Bare Necessities is a Bagalore based startup founded by Sahar Mansoor.
All of our products are packaged in recyclable, reusable and biodegradable packaging; relying on ethical sourcing from local farmers and vendors and by emphasizing the employment of women, BN solves the often-ignored yet growing problem of waste, and provides an ethical and innovative solutions that benefits consumers and society, says Sahar.
We got an opportunity to talk with Sahar, and see what she has to say. I am sure her interview with us will inspire you.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Using a people-centered and earth-centered approach, BN addresses serious flaws in manufacturing, distribution, and consumption, by innovating and providing sustainable solutions to waste, and proposing problems that more companies need to address if they want to be innovative and socially-conscious. Bare Necessities produces everyday essential products that do not contribute to the waste epidemic. All of our products are packaged in recyclable, reusable and biodegradable packaging; relying on ethical sourcing from local farmers and vendors and by emphasizing the employment of women, BN solves the often-ignored yet growing problem of waste, and provides an ethical and innovative solutions that benefits consumers and society. BN positively impacts waste management streams, consumer and community health, and the consumer’s wallet. By producing zero-waste products goods and hosting educational workshops, BN seeks to change the narrative on waste in India and demonstrated that any individual can positively impact their community, through inspiring others to reduce waste and think consciously about their impact on the world.
Through talks and workshops we addressed over 10,000 people in the past 3 years. We have sold over thousands reusable straws and bamboo toothbrushes and that’s much less plastic straws and brushes in the landfill. I wanted to create an enterprise that empowers women – I am very proud to say, we are a completely women run enterprise! We employ local women to make zero-waste products, we also truly believe in up-skilling, our women are learning basic inventory management and English. This is only a drop in the ocean, lots more to accomplish.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
I am an accidental entrepreneur, through I come from a family of serial entrepreneurs. Bare Necessities (BN) started in the pursuit of zero waste living and living a lifestyle congruent to my own values.
I felt overwhelmed with India’s trash problem. I was confronted by it every day- seeing piles of garbage on the streets and 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 justices issues associated with our garbage problem.
I wanted to stop being part of the problem. I knew I had to address my own trash problem first. My solution was to live a lifestyle that best reflects the values I cared about. I had called myself an environmentalist for about six years at the time. I studied environmental policy at the University of Cambridge and I had worked at the World Health Organization, but I decided I needed to live a life fully congruent to my environmental and social justice values. I needed to walk the talk and I knew I had to start living a zero waste lifestyle.
I have been living a zero waste lifestyle for two and a half years now. In that time, I have produced only half a kilogram of trash, all of which fits in a 500ml 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. In response to this problem,I wanted to create a company that mirrored the values of zero waste, ethical consumption and sustainability. I wanted to make it easy for other people looking to consume more mindfully and to encourage others to produce less waste. Bare Necessities was born.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Hi, I am Sahar Mansoor, I love scuba diving, biking,hiking, spending hours in cubbon park, and attempting to play football on the weekends – basically doing anything surrounded by nature!
I have spent several years, obsessively studying various environmental issues. I have found myself in various cities trying to find solutions to environmental problems that are very different from each other, yet extremely interconnected. Be it working in rural Karnataka or smog filled LA. Regardless of where I have been I have found myself using my surroundings as my learning laboratories.
These experiences have really shaped the way I view our waste problem. My perspective of the waste problem has changed dramatically over the years. Starting off with my very academic linear approach in the early days straight out-of Cambridge, to being challenged to think about issues from a health perspective at WHO; to finally realizing that much of our waste problem is really a social justice issue while working with underserved communities.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Bangalore yes because people are so aware and also willing to try new things!
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
You are obsessed with Everything as a founder. What are my next steps, how to keep inovating is something that keeps me up at night.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We are the only zero waste personal care, home care and lifestyle brand in India=)
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
My mornings are sacred. I try not using my cell phone from 6 am to 10 am. I wake up at 6 am, run in cubbon park twice a week, functional fitness thrice a week that has lots of Japanese Jujutsu influence, football everyday Saturday with a a badass all women’s crew. I come back home cook myself a healthy breakfast (the only meal i cook) while listening to my favourite podcast (How i Build This – unpacking stories behind some of the world’s best known companies; weaving a personal narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.), shower, meditate and then start my work day!
This helps me restore balance in my life =)
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Yes we did a small 15L crowdfunding campaign, we are currently looking to raise our seed round.
What gets you excited about this company?
Passion to create products that are handcrafted in India
We think there is a lot to be celebrated about India. India is the land of yoga, the land where the sacred is revered in every river and mountain. The land of sensory overload – aromas, scents, textures, colors all come alive to make India, India! At Bare Necessities we attempt to celebrate the beauty and richness of India! It is exciting to incorporate indigenous, ancient ingredients whose benefits we have probably heard of but never really experienced for ourselves such as, turmeric!
Much like the hidden treasures buried away, turmeric – coined the magic herb, works wonders with its powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. These properties make for remarkably effective personal care products.
BN also seeks to capture the essence of India – constantly in a state of transformation yet timeless. At BN we try and marry the old and the new! We take a cradle-to-cradle approach to every product, from the design to manufacturing to distribution. All our products are powered by natural, bare Indian ingredients; which have no harmful impacts on our health or environment. Our raw materials are ethically sourced. All of our packaging is recyclable or biodegradable, which means nothing ends up in a landfill. All products are handcrafted by women in Karnataka.
Why should people get involved?
Because we are in the largest global garbage crisis of our lifetime. Every toothbrush, shampoo bottle and personal care product plastic bottle you have used in your lifetime, currently exists on the planet somewhere; these plastic water bottles take anywhere from 200 – 700 years to start break down and never fully do, they just break down into very small fragments known as microplastics and land up in your gut.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Wake up brush my teeth with my bare bamboo toothbrush, Bare natural toothpaste (made with ingredients found in any kitchen).
If I am out for meetings all day, I don’t forget to carry my water bottle, lunch box, my bamboo cutlery, my stainless steel straw (I have tender coconut water almost everyday), my towel and a hanichief, my ink pen and my coffee mug (to help me avoid single use items that will land up in the landfill in seconds).
At Bare we spend a significant amount of our resources on educating and empowering people, communities and businesses about the impact of their choices on the environment. From coconut vendors to local coffee shops.
We even dedicate large chunks of our time teaching people how to live more waste free through our DIY workshops, and give them the ability to create their own zero waste products from home. We work with people of all age groups, socio economic backgrounds to collectively create a zero-waste movement in India.
Being raised by a single mum, I wanted to create an enterprise that empowers women – I am very proud to say, we are a completely women run enterprise! We employ local women to make zero-waste products that care for you as much as they do for the planet.
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