Founded by a National Institute Of Fashion Technology (NIFT) alumnus, Shruti Rawal, Ewoke is a fashion brand for women to make every day wardrobes eco friendly. Ewoke was founded with the vision to empower women with the clothes they wear while making a positive impact on the environment. Fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. It takes approximately 2500 litres of water to make a simple white cotton shirt. That is enough water for one person to drink for three and a half years. If a simple cotton shirt can cost us so much, wonder how much the environment has paid for our wardrobes of cotton and polyester?
This striking thought is what inspired the birth of Ewoke. Having worked with designers such as Gaurav Gupta and Shriya Som, Shruti quit her job to follow her conscience. She says, “Our efforts at Ewoke are a work in progress but it will always be you and us together making an impact for this beautiful planet of ours (sic.)”
With the spread of COVID-19, Shruti noticed that the police officers around their home were without masks. The shortage of disposable medical grade masks created a need for non medical masks for non medical frontline workers. Shruti knew she wanted to help with the resources available and she had some hemp fabric available from work, but she was not sure if it was the right choice of fabric for making masks. She started cold calling doctors and medical practitioners and realized that it was an ideal fabric for non medical grade masks. It is hypoallergenic (unlikely to cause an allergic reaction,) naturally resistant to bacteria, Ultraviolet (UV) rays, and gets softer with every wash. Another important factor in making hemp masks was that it saves the planet because hemp is biodegradable and uses almost no water during production. Reusing these masks would reduce the strain on using polyester masks which would end up in landfills. The real challenge was to find a medical grade elastic and due to the unavailability amidst the lockdown, Shruti decided to make the masks with strings. This made it possible for the masks to be adjusted to any size.
Two weeks in and after a lot of prototyping, shruti had her first batch of masks ready. She knew exactly to whom she wanted to give them –the police force risking their lives to protect the citizens every day. The feedback received from the police was very promising and after incorporating some recommendations, the team is making more masks to cover all the police officers on duty in Hyderabad.
The team is currently working with hemp fabric, which is an expensive raw material in comparison to that of polypropylene used in surgical masks. They are planning to start making masks out of another sustainable fabric, Tencel (a type of cellulose fiber) which is less expensive than hemp, when purchased in much larger quantities. Shruti believes fashion has always had a purpose. Today, it is being repurposed to protect us from an infectious disease. However, people need to be aware at all times with respect to anything that they consume and the origins of what they are consuming as this would force everyone to be sustainable and ethical.
If you would like to be a part of this movement, you could contribute or get in touch with Shruti on their Instagram handle.
Pickkup – This Hyper-Local On Demand Service Startup Delivers Anything Anytime Anywhere
India has witnessed a shift in consumer dynamics with the introduction of startups which provide hyper local and on demand services. These startups are able to provide users with the option to purchase anything and everything, except for prohibited items in and around their homes. This eliminated the need for the user to venture out of their homes and instead get whatever they need delivered to their doorstep.
Hyper local delivery startups have seen a huge surge in demand in the last few months with most of the demand coming from tier 1 metropolitan cities. Pickkup is one such hyper local delivery startup which operates in Hyderabad. Pickkup takes pride in their motto that they can deliver anything, anytime and anywhere in the city. The unique selling proposition (USP) of Pickkup is they are the only hyper local service providers to offer long range delivery services in Hyderabad which can range up to 40 kilometers.
Pickkup offers a host of services all under one roof which can be accessed on their mobile application. A user can choose to get groceries delivered to their home, or order meat, or send packages across the city from one location to another and also access pet stores. All these services are taken care of by a fleet of reliable delivery partners. Pickkup assures all orders are treated with utmost priority and safety and their delivery partners will move the orders quickly. The simple user interface on the Pickkup mobile application ensures a hassle free order placing process.
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However one of the most appealing features Pickkup provides is the facility to book a personal assistant. The personal assistant feature allows a user to book an assistant who would help you assist in doing chores. For example,if you are moving to a new home, a personal assistant will assist you with rearranging your furniture and goods. If you need to send out 3 couriers to different locations in the city, the personal assistant will deliver them for you instead of you placing three different orders for each courier delivery with a logistic service provider. Other features include using the assistant to drive you around in their vehicle, or using them for banking works. The personal assistant feature cannot however be used to do manual labour. The billing is done according to the number of hours the personal assistant service used.
Pickkup has already managed to satisfy their clients and has an average delivery time of 45 minutes. With many companies declaring work from home for the foreseeable future, Pickkup will no doubt see a surge in demand in the coming days.
BoAt – An Audio Device Startup Wooing The Indian Millennial
With the advent of smartphones, people all over the world prefer to consume information on their devices. Music, news, movies, series, sports—anything and everything is being customised for the smartphone user. This makes the use of audio devices like earphones, headphones and portable speakers an essential lifestyle choice to go with the smartphone.
