Zarah Juan

Zarah Juan

Advocate of Strong Social Responsibility

Once-flight-attendant Zarah Juan’s career started with her manufacturing business Green Leaf Ecobags in 2007, a conscious effort to save the environment from excessive plastic waste.

“You have to understand that you can’t do everything, and it’s important to remember that.” With the heart to give hope to others and save the environment, creative entrepreneur Zarah Juan eventually collaborated with indigenous communities—such as the hand-embroiderers of the T’boli tribe from South Cotabato, the basket weavers from Iraya Mangyan in Puerto Galera, the embroiderers and hand-painters from Lumban, Laguna, and Bagobo Tagabawa tribe in Davao—in creating artisanal bags, mules, jackets, and other fashion wear, to establish our local products in the mainstream market and uphold cultural continuity.

Women
of the World

Once-flight-attendant Zarah Juan’s career started with her manufacturing business Green Leaf Ecobags in 2007, a conscious effort to save the environment from excessive plastic waste.

“You have to understand that you can’t do everything, and it’s important to remember that.” With the heart to give hope to others and save the environment, creative entrepreneur Zarah Juan eventually collaborated with indigenous communities—such as the hand-embroiderers of the T’boli tribe from South Cotabato, the basket weavers from Iraya Mangyan in Puerto Galera, the embroiderers and hand-painters from Lumban, Laguna, and Bagobo Tagabawa tribe in Davao—in creating artisanal bags, mules, jackets, and other fashion wear, to establish our local products in the mainstream market and uphold cultural continuity.

Discovering the concept of green bags in Japan and noticing the waste people make on their shopping trips, used-to-be flight attendant Zarah Juan started producing eco-bags in 2005, with the desire to save the environment.

She started out her creative-entrepreneurship career from buying katsa from Divisoria and renting a fifteen-pesos-per-hour sewing machine at Makati to put together her creations every time she’s back in the Philippines. People eventually noticed the few pieces she carried around with her, and this led to her being invited to produce souvenir bags for events, such as baptisms and weddings. With the support of her husband, Zarah finally established Green Leaf Ecobags in 2007.

quote icon

You have to understand that you can’t do everything, and it’s important to remember that.

“You have to understand that you can’t do everything, and it’s important to remember that.” Her design process starts with identifying different communities, what they can do, and how they could collaborate with her and other groups of people. When it comes to her business plans, Zarah doesn’t want to simply advance her business in numbers but to also scale up its impact on the communities she’s collaborating with. This is reflective of the fact that what she’s proudest of is her work with the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe at Barangay Lubogan Toril in Davao. She has been teaming up with them for over six (6) years, overseeing their passionate work based on personal experiences, inspirations, and prayers—some of their best works are her beaded mules and jackets. With her help, the tribe is able to share their culture and stories to the modern world, enabling them to send their children to school and to provide for themselves.

To this day, Zarah continues to work with communities, like the hand-embroiderers of the T’boli tribe from South Cotabato, the basket weavers from Iraya Mangyan in Puerto Galera, and the embroiderers and hand-painters from Lumban, Laguna. Conscious of giving hope to others, she strives to establish our local and indigenous products in the mainstream market to uphold cultural continuity.