changemakers: Soumya and Himalayan Origins

changemakers: Soumya and Himalayan Origins

what made Soumya quit her high flying corporate career to start Himalayan Origins

A genuine urge to support grass-root communities made Soumya quit her highly successful corporate career in 2019. By then, she had worked with the top notch tech companies. Between a career with Bain, Zomato, ZipDial and 4 years at Twitter and her love for travel, she had her hands full. But her dream of encouraging a plastic-free life and 'real' organic made her quit her job and partner with her sister, Neha Parmar to start Himalayan Origins. Both Neha and Soumya, have left their corporate careers and are working towards driving employment in rural areas of Uttarakhand, whilst pursuing their mission to give consumers the ability to switch to plastic free alternatives. She shares her sustainability story with us.

What triggered her sustainability journey? 

The trigger for me was very simple, I admired my sister Neha Parmar who lives a very minimalistic life in the mountains. On the flipside I always felt surrounded by people in the city, who would mindlessly spend most of their salary, including me, buying, weekend to weekend a lot of plastic consumables. In my corporate career, while traveling across the globe and staying in hotels, I was tired of seeing so much single use plastic being consumed and a dearth of options available to people. Neha and I in parallel had also started a nature retreat called Magpie Retreat in the mountains. Everytime people stayed with us, they came with a lot of plastic garbage, and all this was getting dumped in the mountains where the natural habitat is anyways very delicate. We removed all plastic toiletries, from the retreat, removed all single use plastic bottles and reduced as much single use plastic consumption as possible. However, we still felt, people needed solutions, and those solutions shouldn't revolve as much around recycling but removing plastic from the consumption stage itself. We all know how much recycling is actually done as per stats available. I can say we were tired of being a part of the problem, and we needed to come up with a solution for daily use products. We know we can't solve everything but even if we contributed to something to the problem that gave people the option to pick wisely, our job was done. 

Her personal sustainability mantra:

Consume less as you will produce garbage, and you are responsible for your own garbage :-) 

One sustainable habit that she will never want to let go of: 

Switching to Soap, Shampoo and Conditioner Bars!  I feel horrible to think of the number of bottles of body wash, liquid shampoo and conditioner that I alone as an individual would have just thrown in the dustbin before I made this switch. 

One sustainable habit that she would love to develop: 

I am going to start composting. We already do that in our homes in Tier 2 cities but in Mumbai with small flats, it is an issue where to put the large composters, so once I figure a solution for the right fit for my space, I think this is an area which I want to develop in 2022. We also love plants as a family so might as well do this to give our plants some good soil. 

What would her advice be to people willing to do more to preserve the planet: 

If you are someone who is tired of being a part of the problem, and wants to start their entrepreneurship journey, then innovating smartly or partnering with companies who are already in this space is a good idea. If you are someone who wants to make a change, but cannot leave his/her job then convince atleast 5 families around you, and especially the younger generations to join the movement. People need education on the severity of the problem climate change is bringing to us..there are a lot of startups who would love to hire volunteers to drive this education, speak to them, think about how you can do volunteer work for them and contribute to the change they are trying to drive. Even if you can't volunteer, you can actively share with your communities more knowledge about products/companies who are working in this space  

One fact that she would like to tell people about her brand: 

At Himalayan Origins, we don't give up trying to convince people in switching to sustainable alternatives or experimenting to build newer formats. We have had the option to opt for cheaper plastic packaging, but we have taken the harder route of going for alternatives that affect our profits. We wouldn't say we are 100% plastic free, which is a fact but we are continuously trying to solve this problem to the best of our ability. It's important for people also not to give up on local brands and look for options like this to make the change and join the movement.



Author - team awenest

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