Arti Upadhyay, founder of Neuaura Shoes shares her thoughts & journey with Neerg Organic.
- Define ‘Arti Upadhyay’ – I’m not good at defining myself. I feel like I have so many aspects to myself that is hard to define it. I suppose that if there is one singular, common thread it would be that I like pushing boundaries, question everything which means I speak my mind too often and once my heart is in it I’m 100% committed.
- Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey so far – My journey has been very adventurous as when you start any new business there are so many ups and downs. I used to be a long distance runner in high school and still run but not as much as I used to back then. One thing I learned early on when running was that you need perseverance when running long distance and that word has stayed with me in my entrepreneurial journey. It really comes down to mind over matter in the most challenging times.
- How much of your personality would you say is reflected in your business? My business is an extension of myself. My parents raised us to be vegetarians like a lot of Indian families but at the same time my father and grandmother were big animal and nature lovers so they had a huge influence on us and instilling empathy in us for animals and nature. At the same time, we grew up in the 80s and 90s when the whole fashion, designer and supermodel scene was emerging in America. My sister and I would read Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, W Magazine for hours and hours and there was a show on VH1 called Fashion Television that aired once a week that we waited all week for. We were heavily influenced by fashion and I carried that into my adult life and started working in the industry after college. I entered the footwear industry as I loved shoes and was getting really conflicted with animal products used in footwear. If we got samples from the factory it smelled of chemicals and skin and whenever I visited a factory there would be a big piece of leather in the outline of the cow. It was really disturbing that I decided that instead of leaving the industry all together, I should create a brand that I believed in. My mother was an entrepreneur so her influence helped me start a business of my own.
- What are your company’s current projects that you’d like to share with us? We have our Neuaura line which consists of contemporary dress and casual styles. We are adding more casual styles to the mix for Spring 12 season. We are also adding a new brand to our company called Reneu. This brand will consist of ballet styles with memory foam footbed and hemp, organic cotton and recycled polyester upper. The shoes are foldable so they are easy to travel with and every pair comes with a cotton canvas travel bag. We have some exciting things happening for Spring.
- Style to you is- Style to me is anything that helps you feel and achieve a certain look and mood. Whether you want to feel glamorous, chic or earthy, etc.
- What ‘being green’ means to you? Being green is to be able to use products that leave minimal impact on the environment. For footwear, it’s hard to be 100% eco friendly, especially when it comes to heels and winter boots. But we try to minimize our impact by using smaller manufacturers, recycled materials wherever we can, we use a sustainable factory in Brazil for part of our production, all the paper and cardboard we use is 100% recycled. Wherever we can, we opt for the more sustainable option.
- Green practices in your business – we use recycled materials such as recycled polyester, recycled faux suede, sustainable manufacturer in Brazil, recycled paper, smaller manufacturers where shoes are more handmade than machine made.
- A piece of entrepreneur advice you’d like to give to the newbies – As I said above, for any business venture you need perseverance.
Go to Neuaura’s facebook page to check out some warm and cozy boots for the holiday season or follow her on twitter for the latest updates!
In today’s times, when there is hue and cry about carbon footprint, global warming and green house gases, there are many who want to contribute their bit but are apprehensive. The apprehension is more about the cost factor involved rather than the intention or the sincerity.
Here are a few cost-effective ways to do your bit to conserve the environment without loosening strings of your purse.
* Recession is once again threatening to engulf the world economy. In this testing time, save energy by using energy efficient bulbs and tube lights and instead of turning on the AC using thick curtains to insulate your home and office. Save fuel by car pooling or better still planning your outing in such a way that you complete all your work in just one car trip.
* There is one more way to save electricity and help to the cause of lowering the green house gas effect. Install solar panels to generate electricity. The cost of setting up the infrastructure may prove too high initially, but to come to think of it, in the long run, you will be lighting up your home and office free of cost. Now, isn’t that a good deal?
* With the rate at which the trees are being cut down, paper will soon become a scare commodity. Start using electronic services like e-mails etc instead. Think thrice before printing. Print only if it is absolutely essential.
* Many of you may not be comfortable with this suggestion because you may not like to after all compromise on your status and stature. However, try buying second hand furniture, clothing, toys etc. This will stop them ending up in the garbage, burnt or thrown into the sea thus polluting the atmosphere.
* Use rechargeable batteries instead of one-time use batteries. In the long run you will end up not only saving more money but also the planet. Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off the monitor if you are not going to use your PC for twenty minutes and both the CPU and the monitor if you are not going use the system for more than two hours. If you don’t want to switch them off at least put your PC to sleep mode. This will save light and money as well.
* Like paper, water too will be extinct if you don’t use it judiciously. It may sound weird and in the beginning a bit difficult to follow but try using buckets while taking bath instead of standing under the shower. This will stop excessive and uncontrolled wastage of water, and what’s more it will also reduce your water bills.
* Like printing paper, you can also save a lot by picking up only that much number of paper napkins from the stand that you are likely to use, instead of lifting a whole lot of it. If not more, lift one paper napkin less everyday and you will realize how much more you have saved at the end of the month.
