Vision For Sustainability, 3 Women To Look Out For

Vision For Sustainability, 3 Women To Look Out For

With a global drive towards combating climate change and driving sustainability, more and more businesses are creating a vision for sustainability that drives their brand strategy. For many businesses in the eco-conscious space, women are the faces behind these brands, using the sustainability principles to guide their decision-making process. 
There are many challenges that come with running a sustainable business, especially if you’re on your own. Not only is it a huge commitment to start a business, adding a sustainable lens makes it that much more challenging. It takes a lot of passion, strength, and determination to be able to stay the course to make an impact in the long run. 
As part of our celebration for International Women's day, we're recognizing three inspiring women who have made it their life purpose to change the world for the better. So come along with us as we ask them a couple of questions to get to know them, what they're doing in the eco-conscious space, and how they have used their businesses as a force for good. 

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Vision For Sustainability, 3 Women To Look Out For

  1. Deborah Henry (Fugeelah)
  2. Jacqueline Fong (Tanoti Crafts)
  3. Terresa Tan (Glow & Blush)


vision-of-sustainability-61. Deborah Henry (Fugeelah)

Deborah has been a staple name in the Malaysian fashion world after she represented the country at Miss World Malaysia 2007 and Miss Universe Malaysia 2011. Afterward, she used her platform for good and became a humanitarian and full-fledged socialpreneur. 
Deborah has dedicated her life to advocating for marginalised communities and sustainable development with a long-term goal to eradicate poverty. She co-founded the Fugee School in 2009, which was in response to the right of refugee children to have a fair and equal opportunity to education. 
Education isn't something that refugee children in Malaysia get access to unless schools like the Fugee School step in. Since then, she has helped more than 400 refugee students with academic education, parlaying that into job skills to help with future employment opportunities. 
To help the school become self-sustaining, Deborah founded Fugeelah. This social enterprise works with refugees and marginalised Malaysian communities. Fugeelah was also established to create a way to fund the Fugee School without constantly asking for donations from the public. 
The beautiful pieces that Fugeelah creates are stocked at UNPLUG. We really embrace this company for its dedication to helping communities. Fugeelah is a beautiful demonstration of UNPLUG’s eco metrics of Social Impact and Local Made.
We love that the vision for sustainability for Fugeelah has a tangible social impact. If you'd like to check out the Fugeelah range, you can find them in-store and online at UNPLUG.

What Has Been The Reason That Drives You To Continue To Run Your Business? 
Deborah has worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years. Witnessing the excess and waste in the industry has led her on a journey to create projects with a more eco-friendly mission and vision.

"Starting Fugeelah was my effort to build a conscious brand people can buy into, and where they can make purchases that count. It also offered another way to share the plight of refugees in Malaysia and globally through a softer approach. I firmly believe in refugees' right to work and build meaningful lives for themselves.

Fugeelah offers female refugee youth opportunities to develop their business skills and earn incomes. A percentage of profits from all items sold goes back to the education of 200 refugees at Fugee School, the non-profit we support."

Do You Believe That Slow Retail Can Be A Sustainable Model? And How?
Here at UNPLUG, we're always looking for ways to promote slow retail as it means prioritizing the longevity of a product and taking things slow. Both of which are great for the climate and day-to-day life. 
Deborah believes that today's generation of consumers are becoming more conscious about where they spend their money, i.e., what they're buying and where it comes from. 
Slow retail is one of the many sustainable company vision examples but still needs to gain more acceptance. This is especially challenging considering the mainstream fast fashion model remains prevalent.

"As with all important causes and movements, it starts with education. By helping consumers become more aware of the impact of fast fashion on the planet and its people, slow retail can be more widely accepted."

How Do You Use Your Business As A Force For Good?
Fugeelah is guided and aligned by the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. In particular: 
  1. 𝐍𝐨 𝐏𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐲 (𝐒𝐃𝐆 𝟏.𝟎): Fugeelah provides hands-on entrepreneurial skills, training, and creative skills training to the refugee youth.
  2. 𝐐𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐄𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 (𝐒𝐆𝐃 𝟒.𝟎): Fugeelah supports the running of Fugee School, an education hub for over 250 refugee children and youth.
  3. 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 (𝐒𝐃𝐆 𝟓.𝟎): Fugeelah provides income generation opportunities to the refugee community.
"Not only do we work directly towards these goals, but we also generate the awareness within our community of tastemakers, movers, and shakers of the importance of meeting these goals and providing them with the opportunity to join the mission."
Get to know Deborah and the story behind Fujeelah in our 3rd episode of The Green Factor Unplugged.


vision-of-sustainability-9 2. Jacqueline Fong (Tanoti Crafts)

