Walking Happy with Habi Footwear

Walking Happy with Habi Footwear

Quezon City, PhilippinesQuezon City, Philippines
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Habi values 3 things:
Responsible Fashion - we reduce solid waste by producing footwear made out of scrap cloth & recycled rubber

Social Involvement - we provide our community of moms with sustainable income and development trainings

Filipino Pride - our shoes are proudly 100% Philippine made

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

we can take a big step towards empowerment and sustainability through fashion?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Solid waste is seen in our landfills, recycling is not a common practice for cloth and fabric. Marginalized people (especially women) experience lack of opportunities, small income, and inability to save on earnings, and are thus unable to break out of the cycle of poverty. Social enterprises rely on pity buy and sell their products at a high margin; this model does not encourage repeat purchase.

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

Solid waste (scrap cloth and old airplane tires) is recycled and turned into shoes. But not just any kind of shoes, shoes that are of high quality and can provide both comfort and a unique fashion statement, a statement that can influence responsible consumerism. Our community gets income from weaving rags, and undergoes financial literacy and community development trainings to learn how to save and be systematic. We make our products accessible to the market by pricing it at a relatively lower price than other social enterprise products. We ensure that the shoes are beautiful and of good quality, thereby encouraging repeat purchase and brand loyalty.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Habi Footwear has been in operations since October 2011: Our primary activities are: 1. Providing skills training for urban poor community members (mostly comprised of mothers), specifically weaving and sewing of recycled garment scraps by making them into shoe materials. These members have become official suppliers and are continuously earning for each output that they make. We also provide them values training to address lack of self worth and empowerment. 2. Consulting with designers and textile experts in coming up with different designs that are both durable yet fashionable to avoid pity buy. We promote responsible consumerism by offering eco friendly footwear and using reusable shoe bags as packaging, lessening solid waste.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Qualitative impact: Since its operations, Habi Footwear has influence empowerment and capacity building for its stakeholders. We also continue to build leadership qualities by providing them specific roles. Quantitative impact: From eight mothers at the start of its operations, Habi is now partnered with 16 community members. From getting paid only php15 ($0.34) for each rag that they used to make out of recycled scraps, Habi has increased their profit to php55 ($1.38) per output to provide better value for their labor. Fifty percent of them help other mothers who want to learn how to weave and earn from it. We plan to adopt the newly skilled urban poor members and increase to 100 more in order to create a bigger livelihood facility. We also plan to put up our own manufacturing facility to provide employment, make production more sustainable, and have better quality control.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The business will ensure sustainability through brand loyalty. By continuously improving the quality and designs of our footwear, keeping our price point within customer reach, and telling the story of Habi, we want to ensure repeat purchases. For the community, a portion of their income goes back to a fund. Since we want them to be self-sustaining, this fund is what they use to procure the garment scraps that they weave into shoe materials.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In our country, social enterprises namely Rags2Riches and Jacinto and Lirio also seek the same social and environment development goals. These two brands offer bags made out garment scraps and water hyacinth leather, respectively. Our approach differ from these two local social enterprises in terms of community involvement. Aside from buying the materials from our community, we go beyond the financial help by providing values training. Our pricing is at midrange, making it more affordable across middle to upper social classes. With this, we aim to tell the Habi story to a wider audience.

Founding Story

The social enterprise started as a thesis project two years ago, during our college years in Ateneo de Manila University. Our professor required our group to go on immersion in our partner community. In the 3 days we lived with them, we heard their stories and saw that they had skills in rag weaving. We tried weaving the rags with them - and realized that for the effort it took, the rags were sold at a low price (around Php15-25). Our partner Paola had the idea of turning these rags into shoes so we can increase the value of the product and increase the income of our mothers simultaneously. Upon brainstorming, we decided that we want to make the product sustainable. We decided to use recycled rubber or truck tires as our sole.
About You
About You
First Name

Janine Mikaella

Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Quezon City

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Quezon City

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?



Sustainable Sourcing, Fairness in the Workplace, Opportunities for Women, Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

We market our products to people in the 15-35 age bracket with middle class-to upper A demographic. Our market consists of men and women who value comfort and style, but at a same time seek to take a step towards a responsible lifestyle by patronizing socially oriented brands. We offer a wide range of designs with top notch quality to strengthen our brand equity We engage our customers by being active in social media and being accessible via our various retail partners in the Philippines and in the US.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

Habi Footwear aspires to be a global brand. A brand that people from all over the world can patronize. We also aspire to be a social enterprise that can provide livelihood opportunities and capacity building to communities all over the Philippines by continuing to come up with high quality products made in partnership with them. We seek to have our own factory to vertically integrate our operations and have better control of our whole business. We will use the money to acquire this facility and assure fair and ethical labor practices. We will also use this to adopt more communities and provide trainings and product development workshops for them. We believe that this will lead to us to finally scale up enough to market to more countries.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

Prior to Habi Footwear, I was involved in a chocolate business, as well as an accessory-making venture. These were just small part-time projects, but I was trained for latter at my relative's retail company so it really helped me in having a better understanding on how to develop designs and products. It also helped in handling budgeting and costing better.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?


Are you are a current Unilever employee?