My name is Kathleen (Kathy to most people) and I currently reside in Pasadena, California. I spent my childhood, teen and early adulthood years in the Philippines, so I'm proud to say that being pinoy runs deep in my blood. In 2014, I moved to Los Angeles and at that time, I was lucky enough to have been able to continue my career as an ESL teacher. I had been a teacher for 10 years before I decided to completely devote my time and attention to my family, even more specifically, my sprightly one-year-old daughter. As of the moment, I’m a stay-at-home momma trying to balance mommy duties and this new venture. I have to admit -- I never imagined I’d get myself into e-commerce. But at this point in my life, I feel that I need to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. Besides that, my desire to pursue this endeavor is rooted in four things:
- My keen interest in environment-friendly causes and policies. I always find myself wanting to do more for the environment and though I’ve been trying to “live green” as much as possible, I think getting behind people and companies who are already doing their part can help give the cause a much needed boost.
- My concern for women's welfare and rights. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing a woman thrive in the midst of life's tribulations! And she has survived all because of her own doing -- her strengths, skills, talents, craft...When women are presented with opportunities to grow and excel in what they do best, they don't just fly; they SOAR. That said, entrepreneurs (like most of my partner brands!) who provide women with skills development training and a sustainable income are, to put it simply, my kind of people.
- My fondness for handcrafted goods. I have a profound appreciation for the skill and artistry that resonate in every artisanal creation, no matter what it may be. I wholeheartedly believe that every handmade product has a story to tell, and I’m hoping that through this venture, I can help relay these important stories to an even bigger audience.
- My deep-seated love for Filipino culture! One of the many things I love the most about being Filipino (apart from the endless holiday banquets, shameless karaoke sessions, self-deprecating humor amidst challenges in life, world-class original music and our solid family values -- whew!) is the spirit of bayanihan -- a Tagalog term that means “cooperative undertaking” (thanks, Google) -- that lives fully in our hearts. My featured brands' fierce dedication for the work they do with their partner communities is reflective of this traditional Filipino value. They don't treat their craftspeople as employees but as partners. In the same way, I would like to be a long-term partner to these brands in helping realize their vision for these communities.
- This strong urge to help people -- especially people from home. I live by a very basic life principle: BE KIND. That's it. I've taken part in charities mostly through donating, but this time I want to be part of something that can help underprivileged communities in the Philippines. As a Filipino living abroad, starting Maiden Maya is like going back to my roots. Despite being so far away from home, I'm still very much attached to its people. Because of this, I personally feel that it's my "unspoken duty" to extend help to struggling Filipinos in every way possible, and being a purveyor of community-driven brands and what they stand for is the perfect way for me to fulfill it.