Pushpa S thapit and Rajan Chakradhar are the minds behinds the creative creation of “Revive”. The duo are currently MBA students at King’s College who always admire to be problem solver. Though Rajan has inherited the entrepreneurship aspect from his family plastic factory and was likely to join their family business but realized the missing social aspect from it which propelled him to consider the environment part as well in the business. Thought they wanted to solve the plethora of problems if the society, they have not opportunities that strike to solve the problem in the most sustainable way. “Revive” became the greatest the aid to mitigate the environmental problem as well earning them some money. Here is a short conversation with the duo about their venture and its future.
- Tell us about your business idea.
Puspa: Earlier, my mom used to new like chair covers, pillow covers, and other DIYs from used old clothes. But it was just for household purpose. I never thought of taking it as business. But during one of the brainstorming session, I along with my friends came up with this idea, which was actually an incident and still limited to a classroom project. But after the classroom project, we commenced our research on google and YouTube. It was totally different of what we had expected. It made us more motivated and interested in reviving the old clothes. As a result, we started making samples by collecting clothes from friends and families to experiment some new products, which turned out to be totally viable and workable. Now we are working on idea of reviving the used old clothes on a larger scale.
- Why should people use your products?
Rajan: Unlike other business, we are not here with the objective of making money. Our venture main objective is to make use of the available resources and preserving the environment-upcycle, recycle or reuse old clothes. We focus on the customers’ clothes to make new products and sell those products to them only at reasonable price, as the some people feel uneasy about the use of others’ clothes. Also, we provide money to the people in exchange for their old clothes, which becomes beneficial for both of us.
People can use their own clothes which will not only save their money but conserve the environment, too. We mitigate land pollution caused by dumping of unwanted clothes by converting into new and unique products. We are not the business which exploit the natural resources just for profit. We care the environment more than turnovers.
- How do you plan to expand the business in the near future?
Puspa: We do plan to expand the business in the near future, but not immediately. Till now, we have not launched our products to the market, our products are limited within or family and friends. Currently, we are preparing the products on the demand of the family and friends on their own clothes. However, nowadays we are getting demand from other people, too.
We also want to convert the used clothes into thread and into cotton. The demand for these products is high, but not available in our country. If we can produce here we will not only make it more accessible but also cheaper than others.
There is huge scope of employment for housewives in our society through reviving old clothes. Most of the housewives are free during the afternoon, which they can use for reviving the old clothes. They can not only utilize their free time, but can generate some amount of money, too.
Lastly, we are have planned to provide trainings to the rural women in the long run. Most of the women already equipped with sewing and tailoring. We can commercial sewing and tailoring which can change the lives of the housewives, too.
- What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Rajan: Firstly, the greatest challenge of ours venture is the taboo regarding the use of old clothes. People feel uneasy to use others clothes. Some people refuse to accept our product because they are made up of old clothes As a result, the demand is very monotonous. We have to take the clothes, prepare new products and sell them to only, which has a bit shrunk our business.
Secondly, lack of skilled workforce needed for our business. Though, sometimes luckily we find some skilled people, they are too expensive. And sometimes, we have attempted to provide the training to people as well, but did not work out as we have expected.
Lastly, we have not support as we needed from the government, NGOs, and private sector. We are conserving the environment which rarely businesses have done. We are providing training and employment to the people, so support from various sector is required.
- How did Yunus Centre help in your journey?
Rajan: Yunus Centre aid in our journey holds a great value for us. The Centre not only provide us the platform to get national level exposure, but also helped us to get connected with the investors who are willing to help us. Along with that, we have been approached by some NGOs thorough Yunus.
Besides, we got monetary support which we won as the winner of the “Yunus Social Business Challenge 2018”. The center provided us with experienced mentoring and training in free of cost, which is immensely significant in professional lives. We have planned to use the cash prize to train the victims of earthquake and people who require employment for basic sustainability. And in the same way, we have planned to buy sewing machines and equip the employees with more skills. And some money for advertisement as well.
Overall, the help of Yunus Centre was indispensable in our journey.