This Founder is Making Gifting Green & Sustainable

People today are showing a great transition from just ordinary gifting to gifting with a meaning.

By Sunil Pol

Entrepreneur India

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The world is fast waking up to ethical green concept of gifting the time is ripe for the overgenerous Indian wedding industry to think about splurging on ordinary gifting to gifting with a meaning.

People do have started gifting things that are not a reflection of their monetary standard instead give gifts that reflect a thought. But the amount of spending on ethical green concept of gifting that makes a positive impact on the environment and society at large is still negligible in the INR 100,000 cr wedding industry and INR 18,000 cr gifting industry in India. It is true to be said that in India the amount one spends in a wedding equals the amount of money one spends on education.

Thus, acknowledging about the emerging state of ethical green concept of gifting industry and its future potential in India Sonia Agarwal, the young Founder and CEO of Whitenife, the startup which offers vast range of wedding catalogues of ethical gifts spoke to Entrepreneur. Following are the excerpts from the interview.

People embracing the green concept

People are embracing the concept of being green and sustainable. We see this trend not only from a fashion industry or lifestyle industry perspective but we even see it in the wedding industry too. Today many people take the medium of blogging wherein they discuss about sustainable décor and gifting options and gifts that make a difference. Along with the wedding invitation cards or thank you gifts, people today are trying to gift not only valuable gifts but also give away something which is invaluable and priceless like the intangible gifts that have a beautiful story and emotional connect. People today are showing a great transition from just ordinary gifting to gifting with a meaning.

Ethical aspect fit in varied gifting trend

Gifting does not only mean giving away a product or an object but it largely means gifting something good which comes attached to it. Gifting something personal brings with it a lot of emotional connect. So the idea of ethical gifting is not about gifting someone a gift, it is about gifting someone so that it feels that there has been a lot of thought put into it because it's not always about the gift it's about the thought. Today it's a ritual to send across invitation cards along with a box of chocolates, but an out-of-the-box idea is when these chocolates do their bit to benefit the society by contributing to the well-being of the underprivileged children. It's a great idea to give away gifts that largely contribute to making the environment and community happy.

Is India open to embrace the Green concept?

There is a certain strata of the society that still dwell on an old-school thought process that weddings and silver go hand in hand. Certain section of the society still wish to have that corresponding value attached to their gifts, however we have gifts that are top notch and high in quality but are dedicated to benefitting the society. There are lots of families that are embracing ethical gifts. In fact we have simple potli bags that have been made by underprivileged children. For MC2 pocket squares we have imprinted images from the space organization NASA on wedding invitation cards. I do see a great potential and wish for a bright future for this industry.

Does the green concept lowering the dependency on the limited resources

In weddings every piece of wood that has been used in the decor is recycled and used in another wedding. This gives us an opportunity to try and give your best to this flourishing industry. For wedding favours or for thank you gifts there is always an opportunity to be green and responsible. A lot of companies today are looking out for paper cards or recycled and eco-friendly paper cards. There are people who are environmentally conscious who are embracing this change. We don't sell regular gifts. We want to curate gifts that are good to the environment, animal-friendly and vegan, helping women empowerment and educating children. We also lend support to amputated artists who paint with their mouth and their feet.

With minimum domain knowledge how can an entrepreneur start journey

Dive in and learn, hire people for things you don't know, be careful about the kind of people you hire, getting the right team is the most important thing, it's not really hard to learn when you are surrounded with an efficient team. You don't have to be having all the knowledge before you start your company I think it's important to enter the business with the right mind-set and attitude where you are absorbing the various things put before you. During my learning phase I would sit with 16 scientists when I didn't even come from a material science background.

Sunil Pol

Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

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