An Indian audio electronics startup, boAt, forced international players like JBL, Apple and Sennheiser to rethink their prices and products by offering highly competitive, durable and high quality products at prices which are a steal. The brand achieved this over the years by building themselves a reputation as sticklers for quality.
boAt was founded by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta in the year 2016. While working as a Director of Sales at Harman International, a company which makes speakers, Aman Gupta met Sameer Mehta, with whom he shared a passion for music. Aman Gupta realised the Indian millennial is increasingly oriented towards affordable high quality products which can also be used as lifestyle accessories or make a fashion statement.
Establishing itself as a serious market player
Prior to the introduction of boAt products, the market was flooded with highly priced products by JBL, Sennheiser and their likes and extremely low priced but average quality products by Mivi, iBall and Intex, apart from Chinese products. The startup focused itself on branding itself to the millenial youth of India. They made products which were trendy, durable, had a metal finish and came at a cost which was at least half of what the international players were offering.
Initially, sales by boAt were limited to e commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon and the sales were slow. However, this changed over time with glowing positive reviews from users, which prompted others to buy these products as well. The earphones and Bluetooth speakers, especially, are a huge hit amongst their customers. The term ‘boAthead’ was given to a person who makes a product purchase, adding them to a fraternity of boAt users.
The popularity of cricket and films was used as an advantage when boAt partnered with sports and film stars to endorse their products as brand ambassadors. Jacqueline Fernandez, Kiara Advani, Kartik Aaryan and Neha Kakkar are Bollywood stars who endorse boAt products. From the cricketing fraternity, there is Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishab Pant, K.L. Rahul and Hardik Pandya. These partnerships helped boAt in establishing themselves as a key market player in India.
The startup is also partnering with fashion events like those held by Lakmé, where the models only have boAt products as their accessories when they walk down the ramp. This is to establish boAt products can be a part of everyday fashion.
Bluetooth speakers which are waterproof and shockproof and earphones which are sweat resistant are some of the unique innovations which are a part of the brand. The popularity of boAt is surging, thanks to their marketing and product quality. The startup will try to shift its manufacturing to India to cut down on import duties, which would make their products even cheaper.
Read about Shuttl is trying to decongest traffic in cities: Shuttl : A Startup Providing Comfortable Mass Commute Options
TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products
A country like India which is influenced by diverse cultures and religions over the ages, there are multiple belief systems which also come with their own share of taboos and stigmas. Most of these taboos are based in deep rooted ignorance and also the lack of proper educational awareness among the Indian population. One such taboo, is the stigma surrounding menstruation, because it is treated like a societal evil. The problem is due to the old school thinking which associates menstruation with impurity. While the stigma is one problem, another problem is the lack of means for a large number of women to purchase the necessary sanitary products because of their high price.
This is where a startup named TruCup comes into the picture. TruCup was founded by two women entrepreneurs Shivangi Bagri and Alakshi Tomar. Shivangi Bagri used to have to endure excruciatingly painful periods before purchasing a menstrual cup from Singapore and realised the product made her life better by easing her periods. Being a Yoga teacher and a dive enthusiast, Shivangi’s life changed for the better after using a menstrual cup. It was then she realised how the current market products are misleading women by convincing them to buy products which contain synthetic fabrics, fragrances and chemicals. This motivated Shivangi to come up with the perfect menstrual cup.
Alakshi Tomar on the other hand used to work with schools in the slums of Mumbai and it was there she saw the neglect of menstrual hygiene. The problems she saw while working in the slums coupled with her own sedentary lifestyle during her periods made her switch to a menstrual cup.
The two (Shivangi and Alakshi) became friends in school, and remained so even when they moved to different cities for higher education. A chance WhatsApp conversation between Shivangi and Alakshi led to them realising they are the only two women using cups in a group of 15 friends from school. The two figured there was an urgent need to create the perfect cup for all menstruating women. After months of research and constant design feedback from women who used cups, they came up with a comfortable design.
According to TruCup, one billion pads and tampons are disposed of in India each month. Another 64% of women use cloth for sanitary purposes in India and another 95% of women do not use menstrual products due to taboo/myths surrounding insertion, virginity and hygiene.
Shivangi and Alakshi set out to create demand in a market dominated by sanitary napkins and were able to expand organically to 56 cities through online and offline sales. Women who used their products are their best promoters as they are vocal about the quality of their products and recommend it to other women. TruCup trained more than 1600 women on menstrual hygiene, established partnerships through governmental and non governmental agencies and impacted more than 60,000 women through different projects. Shivangi and Alakshi however have a long term goal to destigmatize the taboo surrounding menstruation and to make the public have conversations on menstrual health and hygiene. TruCup plans to train people of gender roles and how gender roles shape the way people think, organise and know the world. TruCup also provides training on sexual and reproductive health as well as menstruation. Furthermore, TruCup also aims to create awareness about the environmental impacts due to unsafe disposal practices of sanitary napkins and the importance of sustainable menstrual products.
TruCup is bringing a revolution to women’s health with their community awareness programs and their top quality TruCup!
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