The Isaan Cushion Company is a social business that aims to make the best cushions on the planet and to create employment opportunities for people in the under-developed Isaan region of North East Thailand.
They also want to be the first to put a cushion into space!
Where is the Isaan region?
Isaan is a region making up the North Eastern part of Thailand. Despite Thailand’s strong economic performance in the past few years, many areas of the country have not seen the benefit from this growth.
The Isaan region is considered to be one of the poorest regions of Thailand. The average wages are the lowest in the country at around 4,000 baht per month (USD $130), while the national average is about 7,000 baht (USD $230). As a result, many people have to leave the countryside in order to look for better wages, and end up migrating to cities, especially Bangkok.
The making of beautiful cushions
The Isaan Cushion Company launched its operations 1 month ago as a social business. The company leverages the fact that the Isaan region produces high quality silk and cotton products. The company sources silk and cotton fabric and employs a local workforce to turn the fabric into high quality cushion covers. (See product gallery here)
All silk cushions are hand-made from authentic locally produced silk. Some cushions are limited-edition collector items, of which only two sets are ever made.
Isaan Cushion Company is currently looking to supply shops around the world with their branded cushion covers. The company also offers OEM and buyer label manufacturing.
A ‘Hybrid Co-op’ business model
The company is currently experimenting with a ‘Hybrid co-operative’ business model.
What this means is that employees receive a basic salary, and the company also distributes surplus profits among its employees. This guarantees a better wage than someone would get if they left the Isaan area to work 10 hour shifts in a factory in Bangkok.
Also investors in the company will be re-paid over time. Once investments are re-paid, the investors will be included in the surplus of profits, but will only receive the same amounts as the employees. As the company grows and the value of the company increases, the shareholders will see their investment increase in value; which is the reward for investing into the company.