Sustainable living: Meet the 29-year old who generated Rs 50 lakh in a year by helping people become eco-friendly
“Sustainability and environment-friendly is the future,” says 29-year old Nitika Sonkhiya, Co-founder and CEO of MyONEarth, an online one-stop eco shop for all things sustainable.
In March 2018, a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Life Cycle Assessment Study of Plastics Packaging Products, revealed that India manufactures about 707 million metric tonnes of plastic annually. The report added that almost 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste are generated every day.
Thus, going green and adopting a sustainable lifestyle is not a matter of choice anymore. “There is an urgent need to replace single-use plastic,” says Nitika.
Founded in January 2020, the Delhi-based platform provides eco-friendly lifestyle products made out of bamboo, coconut shells and cork.
Founders Nitika and Sameesh Nayyar have got MyONEarth registered in the USA as well. “We will be live on Amazon USA and UK, very soon,” says Nitika, adding that the brand plans to have over 500 SKUs by the end of this year.
MyONEarth caters to customers looking for affordable plastic-free alternatives. “We are catering to them and in line with our philosophy ‘Waste to Wealth’. We help people reduce the waste they generate as much as possible,” she adds.
The ecommerce platform provides sustainable products ranging from personal care and home decor, to kitchen and travel essentials. It also has products under stationary, conscious gifting, yoga, and wellness segments.
The B2C startup sources its products from the artisans from their places of origin (e.g. coconut shell crafts are sourced from South India) and the quality check is carried out in its warehouse in Delhi, and the designing and curation are done in-house. MyONEarth pays its artisans outright.
“There is an increasing awareness across the world of the harmful effects of single use plastic, the threats of climate change, and the need to preserve whatever is left of our environment and planet. MyONEarth is a reminder to people that we only have one earth, and should do our best to save and protect it,” Nitika says.
Nitika first used a bamboo toothbrush four-years ago. “I immediately realised that I needed to bring more of this to the market,” she says. Along with her former colleague Sameesh (39), she founded MyONEarth last year. The duo previously worked at HCL.
However, the journey for the young woman entrepreneur was not a cakewalk. “It was not easy convincing my parents. I was quitting a high-paying job to start an unusual business...My father was supportive but my mother was worried that no one would marry me if I didn’t have a job,” Nitika quips.
She realised, early on in her journey, that being a woman entrepreneur is already very tough.
Meeting vendors at places that were not welcoming for women was the second-most challenging part during Nitika’s journey.
“I had to visit places where one could not spot a woman far far away. Some vendors were not even comfortable talking to me because I was a woman, and also because I did not look my age. The space and industry was largely male dominated,” she adds. “People underestimate you all the time. I had to work extra hard to generate trust and goodwill.”
Today, the MyONEarth team has five environment enthusiasts and four freelancers. The co-founders invested Rs 10 lakh to start the business.
MyONEarth targets customers in the middle and upper strata of the society, who have interests in organic food, product, wellness, yoga, ecotourism, kitchenware, and environmentalism.
Within a year since inception, the bootstrapped startup claims to have served more than 8,000 customers while also working with clients, including Blue Tokai Coffee, BBlunt, and asa Beauty. MyONEarth is growing at a rate of 20 percent month-on-month, and has already generated more than Rs 50 lakh revenue.
While brands like Brown Living, Blue Bird Universal, Verth, and For Earth’s Sake, which are also in the sustainable lifestyle brand market, Nitika believes MyONEarth has a differentiator to offer.
“We have the first mover advantage, and are the only brand to provide such a wide collection of eco-friendly and Made in India products under one roof,” she adds.
Nitika says, it is not very difficult to switch to a sustainable lifestyle, and one does not need to shift to an eco-friendly lifestyle overnight.
“The process is gradual and happens over time. Just keep looking for an alternative when your existing product is used and over,” she says.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta