While the organic movement is gradually making its presence felt in food products, here is one such company – ‘Krya’ that specialises in organic and environmentally sustainable non-food household products like detergents. Started by 33-year-old Preethi Sukumaran, Bachelor’s in Zoology, PGDM from IIM Calcutta and 34-year-old Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Master’s in Physics from IIT Madras, PGDM from IIM Bangalore, Krya was formed in 1st October 2010 in Chennai.
How did it all begin?
“While the idea of Krya was born in January 2010, we created the brand “Krya” in May 2010 and the company was officially formed on 1st October 2010. Krya’s first product (or sustainable goodie as we call it), is an all natural detergent made from organic soapberries, that was soft launched in May 2011. The formal launch of the Krya e-commerce store was on September 14th, 2011. Krya is primarily an e-commerce company and our e-commerce store is at www.krya.in,” mentions Preethi.
The inspiration behind Krya
Preethi recalls, “In the beginning, we asked ourselves the question, how lightly were we treading on earth. Krya is our ongoing exploration of the answer to that question. We started this exploration earnestly in our everyday activities. Along the way, we got ideas that excited us and we couldn’t wait to share it with others.” So on a May night in 2010, Preethi and Srinivas went through hundreds of names that could evocatively convey their vision of sustainability and they really liked Krya, which means “mindful action”.
“Mindful action by everyone, even when they do the smallest and simplest of tasks, will help build awareness, and encourage adopting better actions for the environment,” adds Preethi. Through Krya, both Preethi and Srinivas hope to create a strong portfolio of sustainable goodies that will help Indians make a positive environmental contribution through simple mindful actions like doing the laundry or cleaning the dishes.
Krya’s first product (or sustainable goodie as we call it), is an all natural detergent made from organic soapberries, that was soft launched in May 2011. The formal launch of the Krya e-commerce store was on September 14th, 2011. Krya is primarily an e-commerce company and our e-commerce store is at www.krya.in,” mentions Preethi.
The Philosophy of Krya
Preethi and Srinivas list out Krya five principles on which Krya is based on:
Cradle to Cradle design – Every part of our product, including the product itself, packaging, resources used during product usage like water, and product residue, has been designed to be recycled or re-used. This minimises wastage at every point in the product’s life cycle.
Minimal Carbon footprint – Our carbon footprint scorecard evaluates raw material sources, manufacturing process, transport choices, and consumer use and disposal.
Use of natural ingredients – We extensively use natural ingredients close to their original state. This creates high-value products for consumers, sustainable livelihoods for the producers and helps us maintain a lean and efficient manufacturing process.
Vegan products – All our products are plant-based and free from animal testing.
Effective products – We create high impact products that work extremely well for our consumers.
“Internally we are working on translating these principles into an ecological scorecard which will help our organisation as it grows bigger, to continue to follow these practices every single day,” adds Preethi.
Krya is a company that creates environmentally sustainable consumer products to use around your home. Preethi mentions, “Krya’s USP is the stringent environmental standard we follow to create high impact products for the consumer, with a low impact on the environment. All the products we create are natural, environmentally sustainable, preservative free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and have a minimal ecological footprint. We create our products using the best quality certified organic ingredients and add NOTHING else to them.”
Being an ethical, sustainable company, it is a challenge to build awareness for our brand, without using fear based or push based marketing methods or exploiting any particular group of consumers.
“For example, we have a lot of parents who buy into our philosophy and use our products for their children. We have been asked many times to use this as an advantage and “market” to parents by using the doctor referral route or create specific advertising targeting parents, says Preethi.
Many consumer segments are vulnerable to exploitative advertising, and parents are one of these groups – today a parent has a tough job wading through the sea of products that tell them that they will confer a unique competitive advantage to their kids, or that by not buying this product or service, they are not being good parents.
Being an ethical and un-exploitative marketer presents its own set of challenges – how do you create awareness without using the most common routes of pulling down competing brands or scaring potential consumers into buying you or simply intruding into people’s lives and aggressively marketing to them.
