Savitha Rao is on a mission and that too with style. She believe style and responsibility can be blended nicely. Her fi rm Clean Planet produces ecostylish products to inspire consumers across the globe to buy responsibly. It offers a wide range of eco-products including Eco Veggie bags, Trendy Eco Tote bags, Contemporary Eco Sleeves, Eco Home Placemats and Eco Pouches. Here’s an excerpt of her chat with Uma Haridas on how she did it
What motivated you to shift from the corporate field to be an entrepreneur?
I always knew I would be an entrepreneur at some point. In my corporate career I was in the field of
textiles. As an entrepreneur I wanted to get into a business that had ‘do-good’ embedded in it. So I actually explored getting into production of medicinal herbs, orchids. One day a friend gifted me a copy of ‘Business as Unusual’ by Anita Roddick. It’s a hugely inspiring book. It finally dawned on me that one can do good through any business (excluding ammunition, alcohol, tobacco etc).
I could combine my love for fabrics with the creation of a better world. Initially we started out with apparel and accessories for the Japanese market where we pioneered a whole range of products – including the inclusion of high quality hand embroidery into contemporary apparel.
Then one day I read an article on the North Pole melting. Something in that moved me deeply. And I decided to get directly into the environment space. That is the origin of ‘Clean Planet’. In a way Clean Planet was inevitable for me.
The company’s credo is creating products with a soul at a reasonable cost. From a line of cloth totes to the pioneering Swachh Citizen bags, the brand is constantly innovating while getting more stylish and plans to add new products into its home decor segment. Swachh Citizen and India Kuch Kar are initiatives taken by Clean Planet with its passionate commitment towards a clean environment.
How do you ensure sustainability in your vendors and supply chain?
• We source eco friendly fabrics, the dyes, prints on cotton are AZO free. • We design products to optimize the use of the materials
• We do not use any Velcro, plastic zips, foam or rexin in any of our products – even though the eco alternatives we use make our products more expensive.
• We train our vendors to minimize waste during production.
• Smaller panels generated during the production are made into creative, high quality products
• We do not use individual poly-bag packing for products
• Packaging is reused extensively
• Material movement is optimized
What has been Clean Planet’s journey so far and impact on environment?
It is been an amazing journey with all the thrills of a rollercoaster ride. What has been constant is the conviction that each one of us must do our daily bit for the environment. And we are committed to make it easy, stylish and affordable for people to go eco-friendly .
Some of our products are pioneering. e.g the Eco Veggie bag that helps to eliminate plastic from the refrigerator. Initially we had a tough time communicating the product to people. Now, we have customers across India who regularly buy it.
What’s your advice to future change makers?
Vision, conviction and perseverance are essential – especially in the environment space. This is not an endeavor for the faint-hearted.
Build a network of people – friends, associates who will inspire and challenge you. Especially in the tough times a robust network will help you bounce back faster.
Actively earn. An entrepreneur today needs to know a lot more. Every discipline is evolving. Social media presence and online marketing is important for every entrepreneur to understand.