Laga Handbags: A Social Enterprise from the Beginning

April blogpost

When Laga Handbags started in 2004 after the tsunami brought destruction to Indonesia it was a passion, a response for help and a renewed commitment to bringing some good into the world.

A core premise of Laga Handbags was to provide a fair wage, sustainability to the artists and crafts people creating the handbags while bringing the high quality of a hand crafted handbag with Indonesian designs built into the construction of the handbag to the North American market. So, fair trade and a fair wage was built into the company from the beginning.

What has also developed since that time is the notion of social enterprises. Social Enterprises are part of the new wave of social entrepreneurship  led by business leaders whose search for meaning extending beyond the bottom line into bringing change and genuine improvement into peoples’ lives.

Social Enterprises are companies whose goals include more than just a Return on Investment (ROI). The Social Return on Investment (SROI) expands on traditional ROI and includes more benchmark performance indicators than traditional ROI indicators. While measuring the amount of  ‘goodness’ a company generates is not something that has been firmly established, performance indicators of social enterprises vary widely and some of those indicators include;

  • A fair wage for fair trade
  • Socially and ecologically responsible business practices as a part of operations
  • How employees lives are positively impacted
  • Able to address social issues of economic equity, education within a community through enterprise
  • Organizational efficiencies for profitability

Social Enterprises may also have their own performance indicators which are relevant to the organization (in this case Laga Handbags), the employees and the communities they live and work in (in this case Indonesia and the Aceh province) as well as the processes built into operations for the creation and sales of handbags.

While socially driven enterprises are a growing trend, Laga Handbags began as a social enterprise.  The support given through sales and the amazing customer loyalty we are blessed with is what will allow us to continue bringing high quality, beautiful handbags to North America.

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