It takes a lot of effort for someone to start their own business. And for someone who is still pursuing their higher studies, it comes as a bigger challenge. But this did not stop Pooja Apte, a Pune-based entrepreneur, to start an enterprise of innovation.
The vision of Pooja Apte
Pooja was pursuing her post-graduation in renewable energy from The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) to complete. When she was in her final semester, she started looking for a job in the renewable energy sector. That is when she realized that there were not many people working in the field of upcycling textile and plastic. She instantly decided to work on tyres and started experimenting.
Pooja then decided to look into a scrap tyre business and did a lot of research on it but she soon concluded that all of the businesses required huge capital investments and gave late returns. There was also a legal factor involved as the government has also banned reusing tyres for safety reasons as these discarded tyres are non-biodegradable.
The Business That Clicked
She was still pursuing her research in the scrap tyres business when Pooja came across stories about certain African communities that were using discarded tyres as footwear.
Pooja had found her perfect business idea. She decided to design her own range of footwear made of discarded tyres but with more style and fashionable.
With the help of a cobbler, Pooja prepared a couple of prototypes of the footwear which she went on to present at “Startup India“, which is a national platform that helps budding entrepreneurs to grow.
In November 2018, Pooja won Rs 50,000 in the ‘Upcoming Woman Entrepreneur’ category, organized by the Maharashtra State Innovation Society. That is how the brand ‘Nemital’ under the company ‘Blink Green’ was born. Even after her graduation, Pooja decided to give all her time to her venture.
Sale & Upcycling Simultaneously
Pooja took her products on her Instagram account and has sold about 1,000 pairs to date, upcycling 400 kg of scrap tyres.
Nemital’s footwear is not just stylish but also have an additional factor that they last longer as compared to any other footwear products. The brand makes Kolhapuris, Mojris, sandals, and even heels, priced between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.
While talking about her sales in 2020, Pooja shared with The Better India that the company was earning more than Rs 50,000 a month right until the Covid-19 lockdown halted the growth in March. But she further shared that the sales have started picking up from September.