It was a visit to the slums of Manila and seeing the plight of the people there that inspired Dutch expat and mom of three, Martha Westpalm van Horn, to start Notadaydream three years ago.
Westpalm van Horn, who has a corporate background in marketing and product development, wanted to highlight Filipino craftsmanship and cultural heritage while supporting families in need.
The social enterprise works with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to train mothers in Tondo to become artisans and create unique bags with handwoven textiles to earn money for their families. Notadaydream is a nonprofit—all proceeds go to the women and BYSMP Bless the Children Foundation Inc. which they have partnered with.
BCFI, a Tondo-based NGO supported by Chalice Canada, creates and executes programs for families in need with a focus on children’s education and nutrition.
Eventually, Westpalm van Horn had to return to the Netherlands. But before that, she needed to find someone who would continue Notadaydream with as much care and passion as she did. She found two women: Sheri Scott-De León and Martine de Leeuw.
Scott-De León, who is from Canada, and de Leeuw, also from the Netherlands, have been running Notadaydream since the start of the year.
“After visiting the team of women entrepreneurs, I knew immediately this was something that I wanted to be a part of and give back,” said Scott-De León, whose background is in fashion marketing and business development.
De Leeuw, who has over 10 years experience in PR and communications, said, “the amazing work Martha and the Notadaydream team accomplished is something that must be continued.”And that’s exactly what they’re doing. Notadaydream continues to thrive. It was finalist in the Most Socially Responsible Handbag category of The Independent Handbag Designer Awards 2020. They were chosen out of 1,000 applicants from 28 countries.
Scott-De León said, “I love that Martine and I share a goal: Empowered women empower women. It’s really what we set out to do with the Notadaydream brand. We firmly believe in continuing to provide and create these economic opportunities that our beautiful bags allow for our dream team of women. I truly feel that I am doing what I love to do—empower women and create beautiful sustainable products while giving back.”
Notadaydream bags are handmade by women of Tondo using handwoven fabric from Ilocos. The designs are inspired by the colors of the islands of the Philippines.
They offer beach bags, handbags, pouch bags, sling bags and travel kits. “It’s hard to choose a favorite product as they all serve different purposes,” said Scott-De León. But she does love their Boracay beach bag “both for its space and quality. I am able to carry a lot of items in it and they are made to last.”
Their bestsellers are the Boracay beach bag and Palawan pouches. “Our customers love our bags’ high level of quality which brings them back to buy more! Also the unique design as all our bags are one of a kind. They love that they can carry a piece of the Philippines with them with the different weaves that we use on our bags.” They have customers not just in the Philippines but also in the Netherlands. De Leeuw said, “Our customers in the Netherlands love our bags too. We are looking to expand and offer our bags in like-minded stores and online worldwide. All our bags are available direct to consumer as well, we ship internationally.”
Scott-De León said, “what I love most about running Notadaydream is the impact we are making in women’s lives. I love the fact that our brand empowers women from both the bag makers we are training to the women-led artisan communities we partner with who make the beautiful textiles that we use on our bags.”
De Leeuw added, “with the opportunity we have of giving back, we are able to create a winning situation for everybody.”