She further adds, “We use permission-based methods like our blog, guest posts, PR by invitation (like this opportunity with http://www.tanyamunshi.com) and our Facebook page to create meaningful conversations with potential consumers. Our consumers have also been extraordinarily generous with us – by writing about Krya, recommending Krya to their friends, and creating positive Word of Mouth for us, they have helped us spread awareness about Krya.”
However one of the most interesting challenges that Preethi and Srinivas face every day, is to engage with people, one on one, in a real way and see how they can help them lead a more sustainable life; this involves unlearning most of what we used to do in their traditional jobs, and that has been very rich and very rewarding.”
Products on offer
“To begin with, we have started with our first sustainable goodie, Krya’s pure, natural detergent”, quips Preethi. Krya pure and natural detergent is a completely plant based detergent made from certified organic Soapberry fruit. It can be used in all washing machines and to hand wash your laundry. This gentle, fruit-based detergent is tough on dirt and kind on colours and fabric. It is hypoallergenic and is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal in action.
As a low-foaming detergent, it saves up to 2/3rds the water used in a machine. All the wash water can be re-purposed directly without treatment, to water your garden, saving between 50 – 150 litres of water per wash. The products we create under Krya can be divided into 2 important categories under which product development is in progress.
“This year, we plan to launch the range of products that help you clean your home in a natural and sustainable manner. Our second product is a dish wash product that is currently being tested by a panel of our consumers,” mentions Preethi.
Since they use only certified organic ingredients for all of their products, so getting great quality raw material is always a challenge for them.
The Krya detergent comes in a 400-gms pack. The cost of the detergent (including all taxes and free shipping to your doorstep) is Rs.290.
Each 400-gms pack lasts for 40 standard washes in a front or top loading machine. You would need to use just 1 tablespoon of detergent (10 gms) per wash.
“Krya is primarily an e-commerce company, so all our products can be bought online at http://www.krya.in . We have worked hard to make our website easy to use, safe to transact on and we have an excellent logistics partner who delivers our products very fast, anywhere in India. Our prices include free shipping anywhere in India, mentions Preethi.
She further adds, “We are also available in certain, special retail stores. We partner only with retailers who share our vision of sustainability and who have used our products for themselves and liked it. We have started to partner with certain retailers in Chennai, who we are happy to be working with: reStore – http://www.restore.org.in, Dhanyam – http://www.dhanyam.in, Gormei Market – http://www.gormeimarket.com and Pappadum – http://www.pappadum.in . We are working to expand this in other cities too.”
Sourcing the raw materials
Preethi adds, “Our primary raw materials come from a beautiful certified organic, horticulture farm from Andhra Pradesh. We have a manufacturing unit on the farm, where the raw materials (after getting plucked from the tree), are sun dried and processed in the manufacturing unit. This helps keep the carbon footprint of our product to a minimum as the ingredients do not travel anywhere to get manufactured.”
As a policy, Krya works directly with the farmer or producer groups so that the money is paid directly to them. This is the case in Dharany farms (in A.P) where Krya works directly with Mr.Reddy, the farmer to create our products. “As our range of products grow, we will continue to partner with farmers to get in the finest quality, organically grown plant ingredients for our products,” mentions Preethi.
The Krya detergent is the first completely plant based detergent in India. It is prepared by powdering sun dried, handpicked, organic soapberries and add nothing else to the formulation. This makes it very natural, very gentle and extremely safe to use. Krya detergent is also excellent on handloom fabric and natural colours – making your clothes last longer, and keeping them soft and vibrant for a long time. Being so natural, the detergent is completely compostable – and all the wash water your machine generates can be used to water your plants.
Before signing off, Preethi adds, “While our products have fantastic environmental sustainability credentials, they also require very little change in habit from a consumer’s point of view to adopt. So every Krya product can fit into a person’s everyday life with minimal fuss, and starts working to reduce their environmental impact from the word go.”
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