Founder Spotlight: Jeannie Javelosa of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle
Holding up the Gender Lens Through GREAT Women
By Michaela Villaroman
The world has seen a lot of do-gooders come and go. Many bright-eyed individuals have set out and claimed to change the world yet we have seen but only a few really effectual in closing the gap for the less fortunate and the marginalized sectors. Is Jeannie Javelosa’s ECHOstore and Great Women just another passing star? We think not.
Good, Green, and Gender
With partners Chit Juan and Reena Francisco, Javelosa opened ECHOstore (acronym Environment Community Hope Organization) the social enteprise with a retail store eight years ago. They changed the way customers experienced the green lifestyle that sold products of marginalized communities in a tri-concept of a store, market and café. ECHOstore is founded on values that stand for sustainabiltiy, the healthy lifestyle and the care of the environment. The company has focused on product development and market access in the developmental work pursued through the non-profit foundation of ECHOsi Foundation (an acronym for Empowering Communities with Hope and Opportunities to Sustainable Initiatives). Emerging from the development platform in the past three years is the advocacy-driven brand GREAT Women that supports gender (acronmy Gender Responsive Economic Empowerment) and has recently moved into the retail space carrying products of responsible luxury that suppport women enterprises, cooperatives and cultural indigenous communities.
Ms. Javelosa, in an interview with Techshake, stressed how important elevated or higher values are in the modern world. “ECHOstore and GREAT WOMEN are both brands but they also represent inclusive business platform that helps empower the small producers, women and also looks to sustainability by offering market access,” Ms. Javelosa says. And with the non-profit, all three together is an embodiment of the whole direction of the group: doing Good, supporting Green, and Gender.
Women with a Heart
Jeannie describes herself as an advocate of culture, sustainability, and gender. She is a woman of great entrepreneurial fervor and is now the lead for the GREAT Women Program and Brand, which she has helped innovate. Her work has been bent on helping women in the supply chain from the bottom of the pyramid under an inclusive business model towards global market access. The whole direction stems from women helping women to uplift the textile industry, promote traditional motifs and methods of indigenous tribes, and to “infect” more men and women to put more money in the hands of women. Javelosa notes the economic sense of supporting women as money in their hands helps makes the quality of lives of the next generation better. Women will always spend for their children’s development in health and education.
Women in the country are strong. They have the ability and proclivity to soar to greater heights if given the opportunity. This initiative supported by the Philippine Commission on Women and Canadian government in the Philippines aims to remedy that. Javelosa is quick to state that ECHOsi as private sector lead is also bent on drawing in more private sector to align to the brand’s advocacy and to support the retail brand.
Twists and Transitions
Ms. Javelosa spent the first half of her professional life as an award winning artist, printmaker, art writer, curator. Business was always releated to entreprenuerial directions as an artist, then when she opened a public relations and stakeholder realtions agency called EON, with another businesspartner, her marketing and communication skills were honed.
She, however, has always been an innovator and is challenged by “that which has not yet been tried and done that can suppory impact in making our world a better place”. She describes herself as someone with so much ideas often ahead of her. She identified GREAT Women as an example where she feels the relevance of the brand and social enterprise should be nurtured and the advocacy shared. “I did not plan it. I did not want to do it at first as we were already so busy with ECHOstore, but GREAT Women just kept coming through me that I couldn’t sleep. I knew that if I didn’t try to do something, I may regret this later in life,” Ms. Javelosa says in an interview. She realized that perhaps it was her social mission to do this. Great ideas lurk in the minds of every individual. Whether that be an artist, a doctor, or a college drop-out, ideas once acknowledged and acted upon could become an engine for social change and development in our world today. Perhaps another is lurking out there, waiting for the inspiration to start its gears. Ms. Jeannie Javelosa continues to bravely walk her own entrepreneurial journey creating impact, and may do so perhaps farther than any one of us. When will we?