Habi is a social enterprise that offers fashionable yet functional footwear (espadrilles, sandals, boat shoes, flats and wedges) made with the urban weavers of Quezon City. “Habi” comes from a Filipino word meaning “to weave”. We also chose this name because of the wordplay on “happy” since we want social responsibility to be fun.
From starting out as a thesis project in 2011, Habi has grown into a fully operational social enterprise and has trained over 50 weavers and officially partnered with 30.
The impact we hope to achieve is to become an enabler for communities to be self-sustaining through livelihood partnerships. We want to showcase the ingenuity of Filipino communities by coming up with products that highlight their talents and skills, particularly in sector of fashion and lifestyle.
We also aim to influence our market to apply a responsible lifestyle through our sustainably made products. As much as we can, we use materials that are durable, environment-friendly and locally sourced.
British Council helped Habi streamline its business model during the Changemaker camp. Having been mentored by individuals from the development sector helped us fix what was needed to be fixed (particularly in the community development aspect) and improve the strong points that the business already had.
British Council also helped us gain a wider network, which had led to possible partnerships with other organizations like Netsuite and Leonard Cheshire.
My aspiration is for all businesses to be socially oriented.
I think that the best way to achieve this goal is to document success stories. Many social businesses need better business mentoring and incubation, government incentives and access to financing. So many SEs stop before reaching its full potential particularly because of lack of resources, guidance and expertise, which I believe the UK can play a part in, given that it is a leading mover in social enterprise.