” highlights Gonzalez.

Strengthening Accessibility

In its aim to further digitize and make laundry services more accessible to those in the metro, WeClean finalized its partnership with Grab and is the first laundry business to be available in the Grab app.

“We continue to innovate and ensure that we are where our customers are – online. We are hoping to help more Filipinos in their laundry chores so they can focus on what is more important to them like spending time with the family,” muses Gonzalez.

The WeClean app is also in its final stages before it is publicly made available in the country. To learn more about WeClean Philippines, visit weclean.ph.com or their Facebook  page for updates and announcements.

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‘Woven’ social enterprise empowers artisan communities high-quality handicrafts made by Filipino craftswomen

Inspired by the beautiful weaving tradition of Samar, the founders of Woven are driven to bring the exceptional craftsmanship of Filipinos to the rest of the world. Woven Co-Founder and CEO, Trish Lim, shares the company’s journey in helping Filipina artisans thrive.

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In this fast-moving digital age, consumers around the world still desire the timeless aesthetic of handcrafted pieces. Recognizing this demand, Woven, a social enterprise that empowers artisan communities to build a livelihood from weaving and embroidery, curates a wide array of high-quality handicrafts made by Filipino craftswomen.

Inspired by the beautiful weaving tradition of Samar, the founders of Woven are driven to bring the exceptional craftsmanship of Filipinos to the rest of the world. Woven Co-Founder and CEO, Trish Lim, shares the company’s journey in helping Filipina artisans thrive.

Weaving the story of Woven

Woven was launched in 2017. The idea took shape when Lim and her husband were conducting a development study for a foundation after typhoon Haiyan struck Leyte and Samar in 2013. The couple realized the hardships of the marginalized communities in these provinces and decided to help them rise from the tragedy by starting an enterprise.

In the course of the interviews, they discovered the banig or mat weavers of Samar, and the idea of partnering with the community’s weavers was born. Lim started sending design suggestions to her husband who was helping the communities form associations so they could earn more from their craft. 

Initially, the enterprise was named “Basey” after the town but later changed to “Woven” in order to connect with different weaving groups in the country. “We design our products together with the artisans. Our idea was to link them to a greater market, and provide more opportunities for their livelihood,” said Lim.

Crafting Opportunities

Woven’s products are carefully handcrafted by women weavers of Samar aged 50 to 55 years old. As the majority of the weavers are female, Lim shared that Woven aims to uplift the lives of female weavers and artisans. Through empathy, compassion, and persistence, Lim guides the weavers and encourages them to be open to growth so they can thrive in this industry or in any industry of their choice.

As the couple worked with the weavers, Lim discovered that they have discouraged their children to continue the craft due to its low income with the average artisan only earning as much as P600-650 per month (US$ 11-12). In order to help them, Lim decided to expand Woven’s reach and include other communities outside Samar.

“We learned that a lot of artisans were in the same situation so we connected with them and included their products as well. Now, not only does Woven have banig products from Samar but we also offer handwoven textiles from Benguet, placemats from Basilan, and blankets by hablon weavers from Iloilo,” shared Lim.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

As an advocate, Lim knows the importance of raising awareness of the centuries-old tradition of weaving among the youth. So, they launched “Kabataan Krafts” in 2019 that focused on fostering creativity, collaboration, and leadership among the children of the artisans.

To promote and raise awareness of the weaving industry to youth in other areas, they also launched “Woven on the Move” bringing the weavers from their home province to Manila to conduct a series of workshops for senior high school students in various schools.

Woven From the Home to the World

During the lockdown, Woven was impacted by the sharp decline in tourism and mobility restrictions which affected the procurement of supplies. Bulk orders from companies, a major source of their income, were also significantly reduced. To keep the enterprise going, Lim continued selling their products online through their website and social media accounts. They also expanded Woven’s market base and tapped other countries to promote their products.

Woven’s products also evolved to keep up with the trends of modern fashion, especially among the youth. New products were introduced such as laptop sleeves, bags, and work-from-home essentials to cater to a younger age group and support their modern, mobile lifestyle.

With FedEx as her logistics provider, Lim was also able to easily reach markets in South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, and Europe. In 2021, Lim ran a global marketing campaign where they collaborated with different artists to come up with their own woven creations. Through FedEx, her team was able to efficiently send Banig weaving kits to her customers in New York and Canada.

“We realized that going global entails strong logistics support to ensure that our products will be shipped on time and in good condition. And being able to tell our clients that we can ship products through FedEx is liberating. We’ve had a good experience with FedEx so far as we’ve gotten a lot of support from the team and experienced a boost in our sales,” continued Lim.

Weaving Woven’s Purpose

Woven continues to launch various initiatives aimed at fostering creativity, collaboration, and leadership among the next generation of Banig weavers and embroiderers in the community. New products have been created and introduced to reach diverse segments of the market. Through their products, Woven hopes to increase awareness and appreciation of the centuries-old tradition of weaving in the Philippines and encourage them to become advocates of these artisan communities.

By continuously tapping the international market for these products, Woven empowers Filipina artisans and handicraft communities to continue their colorful weaving tradition while ensuring sustainable livelihood.

Find out more about Woven Philippines’ products at woven.ph. To know more about inspiring small business stories, visit FedEx Business Insights.

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