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Click, buy and support

Online store preserves culture, is green friendly and showcases artefacts made by the specially-abled.

entertainment Updated: Mar 04, 2010 15:17 IST
Sneha Mahale

The thought behind is simple — to leverage the power of consumerism for social, economic and environmental change.

The brainchild of — Aparna Bhatnagar, Vinay Choletti, Piyush Verma, Krishna Soujanya and Pallav Bhatnagar — is the new age eco-friendly online store, and the need of the hour.

The store has on offer, a range of products, that contribute to the holistic development of society and support economic and environmental sustainability, while helping preserve culture as well.

It only sells products that are environmentally friendly or are made by the underprivileged. Patrons can purchase crafts made by rural artisans; they can even volunteer to work with their partner NGOs to help forward their cause.

The store has collaborated with over 15 NGOs and artisan groups in the few months since its inception, and hopes to reach out to many more.

Aparna Bhatnagar, one of the partners, says, “We don’t determine the profit margins for our partners, NGOs or artisans. They are free to set their own price and profits after covering their costs. However, we give them market inputs and responses about a particular price.”

Being online enables the partners to share information about products, the organisations that made them and their impact too. It also enables the store to cut down on costs and pass on the benefits to the customers and partners.

A customer orders online and pays via the payment gateway using credit or debit cards, net banking or PayPal. The store then gets the order delivered to the respective address. All the products are checked for quality at their Delhi office, before being shipped out to the customer.

The website displays complete information about their partners, the NGOs they procure their products from and all the concerned art forms. Using Facebook and Twitter, they also share videos and stories about their products and partners. They also have a blog where they write about social and environmental issues.

Bhatnagar says, “We keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. Being online, we do not consume energy for air conditioning or lighting like the regular malls do.” Also, the packaging materials like the plastics used by the store are bio-degradable, making the products even more eco-friendly.

They also strongly promote reusing and recycling products — hence their tags are designed to serve as bookmarks after their primary purpose has been achieved. Bhatnagar says, “We ran an online campaign on Valentine’s Day to promote green gifting and show love towards the planet and its people. For Holi, we promoted eco-friendly, natural colours made by specially-abled youth from the Avacayam Cooperative at the Society for Child development. Students from a premier management institutes supported this cause by celebrating Holi with these colours.”

Future plans include offering a wide range of products that help people live a more socially and environmentally responsible life. Bhatnagar says, “We plan to expand our store with more interesting features such as wishlists.”