It is more important now than it has ever been to think about the environment and consider the consequences of our actions. And, while the number of people who bat for tree conservation is growing, here’s something that may actually help you do your bit. Entrepreneur Renuka Shah runs no ordinary stationery business. The stationery that her brand Jalebi manufactures can actually be planted when you’re done using it! We spoke to Renuka to find out a little more about her innovative concept.
How to did you come to relate stationery with the environment?
As a child, you are introduced to the pencil and paper at a very early age. In fact, it is one of the basic requirements at every level. We all know that paper and pencils are made from wood. However, due to increased industrial needs, the demand for wood has increased, and so has the supply. This hampers the environment twofold. On one hand, the concrete jungle grows, leading to deforestation at an increasing rate; and the increased demand for our basic stationery products is making it worse. For the former, Jalebi may be of very little help; but for latter, it can make a difference one step at a time.
How did the idea of paper and pencils in the form of plantable seeds come to you?
I am an interior stylist by profession, and making spaces look good is always on my mind. As cities expand, green pastures become smaller. More specifically, our city seems to be losing its beauty. I thought about what it would be like if all the trees were to have disappeared from the city by the time my child grew up. At the same time, I also believe that designers have to be creative as well as smart. We should design in a way that every bit can be utilised and given back to Mother Nature. While doing a bit of research on the subject, I came across beautiful resources such as stone paper and plantable paper. And Jalebi was born!
Does the name hold any significance?
Most of our products are eco-friendly — they are made either from natural resources or from recyclable resources. We wanted a name that would reflect the thought of supporting nature.
The round shape of a jalebi can be seen as being connected to the meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘karma’ — everything we do has an effect on something else in this world. In simple words, if you do a good deed, it will come back to you. For example, planting a seed will get you something good in the future. When I look around the city today, green spaces are decreasing. Sometimes I really wonder what the next generation will see if this continues.
There are several stationery brands that manufacture recycled stationery and eco-friendly products. What sets Jalebi apart from them?
There may be other stationery brands that make eco-friendly products, but what sets us apart is that we are the only brand in India to manufacture our eco-friendly stationery products.
Our products include waterproof notebooks, “Grow Me” plantable paper — notebooks, bookmarks, shape cards and Thank You cards — as well as “Grow Me” plantable pencils.
While your brand features six eco-friendly products, what other exciting additions can we expect in the near future?
Our research team is currently working on several new things. One such project we are looking into is eco-friendly fabrics such as milk and soya fabrics. Other directions in which we are looking include eco-friendly kitchenware, storage options for your wall and packaging solutions.