The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for organic products. As immunity and wellness took centre stage, many people over the last one-and-a-half year switched to organic.
Overwhelmed with India's trash problem, Sahar Mansoor (29) was confronted by it every day, seeing piles of garbage on the streets. She started to think of the environmental, health and social justice issues associated with the garbage problem.
She came up with 'Bare Necessities'-in the pursuit of zero waste living and living a lifestyle congruent to her values. Bare Necessities is a zero waste personal care, home care brand and a hub for awareness on waste-free living.
Sahar turned to be an accidental entrepreneur, though she comes from a family of serial entrepreneurs.
"I felt overwhelmed with India's trash problem. I was confronted by it every day, seeing piles of garbage on the streets. I spent time with local waste pickers and watched them sort through waste with their bare hands. I started to think of the environmental, health and social justice issues associated with our garbage problem," Sahar says.
"I wanted to stop being part of the problem. My solution was to live a lifestyle that best reflects the values I cared about. I have been living a zero-waste lifestyle for two and a half years now. I have produced only half a kilogram of trash in that time, all of which fits in a 500 ml jar. In my zero waste journey, I realized that it was impossible to find personal care and home care products that didn't contain harmful chemicals and weren't packaged in plastic," she adds.
Zero Waste Values
In response to this problem, Sahar wanted to create a company that mirrored zero waste values, ethical consumption, and sustainability. She tried to make it easy for other people to consume more mindfully and encourage others to produce less waste.
"We are in the largest global garbage crisis of our lifetime, which means that every toothbrush, shampoo bottle and personal care product plastic bottle you have used in your lifetime currently exists on the planet somewhere! Everyone on this planet needs to become involved. Every little effort helps in moving humanity toward a circular economy methodology that lives more sustainably with nature," their website states.
A women-run manufacturing team makes the brand's products, from ethically sourced, natural ingredients while ensuring a responsible end-of-life. All the packaging is either repurposable, recyclable, and/or biodegradable.
Bare Necessities addresses heavy manufacturing, distribution, and consumption flaws by innovating and providing sustainable solutions to waste using a people-centred and earth-centred approach. It uses reusable glass jars wrapped in cloth scraps from the local tailor and paper scraps from the printer. The brand uses post-consumer packing materials to ship its products. The labels are printed on recycled paper and use only paper tape for packing. It also encourages customers to reuse the glass jars in the kitchen, compost the toothbrushes, and recycle all packing materials.
"Simultaneously, we are also working to raise the awareness level around the need for zero-waste products and a sustainable lifestyle. There is a growing community of conscious consumers, but many looking to join may feel overwhelmed or may not know where to start. We address this issue through our UNESCO recognized education initiative, Bare Learning, which comprises talks and workshops, sustainability consulting and online courses that break down the concepts around sustainability into easily digestible pieces," the Bare Necessities team shared with The Logical Indian.
'Less Is More'
Bare Necessities was launched in 2016. From a humble base of 4000 in 2017, the company has over 30,000 customers. In addition, the education initiative Bare Learning has directly engaged over 2,00,000 people and more than 10,00,000 indirectly. Besides, social media is also huge on impact and strong communication with a following of 80,000 on various channels.
"In this journey, witnessing consumer response and receiving feedback from our customers is undoubtedly the most gratifying experience. It has inspired us to pursue and achieve the brand's vision. Our early adopters have set a foundation for a zero waste community, and we are now building a robust ecosystem with like-minded consumers, communities and organizations," the team shared.
The brand believes in 'less is more'. Since all their products are freshly handmade, have no chemical preservatives, and come in small quantities, they won't last for years. The recipes are deliberately kept bare, minus any fillers, so one gets more of each carefully curated ingredient. As a result, a little goes a long way.