Style Living Self Geeky News and Views
In the Paper

This CEO turns online hate into something positive: Funds for Typhoon Ulysses victims

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Nov 17, 2020 3:47 pm Updated Nov 17, 2020 4:20 pm

In a successful fundraising drive for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses, local cosmetics brand Colourette CEO Nina Ellaine Cabrera has raised over P1.6 million as her answer to trolls who bashed her for speaking up about government’s accountability as the typhoon lashed out parts of Luzon on Nov. 12.

As of 11 a.m. today, Cabrera, through her “Merch for a Cause” drive which started on Nov. 14, has sold almost 5,786 pieces of her brand’s bestselling Colourtints with total sales of P1,624,054. One-hundred percent of the sales will go to charities and organizations helping victims of the typhoon.

Colourette CEO Nina Ellaine Cabrera. Photo from www.instagram.com/theninaellaine/

“It was overwhelming to make such sales in a short span of time knowing it’s for a good cause,” Cabrera shared to PhilSTAR L!fe. “It’s also a happy event for me because amid all the backlash, we were able to pull this through.”

Cabrera said she is looking at sending donations to organizations like PAWS Philippines, Pawssion Project Foundation, Kids For Kids, Hope in a Bottle, Kaya Natin! Movement, Bahaghari PH, Caritas Manila and I Support the Girls Manila. And her company will also have its own relief operations in Pampanga including the Aeta communities.

What started the backlash from trolls

On Nov. 12, Cabrera tweeted “Tulog pa ba ang presidente?” and a few moments later, she tweeted with the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo. These were followed by “We will always be left to fend four ourselves? Can someone please take accountability for the Filipino people?!!!!!” with the same hashtag.

Trolls then started to infest her social media accounts to harass her and her team. She has gained support from not just her “Boss Babes” (what members of her online community are called) but also from netizens and personalities who are known critics of the current administration.

The next day, as a response to all the bashers, she tweeted: “I am a FILIPINO first. You can’t expect me to stay silent when I see the oppression right before my very eyes. I’m already apologizing to the people who will be affected by all the bashing. Sorry if nadadamay kayo dahil pinagtatanggol niyo ako.” Adding: “But we have to do this. We have to fight this. Hindi pwedeng patatahimikin nalang tayo lagi everytime na we express our dissent.”

Then the hashtag #boycottCOLOURETTEcosmetics came up, which the trolls created to bring her and her company down. Other bashers even said they are cancelling their orders from the brand during the 11.11 sale (which was a record-breaker for the brand as it got 62,000 orders in 24 hours), to which Cabrera responded, “Para sa lahat ng mga die hard DDS na nag-order nung 11.11, paki comment ang order number. Ako na mismo mag-cancel ng order niyo.”

Nina Cabrera is set to donate 100-percent of sales from her Merch for a Cause drive, which now amounts to over P1.6 million. Photo from www.instagram.com/theninaellaine/

As the #boycottCOLOURETTEcosmetics became viral together with her first name, Cabrera used the hashtag to spread out information about donation efforts, donation drivers and eventually her own fundraiser. Initially, they ran out of products to sell for their “Merch for a Cause”  but on the same day, she received an update that there were Colourtint stocks arriving. So she decided to sell what they had and donate 100-percent of the sales to those in need. She said they were able to sell more than 5,000 Colourtints in a day. The Merch for a Cause drive is now on its second round this week.

The support Cabrera received from the public outweighed the backlash she got for her series of tweets that was meant to question and demand accountability from government. The bashing has mellowed, but there are a few who question her intentions. “Was it just to gain traction for her brand?” “Will she just keep the money for herself?” were the usual questions.

The fundraising efforts for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses is not the first time Cabrera and her company have done a donation drive. During the strict community quarantines, she donated more than P300,000 to nine charitable institutions to help frontliners and indigent communities; and she was able to provide assistance to those who were affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in January.

Cabrera said that whatever blessings she gets, she feels an obligation to give back to those who are in need. And her major takeaway from this experience? 

“People can throw rocks your way, they can throw you lemons. But it’s really up to you how you take all this and what you do with it. Because at the end of the day, they can bash you all you want, they can say negative things about you but if you turn that into something positive, then, that’s a win altogether.”