They say the fashion industry produces 10% of humanity's carbon emissions. It is also the second-largest consumer of the world's water supply—about 700 gallons of water go into producing one cotton shirt. Chasing today's unwise trends can having cascading effects on our future.
The husband-wife duo of Udit Sood and Nikita Barmecha decided to address the damages caused by fast fashion by launching EcoRight. The brand produces high-quality bags in quirky and innovative fabrics using recycled cotton and Juton (jute and cotton). Though its early days, EcoRight is winning the hearts of conscious shoppers who factor environmental impact in their shopping decisions. Sample this: EcoRight has already established its export footprint in Malta, Greenland, USA, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand with over 150 products across 34 product lines.
How the journey began
In 2017, EcoRight was launched as an online start up that sells well-designed, eco-friendly tote bags, travel pouches, handbags, make up kits and more.
Staying in India, we were aware of our planet's burgeoning problems. Many Indian states have already started witnessing the impact of global warming, wherein worsening temperatures are leading to heat waves and floods.
Sustainability in numbers
Drainages clogged by plastic waste are a common sight in India’s cities and towns. But the good news is that consumers are educating themselves on sustainability and exploring eco-friendly products, which became the motivation for Sanjiv and Udit to take the entrepreneurial plunge. So far, EcoRight has reached 60 countries and successfully delivered over 325,000 bags. The brand simultaneously recycled 310,000 plastic bottles while generating 720,000 MJ of solar power. All of this while effectively reducing 32 million plastic bag waste.
The competitive advantage
Fashion and sustainability are often considered contradictory. Often, products made from sustainable materials miss out on style and aesthetics and that has a bearing on customers' desire to invest in ethical shopping. Shedding light on EcoRight's USP, Barmecha says that the team identifies fashion trends and work backwards on sustainably developing the same. "In terms of product development, we always look at what is trending in the market. The core of our business is to provide consumers with what they need sustainably, that is to bring sustainable alternatives to their daily requirements. So, we study fashion trends closely, observing all the fashion weeks,” Barmecha said.
Provident Fund for karigars
In addition to delivering sustainable fashion, team EcoRight also envisions a future where the rural workforce is equipped with skills and financial independence through secured jobs. Barmecha says all their karigars have a provident fund component in their compensation. “We conduct medical camps twice a year, and they all get interest-free education loans for their children. Considering upskilling as a priority, we have also been able to provide financial independence to a significant number of women," says Barmecha.
Amazon Propel S2: A launchpad for global expansion
Recently, Solethreads, EcoRight and Go Desi, were chosen as winners among 1,000 startups that had applied for Amazon Global Selling Propel Startup Accelerator Season 2. The three winners cumulatively received $100,000 in grant from Amazon for global expansion. Amazon Global Selling (AGS) Propel Season 2 gives its participants a chance to interact with various other entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and seasoned Amazon executives. Participants gain valuable insights on how they can scale their businesses and product lines. Sharing the experience at Propel S2, Udit adds, "The Amazon Propel recognition will help us reach out to more consumers in India and abroad. The mentorship we received from the senior leadership and investors gave us an innovative perspective on global business". EcoRight aims to use the grant and AWS Activate credits to build global sustainable practices and invest more in ethical manufacturing. The brand is aiming to expand to countries such as Singapore and UAE.
"Entrepreneurs who have made it big shared their experiences with us to guide us on how we can grow our teams and maintain a healthy culture in the company. Through Amazon Propel, we received many important takeaways primarily on how to grow the business internationally," Udit says.
A rigorous eight-week program
Launched in January 2021, Amazon Global Selling Propel Accelerator is a rigorous eight-week program designed to help early-stage start-ups in the consumer products space expand globally and become international brands. As a part of the program, a cohort of select start-ups receive 1:1 mentorship from industry leaders, a platform to interact with investors and receive handholding support in going global. Slurrp Farm, Sirona and Wellbeing Nutrition were the winners of the program's inaugural season in 2021.