Sharing with you our latest conversation with Anamika Sengupta, the Founder Almitra Tattva and Almitra Sustainables. While Almitra Tattva deals with hand-woven baby-wearing fabrics and accessories, Almitra Sustainables offers products that are safer for you and the environment that can seamlessly fit into your day-to-day activities.
A mother, a wife and an entrepreneur, here’s what Anamika’s journey as an ecopreneur all about…
How did it all begin?
It all started with the birth of her son almost four years ago, when she was looking for good quality and safe baby wrap for her son. Since she couldn’t find the one meeting her requirements, she sourced it from the US.
As a mother, she wanted to wrap her newborn in the safest possible fabric and raise him in one of the most nature inspired methods that would be ideal for him and for the environment. This led Anamika into a path of research and creation. She dabbled a lot into DIYs right from research, travelling, educating people, watching and teaching through tutorials. This is where people started looking up to her for guidance in terms of sustainable living. Gradually people from her network and her friends started encouraging her to take up her work more professionally and give it a shape and a name, and that’s how Almitra Tattva was born in 2014.
Almitra Tattva was born more out of a need to wrap her newborn son Neo in the safest and responsibly sourced fabric. During her pregnancy, Anamika recalls how her ‘creative enzymes’ were at its peak, which had a ripple effect to bring forth something so useful, sustainable and safe for mothers across the globe.
Gradually she started working with artisans to create exquisite fabrics and baby wearing wraps and slings. From the beautiful earthy tones of the Bohemian Collection to the bold and subtle colours and designs in the hand-woven wraps and Cashmere collection, Almitra Tattva has become a well-known sustainable baby-wearing brand in Europe.
Also what makes her product so attractive is that it not only support the philosophy of attachment parenting, but the themes are inspired by the poetic verses of Khalil Gibran. In fact, the brand name Almitra has been inspired by the works of Gibran, from his book The Prophet.
Although she had launched Almitra Tattva almost four years ago for the Indian market, her baby wearing products became popular in the European market. Anamika mentions that Europe wasn’t intentional. The serendipity that it was, Almitra Tattva became the first Indian company to start with baby wearing wraps and by the second month, they were selling all across Europe.
Working with the Indian artisans
It was during this time that Anamika learnt a lot about the artisans and their ways of living right from the North East and even Kullu. With no formal training, she started from scratch working with them. Since she had a keen eye for detail, she learnt the various nuances of hand-woven fabrics.
“When working with the Indian artisans, I realized how sustainable their livelihoods are. They only consume what they need and led a simple, wholesome and a healthy lifestyle, which I wanted to bring into my life while raising my son and into my line of work,” adds Anamika.
In fact, it is through Almitra Tattva, that Anamika aims to bring in more ethnic designs and give our Indian artisans a global platform to showcase their work in the European market.
It was long back that Anamika had entirely stopped using plastics in her life. In fact, with the birth of her son Neo, it acted as a catalyst to procure and lead a more sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly life. And this began with a small change, where Anamika banished the plastic toothbrush and replaced it with a bamboo one ever since her son got his first milk tooth.
Almitra Sustainables was co-founded by Anamika and her husband Biplap Dutta, on World Environment Day on 5th June 2018. In spite of being at an infant stage, Almitra Sustainables as a brand has picked up really well and has been pretty well received across the market.
Anamika strongly believes that investments don’t always have to be equated to capital. It can also mean your knowledge, experience and your personal time and effort that you pitch in and you as an individual. She recalls that since she had already started researching and working on various projects that her return on investments was already in place and people were already waiting in queue for her products.
For instance, with regard to the babywearing fabrics, Anamika had already set up a base with the artisans and hence she would hire looms and work on the fabrics on a project basis with them.
Since time is also a significant factor for investments, she ensured that her travel time to work and home is minimal, she lives close to where she works, loves spending time with her son and husband and of course, indulges in lots of self-care which she says is very important.
Anamika feels that she had to meet more challenges in a corporate set up. She realized how sexist they were in their approach, especially after she resumed work after pregnancy.
“Those eight and a half years, I faced far more challenges as a woman employee than as an entrepreneur. I strongly believe that entrepreneurship is a state of mind. It allows me a lot of flexibility and creative freedom. In fact, we as women tend to create our own norms. Today, I have tried to create a more homely and a safe atmosphere for the women working in my company,” shares Anamika.
The fight against plastic is another major challenge. As Anamika points out that after the single-use plastic bags, the plastic toothbrushes are the second most hazardous elements for the earth. “As it is recommended to change a toothbrush every three months, just imagine, in one life-span, how many toothbrushes does an individual use! Hence, a small change to shift from a plastic toothbrush to daatun or a bamboo toothbrush can certainly go a long way for us to curb the plastic menace plaguing the planet, “explains Anamika.
She further adds, “Nothing is 100% biodegradable and if you were to make one, the bristles to be made by an animal hair. And since we’re a purely vegan brand, we don’t use any animal ingredients in our products. Hence the bristles of our bamboo toothbrushes are made with 80% cornstarch and 20% nylon and of course, we have activated charcoal bristles available as well.”
Sustainable products also face the challenge with regard to scalability, as the demands are still low. Once such sustainable products are widely accepted especially by the youngsters, the products can be made cheaper, more readily available while not compromising on the quality.
What makes Almitra Tattva & Almitra Sustainables unique?
All their products go through the highest standards of safety norms, especially for babywearing for Almitra Tattva.
“Here I’d like to mention that my husband Biplap Dutta , is India’s first certified babywearing educator, so having him on board is of immense pride and support for us. In fact, we have representatives of babywearing educators across various parts of Europe right from France, Italy and Netherlands, which helps us to reach the target audience that believes in attachment parenting just like we do.”
Best selling products
Some of the best works at Almitra Tattva are the woven wraps; and wooden toothbrushes, coir products and non-detergent based cleaning products to wash utensils in Almitra Sustainables.
Anamika is hopeful to make Almitra Sustainables products readily available for everyone in a most cost-effective way while providing the Indian artisans a global platform through the unique baby wearing designs at Almitra Tattva.
You can reach out to Anamika Sengupta, right here.
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