March is International Women’s Month. PLDT celebrates and recognizes women across industries who pivoted respectively on their chosen paths. This is a special feature, in partnership with, PLDT Home. We are featuring the woman behind the brand that embraces environmental challenges with such wit and grace, Krie Reyes – Lopez, CEO of Messy Bessy.
When most people are busy working, doing house chores, or parenting, Krie Lopez is giddy and ready to answer all our questions. Dressed simply in a grey tank top with an extremely happy and accommodating mood, she is prepared to share the whole world the benefits and other exciting projects Messy Bessy has.
It all started back in 2007 when Krie Reyes – Lopez was debating which logo to use for their line of eco-friendly cleaning products. She started painting when she was unemployed for about three years. “So she’s actually one of the paintings I did while looking, and my sister pointed out and said, Why don’t you use her,” she funnily shares when asked to recall the story behind their rustic logo. It just made sense, since they believed that cleaning products during mid-century were easier to use and had fewer additives. With that in mind, she wanted the logo to look retro-ish with mid-century feels. She and her team went through a slew of names like Tita Ruby, Tita Judy, Tita Becky, and Tita Bessy. Hence, the birth of an innovative product, Messy Bessy.
“Our company is making a difference by providing consumers with a new way to use natural beauty products and household goods,” she implies when asked about her ultimate goal when developing Messy Bessy. As we all know, Messy Bessy products are biodegradable making them more accessible and dependable not only for our well-being but also for nature. Additionally, they manufacture it naturally, lessening their carbon footprint.
“We want to make a difference, one bottle at a time,” said Krie. According to her, the company aims to break the cycle of poverty that about 5 million at-risk Filipino youths will be facing should we not undo or practice greenovation. To combat this issue, she thought that all ingredients must be sourced locally. This way, the company isn’t only helping the economy thrive exponentially but also the livelihoods of our farmers.
Messy Bessy Scholars
In 14 years in the business, Messy Bessy has collaborated with numerous organizations and groups, which made them realize that empowering the youth could be a paramount move for the company. Messy Bessy has a program that will help students earn while studying. These students are called “Messy Bessy Scholars.” “Our working students make up more than half of our workforce,” she said. They have 130 workforces and 70 are students serving in various departments. Keep in mind that every time you purchase a product, you support the program by sustaining their livelihood and education. Krie believes that education is not a task but a privilege we should all have. Poor or not, she believes that education programs must be inclusive so everyone can obtain a degree, a diploma, and gain valuable work experience.
On building a profitable company and maintaining a competitive advantage over similar products
Building a company is a tedious job. Let alone a company that will tackle and bravely solve the endless battle of environmental issues. However, Krie and her team thought that to beat this is to come up with a business idea that is profitable and still be environment-friendly. The term “sustainability” is more than just a fad. For Krie, sustainability is a system that must be applied to all businesses. With eco-friendly products and businesses opening hand over fist, they don’t get complacent. They are constantly innovating products, systems, and processes for the betterment of the entire company and its ecosystem. Moreover, they are aware of their customer base who are young, agile, and diverse. Thus, they strive to cope with the high standards and high demands. They constantly produce valuable products notwithstanding their social responsibility.
How did this pandemic change your life as a person and as an entrepreneur?
“It changed me a lot,” Krie responded. For her, this pandemic taught her a lot. One of which is patience and how to navigate through the online systems – be it for personal or work use. As an entrepreneur during this pandemic, she reiterates how technology plays a vital role in thriving online. This pandemic had pushed us to become technology-inept, so we asked Krie, how crucial is it for their company to utilize the power of technology? “We had to teach and learn at the same so that we can be organized. But still, it was difficult. We had bad experiences, so we used that to correct and adjust our systems and processes,” she said. Krie also shared with us that they had challenges in terms of logistics. Since the majority of their items are in liquid form, they had to think of ways to cut down on shipping costs. “We have drop-off branches around Metro Manila, wherein they can pick-up their orders. This way, it’ll save them shipping fees,” she added.
Tips to other women who plan to build a business and plan to become social entrepreneurs
“That’s a tough question,” she says when asked to give a few tips to fellow women who plan to build a business or become social entrepreneurs like her. Thankfully, she answered it like a truly independent woman:
“Even if people don’t want to admit it, the world is still a man’s world. For the most part, yes. in touch with your feminine side Adding up small prejudices and biases can really wear you down. That’s my point. Many people helped make me realize that it’s okay to be smart, I can be serious, and it’s fine to be strict. It’s all right to care. So in conclusion, look for role models. Let that go and move on.”
On Celebrating Women’s Month and being the spokesperson of PLDT Home’s #SgeConnectCampaign
If there’s one thing she is truly proud of that would be being a mother to her two amazing daughters. Her kids show the better version of her at the age of 5 and 9. That makes her proud as a woman. She’s also a champion of women-owned companies. “It was crazy to run a business where a significant portion of their employees are disadvantaged young people, but it’s a win for the whole company that they’re able to continue to thrive. You can run a business with these adults and your young employees. In fact, it increases your brand image, it boosts team morale of course. In addition, they allow these people to become permanently employed,” she independently shares.
Being the spokesperson of PLDT Home’s #SheConnectCampaign
It’s ironic for Krie to be chosen as one of the women for this campaign. Why? Because she describes herself as an introvert. In fact, she was anxious about this but she believes that her story might be able to help fellow women to become successful as well. In the end, her innate willingness to help others dominated. Here we are, writing her story through this platform, and hopefully, we learn a few from her.
She is truly grateful and honored to PLDT Home for being a conduit and for recognizing her as a valuable woman entrepreneur in the Philippines.
“Being a social enterprise has a lot of perks. One of which is using connections. I’ve noticed over the years that so many people are just so willing to help us. You know, we’re in the consumer good industry which is very competitive, very cutthroat. And yet, I have people from the big brands who are always willing and still do up to now, to really roll up their sleeves and help us thrive. that’s really how we use our connection is to kind of harness all the goodness of these experts who see beyond competition or who see us more than just a competitor, or a potential competitor or anything,” she explains.
“One way is to be more vocal. A lot of the women, there’s so many I’ve met and they really. there are not enough stories about the successful women, Filipina women in our country, in the business world, I feel,” she added. Krie wants Messy Bessy to expand and be recognized internationally as well. That would be her grandest dream.
Addressing equality and cultural issues is still prevalent in this day and age. However, these stories like Krie’s must be heard and shared, so that people would know that women are needed and must be valued in any sector of our society. #SheConnects to people with great leadership and workmanship.
International Women’s Day or Month shouldn’t be celebrated during March only, to fully empower women and inclusivity, it must be recognized every day.