BENGALURU: Acity-based start-up has come up with an eco-friendly laundry detergent made from soapnuts grown in the hills of Uttarakhand and Odisha.
Organic and natural, the product cleans clothes while also protecting the lakes of the city, claims Manas Nanda, founder, BubbleNut Wash.
Incubated at the Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, the company hopes to provide employment to the rural people of Pitthoragarh in Uttarakhand and Nayagarh in Odisha.
When asked why he chose these two regions when soapnuts can be found across the country, Nanda says, “I come from Odisha so I wanted to help the people of my state. I also realised that soapnuts in Uttarakhand come in different varieties and are of better quality.”
The team started out by assessing the fruits and herbs grown in the region. “We were looking for something that the urban consumers would buy. We zeroed in on soapnut as we realised that it has a market not only in India but also abroad,” says Nanda, who partnered with Irina Fedorenko to start the venture.
The powder manufactured at the Bengaluru unit is earthy looking. This was done to keep it natural, Manas explains.
The start-up employs 75 women in Uttarakhand and 25 women in Odisha. The soapnuts are dried and ground into powder in Uttarakhand, while those from Odisha come to Bengaluru where they are used to make the liquid detergent.
The powder can be purchased on their website bubblenutwash.com and is also available at organic stores in Bengaluru. The liquid detergent will be launched at a flea market on MG Road on Saturday.
About The Company
Bubblenutwash was founded in August 2015. The first batch of detergent was sold between November 2015 and August 2016 in the United States, the United Kingdom and India.
“While the product was well received, our customers suggested changes like making the powder coarse as it gets caked otherwise,” he informs.
The company targets parents of infants and toddlers who would like an organic detergent to wash the baby clothes. “It is also a good alternative to dry cleaning. The used water will be chemical-free and not cause any damage to the lakes,” he says.
Nanda says much of the initial research happened in his own kitchen.
“I was looking for a natural detergent myself. So I experimented with soapnuts and came up with this product,” he says.
Working closely with the women of the rural regions has been a challenge, he admits. “We had to push them to supply soapnuts to us regularly. Their style of thinking is very different from ours. They like to balance domestic and social activities with work,” he shares.