Leatherina is one of the small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) selected by CTIF to receive technical assistance focused on building resilient e-commerce enterprises in the Asia Pacific region in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Leatherina is a woman-owned and -led SME specializing in the production of sustainable, handmade high-end leather bags and accessories. Established in 2016, Leatherina exports a small range of products to the European market and offers a limited quantity of retail items to the local market under its brand name, Gootipa. Leatherina has membership in several business associations including ECOTA, the Bangladeshi forum for fair trade enterprises, and the Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (BFWE).
Under this mandate, CTIF will assist in enhancing Leatherina’s e-commerce site, developing an e-commerce and digital marketing plan, and recommending ways on how to gain better access to the North American markets.
Problem Being Addressed by CTIF
Like many other small exporting enterprises, Leatherina experienced a drastic reduction in demand and sales during the COVID- 19 global pandemic. For many such enterprises, prioritizing the improvement of their internet presence and e-commerce services, and exploring a pivot towards new markets is key to ensuring their business’ sustainability.
CTIF’s technical assistance will help Leatherina improve its capacity as a women-led SME to sustain and grow their business through e-commerce, while strengthening its ability to adhere to environmental sustainability, social safeguarding, and legal standards expected by its new target markets.
Supporting Leatherina’s growth stands to directly contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 10 through women’s economic empowerment, poverty reduction, and reduction of inequality. Leatherina has a workforce comprised mainly of women; works to ensure fair wages and prices at each stage of production, from design to marketing, and from production to retailing; and, strives to source materials from vendors where there is supply-chain traceability.
Leatherina’s line of business also represents a highly strategic sector for Bangladesh. Leather and leather goods such as footwear, bags, and accessories have a significant share in Bangladesh’s over-all exports, employment, and is identified as among the ‘highest priority sectors’ in Bangladesh’s export policy.
Leatherina believes that its commitment to sustainable production, environment-friendly materials, and animal welfare make its products unique, and it considers environmental sustainability to be intrinsic to its strategy of reaching new markets. Leatherina is currently in the process of drafting its environmental commitment and responsibility policy, which will guide all its procurement and production activities going forward.