Bringing sustainability and care into entrepreneurship: Akshya Shree from Tad Udyog Pvt Ltd

8 min read
Ler Ka Leng

In a capitalist society, running a business that puts ethics and sustainability in its core is challenging for entrepreneurs. But for Akshya Shree, founder director of Tad Udyog Pvt Ltd, this is the core of her business and philosophy. She hopes to bring about change by advocating for sustainable lifestyle habits and equitable production process and supply chain.

Let's dive in to learn about Akshya's business in producing bamboo products and what drives her as an entrepreneur!

An entrepreneur in the making from a young age

Akshya Shree had a dream since she was young: to be an astronaut. However, in her 8th grade, her less than ideal grades in math and physics made her rethink her decision. Akshya knew she needed to pick something as a career where her aptitude matched her interest. 

"I realized that it will be way too difficult for me to be an astronaut, so I chose to pursue the path of entrepreneurship," quipped Akshya. "My father always encouraged my sisters and I to read magazines and articles and that's when I came across coverage of emerging entrepreneurs, which led me to explore the idea of entrepreneurship."

"So whenever someone asked me what will I do, I would always answer - 'I will do something of my own!' ".

Akshya had a supportive family, which helped her pave her way to becoming an entrepreneur. Being the second child within a family with three daughters, Akshya learnt a lot from her family. They were her pillar of strength as she started building her business.

The birth of Tad Udyog Pvt Ltd

Akshya started Tad Udyog in 2016, producing and selling products made from bamboo. Her products are sold via her website under the label Silpakarman.

"My company name comes from the initials of us three sisters. T from Taru, A from Akshya, and D from Dhwani and that makes TAD," explained Akshya. Today, Akshya continues to run her business with her sisters.

Innovation is at the heart of Tad Udyog. The team strives to offer a wide range of products made with different type of sustainable materials. Having raised seed funds for their business recently, Akshya is on a journey to develop a strong brand identity for her business.

"Our product has a lot of demand, but we need the right brand messaging and targeting," said Akshya, as she addressed the challenge of reaching out to customers. On top of that, given the continuous design development and production, her team of artisans would need to go through training whenever there are new designs to be produced, which requires consistent funding.

Bringing meaningful sustainability from an ethical ecosystem to consumers

At Tad Udyog, the process is as important as the end products. For Akshya, Silpakarman is not just a bamboo brand. She hopes to create place-based value chains in bamboo growing regions that provides sustainable income sources to the resident community, and innovate sustainable product alternative for urban consumers. In her opinion, she sees the power of creating a stable rural economy by promoting and producing sustainable product alternatives. 

However, running a sustainable business like this comes with its unique challenges. Bamboo products are new to many urban audiences, and such products require a certain level of care.

People looking to transition to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle need to have the right knowledge on how to use these products.

"Education is important," explained Akshya. "For instance, bamboo toothbrushes are all in the rage globally. But as a product, it doesn’t contribute to the economy of bamboo growing regions. Also, such toothbrushes are not lasting, and consumers have so many other cutting-edge solutions available for oral hygiene." In her opinion, instead of smaller products, customers need to look at sustainability from a wider perspective. Then, opt for products that truly add value to them. Lack of consumer awareness and inaccessibility to the right information poses a threat to Silpakarman. This also gives way to competition from other brands.

Akshya hopes to establish good, ethical brand that delivers on its promise to the customers in the long run. Through this process, she hopes her commitment to quality products and pay parity will earn her customers' and artisans' trust and loyalty.

Using GoDaddy's offerings to establish Tad Udyog's online presence

Akshya created Silpakarman's first website back in 2017. The very first thing that she did, was to purchase a domain.

With a seamless service offering and unmatched pricing, as well as exceptional customer support, working with GoDaddy was a clear choice for Akshya. For her, GoDaddy is trustworthy.

Currently, Tad Udyog uses GoDaddy's Domains, Domain Protection and Professional Email. Akshya also uses GoDaddy Studios to create content.

Akshya recalled their first photoshoot in their own office with just a tube light and torch. "Our first website received very good responses. Then, we did a few upgrades now and continued redefining our work. But one constant thing for us is GoDaddy!" said Akshya.

The website is an important part of Tad Udyog and Silpakarman. As a D2C brand, Silpakarman is Tad Udyog's office, showroom and store all rolled into one. In Akshya's opinion, her business website is like a calling card, showing potential customers insights into what the company offers and can potentially offer.

"On many occasions, clients who come to us with specific requests. This is because they found something on our website that they like, but they want to create something else from it," explained Akshya. "Through this process, we have developed new products, reached new aesthetics and built a strong platform to connect with our audience."

For Akshya, building a website is not as costly and difficult as what many people may perceive. "If you find the right partners and tools, the process will be seamless," said Akshya. "Once your website is ready, you can focus on other important.

Lessons and inspirations as an entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur for the past few years, Akshya sees this as a role that she can never give up.

"Entrepreneurship teaches you a lot, takes away a lot, and gives you a lot more. Being an entrepreneur is tough, and challenging but at the same time, it empowers you, strengthens you, and enables you to realize your full potential."

Purpose is a key driver for Akshya. "When your work is fulfilling the purpose which led you to start in the first place, it makes the journey worth it." On top of that, having patience and persistence has brought Akshya and her team to where they are today.

Looking back at her entrepreneurship journey, Akshya advices all aspiring entrepreneurs to plan before they start. From her experience, entrepreneurship has changed a lot over the years. Therefore, one must plan their finances, personal and professional obligations, and all aspects of their business in depth before they begin. Given the demanding nature of entrepreneurship, planning helps one to achieve the rewarding outcomes of it.

Akshya also emphasized the importance of user research. It is simply asking potential customers about the product or service that one plans to innovate and build on their response. "Your customers can be your first users and can provide deep insights into things you haven't considered yet," explained Akshya.

Onward and upward

The journey may have just began for Tad Udyog, but Akshya has achieved many goals she has set out for herself. She recalls a heartwarming encounter she had with a customer.

"Recently, an aged client of ours ordered a product. After that, she reached out to me to let me know that the products are beautiful and sent her regards to the artisans as well. This is exactly how we had intended to bridge the gap between customers and artisans. With this, I believe we have achieved it," said Akshya.

Looking back, Akshya learnt the importance of having more confidence in pursuing her ideas and passion. "We must always own ourselves, our work and our knowledge. If you can think it through, then you can do it as well!"

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