Amishi Shah is a graduate in Finance, holds a Master’s degree in International Management and is also a trained semi-professional Latin dancer. Now if we ask you to guess what job Amishi is doing right now, you won’t be able to give us the right answer. Just because Amishi is presently involved in something amazing much different from her professional qualifications. And, most of us cannot even think of that. Amishi Shah gives new life to trash items. Yes, you saw that absolutely right. She uses the rejected pieces of items to create beautiful usable products. The endeavour started off as an experimental project during her stay in the UK. In gradual course of time, it took bigger shape. In 2014, Amishi Shah launched her dream venture (she still prefers to call it as an endeavour) The Upcycle Co and it marked the start of her journey as an entrepreneur.
Today, in this conversation with conflatingVisions, Amishi Shah and her team joins us to share more insights on what they are exactly doing and what they are trying to achieve with their endeavour The Upcycle Co.
When was the decision to launch The Upcycle Co taken? What were the problems that invoked you to build a solution?
Whilst Amishi was studying for her master’s in the UK, she took a class that involved a lot of case studies on sustainability and unique businesses that stemmed from being environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The need for a well-designed, functional, upcycled product that can compete with mainstream products in price and quality.
It started off as a project, where we can try experimenting with trash. It was more of an endeavour than a venture and is still an endeavour because we keep trying. The idea behind upcycling is that it is simple and can be done as a project by anybody. So the name was like an encouragement for people to try themselves at home.
Please tell us about The Upcycle Co. How do you get raw materials?
Although working with waste does not sound like an expensive venture, it requires far more capital than one might think. In a fairly nascent industry like upcycling, there is a lot of experimentation that has to be done, which is expensive and time-consuming. Amishi’s first precious source of raw material was her local raddiwala. Then, she began canvassing nearby areas to find suppliers. The Upcycling Co full-time team is limited to Amishi and an associate.
“Every piece of design we create requires a different type of creativity, and this can be achieved only if different brains work on that.”
The Upcycle Co cannot afford to employ many graphic designers yet, so most of the work is outsourced.
To pen down an idea is often an easy task as compared to bringing it to reality. How difficult and challenging was it to get The Upcycle Co into existence?
Bringing The Upcycle Co into existence initially was much of a challenge as the products we moved towards upcycling of Vinyl Records as our main and only product, making people actually understand that something like upcycling exists and it can make an old Vinyl record add a Vintage/Funky advantage to your Home Décor is still bit of a challenge.
Please share the investment details.
Initially, Amishi began with her own savings which was further helped by UnLtd India.
When are you expecting to break-even?
We already have broken even.
How has been the journey so far for The Upcycle Co?
It’s been a roller coaster journey, as initially, Amishi had planned nothing as such with the Business model. From Glass bottles to coconuts and finally it’s been sailing smooth since Vinyl records got into the picture.
What are your future plans?
Presently, we are looking forward to introduce products with CD-ROMs. We are planning to introduce it with proper pre-plan strategies.
We want to scale up the amount of waste we Upcycle.
And one last question of this session, if you have had one wish…
I wish I could have replaced plastic before it’s invention.