It started in Jan 2011 – when Sandeep, Kasturi, and I were travelling somewhere (Trier, Luxembourg..don’t remember anymore) and we landed upon this idea to start a fair-trade lifestyle business. We were passionate about socio-economic development in India – based on our prior work with the non-profit we worked with in Frankfurt – Asha for Education (more on that in a separate post). Kalakosh seemed like one of the more logical steps forward. We decided to take this shot at social entrepreneurship.
Over the last three years, we’ve gone through many experiences, many ups and downs together. Today, Sandeep has started focusing on the business full-time now, giving up his job earlier in May this year. I am yet wedded to my job. But the dream of being independent still remains. Starting a business with a close friend also meant we were risking our friendship – there have been times I wish I hadn’t put our friendship on the line. But we cannot turn back time … the adventure has continued for 3 years now.
The picture above is the start of the adventure – our first shipment of baskets from Auroville, upcycled from newspapers. I cannot forget the thrill of the new start, the feeling of being on the threshold of something possibly lifelong, something meaningful, a deep sense of purpose. It was also the time I was looking forward to something beautiful on a more personal front (which, unfortunately, did not work out). Even thinking about it again is making me smile. As for the boxes, we did not have a warehouse, so we put them in the kitchen-dining area of our apartment.
More on our story here. Below are pictures of some of the products we source and sell. Our goal, three years down, remains to work with artisans across India to revive the dying arts, to re-invent those ancient trades and make them relevant for today using contemporary design and materials. Fair-trade and sustainability are corner-stones of our philosophy. That would be the only realistic way to ensure that the art and artisans can not only survive, but thrive, socially & economically, and develop further.