Founder of Gaha-Kola brand
Lushan Perera is the founder of Gaha Kola, a brand dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle. The mission is to help make organic products more accessible both locally and internationally by connecting the Gaha Kola organic produce as well joining hands with other producers in the country to reach the global community.
With a 360 knowledge on the operation of global markets, he has embarked on this new journey with Gaha-Kola. After moving to Sri Lanka, while he was undertaking his CMA studies, Mr. Perera became familiar with the underlying mechanisms of marketing from the perks of having a strong value chain process to the importance of value addition needed in order to challenge cut throat competition faced by startups today. The content covered in the CMA program inspired the initiation of the brand as the inefficiencies of the sector in terms of the value chain process with the lack of traceability became more recognizable. Thus, the Gaha-Kola brand was created as a solution to a niche demand to bring organic produce from the farm to the table.
Gaha-Kola has a wide variety of products using natural fertilizers and preservatives and no pesticides. The products include organic spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric amongst many others and seasonal upcountry vegetables, fruits and syrups such as bee honey straight from the comb. It also has value added products in the FMCG category such as herbal ginger and turmeric paste, immunity boost beverages packed with nutrients and other regular house hold products such as ready to eat sauces and sambols. All of this is provided with the organic certification along with the approval of the PGS. The products are tested and certified by Food Science Unit of the department of Agriculture in Gannoruwa, Peradeniye and the brand is an approved vendor in the Good Market. The product range also addresses underlying health issues in the community such as diabetes, cancer and weak immunity for which a common cause is food intake. By providing an wide choice for the consumer with the highest quality, nutrients and traceability the brand focuses on bringing together nature and the community in a revolutionary manner to reform the future of agricultural sector.
In addition to CMA, he is professionally qualitied in other branches of knowledge such as finance and administration. Having acquired an MBA from the Royal Roads University, British Columbia, Canada, Mr. Perera has gone onto to be professionally qualified in Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and is a Certified Global Business Analyst (CGBA). In addition to that, he was also a part of the General Management Program from the National University of Singapore and from the Harvard Business school, Certificate in Case studies of world’s leading companies.
Having spent 22 years of his career in the apparel sector with organizations that have access to global brands, his experience and knowledge in apparel manufacturing, sourcing, value addition sector and possessing acclaimed global business is unrivalled in the industry. Highlights of his career in the apparel sector are when he was appointed as the General Manager/Country Manager at FR Apparel Trading JLT UAE/ Regency Garments Ltd Bangladesh a joint venture of Hirdaramani Group of Sri Lanka and LT Apparels Ltd USA. During his tenure of 8 years he has ensured sales topline growth of 489% exceeding sales revenue of USD 165 Million. Moreover, he was also a Co-founding member to initiate and drive Calvin Klein USA & EU business collaboration through fourth generation sourcing model in Sri Lanka and currently named as Discovery Lab.
He was later appointed as the CEO/Director of Progress Apparels Bangladesh Ltd a member of the PDS Multinational A blue-chip Apparel Sourcing organization. This was a Blue print project for Mr. Perera which grew to have a sales turnover exceeding USD 60 million within the first 3 years of initiation. He set up a design and technical hub in the UK Leeds, sourcing teams in Ningbo, China and a sales team in the Financial hub in the HK. Even in the Apparel sector he was part of green and sustainable initiatives by obtaining LEED Gold Certification for a manufacturing plant of 300,000 square feet from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The principles upon which Mr. Perera builds the foundation for his businesses are innovation, authenticity and transparency, making his ventures quite unique and futuristic both in apparel and agricultural sectors.