On a crisp Saturday morning in Sunshine North, a new plant nursery blasts feel-good tunes. A stream of women is greeted with bubbly mango mimosas, and homemade Filipino treats. The Sari Sari Sisterhood is in session.
Founded by The Entree.Pinays in 2019, a Melbourne-based Filipino food and cultural advocacy group, the Sari Sari Sisterhood represents the growing community of thinkers, doers, and creatives in their orbit.
Warmly hosted by the Entree.Pinays’ co-founder Grace Guinto, speakers included multidisciplinary entrepreneur Marie De Vera, Sydney-based ceramicist and graphic designer Kimberly Cruz, and Darlene Ladio, owner of Green Empire Street nursery, where the launch was held in fine style. A diverse crowd of migrant and first-generation Australians were treated to coffee by Akasya Kape, fresh siopao from Made by Nina and moreish sweets from Lasa by Inday.
Being a forum created by Filipinas for women of colour, conversation flowed freely in a supportive environment. Panellists openly shared personal and career insights, including the madness of weddings, juggling work as a young mother and navigating societal pressures as a brown female in Western society. Each guest spoke with great pride for their inherited Filipino resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills.
Wisdom shared at the Sari Sari Sisterhood
“The one thing I always say is: no one can do what you do, in exactly the way you do it. And basically that’s it. Even if you’ve decided there’s so much on Instagram, that nothing’s ever unique, and you can’t make something new – you can. Because no one will ever do it the way you do.” Marie De Vera, entrepreneur and co-founder of The Style Co.
“If you’ve got the talent or skills, use it. And if you don’t, learn it. Coming from an immigrant family and not having everything, you have to make something out of nothing. You need to squeeze a dollar out of fifteen cents. I think that was one of the greatest blessings of coming here, having that kind of mentality.” Kimberly Cruz, The Potter x The Clay
“Going to the market with my grandma, making use of whatever we had, taking it to a place where we could trade these for money, that’s where I learned. When I started this nursery, I told her, ‘I sold my first plant!’ She said, ‘Oh my god, you’re taking after my footsteps!’ And ever since then, we’ve had a stronger bond.” Darlene Ladio, Green Empire Street
“The reminder from this session is that there is room for us all. You don’t need to be competitive, you don’t need to instill what unfortunately our parents sometimes showed us – that crab mentality which overtakes our community building and community spirit. If there’s one thing that you take away from this, is that we can empower each other.” Grace Guinto, chief baker at Sweet Cora, Entree.Pinays’ co-founder
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