Pooja, Please Tell Us About Yourself and the Sustainable Startup, Blink Green?
I was born & brought up in Pune. I completed my Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering from Pune University and Advance post-graduation diploma in Renewable energy from TERI University, Delhi. After graduation, I got placed in Capgemini India (Igate India) in 2014. After completion of 4 years of job, I left my job in 2018. Afterward, I worked as a Java Developer in an Insurance Domain. After completing my Post-Grad from TERI University as a distance course. So, In October 2018, I came up with an idea of manufacturing footwear made up of upcycled tyres. With the help of local cobblers, we were successful in making 2 prototypes of tyre chappal. 1- Made up 100% scrap airplane tyre. 2- Made up of truck tyre & some scrap fabric (Leftover from the boutique). I participated in the competition called start-up India Yatra held by Maharashtra State Innovation Society & Startup India, involving 3 levels of competition. 1st level pitching in Baramati (Oct 24) and 2nd & 3rd level pitching in Nagpur (Nov 1 –Nov 2, 2018). After the last level, I received the ‘Best woman wantrepreneur’ award i.e. best upcoming woman entrepreneur award worth Rs.50000/-.
How Do You Make Footwear With Tyres? And Still, It Looks No Different Than Our Regular footwear?
Designing is the most crucial part of footwear making. Since it has to be comfortable and sustainable, our karigar and designers make specific efforts towards these things. That contributes to the making of regular footwear despite being made from a scrap tyre material.
Coming From A Technical Background, And Being A Software Engineer, How Do You Manage A Business Startup?
I always dreamed to work in the environment sector. Being passionate about Renewable energy and sustainability, after engineering I completed post-graduation in ‘Renewable Energy’. So after post-graduation, I started studying about up-cycling. I started visiting established companies and meeting professors. Read multiple papers and got information about plastic & tyre up-cycling. I was lucky to get help from mentors & professors in this sector, so we have tried multiple experiments on scrap tyre in laboratories. During one of my brainstorming sessions, I got an idea to upcycle the scrap tyres into handcrafted footwear. As mentioned earlier, after receiving an award from startup India I invested the award amount in buying raw material for footwear and doing R&D for the same.
What Challenges And Problems Surfaced With The Advent Of The Startup?
As a startup, we did face challenges and some of these challenges were to do with Marketing – We wanted to pitch our idea to clothing brands for tie-ups. Then we use to think about Innovation in design- Network development with sustainable material factories. Also, the Time availability of CEO matters as it helps in team expansion and priorities the work. Hurdles like these would challenge me from time to time, but again challenges are experiences you can learn from.
What Was The Reason Behind Introducing An Intriguing Concept Of Turning Scarp Tyres Into Beautiful Footwear?
15 million tons of scrap tyres are generated in the world annually out of which million ton get generated in India. These scrap tyres cannot be used for vehicles again due to the latest policy by Government of India. Tyres cannot be decomposed easily so they are nothing but dangerous addition to our landfills. I have innovated a commercially feasible idea accompanied by a feasible production technique to use cut pieces of scraped automobile tyres to manufacture the footwear. We can use scraped truck tyres or aeroplane tyres (aerosols).
It helps to solve 3 issues
Positive impact on the environment.
Create job opportunity for cobblers.
Customized footwear for customer tailor-made to choice.
What Is Your Future Vision For Expanding Your Business?
As for now, in 2020 – we are looking to scale-up business with the same product. However, for the next year, 2021- we are planning to Scale up the existing business on the international platform as well and to launch new up-cycled products from tyres. With regards to long term plans, we are launching up-cycled products crafted out of different scrap materials from the year 2025.
Please Share A Quote About Your Initiative
Fashion Footwear Finds Sole-Mate In Up-Cycled Truck Tyres. Think twice before buying any product as you should be more concerned about what it contains and how it is made than how it looks. The present scenario makes an alarming condition for us to be concerned about!
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