If not today, then when?
Jetro Vin Rafael is a Philosopher, Chemist, Artist, Chefpreneur, and Philanthropist. He has been recognized globally for his artistic works, food concepts, and advocacy for mental health.
Jetro, artist and owner of Van Gogh is Bipolar shares with us his journey toward becoming a philanthropreneur. Learn how altruism and business intertwine and get inspired to partner with Ignition to jump-start your philanthropic entrepreneurial ideas today.
Find Your Tribe: How Jetro Vin Rafael Finds Strength in His Hardships
by Angelo Pastoriza
Easily distinguished by his eccentric outfits and self-described weird personality, Jetro Vin Rafael is a man who simply wanted to love and accept who he is — something I personally believe we should all strive for. Suffering from Bipolar 1 disorder, it’s understandable that he had a difficult time achieving this. But nowadays, he wears his mental condition like a badge for everyone to see. As you may already know, Jetro’s successful battle with his mental condition resulted in his restaurant, Van Gogh is Bipolar.
I came across a video of Jetro’s TEDxADMU talk on Youtube and was floored by the interesting story of how his restaurant came to be. To summarize everything, he was seconds away from taking his own life but he decided to give it another chance and take a walk in search of a space where he can be free to be himself. Eventually, he came across the space where his brainchild is nestled in now. Van Gogh is Bipolar started as a personal haven and eventually went on to be a haven for others as well.
Serving what Jetro calls his “bipolar diet” which features ingredients thought to enhance one’s moods and emotions, combining it with a calming interior (and funky hats), this space will truly make you feel like you’re in a space where you’re free to be yourself. Additionally, they also have the “Love Project” which is a huge collaboration with what they call “teachers of life” where people with the same issues can be mentored into loving themselves again.
Now, while his story truly is inspirational and contains numerous events that would make you smile as if you were watching a feel-good movie, a particular achievement of his that struck me was how he was able to accept his “beautifully imperfect life” by immersing himself with other people facing the same issues. He found his tribe. Van Gogh is Bipolar was established without money or fame in mind, it was established so he could help others love themselves in the same way he was able to do it himself. This resulted in something unbound by the limits of what contemporary thinking defines as “success”, a passion-driven business that aims to achieve more than just making money, the kind of business Ignition aims to support.
Different stories of inspirational people tell us different things. Some stories teach us to work hard, to alienate yourself from people who bring you down, to believe in your unconventional idea, and many other lessons. Jetro’s story, in particular, shows that he found strength in the very thing that he thought of as his weakness, something that maybe you can achieve as well. Maybe what you need right now is to find your tribe and accept who you are. Who knows, maybe once you do that, your passion will manifest into a business like Jetro’s. Don’t even worry about all the stress and hassle of running it. If you’re reading this, you already know that Ignition exists to support you and your passion.