One of the youngest women entrepreneurs in India, Ami Sata has taken the eco-friendly, green route with home textiles by challenging conventional sourcing and adhering to ethical, environmentally safe practices. Based out of Bangalore, Ami is a Founder of Amouve, which is a first-of-its-kind organic bed linen brand that has a wide range of bed linen comprising of premium 100 percent organic bed sheet sets, quilts, comforters/duvets, and cushion covers.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Ami speaks about her journey with HelloPost Team:
1. Tell us something about your company.
Amouve is the first of its kind organic bedding and bath brand in India. By organic, we mean that the cotton is Non-GMO & grown without pesticides. It is premium, long-staple and the dyeing process also includes azo-free dyes.
At Amouve, we seek to redefine the way conventional textiles are sourced and manufactured. By procuring our organic cotton directly from farmers’ cooperatives and weaving them in certified mills, we seek to bring about a change in the ecosystem.
If you look at the bedding industry, much of it is focused on decor. Sleep as a segment was heavily ignored. This is the gap we sought to fill. Consider the fact that you spend 8 hours in bed in direct contact with bedsheets made of polyester or fabrics with cheap dyes which could be harmful. Amouve ensures all its bed sheets and towels are crafted from the finest, chemical-free organic cotton so consumers can sleep sweet.
People don’t buy sustainability by itself. They buy great products. We’re not simply selling premium towels and bed sheets online at a lower cost. We’re selling the most comfortable and softest bed sheets you’ll sleep on and bath towels that truly feel like a spa at home. We’re selling conscious luxury. The idea is to prioritize quality as much as sustainability. The average shopper cares more about what it is like to use the product than simply about how or what it is made of. It is in our interest to give utmost priority to crafting the finest home linen. For this, we have had to reshape all aspects of textiles and challenge the status quo.
2. What made you start Amouve?
A visit to Sweden introduced me to really soft, luxury bed sheets at a hotel.
Once back, as I sought the same kind of bed linen, I was appalled to find that the majority of bed sheets were plastic packed and no one spoke about actual thread count, Egyptian cotton, and where the cotton was coming from.
Just like you question where your food is grown, you also question where the cotton for your bedsheets (considering you spend 8 hours directly in contact with it) comes from. From early on, I knew I wanted to reshape the way textiles were being sourced and manufactured. Truth is most manufacturers don’t know where their cotton comes from. You’d imagine why. Amouve hence sourced its organic cotton from farmer cooperatives which were then weaved into sumptuous bed sheets and bath linen. The certified factories have responsible waste and water management and are fair-trade, meaning all workers get a respectable wage.”
The textile trade is redundant with gory practices. From farmers putting their lives at risk with chemical pesticides every day to hectares of land being contaminated with run-off water, the soil being contaminated to workers surviving on meagre pay, the impact on people and the environment is far and wide.
In India, the average life expectancy of a cotton farmer is 35 years. There’s the danger of dying with cancer and other respiratory diseases due to the usage of chemical pesticides, while on the other there’s mounting debt. Farmers under a contract with GMO companies are forbidden to regrow seeds the next year. If something is freely available in nature, you’d wonder why.
Amouve, therefore, uses 100% organic cotton for its products, right from sustainable raw materials to its packaging which is plastic-free and 100% recyclable. It also is the first one in the country to create the organic kapok pillow which uses 100% tree grown kapok fibre, hence doing away with petrochemical formulated microfibre and foam. The product range comprises organic cotton bed sheets, bath towels (hand towels and face towels), pillows, comforters, dohars, and quilts, all of which are 100 % made in India.
3. Tell us something about your collections. Is there any inspiration behind your collections?
From early on, we knew we’d craft heirloom quality products. For starters, our bed sheets, quilts and dohars are hand-printed. This also means we do away with conventional machine printing methods. Hand screen printing ensures we can work with lower MOQs, have complete freedom on the kind of designs we’d like to produce, and simultaneously keep the craft alive. Our bedding collections are usually inspired by places and nature.
4. As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
Every ‘No’ motivates me. It is a step closer to a ‘Yes’. The idea is to never be afraid of a ‘No’ because it moves you closer to your goals. It pushes me further to never give up.
In the context of the consumer, there’s a much higher disposition towards ethical, organic products now than ever before. To satiate the consumer whilst also sticking to your ‘why’ of starting in the first place is what drives me.
5. What were the initial challenges that you have faced in your journey?
Quite a few: Finding the right manufacturers for different products to getting them to agree for lower MOQs to juggling it all single-handedly in the initial days. On the consumer side, educating them about how and why we’re different.
6. What has been your biggest achievement in this journey?
Gaining patrons who’ve believed in our journey and appreciated our products is what I’d consider an achievement. It was a new concept and now we’ve got some of the most respected people in the country buying our products.
7. What are your future plans?
For the time being, our entire focus is on eCommerce, through our own website, Amazon, and the likes of Myntra. Once things do resume to normality, we shall look at physical retail expansion.
8. Who is your role model?
I draw inspiration from various people and places. There’s a lot of good entrepreneurs out there, some we know, most we don’t. Everyone from the local chaiwala to Mark Cuban has something to teach you. Other than that, travel helps me learn about different perspectives, trends, and businesses.
9. Anything else that you would like to add?
On being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I do not consider feminism to equate male-bashing. Entrepreneurship or starting out with something new is tough, no matter the gender. However, I’d say that as a woman your challenges are relatively different. There’s often this remark stating, ”In spite of being a woman, you did it all on your own.” I see an inherent problem with that statement and how people perceive that. It shows that the expectation from a woman making it on her own was never there in the first place. We’ve got to change our thinking to start with and leave aside the slightest doubt that a single woman can’t achieve what she’s set out to. As a woman, you get underestimated the time and again. However, that’s your greatest strength too.