Coconut shells (or bao ng niyog) used as bowls have been a popular sight on Instagram and Pinterest feeds. The dark brown bowl beautifully highlights colorful fruit smoothies and vegetable salads in photos. Those trendy images were the same thing that piqued Regine Faundo interest in the eco-friendly bowls.
“I saw some coconut bowls while browsing Pinterest, which I thought was very interesting,” she shared with Manila Standard in an email interview.
As someone who loves making mealtimes “extra”, Faundo looked for a shop that sold food safe coconut bowls here in Metro Manila but found none. “That was when we decided to start the business.”
How it started
Together with Raian Magtaan, Faundo launched Coconut Bowls PH under De Lokal Specialty Shop in June 2020.
More than offering trendy bowls or Instagram props, Coconut Bowls PH aspires to contribute positive change to the environment. It supports local farmers by offering handcrafted coconut bowls and coconut plates and naturally made wheat straws and utensils made from ebony wood.
“We support farmers by buying their products according to the price they set,” the cofounders said.
Their products are eco-friendly and can be composted so no waste will be left behind.
Since it was the first time for both Faundo and Magtaan to start a business, the two agreed to “make it right”.
“Coconut Bowls PH primarily focuses on sustainability and being an inspiration to make a positive contribution to the society and the environment. It’s a brand with a purpose,” said Faundo.
A brand with a purpose
Since their products are non-consumable, there are days they don’t make a sale. But what keeps them satisfied is their purpose.
In addition to offering sustainable dinnerware and supporting farmers, Faundo and Magtaan use their brand to promote other products and businesses with the same principles.
“Ang ibang packaging namin at products ay galing sa small businesses with a purpose din,” they said.
The cofounders added, “Minsan nag-fe-feature and nagpapa-giveaway kami ng other products like nito from @titonito.homedecors. Instead of asking for free products, we support by buying them,”
They also use their platform to share tips on how to contribute to the protection and conservation of the environment.
Leading a sustainable lifestyle
Before purchasing any product with eco-friendly or sustainable tag, the Coconut Bowls PH founders emphasize that sustainability does not start with any kind of item but how an item, natural or otherwise, is utilized.
“Filipinos can lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle sa pag-gamit ng mga bagay na meron na sila,” said Faundo.
Citing plastic food containers that “our mothers always keep” as an example, Faundo suggested, “pwede natin ito (plastic) gamitin until sa end life nito ”. She said buying sustainable food storage solutions and throwing plastic containers that can still be reused defeats the purpose.
“Being sustainable is a long process – it starts from the things you already have and buying new products when only needed, to properly taking care of them and disposing of them,” she said.
“It’s being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.”
Coconut Bowls PH’s products range from P149 to P549. They are also looking into carrying more food items from other brands on their website www.coconutbowlsph.com and Instagram account @cocobowls.ph.
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