Araatrika is an eco-enterprise driven by the mission of creating sustainable and eco-friendly stationery and gifts for everyone! During this festive season, do check out Araatrika's products and do your bit in helping the environment! In conversation with Jagruti Kambya, Founder and Creative Head at Araatrika -
Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
If I had to define myself, I am an architect by profession and an environmentalist by choice. Before starting Araatrika, I was working as an eco-architect in Auroville and Delhi and then moved to Pune. Up-cycling has been very close to my heart, caring for the environment has always been at the top of my list. Araatrika is a passion project, and it is what keeps me going. There is an urge to save the planet by taking action towards polluted water bodies, dying animal life and ever-filling landfills.
Q2. Tell us a bit about your journey, how did you start your own business?
Araatika was born in the month of March, 2017. I had started working as a junior architect with a reputed firm in Pune, but the fire to do something of my own was always there. I fell sick and took a two-week break and it was in this break that starting something of my own was the only thing in my head. I knew I wanted to start designing and making products from waste, it was the perfect way to do upcycling and make a positive impact on the environment. In that two-week break, I selected and finalized the name, the logo and even started making my own products at home. I was then able to successfully sign up for an exhibition at a flea market. This meant I had long working hours – 8 hours in the day-time for my job and 5 hours through the night for my passion. The products I made not only made my very first exhibition, but also my first sale. This outcome affirmed what I wanted to do – do my bit every day until in September I quit my job and started doing Araatika full-time. Since then, we have been growing together every day!
Q3. What does the word Araatrika mean?
The word Araatrika comes from the Sanskriti word A-Ratri – which stands for something that diminishes the darkness and brings light into one’s life. Araatrika aims to do the same – we make up-cycle and recycle to make sustainable products that bring green back into a world full of greys and blacks!
Q4. What are the kinds of products Araatika has? Do you have a favourite?
We specialize in eco-gifts and stationary. Our products balance contributing and doing one’s bit in making the environment a better place. With most of our products you can grow your own saplings – The Happy Pencils, Happy Seed Plantable Pencils, Happy Seed Cards, Happy Up-Cycled Diaries and Happy Seed Rakhis. We even have customized plantable cards for weddings, invitation cards and visiting cards. All of our products are reasonable priced starting from Rs. 50 up to Rs.500. One can get these products either online or at various eco-fairs we participate in, oh and Araatrika is now available even in some leading stationery stores in Pune!
I would say my favourite product is the Happy Up-Cycles Diary. We make it by collecting various waste fabrics from designers and tailors and then stitch them together to form the outer cover! Even the stitching is done by underprivileged women to make beautiful unique covers. I love how unique, detailed and involved each diary is! The paper inside the diary is sourced from printing presses – we collect, sort and use their leftover paper to finally make a handbound 100% upcycled diary!
Q5. What are some of the biggest challenges you faced?
There have been quite a few challenges we as Araatrika have faced, but I think that is what makes it even more special! Firstly, there is a lack of awareness – both in terms of the waste generated in our country by various industries and in terms of our efforts to up-cycle and re-cycle this waste generated. There is also a reluctance to change, from using conventional products to using more sustainable and eco-friendly products. Lastly, initially cost was a major challenge but I am happy to say that we are at a stage now where our stamp of “eco-friendly” is not just for the elite or premium class of the society because of the affordability!
Q6. Since starting Araatrika, has living a greener and more sustainable life brought about changes? If given a chance would you like to change anything?
I don’t know if I can say I would like to change anything. Green is my way of life now, there is just no other way. We owe this planet a lot of respect, we belong to this planet. Random acts of kindness are not limited to just people, they should be for the environment around us too – knowing and respecting the ground beneath my feet and the air around me makes a difference. I believe it can translate into a lot of positive actions on a day-to-day basis.
Q7. If you have to give a piece of advice to someone looking to reinvent themselves, what will they be?
I would simply like to say never give up! It may be a rollercoaster but it is absolutely worth it.
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