Loomro.com - CARe Interview Series #socent
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
LOOMRO empowers differently abled heroes in Estonia. We create a platform for differently abled people to showcase their artworks through our products and we create job opportunities for them. We encourage and appreciate their creativity.
LOOMRO uses organic cotton and linen materials for the garment and long lasting hand printing method for printing designs to give quality products for our customers. ‘’LOOMRO Differently Abled Hero’’ leaflet comes with our every product.
This interview is with cofounder Kulamini Dilanka Mendis, LL.B (Hons), Legal Adviser, MA (Social Entrepreneurship), Notary Public.
LOOMRO is cofounded with Udara S. Suwanda Arachchi , LL.B (Hons), Legal Counsel, MA (Social Entrepreneurship), Lecturer in Law.
Interview Transcript - Loomro, Dilanka
From a lawyer in Sri Lanka, why the switch to become a social entrepreneur?
So actually after I completed my higher education I worked
as a legal consultant especially in the corporate sector, so gradually I wanted
to change my path and start my own business because I thought that starting
and running a business would be more challenging and exciting and also since
I am most concerned about social problems, I realized that becoming a
social entrepreneur would help me to balance my concerns, interest and life as
well. So that's how I choose to become a social entrepreneur.
What is Loomro’s Business Plan?
Loomro is a tiny concept with a huge positive impact, so I use the word 'tiny'
because our core idea is really a simple one. Basically we sell hand printed cotton
T-shirt as you know so many entrepreneurs doing the same thing but
our specialty is we use artworks of disabled people on our product and we
help them to generate regular income so sixty percent of our profit directly
goes to our disabled artist and not only this financial benefit but also it
helped them to build and increase their self-esteem as well so our brand
is all about ethical fashion I would say. We not only focused
on the sustainability of the fashion products but also the production,
procedure, materials and the design and the printing method. We
started this last April and at the moment one artist is working with us. And we
selected him from Tallinn Mental Health Centre Lasnamae.
The Process - Design Artwork
Okay, once we had a chance to visit Tallinn Mental Health Centre in Lasnamae
and also we got to know about their art sessions which they organize to their
mentally disabled clients. And after that on the second day, we also went to the
art sessions and we spent a whole day with them. After that, we decided to
select some artists from this session. This actually, we were planning to do
this project with the disabled children not really the elder disabled people but
after this visit, we realized the actual difficulty of being disabled and jobless.
So we thought that it would be more impactful if we give chances to this
disabled elderly people. So then now as I mentioned to you earlier, we are currently
working with one artist who is suffering from color blindness and also he has
some health issues related to his mental health and especially I want to mention
that this Tallinn Mental Health Centre in Estonia, they helped us a lot to maintain
our relationship with this artist.
Why should people buy your product and not from others?
We are in the middle of a huge competition, but when it comes to the impact, we are unique. Because if you buy LOOMRO's products you will directly help differently abled people and it creates regular income for them and also you can buy best quality
product from LOOMRO in terms of material quality. We thoroughly believe that
people must use long lasting garment with excellent material
quality because it's good for your health and also it protects the
environment. So we are using organic cotton which is
100% eco-friendly and we buy those garments from certified traditional
manufacturers in Bangladesh and also we use eco-friendly hand printing method to
print the design on the T-shirt. I can say that LOOMRO's products are suitable
for any skin type and even three years old child to 100 years old elderly can use this
product. So LOOMRO is for kind-hearted people who love simple but quality
products and also people who believe in Zero Carbon footprint.
How do you plan to reach this group of people? Currently we are trying to do
marketing through our Facebook Page and webpage.
Still, we're planning more strategies to do our marketing
We try to reach out to them and then I think they can help us to find our customers.
And actual customers.
What is the most rewarding learning of this journey from ideation to the fulfilment of this product, to the hands of your customers?
So at the starting point of our business, we are worried that we are not experienced
enough and we are not good enough to succeed but after we started, selling from
our very first sale, we learned that we would never be a hundred percent ready
to start a business because the best way to learn
something is to throw yourself right into action, so I would say the best
thing we learned from our journey is: there are different types of customers so
we have to face them and they have different types of requirements and also
to win a business or doing a social enterprise is not an easy task and there
is no comfort zone and risk is always there, so no matter what we have to work
on our idea continuously.
There are so many obstacles so we have to change our strategies and try out new
things somehow we have to continue. We are still, we are changing our
strategies and try to find out the most suitable (I mean) best fit strategy for
our business and still, we are very young company, not company, very young project
and still like six months, so still we are trying to find out new things but we
learnt that no there are some people who really love to help people and they
really love the simple but quality clothes.
Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggest that an entity, be it an
organization or individual has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. How do you think it resonates with LOOMRO's work?
LOOMRO is not a single social enterprise. I like to define it as a chain of social enterprises
because we help traditional Bangladeshi organic cotton manufacturers and on the other
hand we help disabled people and we are working with the Tallinn
Mental Health Centre, so we are trying to be socially responsible in many ways.
Our customers also directly or indirectly become socially responsible
by using our product and also we try to balance, the
ecosystem and the economy and ultimately I would like to mention that by
supporting and promoting small and medium enterprises, we can uphold our
commitment to the socially responsible modern economy. I'd like to Thank you
for inviting me for this interview and I would like to invite all the members of
this network, please visit our web page and FB page. Please comment and please
follow us and if you like our products, please buy your next (LOOMRO) T-shirt from
our web store, Thank you!
Thank you so much, Dilanka.
Facebook Page: Loomro - Social Enterprise for Differently Abled People https://www.facebook.com/aSocialEnterprise