Upcycling startup Craftcha gets free shipping care as J&T Express’ #1 Certified Lokalista

The ten winners of the Certified Localista campaign by J&T Express Philippines will enjoy better, quicker, and more efficient delivery services worth P20,000, but without having to pay for them. They now have greater opportunities to market and promote their goods and services to locations outside their own regions, and are among the most successful sellers in the world. Pasig-based online company Craftcha is leading at the number one spot, turning upcycling recycled items such as flour sacks, fabric scraps, old jeans, and obsolete clothes into tote bags, pants, masks, and everyday items.

Out of more than a thousand total Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao entries, Craftcha’s entry gained a ranking score of 98.33 percent. The winners who were decided together with DTI were eligible by the following criteria: 50 percent content or the power of storytelling to explain their offers; 30 percent ingenuity of their communications as they expressed their ideas; and 20 percent authenticity or the genuineness of the goods and the degree to which they used homegrown materials.

Craftcha founder Merlita Manicad shares that her company was motivated by her traumatic experience during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009: J&T Express launched Certified Localista to support small and medium enterprise (SME) online-based enterprises and to celebrate the hard work, innovation, and nationalism of their founders.

J&T Express Philippines Vice President Zoe Chi affirms that “Filipino entrepreneurs, especially those who went above and beyond amid the mobility restrictions brought about by the pandemic, deserve to be supported and recognized for their creativity and tenacity.”

In a famous TV series, a budding localist can land a guest slot. This happened to Venus Hate, who created and runs Venus’s Philocalist, a Makati-based startup that serves their favorite drinks to coffee and tea lovers. Venus shares that her business idea originated from a lay-over in Japan where she learned how “Japanese people love and enjoy coffee drips and loose-leaf tea.” Her flight attendant experience and credentials also gave her a more in-depth understanding of how the traditional Asian beverage is made by other cultures. Venus appeared on national TV for an interview on the ANC Conversations program shortly after launching her little biz. She is the winner of the campaign for 2nd place.

Soriano Arts and Crafts owner Sheila-Ann Soriano

Often, the output of an organization will satisfy childhood expectations. Sheila-Ann Soriano’s Arts and Crafts Handicrafts Shop proudly offers handcrafted woodworks, done by her very own father who has been in the business for many years now. The exact needs and expectations of customers are fulfilled by us. We build the imagination of customers with beauty, ingenuity, and craftsmanship,’ shares the 21-year-old lady who ultimately fulfilled her college dream of marketing the talent of her father.

Made By Pearl Sewing Services owner Jo Anne Pearl Tadeo
Made By Pearl Sewing Services owner Jo Anne Pearl Tadeo

Some of the Certified Lokalistas start their business because they want to impact the community around them. Made By Pearl Sewing Services providers consumers eco-friendly alternatives such as washable and reusable cloth diapers, drool pads for baby carriers, back towels, cloth menstrual pads, face masks, and produce bags, among others. Owner Jo Anne Pearl Tadeo’s zero-waste lifestyle motivated her to pursue this type of business. “Made by Pearl believes in the power of innovation. We knew right off the bat that we wanted to provide solutions from our long-standing problems,” the Pampanga-based entrepreneur says.

Uniquely Online Store and Gawang Pinoy Shoe co-owner Leo Fe Barte

The fifth J&T Certified Lokalista top winner, Uniquely Online Store, and Gawang Pinoy Shoe, uplifts the livelihood of Filipino artisans through locally-made women’s shoes and sandals from Marikina City and Liliw, Laguna. Through a number of resellers, this SME was able to further upscale the business as its customer reach through Facebook has gone up to 40,000. “By selling these products, we are alleviating the livelihood of our hardworking shoemakers while also showcasing the talent of Filipino artisans. We are immensely proud that our shoemakers can create sophisticated shoe designs built with 100% quality,” Uniquely Online Store and Gawang Pinoy Shoe owners Mary Chris Koh and Leo Fe Barte shares.

The other businesses that complete J&T Certified Lokalista winners are Germano’s Chili, owned by Gerome Panlilio and which offers chili garlic products; Meridian Pet Supplies by Ivy Tirazona which caters to the pet needs of Quezon City residents; CHYReativehandSZ by Diana Marquez which creates and distributes sewn and crocheted products; Batik Atbp, Mikel Mendoza’s souvenir shop that promotes the culture of indigenous people in Northern Luzon; and Lorna’s Gourmet, built by Eugenio and Ma. Lucille A. Dalida, to sell gourmet tuyo.

More exciting activities are lined up to further champion the country’s Certified Lokalistas. To learn more about this, follow J&T Express’ Facebook page ( or Instagram at @jntexpressph.


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