CSI Climate Ventures member EcoIndustrees (formerly Hemplab Inc) works with sustainable and reusable organic materials like hemp to build beautiful, handcrafted bags ideal for gifting. Founder Mihir Jagdish grew up in an industrial town in India and had previously worked in the chemical industry, where he kept feeling an uncomfortable urge to be a part of the solution instead of continuing being part of the problem. He founded EcoIndustrees to reduce the toxic materials in our day-to-day consumption.
Recently, EcoIndustrees has made its entire catalogue available online! As production of their bags begins once again, the creators, artisans, and farmers involved with this early-stage startup will be positively impacted. You can support Mihir and his team by taking a look at their bags. We sat down with Mihir to talk about how COVID is impacting his business, and how being at CSI is helping.
What is your biggest hope for Ecoi?
The biggest hope of Ecoi is to influence the culture of industrial production and consumption by creating well-designed sustainable and handmade consumer products. And to make a platform for art based on sustainability, particularly art made by students and young artists.
What does the world look like if those hopes come true?
The world would have more organizations and consumers influenced by ecological restoration and more eager to stop climate change. There would be huge communities of artisans around the world with work that pays well monetarily, traditionally and satisfactorily. There would hopefully be a better distribution of wealth and more access to dignity for more people on the planet.
How has being a CSI member impacted your project so far?
I got a better insight into social enterprises and the value of people, planet and profit. Being a CSI member we also have a perfect community platform and support of like minded members. This is critical for fledgling and social enterprise like us. CSI’s secret sauce of community enterprise and entrepreneurship is a platform we need to thrive in.
How is your project pivoting and surviving through COVID?
We have pivoted by going online. We were focused on working with B2B orders for hemp and cannabis conferences around North America. All our sales had to stop because of COVID. We also had to shut all the production in India and Nepal to keep the artisans safe. In an attempt to restart after months, we have finally pivoted by launching our ecommerce store for hemp bags and stationery that is targeted at eco-conscious consumers. We would be starting to work on the art platform sometime next year.
Is your project creating jobs at the moment?
It creates jobs in the artisan communities in Nepal and India, as well as for designers in India and Canada. With further expansion we will be looking to set up management team based in Canada.
What impact does your project have? Who do you serve?
It reduces the impact of conventional dyes, water intensive fabrics, and resource intensive fibres. We source our organic fibres from the farmers in Himalayas, fabric is woven by artisan communities, ensuring sustainable livelihood. We are looking to find New age designers in Canada to work on the old values of materials.