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25 year old Sudeshna Sahoo does her bit for the environment by promoting sustainable products through The Inside Project that focuses on decor for home and office.
Many of us, at some points, have dreamt of a life where we are building an empire while still contributing to the good. Can business and dreams and good to the society go hand in hand? This is precisely what Sudeshna Sahoo proves with her business model.
At the intersection of fair business and social good, The Inside Project brings dreams of sustainability and quality to life. At 25 years of age, the founder Sudeshna Sahoo has impeccable clarity about her business and the way forward. She comes from a small city called Rourkela, and her story is truly an inspiration for many young people wanting to make it in the world of business.
“I can’t deny that I was always ambitious!” Sudeshna says with an infectious passion that is no doubt a sparkling inspiration for all entrepreneurs.
As a design student, I was very passionate about colors, forms, textures, and patterns. After working four jobs in the architecture and interior design industry, I realized that this was a huge market, and people were investing tons of money to satisfy their vanity. However, a large chunk of money was getting invested in fast furniture. Corporate giants were exploiting valuable and limited resources to produce more and more fast furniture.
I learned that this was only leading to devastation, deforestation, and climate change. Every year millions of forests are deforested for more wood and raw materials. Slowly, I learned that the damage was happening on a massive scale, and something must be done about it. This is where we decided to start a sustainable business that also gives back to society – this is my part to contribute to the industry I am highly passionate about!
With young people who increasingly do not want to be tied down to home, vehicles, and cities – do you think expensive furniture is a win-win?
Each year, Americans throw out more than 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Only a small percentage is recycled, thanks to the diversity of materials in most items—upholstered furniture and mattresses are particularly hard to clean and reprocess. As a result, more than 9 million tons of wood, metal, glass, fabric, leather, and foam waste ends up in a landfill.
The growth in furniture waste has far exceeded the country’s population growth in the past six decades. Green efforts, like Restoration Hardware’s emphasis on reclaimed wood, or Joybird’s tree-planting initiative, are dwarfed by the rise of ‘fast furniture’—a term for home-goods companies that manufacture many different styles quickly and cheaply, similar to the way brands like Zara and H&M produce ‘fast fashion’. But the fashion industry, at least, has started to recognize its sustainability problem.
As a brand, we promote a sheer variety of furniture from various artisans. We put the people and the planet at the forefront. Our furniture pieces are modern, inspired by multiple cultures and styles; there is so much to explore from our catalog. From Scandinavian Chairs to Balinese Baskets to Rustic tables, we have everything functional, stylish, and sustainable through and through. Our furniture pieces are decently priced and will save you lots of money while making your home aesthetic and beautiful. It is a win-win with any piece.
Our business is dedicated to empowering local furniture artisans from Odisha.
Like any other state, Orissa also produces a wide variety of cane and bamboo items. This art is derived from nature and is free from chemicals, and is environmentally friendly. The high-tensile strength of bamboo and easy to mold in any shape qualities have made it very popular for architectural uses. Designer goods such as furniture, racks, chairs, etc., are also in vogue. These artisans give shape to any such goods.
Bamboo products are in abundance everywhere in Orissa. There are numerous types and forms of cane stuff, varying with the use to which they are put. Each district has its distinctive style, the district of Ganjam in Odisha has many such poor artisans who are very talented, and I wanted to promote them and empower them. Thus a portion of our profits also goes out to them to support their families. We vigorously promote going #vocal for local and #makeinindia.
What are some tips for young twenty-somethings who are living away from home on a budget, and want to decorate their house?
It is easy to assume that renovating and sprucing up our homes inevitably means running up huge bills, but this does not have to be the case. People who are in their 20s have an adult space to set up. While you may not have big bucks or square feet to spare, you know just the right home accessories to make a significant impact.
People must invest in comfortable seating, end tables, coffee tables, and organizers. While having a small space, it is quite possible to have cluttered corners because of less shelf space; baskets can help organize all your stuff and make it look clean and nice at the same time. Colorful artwork, graffiti, and rugs also add more harmony to small spaces, also adding wicker lamps and a variety of lights around your place sets a beautiful mood.
I am most proud of the fact that I built my own company from the ground up. Growing up, I was surrounded by hard-working family members. My parents understood me and supported me very well; they let me choose my dream and chase it. My father is my most prominent pillar of strength; he has always inspired me to follow my instinct and listen to my own heart.
In five years of my career, I have designed spaces and interiors for a few fintech companies, venture capitalists like Blume ventures; I have done colonial houses and a few offices. I am proud of each project because each space is beautiful and unique.
Check out The Inside Project on Facebook and Instagram
Images source: Instagram
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