Lianna Gunawan

Laureate 2012

Lianna Gunawan

La Spina Collections
La Spina Collections designs and produces hand-made shoes that highlight Indonesian culture and heritage using traditional fabrics and craftsmanship.

Like many women, Lianna Gunawan loves shoes. But while most will assuage this passion through shopping, this former retail and marketing professional has taken it one step further and created her own shoe company! Entrepreneurship crept up on her unexpectedly: ‘I always worked in a corporate culture,’ she explains, ‘but when I took time out to become a mother, I was scouting the Internet for shoes and decided I’d get an artisan to make me some.’ She had so many compliments and requests for similar shoes, she started to get them made for friends and built up the idea from there: ‘in my living room!’

Having bootstrapped La Spina Collections in 2010, Lianna soon wanted to take her company further. Government initiatives to promote Indonesian crafts and heritage struck a chord with her. ‘I decided that would be the core value of my business: hand-made Indonesian shoes, using uniquely Indonesian materials.’ She is intent on debunking home-grown notions that ‘Made in Indonesia’ means cheap and cheerful. For this young entrepreneur, La Spina is about much more than a pair of shoes: ‘you’re wearing a piece of our culture and heritage as well.’