Education, Manufacturing, Personal Care & Household Products
Region of Initiative
No Poverty, Quality Education, Decent work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Consumption and Production
Natural product manufacturer Messy Bessy joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) in May 2017 a pledge to assist 800 at-risk youth through on-the-job immersion, education assistance and life-skills support by 2020. In collaboration with its non-profit affiliate, the HOUSE Foundation, the company has also pledged to engage at least 50 partner organizations in providing additional training and employment opportunities.
Inclusive enterprise Messy Bessy was established in 2007, when founder Kristine Reyes-Lopez began producing natural, biodegradable household products in her kitchen. Since the market for eco-friendly home and care products was virtually untapped at the time, Messy Bessy became one of the first few all-natural home and personal-care brands in the Philippines. Production quickly grew from Ms. Lopez’ kitchen to a 300 m2 warehouse supplying nine kiosks in malls across metro Manila and over 100 retailers throughout the country.
In addition to selling biodegradable, non-polluting products, Messy Bessy was envisioned as a means to train and employ formerly abused and trafficked young women. However, Messy Bessy’s management quickly realized that education and employment alone were not enough to make lasting changes in these vulnerable young adults’ lives. Many of its employees needed psycho-social support and lacked basic life skills, and the company initially had difficulty retaining its staff.
To tackle these challenges, Messy Bessy integrated the Helping Ourselves Programme into its inclusive business model, supporting its young “learners” with a holistic suite of services that guides them towards completing their education and starting solid careers. Its support includes counseling, life-skills, financial literacy and computer training, help with time management, customer service and effective communication, high school exam and college enrollment preparation, tuition subsidies and student loans, tutoring and more.
As the company has grown, it has begun partnering with other companies in order to replicate its inclusive model. In 2015, the Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprises (HOUSE) Foundation was established to allow Messy Bessy learners to train with other enterprises such as Happy Skin Cosmetics, Starbucks Philippines and Straightforward Clothing. By 2020, Messy Bessy aims to engage at least 50 private and non-profit partners in sourcing learners, supporting their development through knowledge and technology sharing, and providing additional training and employment opportunities.
With the HOUSE Foundation, the company has already assisted more than 250 young adults and now boasts 20 high school graduates, 55 college enrollees and 18 college graduates. As it cultivates its workforce, its sales have grown steadily; in 2016 alone, they grew by 40 percent. In the next year, there are plans to open additional kiosks and expand the biodegradable product line to include pet-care products. By 2020, the company expects to graduate an additional 45 learners from college.