Trailblazing social entrepreneur Guddi Bajaj is the founder of a Dubai-based lifestyle brand and social business Innara Inc. Launched in 2018 as a way for her to live a more grounded lifestyle after 25 years in the events industry, Guddi began by championing the sustainable manufacture of candles, creating recycled containers in concrete made with some construction waste and other materials. She also teaches sustainable arts and crafts via edutainment workshops for children and adults and has collaborated on various international sustainable programmes. She plays two and a half songs on her guitar, loves her dogs immensely, and continues to look for the joy in life and connect with a deeper purpose...
Tell us about the Innara journey - when did you start the business and what was the reason for creating the brand?
In 2015 I took to flipping furniture as a hobby and mostly to help tide me over after a personal loss. It's then I started questioning the world we live in more closely. Everything is so fast paced, everyone is on a hamster wheel and it wouldn’t be very long before the beautiful parks and lakes disappear as a result. It was then I realised that we had to make a change. I had to make a change, starting with my circle.
Innara is a beautiful word from the Quran - it means illumination. Innara's journey is not so much about me as it's about the people who get into the fold of leading a sustainable life, even if it's only one step at a time. I started with creating soy wax candles in concrete containers that I made with some plastic takeaway containers and construction waste or coffee from a nearby barista. We also have an upcycling department where we flip furniture that would have found its way to landfill and instead find them beautiful new homes.
Your ‘tagline’ - ‘We hope our labour of love illuminates your inner truth’ is beautiful - please can you tell us the meaning behind it?
We want to evoke awareness amongst people about sustainability and how they can make a change, one upcycled product at a time. Everyone knows deep down that the planet is getting ravaged – it's what we choose to do about it and that’s what we want to talk about.
You have a range of products and different avenues of business for Innara, please can you tell us a bit more about that?
We have products and we have business services at Innara. We started with a sustainable candle range and soaps, and we have plans to start an organic beauty brand too. We also recycle old paper and make seed paper that can be used as stationary. Our services include upcycling furniture as well as teaching via workshops with children and adults on sustainability so we can widen our reach and really promote our message.
What does your typical day look like - are two days ever the same?
No two days are the same! We are making our own concrete containers and pouring candles one minute and flipping furniture or making seed paper the next.
So… What’s next for you?
We have been selected as a sustainable artist for an international co-create program supported by HSBC, which is really exciting. We would also like to expand our product offering by the end of the year. The road ahead is positive – like they say – “The earth laughs in flowers”.
Check out Innara on Instagram here.