A Stitch on time- No to Plastic and Eco Friendlyshayonti
Our handmade scarves need a home when they are not being used to keep them safe, protected from dust, dirt and moisture. All our scarves reach the customer in a handmade organic cotton dust bag with 2 coconut shell buttons! The bags are eco friendly and have a lovely behind the scenes story to make them a beautiful addition to our philosophy of artisan made sustainable products. A little extra special just like all the accessories we sell.
Today we share the story of a vision and a team whom we are proud to associate with and call our partners in this journey we have embarked upon to make our planet a little more sustainable.
We chatted with Menaha Sudhakar about her organization Noyyal Go Green. Yes they make the bags to house all your Urban Medley scarves and capes!
Menaha, tell us something about what was life before you started Noyyal Go green
Life before NGG was in Information Technology for me. Did my undergraduate studies in business management and then took a Masters in computer applications. After completion I took up a job in the IT sector where I worked for a decade. I was working in the USA when I finally decided to quit my job and move back to my home country India. I wanted to start a business of my own. Just followed what my heart was longing to do which was a social service oriented business. Whatever I do I want to be close to people I work with and uplift them in society especially women. Women in India continue to dominated by the patriarchy and very often not given the due respect and place in society and somehow their dreams remain lost within the daily chores of taking care of a family.
And what inspired you to start Noyyal ?
I was initially volunteering in a NGO, SIRUTHULI situated in Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu. SIRUTHULI was focused on saving water and reducing pollution of water bodies in and around Coimbatore. It was during my volunteering days that I noticed how much of plastic is disposed in the water bodies daily. I was shocked beyond words to see the clogged water bodies and plastic dumps around the city. I was determined to play a part in reducing the indiscriminate use of plastic covers and bags the main source of plastic waste. Alongside this, in my village there were women who had received training sewing and stitching as part of a government program but they couldn’t earn a livelihood as there were no opportunities to monetize their skill in the village. These women looked up to me to help them out. So I decided to combine my desire to reduce plastic use and also create employment for the women of our village. The idea was to start a venture benefiting the environment and the village women.
What does the name Noyyal Go Green signify ?
Noyyal Go Green symbolizes recovery of severely polluted rivers in Kongu region of Coimbatore. Inlets and outlets of the rivers are blocked by plastic bags. NGO’s are fighting to save and reclaim the rivers in and around the area from plastic pollution. We are trying to eradicate use of plastic bags which are so harmful to our environment and for our next generation, and promote using reusable cotton bags. Noyyal Go Green was born.
Tell us a little more about Noyyal Go Green.
Noyyal Go Green started with making cotton bags of various different uses and now we have diversified into making Eco friendly pens and pencils, tooth powder, herbal bath powder and handmade soaps.
Most of our marketing is online and by word of mouth, social media or whatsapp. I train my staff in professional training institutes situated in nearby larger The women from my team are sent to the institutes and they are trained professionally. It was important for us to produce quality products
The hurdles you faced setting up Noyyal Go Green…………………….
The biggest hurdle was fighting the village community. The village we work and live in has a very conservative and traditional community. The community in general is poor and the women folk are neither empowered nor are they the decision makers. Uplifting the women came with a fair share of fighting the deeply entrenched caste systems, superstitions and the traditional village hierarchy.
However we stayed committed to our goal and what we wanted to achieve. I stood by my ladies and protected them from every backlash they had to face from the villagers. Today many of these hurdles have been overcome and many people even envy how these women are able to work without leaving the village and still earn a respectable living for themselves and the family.
And your biggest source of help and support when you started your entrepreneurial venture?
Definitely my husband Sudhakar Senthilvel. Without his help in raising my two young kids I would not have succeeded in running my venture. In addition his continued advice on the running of the NGO has helped us grow and develop as an organization.
Tell us about your team.
Women working for us are from different communities and backgrounds but they have learnt to work together as a team. Many of them use their income from working at Noyyal Go Green, for their daily living, children’s school fees and most importantly they have stopped borrowing money from money lenders at high interest rates. Today they look a lot more confident.
The biggest achievement so far…………………………..
We have been successful in making substantial online sales in a very short period of time mainly due to good reviews we received from our customers. That gave an unexpected push to our venture and promoted our artisan made product range.
Anything that you would have done differently, given a chance.
I feel I did my best with what was available to me at the given time when I started. I feel very satisfied and feel proud to have chosen this path. I still feel I have a lot to achieve and need to give jobs to many more women.
The most important brand message – what does your brand denote?
We are Eco friendly and will continue on this path.
Your plans going forward?
Come up with more eco friendly products which can be easily made by my team of women here and will make it possible for me to give employment opportunities to many more village women. Making them financially independent and free from the shackles of a patriarchal society
Anything else you want to share with our readers.
We are doing our part to save the environment, please do yours.
When you get your order next time with your favorite scarf carefully housed in one of our eco friendly dust bags do remember this initiative and I am sure you will feel awesome knowing that you have played a part in making someone work and live with dignity.
Author: Shayonti Chatterji