Mother-daughter duo who are empowering artisans to show their skills
In 2015, Pinky Maheshwari and Sharda Daga set up a little initiative in Jaipur called Surprise Someone. Pinky, who hails from a corporate background with an experience of over 11 years, moved on to doing something on her own, which saw its rewards in the due time. She partnered along with her mother to start this initiative which focuses on making gifts but in an eco-friendly way. While Pinky focused on ideation and execution her mother, Sharda, found talented craftsmen from across the country to help them make surprises. The mother-daughter duo have proved to be a powerful force in this field of business. They offer a variety of gifts that customers can surprise loved ones with. They offer an array of products that include gift boxes, drawing books, journals, hamper trays, envelopes and more. They even cater to all budgets, and have a section called "everything under 50"!
The beginning of Surprise Someone
After becoming a mother, Pinky quit her full-time corporate job and with ample amount of time in her hands, she quickly saw the opportunity of creating art made out of paper. Her artistic instincts came out in the open when she created paper without cutting down tree. According to Pinky, “Since my father is an environmentalist we started reading about how to make paper with natural resources and upon experimenting we finally found the solution. I was thrilled to make paper out of waste cotton and I soon tried to make a paper bag out of it, and it was a success!” Pinky, oblivious of what the future holds, conducted a workshop in making paper bags and to her surprise found a class full of 45 students who were keen on learning this art. This further gave her the confidence to conduct many more workshops and she started attending exhibitions and thus formed “Surprise Someone”. Surprise Someone started off as a Facebook page and organic followers and likes led Pinky to create her own website.
What makes these surprises so special?
The award-winning business makes all these paper goods without having to cut down trees. These two tycoons are cutting down pollution instead! Surprise Someone uses recycled materials that are mixed with seeds for their products. Click here to see how it's done. This doesn't just help make the world cleaner but also a lot greener. If any of these special paper products find their way to a garbage dump or the ground - the seeds will sprout into plants.
According to Pinky, “Paper-making process uses energy, water and chemicals and produces waste. However handmade paper made from recycled materials consumes at least 50% less energy and up to 75% less water than virgin fibre. It also produces up to 90% less wastewater and reduces air pollution by 70%.”
Eco-friendly products and seed pencils
A wide range of products that are made at Surprise Someone, are available on Amazon. On talking about how Amazon has helped them grow, Pinky said, “Amazon has helped us showcase our products to thousands of people across the country. Having empowered do many women from rural areas, presence on Amazon will also educate people on how to plant trees using our plantable rakhis, which otherwise would’ve created a spot for landfills.”
Among the other interesting range of eco-conscious products there are also SEED pencils. These pencils are made from recycled paper and old newspapers and are bio-degradable. Once the pencil is used up the seed capsule on the other end of the pencil can be planted into the soil to watch it germinate in a few weeks’ time!
Empowered women empowering others
Both Pinky and Sharda aren't just empowered but are also empowering hundreds of women in the rural stretches of our country. The self-funded business has zero bad debts and generated Rs.22 lakhs in 2016-17. They have grown at a phenomenal rate and have a bright future ahead. As of today they make over 1 lakh bags a year and this number is only growing! The company has unique and vibrant policies including ‘Principle of Gratitude’, - they believe in offering their gratitude to their customers and employees alike and they practice this every single day!
Pinky said: "It has been 1200 days since we started the company and we have over 1200 products to exhibit. We are giving opportunity to India’s finest artists who hitherto were deprived of space to exhibit their talent. The moment I go and brief them on a new concept and ask them to make multiple pieces, I can see the joy in them for getting started and putting their creative canvas to good effect. There are few artists whose entire family is into this."
Surprise Someone is changing the lives of craftsmen and customers around the country. The mother-daughter duo won an award for Women in Excellence under the category for Innovative Product. They have also been appreciated by the Government of India for creating employment opportunities for artisans and producing eco-friendly products. They are truly paving a path to success and leading many others upon it. This year, Pinky and Sharda were even recognised by the Thai Embassy for being Creative Entrepreneurs at the 2019 GTF World Summit. Join the green revolution and opt for eco-friendly surprises by Surprise Someone this year.