This year, more than ever, Earth Day holds significance. It’s never been more apparent that the Earth needs to be restored, regenerated and revived. And for us, it’s a doubly special occasion as it happens to be our founder’s birthday today. Fortunate coincidence? We choose to think it’s not.
For those who are new to Paper Boat Collective, we are a concept store, housed in a hundred-year-old Portuguese Villa in Goa, born out of a need for sustainability, ethical retail and preserving India’s traditions of art, design and craftsmanship.
Our Founder, NID graduate, artist and curator, Bhagyashree Patwardhan, started off teaching environmental studies at 16 and then went on to work with various mediums like ceramics, visual merchandising, film work and even designing two museums. Across her career, she journeyed through the depths of India and collaborated with artisans and makers preserving and showcasing Indian techniques and traditions.
And it is this philosophy of supporting and featuring handcrafted, Indian, artisanal and ethically and responsibly-made which has been the root of our existence for the last eight years and continues to be as we move forward.
Today, on Earth Day, we are sharing how we are making responsible and conscious choices as a small business.
Supporting our community of Indian small-scale producers, indigenous artisans and NGOs
We have a three-hundred people community from whom we curate our products spread across cities the length and breadth of the country. Our partners and collaborators comprise small-scale brands, NGOs, specialty designers, craftspeople, artists and novelty makers.
We only work with makers who fit our ethos and we ensure that we build a strong relationship with them and help them grow with us. Small things can make a big difference, paying our collaborators on time, regular and transparent communication and handling their stock with care are all the little things through which we have built incredible relationships within our supplier community.
Commitment to zero waste through responsible conscious choices
As a sustainable business, we are always exploring ways to reduce our ecological footprint. We are around 90% waste-free and we strive to make responsible choices across our operations.
Segregating garbage, using LED lighting to save energy, up-cycled packaging materials and avoiding the use of plastic where possible are just some of the ways we are attempting to be zero waste.
All the products you buy at the store are packed in recycled newspaper bags made by the prisoners from a local prison in Goa and all our shipped products are packed in recycled cloth bags made by rural women in Tamil Nadu.
Championing women! After all, we are woman-led
Although it wasn’t intended to be one, Paper Boat Collective has organically become a women-led organization.
Our entire store-staff is made up of amazing young women who have now become an integral part of our brand. Our in-house cafe is also owned and run by a woman who embodies our ethos.
Wherever possible, we have tied-up with social enterprises and NGOs that support women.
Promoting handmade and use of indigenous, traditional techniques and materials
All our products are sourced only from small-scale and artisanal makers whose hand made products showcase their love for the technique and materials used. Handmade products are often made using very little energy and produce very little, if not any, waste. In a fast-paced world catering to wasteful consumerist demands, handmade products give us an opportunity to slow down, experience something unique and timeless. Every handmade product inherits a differentness in the way it is made, rejecting the sameness of mass-produced products.
All our products are made with natural materials, locally sourced and ethically produced. Our clothing is made from natural materials like cotton, silk, khadi, jute and hemp and are either dyed with natural dyes or AZO-free dyes which will not cause you any bodily harm. A few exceptions are products made from upcycled plastic and rubber, which have been extensively cleaned and made safe for everyday use. These products, in turn, have saved many materials from ending up in landfills that clog up our cities, rivers and pollute the oceans.
Promoting slow fashion
As an alternative to fast fashion and the corresponding wasteful consumption, we offer carefully handpicked timeless options. Our emphasis on an effortless aesthetic, detailing, finesse, the material or technique used, high regard to quality will speak to those who reject unsustainable trends. Our hope is to inspire conscious change within the retail landscape while continuing to ignite creativity in our community of design lovers.
Thank you to all our loyal customers, community and staff for your support along the way. You can shop with us online at our website www.paperboatcollective.in and write to us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.