Ayn Bernos' Morena the Label is going beyond selling statement shirts and tote bags.
The Miss Universe Philippines 2021 candidate announced on Twitter that her business, which empowered Filipinos with brown or dark skin, will be launched as a non-government organization.
The 28-year-old started her business in 2018 as part of her advocacy, after she did her college thesis on colorism.
"But there was one comment that haunted me ever since our launch: 'If this is an advocacy, then why do you make money off it?'" she added.
She shared that at the time, she couldn't afford to sustain the advocacy without income. "I had one employee and bills to pay, and I wasn't doing that well as a content creator and host. Thankfully, because of you guys, that changed," Bernos said.
As of writing, Bernos has over 176,000 followers on Instagram and over 1.3 million on TikTok. She also hosts a podcast titled Camp Confidence Radio. With a bigger following and more supporters, she is able to move Morena the Label to a "new era."
"Moving forward, we will still release merchandise, but we'll do so not as a sole-prop business, but as an NGO," she said.
As a non-government organization, Morena the Label aims to fund colorism research in the Philippines, create training modules on colorism for teachers, spearhead changes in advertising guidelines for skin whitening-related products, facilitate events and workshops for the youth, especially in rural or coastal areas, and collaborate with other non-profit organizations by cultivating confidence and self-love among Filipinos.
"When I was doing my research in 2015, there were very few related studies that were conducted here in the country. Most resources I had were from abroad. We hope to address that in the next five years," Bernos wrote.