From cutlery banks for home parties to managing waste at marriages and marathons to branching into a brick and mortar store, all within a year’s time… this is a story of how four entrepreneur women never lost sight of their vision of a greener world, and adapted to changing consumer needs in a fast changing world.
Appalled by the humongous disposable waste from home parties, when Nidarshana Saikia Das, a Marketing and Communications professional, floated the proposal for a community utensils bank in a WhatsApp group, little did she realise how life changing this would be. Her idea would have died a slow death, if not for a few like-minded ladies who jumped to give the idea life with time, effort and money.
Among them was Madhumita Subramaniam, another young mom and IT professional who started the first-of-its-kind utensils bank in Hyderabad, ‘The Bartan Company’ (TBC) in February 2019. As they expanded, they were joined by Sushoma Nagaraj, who was making inroads in chemical-free cosmetics, and Reena George who dropped a banking career to spread awareness about yoga and wellness.
The four environmentalists were driven by the singular motive of having events leave behind fond memories and not piles of toxic waste. They took it upon themselves to change the way Hyderabad partied.
“We realised it was convenience: no clean up, just use and throw at low cost. So, to make the switch easy for people with the right intent, we strategised on two aspects: one was to keep the prices competitive, and equally compelling, and eliminating the hassle of cleaning up, by adding complimentary cleaning services (domestic help),” shares Nidarshana Saikia Das.
As the demand increased, bigger events called for solutions that were less resource intensive. Sushoma elaborates, “We discourage use and throw products. But when you have to cater to 1,000-plus guests, steel utensils proved logistically demanding, especially during summers. So, we decided to go for the biodegradable plant-based cutlery.”
Backed by the thought, they made a do-it-yourself (DIY) model to infuse joy and pride in people participating in the process of owning their waste. Also, it doubled up as a live demo for home composting which helped the awesome foursome add more clients to their list, through word of mouth. With more people, especially the younger generation, becoming environmentally conscious, the number of their clients keeps growing!
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