Leigh Leibel - Lu-Lu.Lu

Finalist of the The Professional Sebastian Most Socially Responsible Handbag

United States

2011 Finalist Leigh Leibel Lu-Lu.Lu


What country are your bags manufactured?

Please explain how your bags are socially responsible?
My bags are handmade in Cambodia using 100% local products. The artisans are paid a fair living wage, are provided with a healthy work environment and 10% of after tax profits are given to â??Ã?úCaring for Cambodiaâ??Ã?ù - a non for profit in Siem Reap that provides education and promote nutrition to local women and children. The bags are made of non-endangered Cambodian salt-water crocodile skin, and we work with crocodilians (crocodile conservation experts) in New York City and south east Asia to ensure the skins are responsibly and ethically sourced. All crocodile products are accompanied by a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) certificate for export. The crocodiles are farmed, and all parts of the animal are used. The bags are lined with traditional Cambodian ikat fabric, hand-loomed in Siem Reap. The bags are part of the "Temple" collection - each style is named after a temple in Cambodia (thereby promoting Cambodian culture and tourism). Additionally, each bag is blessed by a Buddhist Monk. Finally, the NYC administrative offices are "green" conscious, and the products are packaged and tagged with recycled materials. A marketing campaign that includes photographs and a video of Cambodia further promote awareness around this beautiful yet terribly impoverished country.

Do you work with local/native artisans to design your bags?

Why did you choose this country to have your bags made and what made you decided to give back?
I am an ex- CNN photographer and I was in Cambodia a few months ago working on a documentary project. I was moved by the warmth and optimism of the Cambodian people in spite of the country's extreme poverty and the devastating legacy of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge - as well as the recent Civil War. I wanted to do something, and rather than write a one-time check to charity, I decided to create a for-profit social enterprise that will continue to give back to the local people by providing living wages, healthy work environment and education/nutrition programs.

How have your bags impacted this community?
Our mission statement is

See other finalists from the 2011 handbag awards