Lumago means to blossom in Tagalog, the Philippines national language, and is the essence of our story.
Whitney, the founder of Lumago Designs, first met the Candua-ay community in 2010 during her work with a local NGO. She was instantly struck by the women’s organization and drive. In 2011 she had the opportunity to start a feeding program and she knew instantly that they would be a perfect partner community.
The success of the program is owed to the mothers of the children who rotate on volunteer duties and attend to all the shopping, cooking, serving and cleaning. As with many development programs the sustainability depends on the local community and their dedication and perception of its value.
Whitney began working closely with Mila, the community leader, as it was apparent that all these mothers lacked was an opportunity for a more sustainable livelihood. They offered the women several choices, paperbead necklaces being one of them. They flourished beyond everyones expectation. As Whitney recalls “I really had no idea what they were capable of, I guess I still don’t, I thought they could make a few necklaces that we could sell at the local resorts but every week I went to buy a few from them there would be a 100 to choose from and each week the quality would be surpassed by the week before. The problem was I couldn’t buy 100 so a lot of their efforts were going to waste.” Within four months it was clear that the paper bead jewelry was not sustainable as it existed, it was either going to blossom or fizzle out.
The Lumago Ladies, as they are now called, decided to blossom. In July 2012 the for profit company Lumago Designs was launched along with the Lumago Ladies Co-operative that holds shares in the company. They talked about being a not-for-profit company but quickly came to the conclusion that we are not looking for a hand out. “We want people to see that we can design and create valuable products” says Mila.
Today, Lumago Designs has expanded from the paper beads and includes many other up cycled materials. We are proud to say that the designs are our own and we will not stop looking for creative and fashionable ways to turn trash into treasures.
All our products are crafted in fair trade conditions out of upcycled materials we source locally. We are proud to say that the designs are from the Lumago Ladies Co-operative and each piece has a unique name. The designer had the privilege of naming their product and often chose a family member, such as their child. No two pieces are alike so please anticipate a variety of colors and enjoy the feeling that your piece is just as unique as you are.
Sourcing our materials locally has created another income revenue for this community and as we continue creating new designs we anticipate that other materials will be sourced, thus spreading the revenue net even further. Currently we use five main materials that we upcycled into unique fashion accessories.
Our paper beads are hand rolled out of recycled magazines and coated in a water resistant resin. These durable paper beads can handle being caught in the rain or a quick shower but should not be submerged in water for long periods.
We have bracelets made out of discarded pieces of bamboo, string and other upcycled material. All bamboo has been naturally treated.
All our pull-tabs are purchased from collectors at the local dumpsite. They are all washed, bleached and polished to ensure you get the best looking up cycled pull-tabs in town.
All our leather is upcycled from leather bags, which are hand selected, sanitized and refashioned for you.
Our material is hand selected from recycled clothing and properly laundered to look like new fabric.
- That we can be a profitable company that simultaneously participates in social and environmental solutions.
- That the working poor is a capable workforce that is seeking opportunity to elevate themselves out of poverty.
- That fashionable and valuable accessories can be made out of recycle materials.
- That education with our partner co-operatives is a symbiotic process.
- That the values of fair trade is the future of good business.
- That our customers choose products with a purpose over mere price.