* One of the best ways to save money is not to spend it lavishly. Think of trying out public transport instead of hopping into the car at a drop of a hat. You will agree that the cost of a transit pass is atrociously lower than the cost of the gas. Again, the carbon emissions from your car, however little, will only add to the green house gases in the atmosphere.
So the crux of the matter is think twice, show restrain and change yourself a little and realize how going green is helping in saving money too.
About the author: Alia Haley is a blogger. Apart from general topics related to lifestyle she frequently comes up with critical issues like environment issues. Beside this she recently wrote a fabulous article on green energy.
Love organic, swear by green, but the price tag dashes your dreams?
Fret not, it is not as expensive to embrace organic as is popularly perceived AND it’s definitely worth the few dollars more! That organic dress you love may cost slightly more than its mass produced counterpart, but the knowledge that it is not at the cost of Mother Earth will definitely add a spring in your step.
Buying clothing and accessories that are organic says you are making a valuable contribution towards reducing the amount of chemicals dumped into the environment, both during cultivation and manufacturing.
Clothes that are certified organic are free of pesticides, herbicides and harmful additives. The crops were grown without harming the environment and factory workers who made clothes out of them were paid fair wages. All these cost more money than conventional growing methods and sweatshops, but isn’t it worthwhile to spend a little more for a cause you truly believe in?
What’s more, the more you buy organic, the more demand it will generate, making a positive impact on organic becoming more affordable. So go ahead, break the vicious cycle of pollution and shop for this eco revolution, one small purchase at a time!
Here are some simple tips to switch over to green fashion without jeopardising your budget.
One purchase at a time
Follow this simple rule - take several small steps rather than attempting a radical switchover. You don’t need to discard all your regular clothes to get a whole new green wardrobe. Simply pick up an organic tee to go with your denims, opt for an organic cotton dress instead of a mass produced one, and choose eco-friendly when you are hunting for a clutch to match that new dress! Add a few green items to your monthly shopping budget and revel in being an eco fashionista!
Explore your options
It is quite easy to replenish your wardrobe with stylish and sustainable clothing. You simply have to look for the right deals. Before you start shopping for organic apparel, explore online to see which labels offer quality as well as affordability, whether deals and discounts are available etc.
Look for clothes that last
Organic clothes in general are more durable. Even so, to make sure you get your money’s worth, opt for fabrics that are durable and styles which are chic, not the latest fad that will fade with the next season. Another wise choice is to minimise purchases that require regular dry-cleaning. Clothes that can be cold washed and line-dried are more pocket-friendly as well as kinder to the environment.
Make an informed choice
Know the fibers and processes used in making your organic clothes before making a purchase. Also look for certification to check whether the product is genuinely organic. This will help you figure out whether that jumpsuit is truly sustainable or simply labelled so.
Have some pointers on following both thrift and eco-chic? Care to share some useful organic-on-a-budget tips? Post away!
Did you know that your latest trip to the grocer’s may choke those cute turtles you admired recently? Or your shopping bags may slowly asphyxiate the life out of oceans and seas? Research shows that thousands of marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from eating and getting entangled in plastic. That deceptively flimsy but resilient plastic bag in which your goodies are wrapped is taking over the planet like a killer weed, fighting nature every step of the way.
Just imagine how much difference you could make, at hardly any personal cost, to simply chuck that plastic bag out of your life. Simply go green and switch over to fair-trade, eco-friendly bags! In myriad colours and shapes, from canvas bags, cotton slings to jute totes, eco-friendly bags are made of fabrics and colours close to nature. Earthy hues as well as striking blues, from organic cotton or jute, you name it and there is a chic, green bag out there to suit your style and pocket.
An eco-friendly bag, after all, is just not a fashion accessory. Your choice of handbags can make a big difference to the planet!
Swinging in your hand, it says this ecofashionista cares about nature’s precarious balance, slung on your shoulder; it tells the world you’re ready to shoulder the responsibility of realizing the green dream.
So go on, pick a trusted companion for countless shopping trips. Wrap your hand around an eco-friendly bag today!
Why bag an eco-friendly piece?
- An eco-friendly bag is made from 100% organic material that does not harm the environment. Producing plastic bags uses up millions of gallons of oil while making paper bags involves cutting down countless trees. What’s more local authorities spend a large part of your money just trying to get rid of this toxic waste.
- Green bags are light-weight and durable so we don’t end up trashing them, unlike plastic bags which are often mistaken as food by marine mammals. Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags. Poisonous plastic contains toxins which leak and contaminate the environment while eco-friendly bags are safe AND look great!
Pleats never fail to take our hearts away. Especially when supported by dollops of candy colors and dainty detailing and functionally; all together making an impact on your day to day style quotient.
So, here we go:
Clutch it right with this blue number.
Pouches that come in absolutely delicious candy colors.
A dainty pochette for thy organization needs.
Carry a couple of glosses/lippies with you wherever you go!
