Reese Fernandez-Ruiz

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz

Eco-ethical Fashion Advocate

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz serves as the co-founder of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that aims to empower community artisans and Things That Matter, a one-stop-shop for all things sustainable and well-crafted.

Reese dreams of growing Rags2Riches beyond sustainability. She wants to engage companies who want to upcycle their waste, and she wants to expand internationally. Despite seemingly daunting challenges, Reese isn’t afraid. “It’s easy to become bitter and jaded. But I emerged kinder and humbler, and that’s the route we should take, even if it’s the harder route.”

Women
of the World

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz serves as the co-founder of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that aims to empower community artisans and Things That Matter, a one-stop-shop for all things sustainable and well-crafted.

Reese dreams of growing Rags2Riches beyond sustainability. She wants to engage companies who want to upcycle their waste, and she wants to expand internationally. Despite seemingly daunting challenges, Reese isn’t afraid. “It’s easy to become bitter and jaded. But I emerged kinder and humbler, and that’s the route we should take, even if it’s the harder route.”

After Reese Fernandez-Ruiz graduated from college, she visited an area in Payatas where she discovered artisans working very hard but receiving little in return. She wanted to give them opportunities to improve their products and help them earn more money.  Reese, together with friends and young professionals, co-founded Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that aims to empower community artisans, and that eventually paved the way to Things That Matter, a one-stop-shop for all things sustainable and well-crafted.

When asked about her journey as a woman, she says, “I used to think there were no barriers. I thought we were better off. But that’s a testament to the women who came before me, who made it easier for me.” Reese acknowledges that the world is better for women today, especially for those who want to work and be a mother, like her. “A lot of things have changed for women, but a lot of things still have to change. We still have expectations; people still tell women to act a certain way instead of telling men to be better men. It’s not the way to raise better citizens of the world. A culture shift takes a long time and takes each of us paying attention to what we do and say.”

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A lot of things have changed for women, but a lot of things still have to change. We still have expectations; people still tell women to act a certain way instead of telling men to be better men. It’s not the way to raise better citizens of the world. A culture shift takes a long time and takes each of us paying attention to what we do and say.

It can be challenging to juggle multiple roles as a business owner, wife, and mother. Reese shares that her mother Lucy and her mother-in-law Marilen are strong influences for her. These women have been supportive, inspiring her to work and move past the obstacles in her way. She also mentions how grateful she is for a complete support system, including her husband and her teammates, who have been incredibly hardworking and supportive of her endeavors.  

The next step for Reese is to grow Rags2Riches beyond sustainability. She wants to engage companies who want to upcycle their waste, and she wants to expand internationally. Despite seemingly daunting challenges, Reese isn’t afraid. “It’s easy to become bitter and jaded. But I emerged kinder and humbler, and that’s the route we should take, even if it’s the harder route.”