"It's not just about Panublix sales, it's about the makers.”
Twenty-four-year-old BS Biology graduate Jessa Padasas gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be the Sourcing Curator of Panublix Innovations, Inc.
After “indefinitely” leaving behind Medical School in 2019, Jessa found herself immersed into the world of social enterprises. She started working as an assistant to Charly Jacobs, Founder and Creative Director of Uri, a UK Brand supporting women artisans. A year later and her career as a sourcing curator officially launched when she joined Panublix.
Her job is to bridge the gap between global designers and the local weaving community partners of Panublix (Artisan Enterprises or AE). She helps address the needs and concerns of both parties, making sure the designers' demands are met and the community partners’ rights including the right to fair trade are carefully observed.
Cultural and language barriers are two colossal factors that interplay in the relationship between AE partners and designer customers of Panublix. These barriers are what sourcing curators like Jessa is trying to break down so that Panublix can lay a path to smoother, seamless business transactions.
"We promote [financial] independence to the artisans. They are the ones who set the price for their work," Jessa pointed out.
With the rise of digital economy, we are aware of the pitfalls of rejecting or diminishing the power of technology in business functions. As we continue with our commitment to onboard and support the AEs, the Panublix Weaving Enterprise Digital Enabler (PWEDE) program continues to educate and encourage AEs to digitize the necessary aspects of their business operations. But it doesn’t come easy.
The internet connection is poor around the vicinities of the AEs, so communication is a bit tricky. But as sourcing curator, such difficulties should be met with perseverance.
According to Jessa, the most important thing in this role is building a genuine relationship with the community.
“Indi lang kita concern nga ma fulfill nil ang orders natun, but we are also concern[ed] sa ila nga welfare, health, needs mga pwede atun maboligan." [We are not merely concerned on how we can fulfill the (designers’) orders, but also on the AE partners’ welfare, health, and other needs and (see where) we can be of help.]
Jessa coyly admits that before Panublix, she wasn’t much of a people person. But she gradually learned to be “extra sociable” to do her job well. She discovered how to step out of her shell and do what scares her and it made the job an even more worthwhile experience.
“You connect with these people heart to heart and you learn a lot from them,” Jessa contemplated as she relates stories after stories of how the community partners expressed gratitude for the purchase orders that help them put their kids to school or pay hospital bills, etc. She expressed how great it felt to know that through her job, she’s making an impact in the lives of others one way or another.
"For me, it’s not just about Panublix sales, it's about the makers."
The “makers” being the AEs, the twenty-something sourcing curator felt a stronger bond with the community as she ponders on how her work changed her perspective in life.
When the weaving industry started declining in the wake of the pandemic, Elda Baldon, President of one of the AE partners of Panublix, voiced her gratitude for the opportunity given to them to revive the traditional art of handloom weaving which she personally considers their community’s panubli-on (heritage).
Hearing stories like this motivates Jessa to push through and do better every single day knowing the work that she’s doing is changing lives one weaving community after another.
Want to be a part of the Panublix Team and take on an inspiring role just like Jessa? Apply now at panublix.com/pages/careers