A ‘flat’ storage for your currency notes, in a stylish way.
Dollops of candy color, just right to lift your mood up!
We have a thought, a strong opinion actually; we’d like you to contemplate upon!
Do you think celebrations necessarily mean wastage of human resources and putting a dent on nature? Don’t you consider animals, plants, our fellow inhabitants and ourselves lucky enough to have a clean environment to live in? Then why should you meddle with it? (As if its not been already meddled with enough.) The point here is why should you BURN fire-crackers and add to air and noise pollution?
Harmful effects of loud noise:
-Firecrackers can cause:
*High blood pressure
-Sudden exposure to loud noise can cause:
*Temporary or permanent deafness
*Heart attack in extreme cases.
-Animals and birds suffer on account of firecrackers as they have a more sensitive sense of hearing as compared to humans.
Harmful effects of pollutants in the fire-crackers:
Ok, let’s take a look at the toxic chemicals used in the making of and released in the air by the seemingly ‘innocent’ fire-crackers:
Copper: Causes irritation of respiratory tract
Cadmium: Can cause anemia and damage to kidney
Lead: Affects the nervous system adversely
Magnesium: Exposure to its fumes can cause metal fume fever and loss of consciousness
Sodium: Reacts violently with moisture and can give skin woes
Zinc: Leads to vomiting
Nitrate: Could lead to mental impairment
Nitrite: Could lead to coma
~ Mishaps like explosions are not an unusual event in factories manufacturing fire-crackers.
~ The extremely toxic chemicals used in the making of crackers can get child-laborers sick and even lead to early teenage deaths.
~Sometimes, in the rural areas, huts/dry grass is set to fire by rocket-crackers.
The Supreme Court of India observing that “the right to peaceful sleep is a fundamental right of the citizens“, has banned firecrackers between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the Dusherra and Diwali festival.
The Central Pollution Control Board of India has banned firecrackers with a decibel level of more than 125 at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization, awareness should be created for the masses. People need to understand that bursting firecrackers is not trendy anymore.
So, will you still contribute to pollution?
Is an explosion of joy with your loved ones not enough this Diwali?
Neatly folded humble squares of fabric dish out some fabulous designs, that’s origami for you. Presenting the next pouches range~
Where to use these delicious pouches?
* There is a dearth of good make-up cases in the market. Either they’re made of plastic or just not up to your quality & style- quotient. So here’s the answer to your wishes- the Neerg versatile pouch! Use it to contain your cosmetics while travelling or just to keep them organized otherwise.
* Keep your phones, i-pods or digi-cams safe in that huge hand-bag of yours. And it won’t take you ages to find that one item from deep down the tote you’re carrying. And it’ll be so much easier to swap stuff from one bag to another.
* Of course needless to mention, you can carry one as a clutch to a casual get-together with friends or shopping.
a. Anything white, nude and beige will be cheered up with this playful number.
b. Alternately make a bold statement by pairing the pink stunner with a red or orange dress. This look screams “Confident Fashionista’ !
a. Brown can be used for a muted look when worn with brown heels/ footwear and a matching belt. It’ll make you look neat and classic.
b. Wear it with animal print or forest colors and there you make a statement of your own.
Are you an organization-freak? Ever felt the need to keep your compact safe in your bag? Then, this tiny origami darling is for you.
In addition , You can use it to store your itsy-bitsy things- toffees, mints, keys, cards, etc. and keep them from getting ‘lost’ in your bag.
Happy pouching everyone!
It is a well-known fact that clothes and clutches have a kind of inverse relationship. If the dress is loud, jazzy and vivid, keep the clutch simple; while if the dress is simple, add a pop of colour or a dash of style with the clutch. Now if you want to spice up your elegant little (organic) outfit, there is a tantamount solution that goes perfectly well with it. Yes, you don’t need to quiver anymore at the thought of pairing a pretty (eco-friendly) dress with a not-so-eco-friendly bag. We’re talking game. We’re talking kings and queens and their battlefield.
We’re talking checkerboards, yes. See for yourself:
Style tips for the monochromatic clutch:
1. Urban, casual-chic look
a. Team this clutch up with a plain yellow tank and olive cargo pants and your best black boots.
b. Play it safe with the classic combination of a blue denim, white t-shirt and see how this little piece of art has you stand out.
2. Cocktail: Adding this clutch to a sassy and bold red outfit will add to the ensemble the element of mystery, allure and definite power. Only for the woman who is not afraid of playing!
And of course, for the girl with the spunk, we know you like pink as much as we do!
Punk rock biker chica, this is the perfect deal for you! Use it as a pen case or cosmetic brush case and get organized in no time!
There is no doubt that these little playgrounds are going to leave the watchers spellbound
and make them want to own one of their own. Those blocks of black and white (and otherwise) are an ultimate fashion statement; here, quite dearly so, to the eco-diva. What are you waiting for? Grab one now from your nearest NeerG location and pump up any of your simple-chic outfits in no time and leave them all checkmate!