From The Straits Times    |
Rachel Carrasco

Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Carrasco

Rachel Carrasco knows what it’s like when someone takes a chance on you. And the feeling you get when someone goes out of their way to help you in your career. That’s why she has chosen to repay this kindness by steering her company, RACHE, in the direction of advocacy, especially on issues related to female empowerment and mental health.

“I know what it feels like to have a dream and to be given the opportunity to chase that dream. And if I have the ability, whether through my expertise or in monetary terms, to help women fulfil their dreams, then this is how I want to pay it forward,” she explains. 

RACHE started out in 2017 as a marketing consultancy specialising in brand consumer experiences and customer relationship management programmes. Previous clients include global MNCs such as Diageo, Moet Hennessy, American Express and TWG. 

Her first foray into advocacy is working with Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and Aidha. AWARE is focused on women’s rights and promoting gender equality in Singapore, while Aidha is an organisation that helps foreign domestic workers and low-income women achieve financial independence through education.

“I chose to work with AWARE as they have a dedicated pillar to women in the workplace, which looks at ensuring that they are protected and given equal opportunities. This is important to me as I am a firm believer of ‘if men can do it, so can we’,” she says. “I am currently helping with enhancing their corporate fundraising programme and conceptualising a series of private community discussions. Both contribute to creating more gender equality ambassadors in society.”

(Read also “Why It’s Still Hard Being A Woman In The Workplace In 2021“)

“On the other hand, Aidha is a lot more personal. It’s developing a supporting customer relationship management programme that aims to continuously engage with stakeholders and drive student recruitment,” she adds. 

Rachel Carrasc
Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Carrasco

Destined for marketing

Rachel’s background shows why she’s such an inspiring entrepreneur. The 34-year-old was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to Singapore in 2012. She had reached a pivotal moment in her life where she had to decide between staying where she was or paving the path for the woman she wanted to become. 

“I had no idea what I was in for,” she recalls. “I remember sitting in the plane the day I left. I looked out the window and teared up thinking about leaving the life I had always known. I did know one thing for sure, and that was to grow my career outside of where I was.”

It seems marketing was a calling that was destined for Rachel as she admits she always had an interest in branding. In fact, when she was 13, she did some acting gigs on TV shows and commercials, and photoshoots too. Not only did this period of her life give her a feel of the working world and introduce her to people from all walks of life, it also gave her a peek into how brands operate. 

Her first job in Singapore was as a business manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland. She then immersed herself fully into the world of branding in 2014, working at LVMH’s prestige champagne houses Dom Perignon, Krug and Ruinart. Her next stint was as Regional Senior Brand Manager APAC for Kimberly-Clark, where she created and developed strategies and action plans for its feminine care business, Kotex. 

Despite her success, Rachel admits the journey hasn’t always been easy. She had to overcome financial obstacles in order to see her career plans through. For example, she stayed in her job when she started RACHE in 2017 and confesses that although it was “challenging”, it was also “necessary”.

“People are another obstacle,” she reveals. “The world can be a very ‘judgy’ place and if you let it, it can really do a number. So, for the past two years, with the help of therapy and theta healing sessions, I made a commitment to stay true to myself. And I don’t mean that in an often loud and bold way of expressing oneself, but also learning that even in silence your light can shine. It’s quiet confidence.”

De-conditioning herself is also a hurdle she has had to conquer. She explains it’s about unlearning what is deemed ‘right’ by society, respecting that other people are going through their own lives just like you, and being comfortable with not knowing. 

“You’d be surprised at how life starts to unfold when you can genuinely let go,” she says. 

Rachel Carrasc
Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Carrasco

Branding goals 

Rachel isn’t ready to rest on her laurels just yet, though: “My vision is to become the entrepreneur I’ve always dreamed of. Everything I have ever been through in my career – the highs and the lows and the lowest of lows – has culminated to this moment.”

She aims to create a group of F&B companies by the end of 2022 and has already had a head start. She brought ready-to-drink canned cocktail brand RIO to the Philippines and launched Baken, her own line of luxury bacon snacks and confectionery in the second quarter of 2021. Baken is now available in Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia. 

Professionally, Rachel wants to emulate her female branding heroes such as Emily Weiss of Glossier, Maryellis Bunn of Museum of Ice Cream and Sara Blakely of Spanx. 

“To me, their brands are great examples of starting with what you love and sharing that with the world. That’s all I ever want to do,” she states. 

On a personal level, her mother has been a huge source of inspiration.

“She raised three children on her own and taught me the most valuable lesson of all-time – that at the end of the day, I will always have myself. So, that is the person I must take care of first,” she shares.