Jacqueline is another woman leading the charge to advance sustainability goals in Malaysia. After practising investment banking for 18 years across Malaysia and Indonesia, Jacqueline pivoted her career to starting businesses in her home state of Sarawak. 
Jacqueline broke into the world of social enterprise by launching Tanoti Crafts. Among the company’s core missions are to empower women and preserve heritage crafts, particularly Songket Weaving. Tanoti is an award-winning social enterprise, winning several awards, including the World Craft Council Award of Excellence for Handicraft in 2014 and 2016.
Tanoti's weaving community has grown since its launch in 2012. Jacqueline has worked to preserve traditional crafts in communities in Sarawak Penan community. It currently works with more than 20 villages, and provides income to more than 250 artisans located in rural and remote locations via sales of their craft.
When she's not transforming communities, Jacqueline can be found exploring the many trails around Kuching and is always looking for exciting places to explore and visit. 


We love what Jacqueline has done with Tanoti Crafts, with high-quality products and workmanship. Tanoti’s values also align well with ours here at UNPLUG. The social impact, preservation of traditions, being locally made, and being eco-friendly are all part of our eco metrics. 
This is why we're always singing from the rooftops about how great this brand is. If you'd like to check out their products, head to our store or online
What Has Been The Reason That Drives You To Continue To Run Your Business? 
Making a difference is a big part of why Jacqueline runs her business and has her sustainability goals for Tanoti. It also keeps her on her toes as the dynamic nature of the work and the ever-changing landscape means things are always interesting. 
The fact that the work makes a difference to lives drives Jacqueline to perform, which is always a great incentive, we think! More than 250 artisans are receiving money from Tanoti in which standards of living are improved.  Parents now have the opportunities to go for private clinics  or government polyclinic, to treat themselves and their children.  Another improvement can be seen in increased mobility as the artisans are able to pay for transportation between villages or to town, either by motorbike or by car.


Do You Believe that Slow Retail Can Be A Sustainable Model And How?
Taking the words right out of our mouths, Jacqueline has a great stance regarding slow retail and its impact on sustainability issues

"I believe that homogenous culture and the consumption of homogenous goods and services will be a thing of the past. As consumers become more aware of the need to consume sustainably, slow fashion, slow foods, and show shopping will become the next new norm."


How Do You Use Your Business As A Force For Good?
Jacqueline’s vision for sustainability revolves around heritage preservation, women empowerment, and rural community building.


vision-of-sustainability-103. Terresa Tan (Glow & Blush)

Finally, Terresa from Glow & Blush, is another Malaysia women doing great things in the eco-friendly beauty industry.  Hailing from the beautiful island of Penang, Teresa started her business as many others do.  She identified a need and a gap in the retail and sustainability market.
After trying numerous products that didn't sit well on her skin  over the years, Terresa started using chemical-free handmade soaps and scrubs. 
After studying more about chemical-free natural skincare, Terresa turned her passion into a career in 2019. Glow & Blush was formed as a plant-based skincare brand dedicated to formulating natural plant-derived skincare.  
The brand goes beyond just pretty packaging and makes sure that the ingredients in each product are of the best quality to ensure their skincare range is results-driven. What better way to sell your product than showing how well it works. 
We're not kidding when we say that the Glow and Blush products smell great, but it's the results that speak for themselves. All-natural ingredients are what we're here for at UNPLUG with our eco metrics of eco-friendly materials and local made products. Head in-store or online at UNPLUG if you're keen to try it.


What Has Been The Reason That Drives You To Continue To Run Your Business? 
The idea of creating something that brings value and positive impact are one of the primary goals of sustainability and what gets Terresa out of bed every morning. 
"What keeps me driven the most is when customers give good reviews about how our product changes their life and skin in a positive manner."
Do You Believe That Slow Retail Can Be A Sustainable Model? And How?
Having a business that strives for results means that Terresa spends a lot of her time ensuring that the products released to customers fit their purpose. It's a labour of love, and Terresa strongly believes that slow retail can be sustainable, especially in this world of social media. 


How You Use Your Business As A Force For Good?
Glow and Blush started off as a self-care brand to positively impact someone and the environment. To help build on this and sustainability ideas for home living, Glow and Blush advocates for the idea of living a clean, simple, and healthy lifestyle. These are fantastic sustainability for environment goals with a long-lasting impact for generations to come.  



Feeling inspired by these women and their vision for sustainability? We certainly do. Each of these women is doing inspiring things for the community in truly different ways.  
From Deborah's advocacy for refugee communities, Jacqueline's focus on preserving traditions, to Teresa's passion for clean skincare, we're proud to partner with these women not only for who they are but what they stand for and their purpose. 
International Women's Day is all about celebrating women. At UNPLUG, we're celebrating these women and all the other female-founded businesses we've partnered with. We do this because of their ethos and aligns with our eco metrics.  
These are 3 women to watch out for, so keep an eye out as they keep making an impact for years to come. 



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