1) Why and when did you start this business?
We are quite new in this field, building socially responsible business is pretty challenging in India where we are in early stage in adopting zero waste, plastic free, and plant based lifestyle.
EcoBowls are made coconut shells, coconut shells are discarded by coconut product manufactures. Coconut based product manufacturer discard billions of coconuts shells, they are later being burnt to decompose, which in result release methane & co2 to pollute environment. It’s not only hazardous for our nature but for the worker burning coconut shell to make charcoal.
Coconut bowls are very unique and natural bowls- after cutting & cleaning the husk from the shell, coconut oil is being for its strength and shine. Make it perfect to have your tropical smoothies, Buddha bowls, & salads.
EcoBowls, has started with an idea of eating healthy & clean food, coconut bowl is one of the perfect way to have it. Two three years ago when I was trying to adopted conscious and healthy lifestyle, making salad bowls, Buddha bowls and posting them on Insta because of its aesthetic look was one of my hobby. Though I could not find something as good as coconut shell to serve my creation into. I bought so many wooden bowl, plastic, melamine bowls which are processed with chemicals and people are eating out of it.
Asian country like India is filled with an abundance of coconuts; I try to source it from many south Indian artisans though could not find the right balance with the product due to its small size and durability, train them to make without lacquer also.
After some more research I found Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines are the right place where we can get the type of bowls we are looking, which is jumbo and durable.
I have immediately started contacting few of my acquaintants living their if they can help in sourcing, as one bowl would be economical but the import freight and duties were exceptionally high to make this product not scalable for Indian market. Somehow we try to manage it by sea freight.
Once the product arrived i did little bit of branding and started selling online market place without any high hopes. and plan to do only wholesaling to retailers, who are selling similar products, to avoid high losses.
Eventually our online retail orders have also started since then I decided to make it a Brand and supply directly to consumers.
Now planning to launch it internally as we get quite good enquiry from international locations.
2) What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?
The biggest success for me is that, people do not only love EcoBowls as a product but they are also talking and promoting us on Instagram.
Now I can proudly say that we have developed a community who loves their meals in EcoBowls, sharing their unique healthy and plant based recipes & lifestyle.
EcoBowls is bringing people together & believe in supporting each other.
3) What was your biggest challenge when you started your business?
How have you dealt with this challenge?
There were many challenges like finding out right source of product, right quality of coconut shells, and then there are logistic & operational challenges.
I still operate the business from my dorm room and manage everything from storage to shipping, from sales to marketing, from legal to accounts.
Disengaging myself from unproductive lifestyle and keeping every minute count has helped me to manage these challenges.
Also I am fortunate enough to have good friends and supporting parent around who has helped in many ways from packing shipping to attending promotional events on various cities.
4) Do you have any tips for successful work habits you have developed since starting your business?
Better financial planning
One of the most important things is finances while starting any business, which I learnt after starting. Duh!
Late than never I inculcate the habit to control my unnecessary expenses like excessive online and offline shopping, eating out and luxury travelling.
With this plan I could manage a good saving account, which further help in fund my online business.
Saving money does not mean control on your necessities just cut down your few luxuries which you don’t need or just need to impress others.
5) What advice do you have for aspiring women entrepreneurs or startup founders?
1. Your peer group defines how your thought process will be, choose your friends or people wisely. Keep negative things & people aside. Having a company of like minded people, doesn’t matter if they are 20 -30 years elder than you. Start talking to them to get some mentorship, learn from their experiences (good/bad)
2. You have to find your well-wishers (apart from your parents) who are there for you in every ups & down.
3. Failing 100 times are better than not doing anything.
4. If you believe in something go do it and stop listening to any comment which may come between you and your passion.