How often do you get frustrated with the amount of chemicals used in your cosmetics? How many times have you wondered whether the food you are consuming is healthy enough? And how often have you broken your promise to go green just because you didn’t have enough options nearby?
Access is one of the foremost reasons preventing people from making a conscious choice more regularly. Should we stop buying readymade products and grow our own veggies and make our own soaps? Or, take the easier road and go to the nearest Organic store and stock up your month’s needs?
You don;t have to go to a farm to get fresh vegetables and look for various retail shops to get organic spices and your favourite dosa mix. All you have to do is to visit The Eco Store, your friendly neighbourhood organic store located at HSR Layout.
Done up in warm and mellow colours with Chittara art on the walls, The Eco Store grabs attention from its humble settings in HSR Layout. From spices, rice, and vegetables to cosmetics, medicines, and unique handicrafts from Gujarat, this place is your one stop destination for all your organic needs.
Started by Mr.Seshu Maringanti and Mr. Sony George in 2012, the concept that The Eco-Store seeks to provide a regular sales channels to rural farmers, artisans, and women self help groups who make high quality products which are eco-friendly. Both of them worked in the IT sector for 20 years before taking the plunge into organic.
“I was always concerned about the lifestyle this generation follows. I wanted to promote eco friendly and Organic products and make it a more regular habit,” says Seshu.
From organic juices to terrace gardening, the store has around 28 categories that consist of around 1,000 products from about 50 vendors across India. Organic vegetables, available at the store thrice a week, are sourced from local Karnataka farmers, who grow these vegetables in accordance with pesticide-free organic practices.
“There is a huge demand from the customers for these vegetables,” Seshu says. The store has eight varieties of rice including unpolished rice, red rice, Basmati rice, and Rajamudi rice. The huge variety of various daals, flour, spices and millets gives you enough options to choose the right ingredients for your kitchen. The store also offers a good variety of ready-to-eat meals along with pickles, organic oils, tea and coffee. Delicious supplies of Bhuira jams and jellies sourced from Uttaranchal is also something you can’t miss.
As you look around, you find a gardening section that beckons to everyone looking to set up their own personal green space; from compost and seeds to yield boosters, gardening tools, pots, and khambas.
While you fill your basket with all the organic food products, soaps and oils, make sure you leave some room for the amazing jewellery and handicraft products from artisans of Gujarat and Rajasthan. “I personally keep looking for various NGOs and SHGs who are into such craft work and need some support,” Seshu says. Young girls and ladies wouldn’t want to miss the amazing organic kajals, shampoos, lip balms, body wash, hair oil and lipsticks available at the store.
Scaling to sell eco-produce
“Eco Store” has managed to engage customers for two years now and they have around 500 regular customers every month. They deal with around 50 vendors and around one third of them are NGOs and SHGs from various parts of the country. “We started with only art and craft but gradually after seeing people’s interest we expanded it to other products and now the store sees a regular footfall every day,” he says.
Maringanti believes that the organic lifestyle is soon picking up the trend, but it will take time. He is planning to launch an e-commerce platform in a month to make products more accessible to customers. Seshu plans to open more branches of “Eco Store” across Bangalore and India. Like minded investors, who can help scale up the business, is what he is looking for at the moment.
The Challenge: de-mystifying organic
“One of the challenges is to explain benefits of organic food to the customers. This is mainly due to lack of awareness of the long term harmful impact of chemicals and pesticides in our food. Few customers do not buy because of the premium that they need to pay. It is our endeavour to always get products from trusted sources. We also give price options to customers to choose from branded and non-branded products, which are priced low and yet organic,” he says. “Another challenge is that there are few suppliers of such products, hence, sourcing them regularly sometimes is a problem.” he says.
Well, it is hard to pick one product from so many exclusive options. But we personally liked the fresh vegetables and refreshing body scrub made out of Lavancha or Khus roots. This 100% natural scrub controls body temperature, body sweating and has good fragrance which will leave you fresh for many hours.
Eco Store is located at: #1018, 13th cross, 24th Main Road, HSR Layout – Sector 1, Bangalore. Give them a call on: 080-22580132 / 98455 46602, or mail them at: email@example.com
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