This small business incorporates sustainable practices in its everyday operations; why can’t we?  

Sustainability has become a buzzword for every big business in the Philippines and the world. But for growing companies, incorporating sustainable practices to protect the environment can seem daunting.

But for Green Fit Friend (GFF) personal care founder April Sarah Peoro, or Ara, as she is fondly called, sustainability should be a part of everyone’s agenda – even for small businesses.

Creating a sustainable business model was Peoro’s priority when she transformed her GFF advocacy-based blog into a business.

“The Philippines is the third largest contributor of plastic wastes into the ocean, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. And it hit home, and I thought about the future of my nieces and the next generation. What will be left for them?” Ara says.

Championing sustainability  

Ara’s passion for the environment and a healthy lifestyle started when her brother introduced her to the University of the Philippines (UP) Mountaineers, shortly after quitting her job as a flight attendant.

“He told me maybe I could find myself in the mountains—true enough, I found myself falling in love with the beauty of our mountains and islands,” she adds. “I’ve seen numerous places around the world only to find out that the Philippines is the center of rich biodiversity. It ignited my desire to protect it somehow.”

Aside from shifting to a more sustainable lifestyle, she also decided to champion her cause through a blog and eventually a YouTube channel. Through GFF, Ara shared her mindful living adventures around the country.

Ara then launched GFF Eco-friendly Personal Care and Sustainable Alternatives, combining her passion for healthy living and environmental protection as the pillars of building her personal care startup. She first created handmade and plastic-free soaps, shampoo, and conditioner bars for herself and her family, but it quickly turned into an enterprise.

Using natural, sustainable, and locally-sourced raw materials, Ara’s line of premium, eco-personal care products speak for themselves. Her brand has grown through social media, bazaar pop-ups, and the help of good old mom-and-pop shops that carry her product.

More than a brand, but a movement

A portion of every GFF purchase goes to reforestation projects and different advocacy organizations tackling environmental conservation or helping the most vulnerable communities concerning the climate crisis.

“Now that we have traction from the market, every purchase reminds us of our advocacy. It reaffirms our mission of reducing plastic usage and waste and creating more alternatives that are safe for the environment and our clients,” she says.

Ara is one of 15 Filipino entrepreneurs featured in Maya Business’ newest series, “Scale Up: The Show,” where dreamers compete for a prize of seed capital of up to P150,000 in each episode. Five winners from the series will then compete for the grand prize of P500,000.

Her passion for the environment captured the attention of business moguls and judges, including Maya Chief Marketing Officer Pepe Torres, Tiny Buds co-founder Lorin Tan, and Boozy PH CEO Miguel Guerrero.

“We love meetings Filipino dreamers like Ara, who have advocacies tied to their fresh business ideas,” Torres says. “Expanding and scaling up their brand is one of the biggest challenges for small business owners, and Maya is excited to provide them with the right tools to achieve their dreams.”

As the all-in-one growth partner of enterprises in the Philippines, Maya Business provides entrepreneurs like Ara with convenient digital payment solutions and banking services under one integrated platform.

MSMEs using Shopify can avail of the Maya Checkout Plugin for seamless payment acceptance of credit, debit, prepaid cards, and e-wallets. They can also accept cashless payments in-store from users of Maya and other financial institutions via Maya QR, enabled by QR Ph. For employee payroll and supplier payments, they can use Maya Disbursements.

Catch “Scale Up: the Show” on the One News Facebook and Youtube page and get inspired by the modern entrepreneurs’ passion, hard work, and possibilities with Maya Business.

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