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Putting sustainability at its forefront, Wodd Philippines never fails to look back at the story that has ignited its pursuit of being an eco-fashion brand — one that advocates for more than just style and looks but creating products for the betterment of the environment. As the only sunglasses brand in the Philippines offering authentic bamboo sunglasses, Wodd has gained various awards throughout the years because of the uniqueness of its products and its strong commitment to sustainability in pursuit of contributing to climate action (SDG #13).
In today's increasingly competitive business world, having something unique to offer to the market is essential — a product or service that will differentiate you from other businesses in the industry. Wodd had that. As per its CEO, Dr. Stephene Roy Condino (Doc Bigs):
"The first challenge in the business industry of sunglasses is already there. The challenge was making a unique product and maintaining it profitable while being sustainable."
With this, bamboo sunglasses was innovated because of the overwhelming amount of products that were mostly made of plastics. In the long run, plastic can destroy ocean life and terrestrial wildlife and affect human health. As a result of the negative impacts brought about by the material plastic, Doc Bigs came up with an alternative material for creating stylish and functional products — bamboo, leading him to the creation of Wodd.
Wodd is a medium-sized business that sells bamboo sunglasses and watches across different hotel chains in the Philippines. Besides solely bamboo sunglasses, they also offer a hybrid model (wood x plastic) for people who cannot wear an accessory with bamboo because of specific allergens.
Wodd also had the opportunity to launch watches. However, in line with innovation comes challenges. Wodd faced a challenge with a variety of sunglasses in the market; thus, incorporating a unique approach to the product, such as maintaining its sustainability and profitability, was an enticing opportunity.
Wodd's sustainable small cabinets as spotted in Baler, Aurora.
Around 2018 or 2019, after a typhoon hit Cebu, Doc Bigs, the CEO and founder of Wodd, went to a department store and observed that most products sold in the market were plastic. He found this quite alarming. He mentioned that during that time, he asked himself:
“How will I be able to create a product that will be considered to be unique in the market and maintain that uniqueness to something that is considered to be sustainable yet profitable?”
Thus came the birth of Wodd’s bamboo sunglasses. Having sunglasses as a product may seem ordinary. Yet, Doc Bigs elevated it by using sustainable materials that have provided them a competitive edge against other sunglasses brands. It was the best of both worlds — aiming for sustainability while ensuring the product is trendy and durable to have the potential to compete in the international market.
People sometimes make choices and decisions that may be good or bad. For Doc Bigs, starting a business during the pandemic was one of his best decisions. In the first two years of their business, not everyone around them believed in what they could do. Thus, in their humble beginnings with his team, they started knocking on every hotel that seemed to have potential and interest in their business. It was a rough start, yet through sharing their story while highlighting the sustainability aspect of their business, particularly the one pair for one tree campaign, Wodd established partnerships with several companies, especially hotels, and resorts.
In the long run, Doc Bigs pushed through despite lacking faith and hope and bought out his three business partners to become a solo owner. By seeing a silver lining and recognizing Wodd's potential in the market and its vision of aiming for a sustainable world, he pushed through, bringing him and the company to great heights. To date, Wodd's products are available in several 4-star and 5-star hotels and resorts all over the Philippines.
As a result of the persistence of Wodd despite the challenges and doubts from peers, they contributed to the brand's growth by having their advocacy at the forefront of everything they do, on top of being the pioneers of bamboo sunglasses. From launching a 'No Plastic' campaign, supporting local artisans, and planting one tree per sale, they can successfully incorporate advocacy with style.
As Wodd creates decisions based on the shared value of their internal and external stakeholders, they continue to develop their team by offering leadership seminars and mentoring programs and also include the voice of the customer by releasing their hybrid line in consideration of those allergic to bamboo. On another note, Doc Bigs and his team aim to find other materials they can turn into sustainable products to further their sustainability efforts and, simultaneously, be profitable. Therefore, seeing how important sustainability is for Wodd, they have stayed true to their commitment to planting one tree per sunglasses sold and have reportedly planted over a thousand trees as of late.
“We have planted almost 1,900 trees in the PH, and next year we plan to plant 3,000 trees nationwide.”
Through their innovations and projects, Wodd could increase the customers' awareness of their story about sustainability, which could also benefit their sales. Their attention to their stakeholders has paid off since the widespread understanding of the organization's values and purpose can pave the way for what is coming in the next few years.
Wodd could seamlessly benefit from their sustainable initiatives since they could increase sales directly. Due to this, they could gain market leadership and expand the business. Although Doc Bigs acknowledged that they are not aggressive in traditional marketing, such as print and TV, they can focus on direct-to-consumer and social media marketing. Through tirelessly reaching out to hotels and similar establishments, Wodd established a good relationship with them and solidified their place in the market.
By being the first of its kind in the local market, they gained a competitive advantage compared to other sellers who mostly used plastic or metal frames. Although being the first meant they had to face some resistance in the market, their hard work eventually paid off as customers experienced the Wodd Difference. Aside from setting themselves apart in terms of product, their advocacies are the drivers of innovations such as launching a bamboo watch, coming up with frames made of different materials, and thinking of other sustainable items they can offer. However, Doc Bigs expresses his concern:
"... the more you diversify your product, the more that there will be no focus on what you sell in the market."
As they strive to be the number one sunglasses brand in the Philippines, they keep themselves quick on their feet by employing a dynamic and young team to come up with fresh and exciting ideas that align with the organization's mission.
Wodd has this tagline saying, "Experience the Wodd difference," which significantly applies to the social and environmental benefits the company shows. Wodd started its humble beginnings because of the "No Plastic" advocacy practiced in Cebu, Philippines. Doc Bigs mentioned that “Today we are one of the fastest growing brands in the market, which allows us to sell our products to five-star hotels and retail channels such as Kultura among others”. With this, Wodd was able to contribute to the environment by diversifying its product lines, creating more models, and giving back to the environment.
Given that the business continues to grow, its advocacies, such as partnering with other environmental organizations, also grew. One organization Wodd partnered up with is the Haribon Foundation. The Haribon Foundation is an organization that aims to be the leading nature conservation membership organization dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions. With this, Wodd partnered up with Haribon as one of their "Narra Champion" Bronze Partners, wherein a tree is planted for each pair of sunglasses sold. As mentioned, Wodd has planted about 1,900 trees already, and next year it plans to plant 3,000 trees. Another organization they partnered with is the Talarak Foundation, Inc. which protects populations of regionally endemic species. Moreover, Wodd, having enjoyed partnering with environmental organizations, made them partner up with another social organization called "The Plastic Flamingo." The Plastic Flamingo is a social enterprise transforming plastic waste into sustainable construction materials to build new schools, housing, and shelters nationwide.
Given Wodd's many environmental and societal impacts, they have shown a business built on sustainability. A company that lives by climate action, responsible consumption and production, life below water, and life on land — Wodd's primary sustainability development goals aim to solve the world's key environmental challenges.
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Stephene Roy Condino, CEO/Founder
Wodd PH is a premier authentic bamboo eyewear and watch brand in the Philippines. With its strong commitment to producing sustainable products that are yet unique, trendy, and durable enough to play in the international league, Wodd is now considered one of the fastest-growing brands in the Philippines. Its products can be found in many 4-star and 5-star hotels in the country and retail channels such as Kultura.