En Route Handcrafted Accessories

Empowering women in Filipino communities to become artisans-entrepreneurs through sustainable fashion.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ AN INTERVIEW WITH YANA THE FOUNDER OF EN ROUTE!

En Route Handcrafted Accessories (previously Olivia & Diego) is a social business that works with communities of stay-at-home mothers and human trafficking survivors to create upcycled jewellery made out of fabrics from discarded cotton-knitted t-shirts that are beyond repair, and fabricate them into woven ropes. Their mission is to empower women in communities to rise above poverty through fashion & design by transforming them into artisans who craft upcycled jewellery through livelihood projects and workshops.

1. How & why did you start En Route Handcrafted?

I created En Route with a group of close friends in Davao City, Philippines. The reason why I started is because I was inspired by the social entrepreneurship model - where you get to work with communities and make an impact in their lives.
2. How important are ethical practises to you?
Being ethical is a priority to me. I make sure that everything, every process, every story, everything at En Route is ethical and sustainable to the communities and to the environment. 
3. Could you tell me a little bit about your team of artisans?
We work with different communities! Pagasa Collective x En Route Handcrafted pieces work with a group of artisans from Toril, Davao City. They are a group of skilled mothers, who during the pandemic, are finding ways to earn. The first time I approached them, the group leader, Elena, pulled out her stocks from a Pasalubong Center (a store) here in the city because there were no tourists. I discovered that they do the beads so well, so I tried to improvise their products by adding colours and mixing them with glass beads and some metal.
Eventually, the mothers learned how to colour the beads and also make different sizes. They do this while they're at home, taking care of their children or doing in between household chores. 
4. When did you realise that En Route was making an impact on the lives of your artisans?
The first time I realised I was making an impact in the lives of my artisans was when one of my artisans, Jay Anee had a baby, she used her En Route earning to fund the baby's labour & care.I felt like everything we did was worth it.
5. What's your favourite part about running En Route?
My favourite part is visiting communities! I love getting to know the artisans and even watching how they are made sometimes. I love hearing their stories and watching them thrive.