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Amidst the bustling market of home-furnishing social enterprises, there shines a company that resonates with Filipino heritage, embracing sustainability and embodying a sense of purpose. Enter Balay, a rising star that envisions becoming the leading distributor of Filipino-made home furnishings, accessories, and furniture. But what sets Balay apart from the rest? Let's delve into the world of Balay and discover the innovation that fuels their passion, the driving force behind their success.
At the heart of Balay's innovation lies their commitment to sustainability, self-awareness, and creative innovation. This forward-thinking company crafts high-quality, sustainable, and affordable Filipino-made home furnishings from locally sourced materials, primarily repurposed wood from Paete, Laguna. Their innovative approach revolves around utilizing eco-friendly materials, minimizing waste, and promoting the sustainable use of local resources.
Balay's innovation emerged from a shared vision and a profound love for Filipino culture and craftsmanship. Founded by five young entrepreneurs - Alena Nathania Aludino, Alyssa Gutierrez, Bryan Reyes, Nicholas Daryanani, and Sebastian Monfort - Balay's inception was rooted in a desire to showcase the beauty of Filipino-made products to the world. The team recognized the potential of local resources and sought to create a brand that would uplift local industries, while also appealing to conscious consumers seeking ethically and sustainably produced home furnishings.
"We envisioned Balay to be more than just a business - it's a vessel to showcase the unparalleled beauty of Filipino craftsmanship and resources, igniting a sense of pride and appreciation for our culture." - Alena Nathania Aludino, Co-founder
For Balay, their innovation is intricately linked to a deep sense of mission and purpose. The company's mission is to become a premier brand that offers high-quality and locally crafted home furnishings, promoting patriotism and love for the Philippines. By incorporating Filipino heritage and resources in their products and packaging, Balay fosters a strong sense of national identity and cultural pride. This purpose-driven approach not only fuels their business growth but also inspires a positive social change by uplifting local artisans and manufacturers.
"Sustainability is at the core of our identity. Through innovative use of repurposed wood, we create products that resonate with conscious consumers, bringing a positive impact to both society and the environment." - Bryan Reyes, Co-founder
Balay’s conception came from the entrepreneurs brainstorming for an idea about a business. Balay’s founders mentioned that “the group discussed and filtered through their business ideas with passion towards the business and feasibility in mind.” They landed in the home furnishing industry when they realized that there was an opportunity present. They wanted to focus on accessibility and affordability of Filipino-made home furnishings. Through their plan of promoting Filipino products the company committed to using locally sourced material. The founders mentioned that “We make it a point that our raw materials are all sustainable, and our suppliers keep in line with sustainable harvesting practices.” Their commitment to their mission of products and practices showcase the heart of what it means to be a sustainably responsible Filipino.
During the interview, we also asked the owners on their drive and motivation for their eco-friendly and sustainability in their manufacturing process. They mentioned that:
“Wood is a sturdy material that with their product if taken care of well can last more than 10 years”.
This coupled with their refurbishing of said materials, Balay does not need to dispose of their raw materials and items in a short period of time. Their company contributes more to waste reduction while putting an emphasis on being able to repurpose extra or unused materials for other purposes. Balay is a purpose driven company with the founders mentioning “Balay aims to be an environmentally-friendly company that is aware of how businesses contribute to the positive and negative impacts to the environment.”
From the conception of Balay’s ideas, all the way to developing Filipino-made sustainable products, the founders are at the forefront of what organizations should be practicing. From the conceptualization the founders have already thought of ways to produce products that are eco-friendly. The products they have are backed by a vision of sustainability at its core. Their commitment to sustainability goes beyond just producing eco-friendly products; it encompasses their entire business model and practices. From our interview we could see that Balay's founders firmly believe that a successful organization must take responsibility for its environmental impact and play a significant role in protecting the limited resources that we have.
The impact of Balay focuses on its envision to create an interesting foundation that will be built and actualize during the first year of its operations. It aims to be known as a brand that will be genuinely advocated for by the customers in 2025. When the group asked the owners about what kind of specific impact they're aiming for they answered, “We want to shift the mindset of the Filipino consumer from preferring international products to local products.” This means that their products are all about showcasing the Filipino craftsmanship and specifically incorporating it to both their products and packaging. In terms of its impact to business innovation, Balay will be utilizing e-commerce applications to ensure that 90% of all orders will be delivered on time, thus making it more convenient for its target market. Moreover, the consumer testimonials can be accessed via online store platforms such as Shopee and Lazada, which can further enhance the internal company activities and products. To guarantee that quality standards are met, there will be once a month inventory checks which will be performed by the internal stakeholders. Through this, it will help in assisting them in avoiding negative feedbacks.
