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Celebrating The Women Behind Habi Lifestyle

Written by Nyka Chan

Every March, we see social media blow up with the ♀ symbol, signifying the start of the month where women’s voices are amplified, and this is especially on March 8 - International Women’s Day. But why do we celebrate Women’s Month? 

We celebrate this every year to celebrate women’s achievements by putting the spotlight on them, giving them more visibility, and letting others know their story in the hopes of inspiring more women. 

With this, Habi celebrates its partner artisans and sheds light on who they are and their role in the brand’s success. We are currently collaborating with two communities in Metro Manila, namely, the Habi Eco Weavers and Sewers Livelihood Association in Payatas and the Batasan Women’s League Consumer Cooperative in Batasan, who create the beautiful pieces that can be seen on our website. These communities consist mostly of women, particularly mothers, who are empowered by both their crafts and the women who surround them. 

Habi Lifestyle Habi Eco Weavers and Sewers Payatas
Habi Lifestyle Batasan Womens League Consumer Cooperative

We have women like Alice (47) from Payatas,a partner artisan who prior to working with Habi, felt hopeless because of her circumstances. But with Habi, she was able to find something she truly enjoyed - weaving - while at the same time, support her family through these hard times. She has been able to overcome her fears to try new things and in her own words: “‘Wag kayong sumuko, subok lang ng subok kasi hindi naman natin makukuha ‘yung gusto natin kung hindi tayo susubok, ‘di ba”. Alice hopes that her story can help inspire many other women who feel hopeless to try out new things and power through. 

There are also women like Delma (48) from Payatas who have loved to sew since they were young but were unable to pursue it as a source of livelihood as they had to take care of small children. Thankfully, women like this in Habi’s partner communities are able to rekindle their passion and are now happily sewing unique lifestyle pieces that bring them joy. As she has said: “Ang Habi ay tumutulong sa mga komunidad. Tinutuklas nila kung ano ang meron sa mga community na pwedeng matulungan tulad ng mga talent ng mga nanay na may itinatago pala silang talent na pwedeng maipakita o maipalabas”. Habi continuously searches for more women who we can uplift and shine light on their talents. 

Myleen (48), is Habi’s head sewer from Payatas. Her passion for sewing has opened up opportunities for her as through Habi, she has been able to meet a wide variety of people. She says, “Malaki na ‘yung naitulong ng Habi sa buhay ko kasi naeexpose kami sa iba’t ibang mga nanay, mga estudyante, mga nagtatrabaho na tinuturuan namin-- matataas man o mabababang tao.” She also loves that with sewing as her source of income, she is able to do it at home and teach her children this skill as well.

Last, we have Raquel (49) from Batasan. She specializes in beadweaving and has created the different beaded items that make up the Sinta Collection. She says it is hard but fulfilling work that she is happy to do. She finds joy in it and would like others to try their hand in it as well to be able to feel the same fulfillment she does in seeing her finished products. In her words: “Karamihan sa kanila sinasabi na mahirap pala ang paggawa. Ayaw nilang gawin. Sinasabi ko sa kanila na sa lahat naman ng bagay, kailangan talaga ng pagtitiyaga, sipag at tiis.” Raquel believes in hard work and it really shows in the beautiful products she hand beads. 

Hillary Clinton once said, “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” Women’s month is an opportunity to be able to highlight all the achievements that women have; and with this, we want to be able to tell the stories and showcase the talents of our artisans. We celebrate the women behind Habi who pour their passion and love into their craft and hopefully, they can be a part of your story. 

Original interview by Jeniña Queddeng