Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
When I think of that quote, I think of my good friend and pseudo little sister Danielle Wassmer. Danielle is the definition of someone in love with life — she is vibrant, caring, extremely funny, and a fashionista in her own right. I would always remember her as someone who was there for me during a particularly difficult time in my life and that created a bond that cannot be easily broken.
Danielle was leading the helms at a popular digital agency at such a young age and I often commented at how her parents must have been proud of her. Despite her tough exterior, Danielle dealt with tragedy early on when she lost her mom and yet she carries on with life with a realistic optimism that is inspiring to many.
Danielle’s latest passion project called Hyacinth Manila brings together her mom’s — the former Luisa Meneses-Wassmer, a councilor from Los Baños, Laguna — passion to help and Danielle’s love for bags. Hyacinth Manila sells hand-made water hyacinth bags.
Water hyacinth (water lilies) is a huge problem for people living near Laguna de Bay because it clogs waterways that leads to flooding. In 2009, Danielle’s mom spearheaded seminars for stay-at-home moms that taught them how to convert a problem into something profitable.
Ten years later, Danielle has transformed her mom’s vision into a business rather serendipitously.
“Hyacinth was supposed to be a leather bag business and everything was set but the investment required to start it would be too much and too risky. My friend then suggested to check out a small store along the highway that sells native bags, little did I know that they were made out of waterlily,” she said.
“It reminded me of the initiative my mom had of providing stay-at-home moms with seminars and workshops that taught them to make something out of waterlilies. When I met up with the suppliers, they realized that I was the daughter of Tita WooWoo, what they called my mom, and told me all the stories about how they were helped by my mom to get into this business. It warms my heart to know that the people my mom helped before are the same people who would help me start my business,” she added.
For Danielle, it seemed like the only way to go. “Suddenly, the pieces fit together. This was exactly the passion project I was looking for, aside from it being a continuation of the vision of my mom, it felt right for my passion project to have a purpose to help out a community, my community.”
Hyacinth aims to make sure that the locally designed bags has sustained visibility to a wider market and that the designs are relevant to the style and functionality in the modern days.
“Hyacinth is unique because of what it symbolizes — it converts real problems into something profitable. It’s helping a community not only solve a problem but also make a living out of it,” the comely entrepreneur explained.
Danielle is happy with the reception her unique bags have earned since it has launched but she also has her mind set on bigger things for the brand, only because it would greatly help a community she loves.
“Hopefully in the near future, I will be able to showcase the designs to the international market. I really believe in the quality of these bags and I can’t wait for the whole world to see it,” she concluded.
To know more, visit Hyacinth on Instagram @hyacinthmnl.