World-class quality fashion brands from developing countries: Change our ideas to change the world.

World-class quality fashion brands from developing countries: Change our ideas to change the world.

Bangladesh
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Motherhouse is a fashion brand mainly producing handbags.
Motherhouse will
1) create many employments with excellent working environments in developing countries
2) reestablish confidence in the customers in developed countries in the quality of the work overseas and producers in developing countries for their ability to create high-quality and fashionable products.

Motherhouse believes that such changes in our ideas is a key to break the structure which creates poverty and inequalities in our world.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in Asia with many natural disasters. Most manufacturing companies from overseas view Bangladesh as merely a place with cheap and low-skilled workers, so those companies only produce low-value products. However, Motherhouse believes that there are tremendous potentials there. There are many great materials and people with creativity who are hard-working. Motherhouse creates high-value and unique products through leveraging the potentials of local materials and local people.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Unlike most “fair-trade” brands, 1.Our products are high-quality and high-fashion. Designer, quality control manager, and fabric engineer are professionals from Japan who understand the quality and design standard in Japan. As a result, Motherhouse has 10 shops in Japan and Taiwan in its 5th year, including at top department stores. 2.We have our own factories. It enables us to pursue the best quality as well as the best working environments. We regularly invite the customers in Japan to the factory for mutual exchange with the workers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Motherhouse achieved USD3,000,000 sales in its 5th year from retailing of fashion-bags, sold 100,000 bags to more than 70,000 customers in Japan and Taiwan at 10 its own stores. Motherhouse also employs 60 people in its own factories in Bangladesh and Nepal with excellent working environments. Motherhouse also contributes to create employments by other big Japanese companies like UNIQLO through inspiring them to start business in the developing countries.
About You
Organization:
Motherhouse Co.,Ltd.
About You
First Name

Shunsuke

Last Name

Sako

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Motherhouse Co.,Ltd.

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, DHA

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Eriko Yamaguchi, the founder & chief-designer, worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C. where she had a strong doubt about traditional ways of economic aids and supports. She felt that the aids did not reach to those who really need supports.
To find a better solution, she flew to Bangladesh and lived there for two years. The solution she found is to do business to solve social problems. When she learned the concept of "fair-trade", she agreed with the concept and philosophy, but found that most fair-trade products are low-quality and not-fashionable at all. So, she decided to make a brand which has strong social traits and excellence in the quality and design. To realize this "dream fashion brand", she founded Motherhouse when she was 24 year-old.
While never having a formal training as a designer, she scratched down her ideas on a notebook and visited countless number of factories all over Dhaka alone to find a business partner. Half a year later, she finally found a small factory that was willing to do business with her.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Sales and employments are the key indicators for our success.
Motherhouse achieves USD3,000,000 sales in its 5th year, sold 100,000 bags to more than 70,000 customers so far at 10 stores in Japan and Taiwan. Motherhouse produces at its own factories with 60 workers in Bangladesh and Nepal, pursuing the best working environment in the industry.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Motherhouse aims to achieve USD12mil. sales in 2014 through the actions below.
a. Motherhouse will expand its own factories, planning to employ more than 200 new workers.
b. Motherhouse will start production in two more developing countries in Asia, leveraging local materials and people to produce new product lines.
c. Motherhouse will expand its sales operation to other developed countries in Asia:Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Since Motherhouse has both production and retail functions, its operation requires a lot of cash. To overcome this hurdle about cash-flow management, Motherhouse receives investments from individual angel investors and loans from banks. Motherhouse has no problem to receive these financial supports because Motherhouse has been remaining in surplus every year since its 2nd year. Motherhouse makes profit due to its business model, which is very similar to the one employed by retail giants such as UNIQLO, ZARA, H&M, GAP. This model minimizes costs and risks but maximizes profit and makes it possible to keep making profits every year.

Tell us about your partnerships

Motherhouse want to have a partnership to receive supports for human resources. We need local partners at both production and sales site to expand its business globally. To receive such supports, CEO Eriko Yamaguchi regularly attends global conferences such as World Economic Forum. Also, she was awarded by several competitions such as Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Japan by Schwab Foundation in 2010.

Explain your selections

Motherhouse receives investments and advisories from professional angel investors, who have strong backgrounds in global retail business.
Motherhouse has had many collaborative business with other big companies such as SONY. Such collaboration helps us to expand our recognition.
Motherhouse receives no donation, covering all of its operation costs from its sales. Therefore, customers are the biggest and most important supporters for Motherhouse.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Motherhouse achieves USD12mil. sales in 2014 through the actions below.
a. Motherhouse will expand its own factories, planning to employ more than 200 new workers.
b. Motherhouse will start production in two more developing countries in Asia, leveraging local materials and people to produce new product lines.
c. Motherhouse will expand its sales operation to other developed countries in Asia: Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of skills/training

SECONDARY

Underemployment

TERTIARY

Restricted access to new markets

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Motherhouse utilizes Japanese professionals to train local workers in developing countries to achieve world-class quality and design. Such excellence enables us to succeed in sales. As Motherhouse sells more, Motherhouse can employ more people and achieve better working environment.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Grown geographic reach: Global

SECONDARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Motherhouse achieves USD12mil. sales in 2014 through:
a. Expand its own factories, planning to employ more than 200 new workers.
b. Start production in two more developing countries in Asia, leveraging local materials and people to produce new product lines. Motherhouse plans to produce garments and shoes.
c. Expand its sales operation to other developed countries in Asia, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?