[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Sahar Mansoor is on a mission to ensure zero-waste, ethical consumption
Sahar Manoor, the founder of Bare Necessities—a brand focusing on zero-waste living—shares a glimpse of her entrepreneurial journey.
A studious child from early on, Sahar Mansoor grew up interested in the environment and wanted to become a professor, but ended up becoming an “accidental entrepreneur.”
After finishing her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Environmental Planning from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and a Master’s in Environmental Economics and Law at the University of Cambridge, Mansoor was looking forward to do her PhD.
That somehow did not work out, and for the first time in her academic journey, she had to sit back and reflect on the options she had.
Soon after, amid the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Mansoor took up a work opportunity at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.
Upon moving back to India in 2015, while performing groundwork in the solar energy space, she came across a waste-picker community and their work impacted her significantly.
She was appalled by how the community was impacted by the prevalent grave garbage crisis. She wanted to stop contributing to the crisis and as a result, foundedin 2016.
What began as a hobby to apply theories to practical life eventually turned out to be a more conscious effort to facilitate mindful consumption.
Today, Bare Necessities is actively providing sustainable personal and home care products, sustainability workshops, online courses, and much more.
Mansoor shares, “Bare Necessities was set up with this very ambitious role to make conscious consumption and zero waste living the norm and not the exception.”
“The convenience of us having access to amazing products, at the tip of our fingers, with access to technology shouldn’t cost the environment,” she adds, and we agree.
Mansoor shares how she faced the hurdle of access to finance. “There were a couple of factors that contributed to it. I was a young female founder pitching in 2015 when sustainability was not yet on the map of many investors. Another thing could be that maybe I looked young and inexperienced.”
However, that did not stop her and soon, people were reaching out to her instead.
For her, this was a valuable lesson. She says, “Just focus, double down, build what you have to build, and maybe then the universe will attract [it], and it will come your way.”
Once Mansoor was asked to “stop being ambitious” and be satisfied with making products in her mother’s kitchen by a well-known mentor in the startup ecosystem.
“I remember coming back home, and I was like—I am going to make this happen and prove to this gentleman that he was wrong in his advice that day,” she proudly recalls.
Her advice to women leaders? “Be authentically yourself, always tune into yourself, and listen to what you intuitively want to do or want to build or start. The only way to figure out if your startup idea or anything else is going to land is if you give it a shot. So, just do it!”
Edited by Kanishk Singh