Quick, tell me the last Filipino you know who created a product in his college years and turned it into a business?
I wrote this line last Thursday morning in the (very popular) Wunderkind post.
Who knew I’d meet another wunderkind just a couple of hours after publishing that post?
I had a meeting with Noreen Bautista of Jacinto and Lirio that very same afternoon. Noreen wanted to get some advice on some HR stuff and scheduled a quick meeting.
Before giving any advice, I always make it a point to learn much about the context of the person seeking the advice. So I essentially asked Noreen to tell me her startup story.
Noreen first tells me about the amazing company concept. J&L is a social enterprise which turns an environment pest, the water hyacinth (clogs things up), into fashion products like bags and notebooks.
If this isn’t impressive enough, the enterprise marshalls the help of local communities in areas like Pampanga, Laguna, and Rizal to help i the production of the goods. When you buy fashion items from Jacinto and Lirio, you get to directly help these communities.
I was looking at their website and Facebook Page and noted how they were taking full advantage of social media to reach out to people.
This, my friends, is an example of how a modern-day social enterprise looks like! Galing!
But wait, there’s more!
It turns out, Noreen started this concept with her batchmate/business partner Anne as a college project. Then, unlike 99% of college business simulation projects, Anne and Noreen had the necessary conviction to push their product out into the real market. They began producing goods, creating distribution channels, and marketing. You can now buy Jacinto and Lirio products in a LOT of sites, both real and virtual:
I was lucky because Noreen was on the way to showcase some samples in another meeting, so she was able to show me some notebooks.
They were gorgeous!
You know, there are some items I’d buy because I’d want to help a cause out. Not the case with the notebooks I was shown – I’d buy them solely because I’d want to buy them.
Oooooh, and the packaging. I hate it that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the box packaging a J&L notebook comes in. But you’d get the notebook standing up, inserted on a classy cardboard base. (Dare I say that it was Apple-like!)
Great idea. Greater execution.
Kudos to Noreen and Anne, the wunderkinds behind Jacinto and Lirio!
Continue to inspire us please!