By women, for women
We are a women-run business with a mission to bring purpose and joy to both you and our makers, through our functional and inspirational products.
Our one-of-a-kind creations are handmade by women in their homes for sustainable livelihoods, and created with the modern lady in mind - to inspire and to better your world.
We invite you to discover purpose and joy with us, and do that with, and for other women too.
Our 3-fold mission
1. Create products and services for the modern lady- where function meets aesthetic and meaning; and championing purpose-driven life and joy in adversity
2. Uplift poverty through sustainable employment of mothers who need to take care of their children at home
3. Provide a platform to empower women across all walks of life - urban poor mothers, artists/illustrators, crafters, sales advocates and even customers with different gifts, talents and skills to create value together
Two women from different lands
Quitting a nascent career in marketing for some soul-searching, Mitzi Uy from Manila, The Philippines, was always at home and the only thing she had was her Bible and journal. She started creating her own journals and eventually created the world's first pursebook, a blend of notebook and purse.One of their house help wanted to learn how to sew and the two tried out making pursebooks at home and selling them online on Facebook in 2011. Eventually, the demand became greater than supply, and it became a business with Sikap Buhay (Small Business Development and Promotion office) connecting Mitzi with Baranggay livelihood project for women from poor communities in Manila sewing washrags and potholders.
Rachel Lin from Singapore, was from a low-income family and was blessed to have the opportunity to finish studies, graduating from National University of Singapore (Business).
In 2015, Rachel met Mitzi online while reading up on social enterprises in Philippines. They started chatting and soon became friends as they shared their common dream to reduce poverty through fair employment and product value creation and innovation. They also shared about how sometimes it can be easy to feel anxious about not being able to provide jobs for the mothers, yet releasing the burden to God, knowing that His heart for the mothers is bigger than theirs caused the lives of mothers to change.
Mori is a variant name of Moriel which means 'God teaches'.
"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" Matthew 6:26-27
Meet our makers
Home is where Mori's story begins.
Mori provides mothers work from home opportunities, even though they are from disadvantaged backgrounds. This way, they can spend more time with their family, and take care of their children and watch them grow. Due to work, one of Mitzi's house helper had to be away from her child who fell ill. There are many Filipino mothers who face such situation.
When Rachel was in Philippines in 2008 with MILK, she also found that contraception is not widely practised and a household could have many children, making it more difficult for mothers to work, take care of all the children at home, and send some to school. About 80% of the Philippine population are Catholics, and contraception is not widely practised. According to statistics compiled by the World Bank, the poorest section of the Filipino population has a higher fertility rate of 5.2 births per woman.
Our social impact
28 women provided with sustainable livelihoods
We started in Bgy. Apolonio Samson in early 2012 with 4 mother crafters, and now works with about 28 mothers. The mothers that we work with have minimal skills in sewing. They used to be paid peso 100 (US$2) a day to sew rags that didn't require straight stitching. With Mori, they earn peso 400-600 (US$9-12) a day.
Mori trains them until they are able to sew the products in good quality. We work backwards from the minimum local daily wage rate set by Department of Labour and Employment the rate per piece, as well as reasonable number of items Mori moms need to make (productivity) and give them a target (number of items to make in a day) to meet the minimum wage. We align with the minimum wage set in National Capital Region (NCR) in Philippines - in earlier years before 2018 we set our daily wage at peso400 above minimum daily wage peso382. And from 2018, we have increased to around peso400-600 as minimum wage increased to peso512.
Not all Mori mothers earn for example peso600 in a day, as this also depends on Mori mom’s health condition and productivity. These are in consideration with the fact that Mori moms we employ have children to take care of and are best working at home. However, they do face “emergencies” such as health issues or having to take care of family members and relatives, and hence realistically sometimes don’t spend the full day making the target number of items we have set for them. They are paid by piece working from home, rather than sitting in a factory working full 8 hour.
Women employed have better quality of life and upskilling of sewing
Before, Mori mothers kept on borrowing through 5/6 (loan program that charges high interest rate 20%, highly accessible but resorts to shady practices) which further plunge them in debt. Now, they are able to eat better food, and cover living expenses including college education of their children.
Ate Remy, who started with Mitzi in the earlier years now not only crafts, but is involved in training other moms and also research and development of new products. Ate Riza helps in purchasing of materials. We classify our products into 3 different levels based on the complexity to hand make them. Mothers like Ate Remy and Ate Lisa have been trained to be able to make our signature creations such as Pursebook and Dual Zip Sling Bag (level 3 items).
Local communities support and partnerships for impact
Since 2020, we have also started a Mori community fund, with proceeds from sales of our items not directly handmade by Mori moms such as T-shirts to be channeled into this fund for Mori moms' emergency uses. For example, during the pandemic, we have raised funds for Ate Remy's daughter Rachele, and Ate Lisa's grandson Sebastian for laptops for their college education which have shifted online due to the pandemic. You may read more about this initiative here.
In late 2020 and April 2021, we partner with Soek Ying, a mother of special needs son Ryan, who runs MustardTree.com.Sg for our gift bundles. Mustard Tree is a social enterprise in Singapore that empowers special needs youths with employment. You can read more about autism and our collaboration here.
Since 2019, we collaborate with popular one-woman illustrator studio JangandFox who advocates mental well-being through her whimsical illustrations and stories. We turned her illustrations into our signature creation items, which you can now find as Exclusive Specials throughout our shop.
Anywhere you're based in the world, connect with us if you'd like to partner with us to support your local women communities.
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Registered Company in Singapore:
Matcha Five Pte. Ltd.