PureCult: An eco-friendly home cleaning products maker

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The United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Report that was released last month in August, issued a ‘Code Red for Humanity’ after collecting, analyzing and disseminating reams and reams of data about the historical and present levels of greenhouse gas emissions, weather and climate indicators; and ended the report with best and worst case scenarios. We’ve already reached the cusp of climate change with unpredictable weather and climate patterns already making their presence felt across the world of ours today. India, being a tropical country; along with a bunch of others, is particularly vulnerable and 2030 does not seem to be so far away now. Its just another 9 years towards the mark of an increase of 1.5 degree celsius which humanity most likely will not be able to avoid as per the report. 

If the IPCC report feels to you, as something that ought to dominate news and households everyday, you would be mistaken. We seldom take action unless we personally experience hardship of some sort; and since India, being a big country, has always seen and already sees its fair share of hardships day after day, month after month, planning for the long-term in addition to putting in place a mechanism to achieve a vision is asking for a lot. Yes, the nation has an ambitious target of setting up 450 GW of renewable power by 2030. Adversity is nothing new for humanity. Climate change is probably the biggest one, since the last major climate event happened over 14,000 years ago. 

We need to step up and clean up our supply chains that manufacture, transport and ship products across the globe. Industry and Transport being the key interventions, one can be forgiven to think that residential and domestic units are exempt from making interventions. However, if one can afford to, and has the will to navigate the green energy space, they ought to, since every step taken towards greening our ecosystem will go a long way and inspire others to do the same. Today, at Bangalore Insider, we spoke to Roopa Hariharan, the co-founder of PureCult, a company motivating its customers to do their bit towards the green product movement. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.   

Give a brief info about your startup?

PureCult was born out of the desire to offer clean and green alternatives to home cleaning products. Adopting cleaner alternatives in all aspects of our lives not only keeps us healthy but our environment as well. 

What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?

Though we do not control the way the world chooses to live, we definitely can choose how we wish to lead our lives. This translated to various changes at our home personally. When India launched its first electric cars (EV), we happily embraced the option and made the switch. We moved completely to electric cars and solar powered our homes so that we are carbon neutral. With respect to planet friendly cleaning products the options were limited and not very exciting. A lot could be done to provide clean alternatives without having to compromise on efficacy. The range of products available abroad, India still didn’t have. The desire was to offer products which worked well with good essential-oil based fragrances.   

Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?

After obtaining an Engineering Degree, I spent 10 years at IBM and Accenture. I then gave up my corporate career to start a not-for-profit to help government school children have access to high quality math content. As a part of this initiative we touch the lives of 10,000 children and provide them access to in-house digital Math content from grade 1 to 10. The initiative is now 10 years old.   

Where is your startup based? Why do you think that is the best place for you?

Our startup is based out of Bangalore and Delhi. There are two advantages to this. Our Bangalore office also has a warehouse and helps us cater to orders from the South region. Our Delhi based office helps in coordinating with our vendors who are all based in the North and helps in manufacturing. 

As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?

As a startup founder, ensuring customer satisfaction is the most important aspect. Taking feedback and tweaking products to make it better is very crucial otherwise we will soon start losing customer goodwill. Working to launch new exciting products which make consumer lives easier is another area which keeps me up at night.

Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?

As a start up in this field we offer one of the largest range of products compared to our competitors. 

How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?

Managing a start-up is like managing a new-born baby. Constant attention is required day and night and it needs to be nurtured closely. My son is a teenager and in crucial years of his schooling. So, yes it is tricky managing the two. It is important to have a good support system at home to help us maintain a health work life balance. That way our food, nutrition and general well-being is not compromised. 

Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not then please tell us if you are looking to raise.

We are self funded and are not looking to raise funds at the moment.

What gets you excited about this company?

Product innovation, identifying cleaner and better alternatives to traditional ingredients, knowing about new developments in the category and helping people solve day to day problems in an eco- friendly way excites me the most.

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.

My day typically starts at 5:30 in the morning. After a morning walk, job or a gym work and a good healthy breakfast, my work day starts. I typically take a break at 6 pm to spend time with my family and to plan for the next day (both in terms of work and household requirements – be it grocery planning, food menu, other home planning requirements and also what needs to be done the following day at work). I then spend some time preparing for any meetings the following day. My day ends by 9:30-10 pm. 

Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?

We are a budding core team and an extended support team to help us with finance and marketing. Some of the team members have been with me for more than 10 years right through the time we started the not for profit and continue to support us to this day. We also have a very enthusiastic set of new team members who have joined us over the period of last one year. We have 50% women in our team right now.  

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