Aspiring beauty queen Rousanne "Ayn" Bernos is using her clothing line "Morena the Label" to celebrate love for sunkissed skin and body positivity.
This is in line with her advocacy of promoting awareness for colorism.
In her interview for PEP Live Extra! on August 11, 2021, Ayn said, "I wanted to create something that I can personally, you know, proudly wear. And others can also proudly wear.
"So I created Morena T-shirts. So meron akong mga T-shirts na 'Morena,' 'I like my tan, Tita' for family reunions, kapagka gusto mo i-explain na you like your tan, ayun.
"So for me, it's all about that. Kasi I didn't want to make merch na 'Ayn Bernos' nakalagay. Like, honestly, sino magsusuot nun?
"So I wanted to make merch for the community."
She had started selling shirts online when she was in high school, way before she founded Morena the Label in 2018.
She said, "Actually, I've been printing shirts kasi ever since I could remember—15, 16—I was already selling band t-shirts in high school.
"So I would go to Divisoria, papa-print ng T-shirt, ibebenta ko. So when I was thinking of... I was working in digital marketing, 'cause I needed the like, a side hustle.
"I wanted to create like, a small business for me.
"So for me, the easiest, most convenient way was to print T-shirts which is something that I've always done."
AYN BERNOS' BUSINESS TIPS
In the same interview, Ayn revealed it was not easy to keep her business running amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She had to stop operations for a few months, when the country started implementing lockdown restrictions in March 2020.
Ayn recalled, "At the beginning of the pandemic, it was really difficult 'cause I was running my business from my house, which is, you know, not very safe.
"So we had to shut down for a couple of months. And during that time na we were closed, I really had to find ways to make it sustainable.
"I needed to find ways to sell more merch kapag nagbukas na yung mundo."
But Ayn knew the closure of her business was only temporary. She was determined to keep it going because she had employees who were depending on her for their livelihood.
Ayn told PEP.ph, "What I learned was you can't stop learning if you're running a business kasi you will always have to adapt.
"Imagine that, having the pandemic, sobrang unexpected. Everything was going well and all of a sudden, closed. Bawal ka magbenta.
"So ayun, I had to keep up with what was going on, find solutions, solve problems along the way kasi, especially if you have people depending on you, employees na pinapasuweldo. You can't just decide na, 'O give up na,' or 'Tapos na...' or 'We'll move on to the next thing.'
"That's not how it works. And to me, what I really learned the best during the pandemic, I think, was to how to solve problems and address them accordingly."
The 26-year-old entrepreneur is also a content creator who is known for her educational videos on TikTok. If there's one piece of advice she would tell her followers, it's to use the Internet to learn everything they need before setting up their own business.
Ayn explained, "I would say utilize the Internet kasi everything that I learned, I learned because of YouTube, I learned because of yung mga free courses online.
"Ang dami ko kasing hindi naman natutunan sa school. So if you want to learn how to do something, Google it.
"Learn everything you can nang wala ka munang nilalabas na pera, ganyan. Kasi ang daming resources na libre. So utilize that, if you have access sa Internet."