In this technical day & age, we’re constantly being bombarded with news and information all the time with no sure way of knowing whom to actually believe." This calls for people & brands to rise to the task of making sustainability simple & accessible for everyone out there.
The Entre-pun-eur Initiative by Sirohi is a one of its kind virtual chat with some of our favourites from the business industry spanning over environmental, fashion, lifestyle, tech and more areas! In this, we get into a one-on-one discussion with them to learn about their journey in starting their own venture- not merely the technical challenges but all the fun they had in this experience- the puntastic experience of being an entrepreneur!
Introducing the third session from this series, we bring you Mansi Shah.
Mansi founded Keep It Sustainable Stupid (KISS) in early 2020 with the goal to simplify sustainability and make it easy for people to understand. Prior to KISS, Mansi was the founding member at Hemp Fabric Lab, India's first online hemp fabric store by Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO) where she led brand strategy and business development. She is currently working as a consultant with Nest, a non-profit in New York, and mentoring artisan businesses on brand strategy and sustainability communication.
She explains how she had to create opportunities for herself as there wasn’t much happening in the sustainability sector in 2016. The first time she even came across the word ‘sustainability’ was when she was in the Netherlands, where she was pursuing her masters in footwear business and innovation. Mansi has relied heavily on her environment for deriving inspiration & a purpose.
Her time in the Netherlands taught her how the Dutch lifestyle is heavily inspired by minimalist living and everything they design revolves around functionality, purpose and longevity. Looking back at her upbringing in picturesque Dehradun , she realised that she’s always had an attitude of giving back to nature and respecting its boundaries. All these experiences have accumulated beautifully to drive her to lead a more sustainable lifestyle & help others do the same.
The Beginning of KISS
Image: Tanaya Ranade from Team Sirohi in conversation with Mansi Shah about educating people regarding sustainability with K.I.S.S.
Mani spent her 20’s working at an organic vegetable shop, where she handled everything from opening up the shop early in the morning, handling the cash register to interacting with customers and selling their products at farmer’s markets. It was an essential learning phase to work at the grassroots level as it helped her in her future ideation & planning roles on much bigger projects.
A key takeaway from this experience was that most people don’t understand what sustainability truly stands for. In this technical day & age, we’re constantly being bombarded with news and information all the time with no sure way of knowing whom to actually believe. This knowledge gap prompted her to actively champion sustainability and spread awareness about it through workshops through workshops and even giving a TED talk titled ' Why we shouldn't talk about sustainability'.
In this session, she brings to light how the fashion industry is the biggest contributor for waste and pollution- a fact people are only realising now. She mentions how, on one hand, there are many companies who are introducing interesting & innovative ways to make fashion sustainable. However, there’s an equal share of brands that brainwash their audience about wrong sustainable practices & falsely promote themselves as eco-friendly. Owing to this mill of misinformation, Mansi was driven to introduce a platform where sustainability can be broken down for everyone to understand.
Next Steps Towards Generating Awareness
Keep It Sustainable Stupid aims at simplifying sustainability through a storytelling approach. One of their central target groups for such awareness is the GenZ-ers or the younger populations. Mansi stresses on how peer learning is a great way to get these younger populations to hop on the sustainability bandwagon. She narrates how she herself had an influence on her friends and how her peers hold each other accountable for one another’s consumption choices.
To conclude the session, her advice for anyone wanting to enter the sustainability sector is quite simple!
-Think through what really matters to them in sustainability.
-Having a focus and researching further about it would really help them.
-Surround yourself with like minded people, discuss ideas, work together and even learn from them.
-Always try to get real-time experiences because until you’ve seen it for yourself, you haven't seen it at all.Check out the Live Video!