Photo credit: Rachel Lin


How did you begin this journey as a social entrepreneur?

Something tugged at my heart when I went on an overseas volunteer trip to the Philippines. There, I met a group of women who were making very beautiful and unique reversible dolls, but nobody was buying them because there were little to no avenues for people to find them besides being in the vicinity.

This left a very deep impression in my heart because there was much more potential to help them get connected to people, increasing their sales and potentially their quality of life! This made me want to do something that could help them, and that is how I got into being a social entrepreneur!


Beneficiaries in the Philippines. PHOTO CREDIT: RACHEL LIN

Is Mori the first social enterprise you have run?

No, my first social enterprise, Matcha5, a platform where the sole purpose was to sell products created by underprivileged/rural artisans around the world, failed because I was not the most equipped for it at the time in terms of experience, and I couldn’t find people with similar vision to work together. I was a single entrepreneur with no support whatsoever.

It pained me so much when I eventually had to shut it down. I then continued working for another social enterprise, but it was difficult for me because of the differing styles of working and the different values which we had!

I eventually went back to corporate work for a season, but my heart continued to beat for the disadvantaged. There was still a part of me that wanted to create a platform for women to discover their purposes.

Even though Matcha5 was not successful, it was through Matcha5 that I became friends with my business partner, Mitzi, the founder of Mori Notes. I met her through selling her goods at Matcha5!

Mori Notes is a social enterprise in the Philippines that provides local women with a way to support their families through handcrafted products. This has led me to where I am now.


Rachel with beneficiaries. PHOTO CREDIT: RACHEL LIN

What is the vision and heart behind Mori?

Our vision is made up of three pillars: Firstly, we believe in providing functional, aesthetic and meaningful products for the modern lady, while championing a purpose-driven life and joy in adversity.

As such, our products are designed to encourage self-reflection and expression of thought. The Pursebook, our core product, comes with a planner with reflection questions, as well as refill notebooks with motivational quotes. We also recently developed a rewritable emotions flashcard set for parents to help their little ones navigate through their emotions.

Secondly, we want to uplift poverty through the sustainable employment of mothers who need to take care of their children at home.

To create our products, we work with 28 mothers in the Philippines, whom I lovingly refer to as “Mori Moms”. We strive to provide sustainable livelihoods for these women and we train them until they are able to sew products of good quality.

Before working with Mori, these mothers were working in factories, with not much time to spend with their children. There are many Filipino mothers who face such situations. Now, our Mori Moms can work from home rather than sitting in a factory working a full eight hours.

Thirdly, Mori is a platform to empower women across all walks of life, from urban poor mothers to crafters, artists and illustrators.

What are the areas of greatest impact you feel you have made through Mori?

​Since 2019, we have collaborated with popular one-woman illustrator studio JangandFox, who advocates mental well-being through her whimsical illustrations and stories, by incorporating her illustrations with several of our signature items.

In 2020, we started the Mori Community Fund, where we channel proceeds from the sale of items that have not been handmade by our Mori Moms, such as T-shirts, for these women’s emergency needs. For example, during the pandemic, we raised funds for two of the women’s daughter and grandson respectively, so that they could buy laptops for their college education, as classes had shifted online.

​Later in the year, we also partnered Mustard Seed, a social enterprise that empowers special needs youths with employment, to make special gift bundles. Mustard Seed was started by Soek Ying, a mother to a special needs son. In April 2021, the youths handmade over 300 dried-flower cards.

How has this experience of running Mori helped you grow?

Today, I look back at the journey and am thankful for the partners, customers, help and wisdom that came our way and have grown us to where we are today. I’ve had wrong deep-seated beliefs challenged, but also found hope, joy and purpose through the tough times.

Mitzi and I are motivated to grow Mori into the platform we envision, for more women to come alongside and discover their hope, joy and purpose as they share their talents with the world.

This article was published on Jul 31, 2021

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