Leading footwear manufacturer Lakpa Shoes Ltd’s 150th container-load left Sri Lankan shores recently. The shipment will make its way to markets scattered across the globe, supplying rubber slippers (flip-flops) and other items to reputed international brands in Australia, the UK, Samoa Island, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives and the UAE.
Established in 1984, Lakpa Shoes is a home-grown, 100% Sri Lankan business, focusing on export-quality rubber slippers, among a variety of footwear products, designed and manufactured primarily with the international market in mind. Founded by Managing Director and pioneering rubber technologist Chandra Kannangara, the company dispatched its first export order in 1989. A family-owned company, shares of Lakpa Shoes are held by Kannagara’s wife and daughter, with his son Dr. Malitha Kannangara – now serving as Director.
In addition to producing rubber slippers for a variety of leading department stores in the country, Lakpa Shoes also supplies footwear for some 3,500 shops island wide. Apart from footwear, the company also manufactures other rubber products such mats, coasters and other items, each made to a recipe personally formulated by Kannangara.
Lakpa rubber slippers are made of natural rubber combined with a slew of other materials, all of which can be recycled. With its uniquely sustainable approach to manufacture, Lakpa Shoes is committed to keeping its production line environmentally friendly, with absolutely no polythene or plastic used and giving priority to local resources and materials wherever possible. This eliminates any health concerns such as skin rashes that usually arise with rubber slippers that contain plastic. Lakpa rubber slippers are also known for their durability, and the company goes to great pains to ensure that their product is safe and, crucially, not slippery.
The company’s factory in Horana is where the magic happens. Providing employment to over 200 Sri Lankans, including contract workers, Lakpa Shoes is directly responsible for the wellbeing of hundreds of local families. The birthday of every staff member is celebrated without fail, and every worker is made to feel at home, as part of the Lakpa family. The spirit of kinship at Lakpa Shoes is so strong that some employees have even had their weddings hosted at the factory.
While Lakpa’s exports bring much needed foreign exchange into the country, the company is also looking to expand its presence in Sri Lanka by introducing an innovative range of footwear whose design and build quality will go beyond regional standards, as spelt out in its mission statement. Drawing inspiration from its array of already successful international products, Lakpa is ready to walk with its Sri Lankan customer base towards a better, more global class of footwear, while not taking its eyes off its ambitious vision: to become the number one footwear exporter in the region. And it won’t stop there. Kannangara and family are determined to ensure that every major city in the world will be home to a Lakpa footwear outlet, and every individual on the planet will sport his or her own pair of Lakpa shoes, putting Sri Lanka truly on the map.