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Making an extra effort for environment

Henna Rakheja, Nov 28,2012:

Women entreprenuer

Innovative Bhavna Mehta displays eco-friendly products during Trade Fair.

A mother of two, Bhavna Mehta was like any other working professional, employed with embassies and educational institutes like CBSE and the British School. But somewhere within her, the idea of serving the environment was taking root.

This idea shaped up into an entrepreneurial venture when in 2010 she formally set up her company EL Papel De Mano and started manufacturing eco-friendly products. “I had a very good job and enough responsibilities but all that could not suppress my fondness for eco-friendly products. So I left my job at The British School and started making products from home,” says Bhavna.

She initially started with handmade paper and then moved to jute. “I made handmade paper through a simple technique at home but soon realised that in order to make finished products, I will require technical support from outside. It was while exploring other eco-friendly options that I came across jute which is sturdier and can be experimented with, in different ways.”

It is her designs in products such as laptop bags, iPad covers, conference bags, jute and totes, folders, hand-made paper products, metallic lanterns and various corporate gifts among 600 stationery items, that have garnered attention at exhibitions such as the India International Trade Fair and World Book Fair. She says, “When I was toying with this idea of eco-friendly products around seven years back, my research didn’t come up with any organised sector that was working in the field.

What most traders do is pick up products such as lunch box covers and small bags in jute, from North-Eastern states and sell them in metros . But to me these are not innovative. That is what we try to bring in through our products and create products which have a utility factor too - like the IPad covers which look good in jute and can be used daily.”

Bhavna has not undergone any formal training. A graduate of Jesus and Mary College she went on to pursue Spanish from St Stephen’s College but always aimed to bring, “A little bit of eco-friendly products in everybody’s life!”She designs the products with the aim to cater to the needs of every age group.

For according to her, after banning of plastics, the eco-friendly products will soon be the need of the hour, “Sooner or later, we all will have to shift to eco-friendly products. It is high time that we start exploring options in this field. I might have to do it at my cost right now but this will soon become a trend for when the traders will realise that there is a demand for such products, they will start producing them.” Till then Bhavna is enjoying her tryst with jute and is planning to introduce window bags as gift-wrapping solutions. Way to go!


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