Himachal Pradesh, the serene abode of lofty mountains houses many jewels, some renowned and many hidden. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its’ hill stations, apples, monasteries and breathtaking beauty. The local folks who seem to be perpetually helpful and in the pink of their health have many reasons for being so. Pristine air and water, relatively cleaner cultivated produce, healthy and sustainable lifestyle are some of them. Among all these, a component that remains hidden is the endemic flowers, fruits and other natural products which are an incredible source of vitality. These products are not known to the populace of India as they are not marketed properly and efficiently. This is where ‘Buraansh’ comes in.
Named after the red coloured Rhododendron tree that grows in the mountain regions of South Asia, the venture aims for better marketing of the lesser-known produce of Himachal Pradesh while ensuring fair remuneration to the gatherers and environment sustainability. Based out of Shimla, the co-founders Siddharth and Gautami started it in August 2019 after quitting their jobs in Delhi, with the vision to improve the lives of the locals of their home state. They partnered with various Self Help Groups (SHGs), mostly comprising of women, to procure a variety of raw materials. They ensure more than fair remuneration to the gatherers and cultivators by procuring the produce at higher prices than what the latter usually receive. They cover the transportation and logistics gap by sourcing their produce from across the state. Also, Buraansh bears the cost of packaging, processing and marketing to ensure better income for those who need it the most. Interestingly, the packaging and processing are also done in a sustainable manner.
They team up with the locals as equal partners, shunning the traditional supplier-procurer hierarchy. The produce comes from both wild and cultivated sources. Some of the products are:
- Himalayan Yew Tea, having medicinal properties.
- Chirchiri, Indian Borage honey having high purity.
- Newer and lesser-known varieties of Pickle, Jam and chutney.
- Handmade soaps and oils.
With the products having a short shelf life, they use only natural preservatives like vinegar, thus, ensuring pristine and organic products for the end users. The gatherers are provided license by the forest department to ensure that the produce is extracted in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner, with sufficient time for rejuvenation.
It has been an upward journey since their first sale in February 2020. They have a robust offline network to market their product and are working on expanding their digital presence. Also, they have plans to extend their sourcing over multiple Himalayan states, thus scaling up the benefits for the locals and bringing out a wider array of products. Their target is to cater to the niche markets of Tier 1 cities across India and ensure the highest quality products for their customers. Even in the contemporary uncertain times, they have ensured the locals to purchase the produce they have in store, once the lockdown is eased and things return to normal.
Thus, the benefit of the locals remains one of the top priorities – an approach many established and upcoming ventures can imbibe.
Article by Subhav Duggal, Team ulaunch.