At a recent pop up event, we got a chance to meet Shraddha, the founder of Cling Nature. Launched in 2017, Cling Nature provides environmentally friendly products such as paper straws, bamboo toothbrushes and speakers here in the UAE. After buying a pack of cloth bags for fruits and vegetables (been looking for these!), we got a chance to talk and so, we had to feature them on the blog! Read on the find out more about this business from the founder herself.
1. What did you use to do before starting Cling Nature?
I am a Software Quality Assurance Engineer (QA) by profession and had been working in a stretch for 11 years now in same industry. I have dealt with different technologies like Mainframes, Java, .net and also switched my domains from Insurance, Equities and derivatives, Online advertising to Payment gateways. Before Cling Nature I was fine, perfectly fine, but after forming Cling Nature, I have become passionate about healthy living and have completely adopted a sustainable lifestyle.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting Cling Nature?
We shifted to Dubai 5 years ago and I started working in a software company dealing with some great government projects. I was so used to the comforts and luxurious life of Dubai and I was happy with it.
Once when we were on a resort enjoying our short break from the daily routine, we encountered a group of people and they demonstrated some shocking numbers and videos about plastic pollution and its impacts on marine life. One shocking fact was that 4.9 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown every year and they are not even biodegradable, can you imagine?? This made us think about it and we came to the conclusion that we wanted to help society in any way we could and there arose “Cling Nature”.
We started gathering facts and figures and educating people by creating awareness through events/market gatherings and our goal is make biodegradable products available at an AFFORDABLE price”
3. Bamboo is the central material used in a lot of your products including the straws and the bamboo speakers. What drew you to using it?
Bamboo, is a sustainable material. It is an approved medium to be used on a commercial basis as well. Apart from this, bamboo is widely grown in the state that I come from in India. We get our bamboo from a small village called Velhe in Maharashtra, that produces good amount of bamboo. An interesting fact that many people are unaware of is that bamboo is a grass and not a tree, hence we can cut it without uprooting it. With good quality bamboo, it grows back to its full capacity in less than 18months. Also, we liked the aesthetics of bamboo -it has an natural ethnic look and shows authenticity. All these factors make it contribute towards our decision to use bamboo.
4. You work with a local community (in Pune if I'm not mistaken) in India to manufacture the products and there is also a social impact element to the business. Could you provide some information on how you identified this community of women and how the business helps them?
We do not believe in Charity but if we are independent and in a position to offer a helping hand, why not do that? We guide our staff to sharpen their skills set and allocate them various tasks such as silk thread jewelry making/stitching of produce bags/pillow covers. This helps them to earn an extra penny while being within their comfort zone. So they don’t struggle and also get a secondary source of income.
My mother stays in Dighi Pune, there is a small group of ladies who are either divorced/financially struggling or disabled and they are our TEAM. We have 5 ladies currently and it is operating on a small level, but we hope to grow depending on the support of people here. When our sale goes up, they will get a better job and better income
5. What is your current favorite item from your collection?
Bamboo is the most sustainable material, so anything and everything made from bamboo is my favourite. But to be precise, I like to get up and have my best buddy - the Bamboo Toothbrush first thing in the morning. Aside from that, I am never apart from my Bamboo Speaker and my Bamboo Flask bottle with Tea infuser, which I carry everywhere I go.
6. What is next for Cling Nature? Are there any exciting or upcoming projects that we can look forward to?
Cling Nature is a small startup as of now and hence we are looking for meaningful events to happen to spread the message of “Say No More Plastic”. We started with just 3 to 4 products and now we have more than 15 products. We have a lot to do on raising awareness, so currently we request that organisers invite us to meetups or events where we get to address the crowd and create motivation for the “ Positive Switch”. We are hoping to have some more products join us and lets hope we can make Earth a better place for future generations
For further information, do check out Cling Nature's website - http://www.clingnature.com