Entrepreneur Radha Kunke’s Tips For Running A Green Business From Home
Entrepreneur Radha Kunke shares her tips for running a green business from home, that many creative silvers entrepreneurs can take a cue from!
Radha Kunke’s handmade soaps, sold under the brand name ‘The SoapNut’ are works of art. With swirls and dots, patterns and motifs, they come in myriad colors and fragrances, crafted lovingly with the purest of ingredients. Made with wholesome oils, medicinal essential oils, lye and sometimes even yoghurt and milk, these soaps take anywhere from 30 minutes to three days to make, depending upon the design. “I make different kinds of soaps with 10 to 35 in every batch,” says Kunke, who got interested in soap making, when she was working for an NGO where this was taught as part of a livelihood project.
“I made a small batch myself and was hooked,” says this soap aficionado from Pune, who has been learning from online tutorials ever since and devotes a few hours every day to soak up more soap making skills. “There is no dearth of information and you can learn from ‘master soapers’ from across the world,” quips Kunte, who shares her process of starting an artisanal soap making business, which is environment-friendly and very satisfying for those who enjoy working with their hands.
Research & Learning Helps: For Kunke, it was soap making that hit the bull’s eye. For you it could be something else. What started as a way to create a product that was good for the skin and for the environment, soon turned into a business with customers buying up every batch that came out of her kitchen. “I didn’t follow any blueprint and to-date, I don’t have a strategy,” admits this soap entrepreneur, who follows her muse and backs it up with plenty of R&D and learning. There are lots of forums online that can help crafters and creative souls get unique ideas. Explore and experiment.
Find Your Unique Spot: She advises green entrepreneurs to determine their USP. For Kunke, it’s about combining aesthetics, quality, purity and affordability – a combination that’s attractive to anyone who treasures good quality, skin and environment friendly products. Packaging is another area that she urges those who want to start a green business to think about and come up with options that are eco-friendly. “With every soap that’s hand-packed, it will eventually add up to a lot of work and time. So budget your time accordingly.”
Use Social Media: For marketing one’s wares, Kunke shares her own tip. “I have used Facebook to market my soaps, and have kept my friends in the loop with stories of struggles and triumphs.” Also, if your product is unique and creative, people do buy out of curiosity and then fall in love with it, if it’s good. Check out Kunke’s FB page here at The SoapNut.
Figure Out Distribution Strategy: Retailing and distribution is another facet that you need to think about if you have a market for your product across the country. From debating whether to sell via online marketplaces like Etsy or Kraftly, or to send out packages via the local courier or the Indian Postal Service yourself, it makes sense to plan this out in advance. “Online aggregators add 15-30% to your cost and I didn’t have the bandwidth for this,” shares Kunke, who packs and sends out soaps herself to her clients across the country.
Creating a brand: If after reading about Radha Kunke’s soapmaking business, you’re all geared up to start your own artisanal and eco-friendly venture from home, here’s her tip on branding. While a catchy name and even a cute logo can help with branding, according to Kunke it’s not just about that. “It is the USP – the one thing that you will never compromise on and will always ensure no matter what. That gets built into a brand over time”
Stay Creative & Innovative: Kunke urges people to look around, learn new stuff and stay inspired. “Before long everything becomes an inspiration – the sunset, flowers, patterns and even designs from things like cakes and sweaters.”
So if you are a senior citizen who has a creative interest and are planning to launch a small business, these tips could be useful to get started.