The innovation of Balay in remaining competitive through conducting the development of various products, potential manufacturers and services will lead to a proper sustainable value that will be given to its customers. The concept of adjusting to the needs and wants of the customers whether it be upgrading their product selection by adding a customization option will lead to profitability for the business. These can be considered as long term effects because it shows how the Balay is adaptable to change and can last as a business as long as their product innovation will be dependent on the interest of their target market.
Aside from the fact that Balay will positively impacts its overall operation and consumers, the process of producing their products will also impact both the environment and society since it is related to two sustainable development goals which are SDG #8 and SDG #12.
SDG #8: Decent work and economic growth
Since SDG #8 is all about aiming to achieve productive and full employment for all men and women including the youth with equal pay for work of equal value, Balay will be able to help improve the employment opportunities of the people from laguna who expertises in creating the wood for their wooden tray.
When we interviewed the owners about where the materials of their products come from, they happily said, “We went all the way to Paete, Laguna to ensure that the woods that will be used are locally produced by Filipino artisans. When we saw how passionate and hard working they are, we were inspired by their craftsmanship and decided that 10% of our business profit will be given to these people to help improve their livelihood.”
After hearing their answer, our group realized that this initiative will also boost local economy. Furthermore, it will also impact the promotion of sustainable forest management. Since Balay also sources its wood from sustainably managed forests, it will ensure the protection of these forests which can be available for future generations. Whenever a product of Balay is sold, it will then create a fair trade channel as well to ensure that the wood producers are paid fairly for their work. This lessens supply chain exploitation and promotes fair working conditions for all parties involved.
Lastly, since the owners mentioned that most of the people in Paete, Laguna relies their income on just one industry or sector, this business will reduce economic vulnerability and promote a more sustainable economic growth.
SDG #12: Responsible consumption and production
In relation to the impact of SDG #8, transforming raw wood into high-quality wooden trays adds value to the material, which can lead to higher returns for wood producers. This incentivizes them to continue sustainable wood production, thereby contributing to the goal of responsible consumption and production (SDG #12).
The wood of the Balay tray is also biodegradable and renewable. By promoting sustainable consumption, the company also raises awareness about responsible production and consumption patterns. The owners of Balay mentioned that they are also open for future business upgrades in terms of ideas and innovation which means that for the next production line of the wooden tray, the owners will design it in a way that it will minimize waste. An example of this is that offcuts or scrap wood could be used to create trays. This will lessen the amount of wood that is usually discarded.
Given that the main raw material that Balay uses (wood) is repurposed from other wooden materials which are then brought back to life through their products allows the business to save on their production cost since this type of wood is typically cheaper. Being well-curated to maintain product quality, the use of these materials do not compromise the consistency of the products that Balay is able to deliver to its customers.
Aside from the cut in cost of raw materials, Balay is also able to use their innovation of using recyclable materials to penetrate the market of sustainability-conscious consumers which has become quite rampant in today’s society with a market size of around $13.76 Billion in 2022 (Fortuner Business Insights, n.d.). Given that Balay capitalizes on their products being environmentally friendly and recyclable due to its durability, wood quality, and its aspects of being re-purposable in their marketing both traditionally and digitally, this paves the way for them to capture the attention of the fast growing market of consumers who prioritize sustainability and the company’s social mission when buying products for their own use and distribution.
The final benefit analyzed from the business model of Balay is the fact that they are able to cut labor and logistics costs through their supply chain and manufacturing practices. The products that are sold by the company are sourced from Paete, Laguna which is not far from the center of business for the company which is in Metro Manila. This allows them to cut extensive logistical costs such as 3rd party shipping which also allows the company to have control and freedom over their delivery experience through their in-house logistics, which is an added benefit to the customer experience overall (Bradford, 2019) given the short distance between base of operations and manufacturing.
Balay Home’s take on innovation in their company by using repurposed wooden materials to create their premium table organizers addresses a few environmental and societal issues that allow it to contribute to the overall betterment of society. Through the manufacturing practices of Balay, they are able to create something great out of what was once supposedly wood waste addressing several sustainable development goals namely responsible consumption and production.
Aside from this, Balay home’s manufacturing base in Paete, Laguna allows the company to support low-income communities by giving them employment opportunities. The decision to tap the wood-working communities of Paete addresses another sustainable development goal; namely, decent work and economic growth for these communities. Having these business practices pave the way for socially responsible businesses to consider the way they do things over mere profit-orientation.
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Nicholas Daryanani, Vice Chairman
Balay uses eco-friendly and sustainable materials in their manufacturing processes, reducing waste, carbon emissions, and their overall environmental footprint. The products are locally produced from Paete, Laguna which are made from recyclable wood. Moreover, the business aims to eventually expand its goods and services into the international market and present to the international community the workmanship of the Filipino. This will positively impact the lives of the local producers since 10% of the business profit will be given to them.