Founder – Farah Ahmad
Website – Sweet Root
Summer of 2021 will be a memory I will never forget for the rest of my life. Yes, it was during the pinnacle of the second wave that my life came to a halt.
Around the same time that my family needed me the most, I tested positive for Covid. My mother and younger brother died battling post-Covid complications and my life took a turn for the worst.
It’s not simple to deal with losses, and moving on is possibly the toughest. For over a decade, I’ve had an entrepreneurial attitude. One fine afternoon as I sifted through the clothes of my loving mother and brother, I realized that these preloved clothes were very dear to me and they brought me comfort, I realized I wasn’t the only one who found solace in the deceased’s clothing. Many people have lost loved ones, and I believe that cuddling up in these quilts will bring them consolation too and thus the idea of Memorial Quilts was born.
A memorial quilt, on a deeper level, acknowledges the life of someone who has died while also providing a physical medium for those who have been left behind to reconnect. Looking at a specific shirt fragment in the quilt, for example, can bring back vivid memories of a shared experience with a departed loved one. Our real-time link with someone we love is severed by death and loss, but memorial quilts reconstruct the pathway through a beautiful, tactile, very personal object. We transform important fabric from someone’s clothing or other belongings into gorgeous memorial quilts.
Exclusive Interview with Farah Ahmad
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
A personal loss inspired Sweet Root’s Soul Quilts. The art of letting go becomes difficult when we lose our deeply rooted relationships for good. Death and loss sever our real-time connection with someone we care about, but memorial quilts recreate that connection through a beautiful, tactile, and deeply personal object. A memorial quilt, on a deeper level, honours the life of a loved one who has died while also serving as a physical medium for those who have been left behind to reconnect. Looking at a specific shirt piece in the quilt, for example, can bring back memories of a shared moment with a long-deceased loved one, allowing for human connection through upcycling.
When did you start your business?
What does success mean to your company?
Success means adding value to our customer’s experience and of course Happy Customers!
How are you performing currently?
In the last six months, we’ve gradually increased by 25% each month in order to achieve our goal.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
Turn around time. We are trying to reduce it to 1 week from the current 2-3 week window, to scale this business and we will achieve it soon.
What are your plans for the funding?
Because there are no input costs and it is made to order, it is currently evolving without funding. We’re looking for angel investment to help with marketing because we’re ready to scale and our backend is capable of handling a large number of projects.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Finding the right skilled people who can understand the sentimental value that is attached to each piece of clothing that we receive.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
It definitely means empowering all stakeholders.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Sweet Root’s Soul Quilts is a product range that enables human connection through upcycling. We certainly promote the idea of donation of clothes, however, we find that after all donations, we are all still left with clothes of sentimental value that we are not ready to part with. These clothes of sentimental attachment are crafted into beautiful quilts and keepsakes for families… The whole idea of conscious consumption, minimalism is at its crux.
Where are your start-up services spread?
India-wide and internationally. We have received preloved clothing from different parts of the world to be crafted into a beautiful memory quilt.
What does it feel like to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel to get up every morning and getting on to work?
I feel liberated, creative, and empowered as the company’s founder to build the next generation of products and also ardently believe “Take care of your customers and employees first, and profits will follow.” – Jack C. Taylor. Getting to work is exhilarating since each day brings its unique set of obstacles, which are enjoyable to face and learn from.
The business model of the company?
It is a B2C model.
How many employees are working?
Currently, there are 6 full time employees and few interns who help us think out of the box.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
Upcycling will always be very close to the heart. However, we envision introducing a wide range of products catering to home decor and children’s segments all made from preloved cloth articles. As part of our social responsibility, we are open to receiving some sponsorship and support to make blankets of unused cloth articles for children in slums, we hope to make this a venture that is filled with human connections, sentiments and social responsibility with little support, I am sure we will…
Who supports you to stand this business and how?
Previous experience of being an entrepreneur was a support system. Goldman Sachs 10000 Women program by IIM-B has been a stepping stone to think out of the box and yes my mentor Professor Sunil Handa, Founder of Eklavya School, Ahmedabad has taught “business is also beyond numbers, it’s about human connection.”
Note – This story is written by Farah Ahmad