What inspired you to start Inkahaani?
It all started with my personal journey. When I was making the life changes I needed to, I found it surprisingly difficult to source the products and information I wanted. I had to browse through many stores and channels, some of which I found prohibitively expensive for regular use. Inkahaani was born from a desire to make a sustainable lifestyle more accessible to all – to find the basics you need to start, under one umbrella, at a reasonable price point. I wanted to help shatter the myth about a sustainable lifestyle being a luxury; and show that everyone, everywhere, could make small changes, and still have a huge impact. Inkahaani’s wide range of products, and the stories underlying each, are chosen to make the shift to a more conscious lifestyle easier.
Your products are born out of sustainability and made with love. Can you tell us a little bit more about how your products are made?
Kahaani is ‘story’ in Sanskrit, so Inkahaani is meant to be a collection of inspiring stories. These are our backbone – they showcase our values, our beliefs and the causes we support. We curate our products with care to ensure that our customers use products we would use ourselves. We are extremely careful about who we work with; we partner with social organizations and women entrepreneurs who are passionate about traditional crafts, supporting disadvantaged communities and living consciously. All our products are ethically sourced, most of them are handmade and involve back stories of giving back – to society and to the planet we live in.
Your products are tried and tested. What products are becoming most popular?
Both parents and kids love our wooden educational toys and cloth dolls. Cast iron cookware and our natural cleaning scrubs have been a huge hit in the last couple of months. Self-care products like cloth diapers and all natural sanitary pads are doing well too. Sales of up-cycled plastic products has also started picking up lately. We have noticed customers coming back to us and gifting products they have tried to their friends. Seeing people we may have inspired, trying to rope in others to live more consciously, is incredibly motivating. You can imagine the little ‘happy’ dance I do when I get such a note from a customer.
How have you become a more conscious consumer?
It is a journey, and I still have some way to go. I am still using up all the stuff I bought when I was a less conscious shopper. Nowadays, I always think through all my purchases – do I really need it?... where is it coming from?... how long will I use it?.. where will it go once I am done with it? If I do need to buy, I always look out for local small businesses that reflect similar values – these pull at my heart strings. I am also looking carefully at repurposing or responsibly disposing of things I no longer need. I am thankful for businesses like yours that strive to give a longer shelf life to products that deserve one.
Your family are a huge motivating factor behind Inkahaani. How can we teach our children about sustainability?
My daughter’s birth was actually the trigger for all the lifestyle changes I adopted. The responsibility of choosing ‘good’ things for a little human who was entirely dependent on me, made me re-evaluate a lot of my choices. Children are adaptable, learn quickly and follow the examples we set. I try to have conversations with my child, I explain why we avoid plastic and how harmful it is – and I can see her disgust as she understands the reasons why. I try to get her outdoors as often as I can, so she can interact with, and be enchanted by trees, flowers and animals. It is equally important to give children relevant alternatives. My daughter prefers her stainless straw instead of a plastic one, she loves her cloth dolls, she takes pride in carrying her own water bottle and now she digs up the garden to plant every seed she gets hold of.