In these uncertain times, many people are working from home for the first time. For some, this is a new and exciting experience. For others, like Mori Creations and its founder Mitzi Uy-Chan, it is a way of life.

Mori Creations has been advocating for working from home since its inception, as Mitzi believes that it empowers women and helps them stay closer to their families. When the pandemic hit, this unique production philosophy turned out to be one of the company’s strengths.

The Origin of Mori’s Creation

The company started as a small backyard enterprise.

Fresh from quitting her dream job in marketing, Mitzi found herself entering what she called the “University of Life.” In this phase of her life, she ventured on a journey of self-discovery. While she knows that she wants to do something more meaningful, she doesn’t know what.

Diffident yet charming, Mitzi struggled to find her place in the corporate world.

“I wanted to discover what my purpose really is,” recalled Mitzi. “I realized that the best way to know one’s purpose is to get to know your creator because he alone knows your purpose the most,” she continued.

For three years, the young entrepreneur would continue with her soul searching — hoping and praying that she would eventually find her role in the world. It was in those three long years of introspection that God would finally lead her to her calling.

“Mori, in Hebrew, means God is my teacher. It was him who led me to this mission and business,” she said.

Confident that God wanted her to use her creativity to effect change, she thought of selling journals. Initially, she made just 50 pieces with the assistance of their house help.

To their surprise, it turned out that there was a huge demand for these items. “We sold more than a hundred pieces in a single month. I realized, then, that this product has potential”, Mitzi shared.

In 2011, at just 25 years old, Mitzi officially started her Mori Creations.

Expanding Social Enterprise

Community empowerment, especially for mothers, has always been the company’s raison d’etre. Mitzi considered it her God- given mission to uplift the plight of women who had no source of livelihood.

She recalled how she came to the realization that mothers need not be separated from their children just to earn a decent living. From there began her quest to provide a home-based livelihood to mothers from all walks of life.

Through the help of her local government unit, Mitzi was able to connect with a local women’s group. The women were put into two categories, one of which was tasked with the cover and the other with hand stitching of the paper.

However, it was not all rainbows and butterflies. The new firm, like any other business, went through a period of suffering.

“At the start of this business, I borrowed Php 60,000.00 from my mom. Banks require a maintaining balance of Php 20,000.00, so we only had about Php 40,000.00 as our capital,” shared Mitzi.

In addition, they discovered that their product is a seasonal one. Although journals have a demand, it is only confined to specific times of the year.

These challenges, however, did not deter the young entrepreneur. Instead, she used the experience as a learning process.

“The challenge is also fun because you are getting closer to your vision,” she quipped.

To help with her entrepreneurial journey, Mitz joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s Go Lokal program.

Launched in collaboration with select retail partners, Go Lokal! provides market access and brand management assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) like Mitzi’s. Through the program, she was introduced to potential clients and received help with merchandise development, ultimately resulting in commercially viable products.

Apart from Go Lokal, Mitzi was also a product of the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program and a participant in the regional trade fair, which helped her in growing her business. The Kapatid Mentor ME program pairs aspiring entrepreneurs with established mentors in their field, while the trade fair allowed her to showcase her products to a wider audience.

Mori’s Creations experienced incredible growth in a short period of time, thanks to the dedication and hard work of its partners. With revenue increasing at a rapid pace and demand for the products constantly growing, the company was able to recruit even more partners. Eventually, Mori’s Creations was able to establish production hubs in Rizal, Bulacan, and Quezon City — all of which employed women partners.

“Challenges are also fun because you get closer to your vision.”

A Rainbow through the Storm

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for businesses all over the world. With the lockdown in effect and people confined to their homes, many businesses have been forced to close down or severely scale back their operations.

While Mori’s Creations was not immune to the effects of the pandemic, Mitzi is grateful that the company has been able to weather the storm.

“We were producing a lot of products for some major retail channels. But because of the pandemic, these orders got canceled, and we had a lot of stocks,” said Mitzi. “We did not know what to do.”

Thankfully, the company was able to pivot. Mitzi found that denim and canvas were the best materials for face masks, which were essential during the COVID-19 outbreak. These happened to be the same materials they used for their journals. And so they quickly got to work making face masks and were able to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Just like an answered prayer, Mori’s Creations’ unique production philosophy turned out to be its unexpected strength. Because their partners were already working from home, they need not leave their residences for production to continue. This means the workers didn’t need to leave their homes, and the company didn’t have to source special permits to continue with production.

Mori’s Creation’s Biggest Impact

Without a doubt, Mori’s Creation’s biggest impact is on the Nanays they employ — by helping them earn while still being with their families during these trying times.

The pandemic has taken its toll not just on finances but also on the emotional well-being of many families. Having a parent at home during this time of crisis can make all the difference for some families, and Mitzi is proud to be able to provide this service through her business.

Ultimately, Mitzi Uy-Chan believes this is her greatest contribution to the communities they operate in, and we cannot help but agree. ♦