"Through SustainKart, we are stepping up our efforts to help people adopt sustainability and make wise choices with regard to conscious eating" – Shilpa Reddy
For a one-year-old startup, SustainKart has become a go-to place for people, who love everything nature-friendly. This India’s first-ever and largest e-marketplace for sustainable merchandise is a one-stop shop for all things organic, cruelty-free, biodegradable, upcycled, recyclable, earthy and durable. The products are available in various categories like lifestyle, fashion, décor, gifting, furniture, kids, food & nutrition, wellness and pet care.
A brainchild of renowned fashion designer Shilpa Reddy and young entrepreneur Kanthi Dutt, SustainKart was launched in 2021. It has over 950 brands including conscious alternatives, wellness and beauty products, nutrition-rich foods and snacks, lifestyle and daily commodities, besides 68,000 stock-keeping units.
In August last year, actress Keerthy Suresh launched her own beauty brand Bhoomitra, which is also the first private label of SustainKart. In the next big move, the Hyderabad-based e-commerce aggregator recently teamed up with actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu and is planning to open its first retail outlet in Hyderabad in April. It will set up 30 such stores across India in the first year and 100 in the next two years.
In a chat with AYUVE, Shilpa and Kanthi opened up about ‘conscious living’ and their vision for their ‘passion project’. Excerpts from the interview:
What’s the story behind SustainKart?
It’s a passion project to create a positive impact on society after the pandemic outbreak.
Shilpa: I have been following and advocating sustainable living from the past 6 years. I have been using social media to promote the same. But, all my activity came to a standstill when the pandemic struck and we were under lockdown. However, it gave me an opportunity to introspect and also think about future.
While I was in that phase, I met up with Kanthi – now partner in SustainKart – on some work. He suggested that I should organise and upload all the content (related to sustainability) I have been posting on social media in a YouTube channel. I loved the idea and immediately collaborated with him to produce, format and create content for my YouTube channel – Sustainable Living with Shilpa Reddy.
While the show got wide recognition, eco-friendly brands wanted to be a part of it and people kept sending us queries as to where they could find the products we were referring to in the show and on social media. Then came the idea – why not aggregate the sustainable products in all categories and create an ecosystem that can become a one-stop-shop for everything sustainable. The best thing is that it all happened so organically, on need-of-the-hour basis.
What inspired you both to adopt sustainable living?
Shilpa: Even before I became a mother, eating clean food, keeping body fit and mind healthy became top pri0rities for me; for my family, too. I also understood the repercussions of not living a life without any responsibilities or making any conscious decisions. So, I chose sustainability and want to inspire others to do the same.
Kanthi: I have always been inspired by this mission to adopt “a clean body, clean mind and clean living”. I’m only striving to pass this on to our coming generations.
What kind of foods do you stock on SustainKart?
SustainKart has all types of foods that are plant-based, organic and chemical-free. In fact, we are stepping up our efforts to help people adopt sustainability and make wise choices with regard to conscious eating.
Do you think that vegetarianism and veganism have gone mainstream in Hyderabad?
Yes, very well so! It reflects in the number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants coming up in the city of late, with a wide range of cuisines to choose from.
How is the Telugu film industry catching up with the concept of ‘conscious living’, given the fact that you’re partnering with actors who are advocating the same?
Well, it’s evident that celebrities are choosing conscious and sustainable living, while promoting their daily practices in their respective horizons via social and virtual media.
It has been a year since the launch of your e-commerce site. How far did you succeed in capturing the market?
Sustainability is no more a buzzword. It is on its way to paving the path to lifestyle change. Making healthy yet tasty food options is the only way to capture more consumer interest. Indian food consumption is driven by taste. By 2026, our vision is to capture 5% share of the e-commerce market.
“I have always been inspired by this mission to adopt a clean body, clean mind and clean living. I’m only striving to pass this on to our coming generations.” – Kanthi Dutt
Like Bhoomitra, do you have any plans to launch your own food brand in near future?
Food is a huge part of clean living and lifestyle. Sustaining health is majorly dependent on what we eat. We’d love to explore more channels in sustainable food, before launching a private label, like we did in case of Bhoomitra.
What’s your takeaway from the journey so far?
Shilpa: I make sure that my heart and conscience are in the right place, with the kind of work I take up. At the end of the day, being able to impact lives around and adding value in some way or the other mean a lot to me. So far, my journey has been gratifying. But, there is still a long way to go!
Kanthi: Customer satisfaction is the key to success of a business. Rest all keeps me on my toes.
What's your vision for SustainKart?
We want SustainKart to grow into a platform that brings about a change in the spending patterns of global households – towards more conscious and sustainable products.