Anne Mariposa Yee

Anne Mariposa Yee

Innovator of Handcrafted Plant Leather Goods

Anne Mariposa-Yee leads Jacinto & Lirio, a social enterprise that utilizes the water hyacinth plant to produce fine multifunctional yet trendsetting and personalized pieces like travel accessories, wallets, stationery, and other vegan leather goods. Through this initiative, Anne and her team empower the local water hyacinth community. Their clients, in turn, become more aware of sustainable practices through their purchases.

“You have to know your ‘why,’” she shares. “Let that be your guide to whatever you’re doing, so that when you’re feeling unmotivated, you can return to your why, to your purpose.” Knowing her “why” propels her to keep going, doing everything she can to be a role model for environmental sustainability.

Women
of the World

Anne Mariposa-Yee leads Jacinto & Lirio, a social enterprise that utilizes the water hyacinth plant to produce fine multifunctional yet trendsetting and personalized pieces like travel accessories, wallets, stationery, and other vegan leather goods. Through this initiative, Anne and her team empower the local water hyacinth community. Their clients, in turn, become more aware of sustainable practices through their purchases.

“You have to know your ‘why,’” she shares. “Let that be your guide to whatever you’re doing, so that when you’re feeling unmotivated, you can return to your why, to your purpose.” Knowing her “why” propels her to keep going, doing everything she can to be a role model for environmental sustainability.

Anne Mariposa-Yee leads Jacinto & Lirio, a social enterprise that utilizes water hyacinth vegan leather for various leathergoods for retail, weddings and corporate giveaways. Anne’s unique product has caught the attention of many social enterprises and consumers. “This is what I was built for,” she says of it.

The water hyacinth is considered a dangerous aquatic plant. It grows up to two meters wide, reproduces at an alarmingly fast rate, and causes damage to fishing livelihoods, local flora and fauna, and important waterways. The effects of the water hyacinth are far-reaching; overgrowth of the plant causes flooding in maritime communities and has been known to raise levels of water-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

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You have to know your ‘why,’” she says. “Let that be your guide to whatever you’re doing, so that when you’re feeling unmotivated, you can return to your why, to your purpose.

Anne and her teammates wanted to do something about the plant’s rapid overgrowth while helping the immediate community. They teamed up to form a business that would maximize the water hyacinth’s overpopulation while creating something beautiful. The Jacinto & Lirio team works with community partners to create goods made of vegan leather. As a result, the workers become more empowered through their collaboration with the team. Their clients become more aware of sustainable practices through their purchases.

One of the difficulties in any endeavor is finding the right team members, and that holds true for Anne. She has encountered challenges in getting support because they aren’t that big yet. However, the Jacinto & Lirio team persevered. They drew their strength from each other and worked hard to make their vision of a sustainable future come true. To date, they’ve used almost two hundred thousand water hyacinth stalks, and have created an impact in compelling consumers to be mindful about environmental sustainability. In addition, a number of social enterprises have reached out to Jacinto & Lirio for mentorship opportunities.

The most important part of Anne’s endeavors is her dedication. “You have to know your ‘why,’” she says. “Let that be your guide to whatever you’re doing, so that when you’re feeling unmotivated, you can return to your why, to your purpose.” Knowing her “why” propels her to keep going, doing everything she can to be a role model for environmental sustainability.