This Amazon grant winning startup is saving the environment, one tote bag at a time

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This Amazon grant winning startup is saving the environment, one tote bag at a time
Ecoright official Twitter handle
  • Five year old Indian company Ecoright bagged a $30,000 equity-free grant from Amazon.
  • Ecoright makes sustainable tote bags and satchels for global consumers.
  • Four out of five Indians consider sustainability as a criteria while buying fashion items, according to a YouGov survey.
  • Business Insider India spoke exclusively to Udit Sood, co-founder of Ecoright to understand the company’s plans.
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A duo from Ahmedabad in Gujarat are changing the sustainable fashion game of India – one tote bag at a time. Their company, Ecoright, on Wednesday secured a $30,000 grant from the world’s largest e-commerce company Amazon as part of the latter’s accelerator programme for startups.

Ecoright, an online e-commerce company, was founded by Nikita Barmecha and Udit Sood to sell sustainable tote bags and satchels. “Everything we do, circles back to the planet we love,” declares their company website.

The Soods are an eco-friendly family – Udit’s father Sanjiv Sood and his wife are staunch supporters of the anti-plastic movement. His sister is an environmental lawyer. While studying at IIM-Calcutta, Udit’s research was focused on sustainable trade practices. This culminated in the genesis of Ecoright in 2017.

Five years later, Ecoright has won the second position at the second season of Amazon’s 8-week startup accelerator programme. The programme received over 1,000 applications from top direct to consumer (D2C) brands in India, of which 15 were selected to undergo the mentorship programme.

Ecoright aims to use the $30,000 grant and $10,000 AWS Activate credits to build global sustainable practices and invest more in ethical manufacturing.

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“With the help of Amazon, we aim to collaborate with leading designers in the country within 12-14 months. The 8-week Amazon accelerator programme also helped give more clear structure to our business for going global,” Udit Sood said in a conversation with Business Insider India.

Ecoright is looking to expand in countries like Singapore and UAE. It has already established its footprint in Malta, Greenland, USA, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand with over 150 products across 34 product lines.

Ecoright is projected to make ₹30 crore in FY23 and aims to be a ₹500 crore company by 2027, revealed the younger Sood.

“Out of the 125 countries we ship to, India is the largest consumer base till date. Indians are very receptive to sustainable products,” he said.

Four out of five Indians consider sustainability as a criteria while buying fashion items, according to a YouGov survey, one of the world's leading market research and data companies. This is what Ecoright is hoping to tap.

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Merging style with sustainability

Ecoright’s biggest challenge is creating fashion items that are both stylish and eco-friendly. It uses organic cotton, azo-free dyes, Juton – a mix of cotton and jute– and recycled PET bottles.

“It is difficult to blend both style and sustainability but we are trying to achieve that. A new material called Juton is being experimented by us. The product leads to 45% lower water consumption and 38% lower emissions. Everyone wants sustainable options but research and development of the products take time,” Sood, referred to as the Panda by his team, told Business Insider India.

From a solar powered factory with rainwater harvesting, zero emissions and use of eco-friendly materials, Ecoright is getting many things right. It is also actively building a company that is inclusive, diverse and ethical.

Over 90% of factory workers of Ecoright are women; 10 of the 17 core team members are female.

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“We make sure our female workers are getting appropriate wages and training as well. Most of these workers are sole breadwinners of a family,” said Sood. The company also offers interest free loans to their workers' children.

The vegan and animal cruelty-free company aims to launch work and travel bags in the upcoming months. It has also partnered with Disney and animated character Peanut to design globally loved quirky tote bags.

“We aim to become a 100% solar-powered factory within the next 12-14 months with complete carbon offset from our products,” revealed Udit Sood.

According to the Capgemini Research Institute’s latest report, “Rethink: Why sustainable product design is the need of the hour” , 67% of organisations have seen a reduction in carbon emissions due to the implementation of sustainable product design strategies, while 73% have seen an improvement in revenue growth.

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