Amishi shah did Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) from University of Mumbai and MSc in International Management from University of Bath School of Management. Being passionate about protecting the environment, Amishi conceptualized The Upcycle Co, which involves using waste vinyl records as they are made from a highly toxic plastic called PVC that cannot be recycled. The Upcycle Co makes coasters, key chains, book ends, clocks, bookmarks and other unique products from this, but plans to expand their range of products soon.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We mainly use waste vinyl records at the moment because it is made from a highly toxic plastic called PVC which cannot be recycled. We make coasters, key chains, book ends, clocks, bookmarks and other unique products from this. The products start at as little as Rs. 100 and are very reasonable.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Whilst pursuing my Master’s in the UK, I was exposed to the concepts of a social enterprise and upcycling. I was fascinated that businesses could make money by doing something that could benefit society. Although I studied business, I had always been a creative person and upcycling gave me the perfect outlet for my creativity through which I could run my very own social venture. Upcycling is a greener process than recycling. Upcycling basically requires lesser energy and creates a product of higher value than before without breaking down the material into its base form. For example, crushing glass bottles to make new glass bottles is recycling whereas cutting glass bottles to make glasses is upcycling. We realized that most environmentally conscious products in the market were either not very visually appealing, too expensive or inconsistent in quality. Furthermore, in India, the awareness for upcycling is just about building up. Thus, The Upcycle Co makes good quality, low cost, well designed upcycled products available for online purchase as well as educates people on upcycling and encourages it at home, through simple DIY projects. My goal is to give waste an image of its own and an aspirational value so that the youth is encouraged to use products made from it.
What is your life mantra?
Life mantra is keep pushing
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Challenging part was to figure how to build scale.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We experimented with different processes and focused on a single material to fully understand it. Then worked with it to create a range of products
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Business is bootstrapped, fully self-funded till now. We are now looking for seed funding and are in talks with a few people.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We have a very small close knit team who are all very involved in the business. We haven’t yet had a brain drain issue.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Ability to remain positive, keep going and be a good sales person.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter the most. We would like to recommend Twitter for PR interactions it works really well.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Setting goals for myself and the team, Creating lists and communicating with the team constantly.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Wish I could be more patient when it comes to many aspects of business.
Answer in less than 50 words
Be a good salesman no matter what you do.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Keep learning, relentlessly keeping at it will make you successful.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
To develop B2B sales, go to international markets and to add more types of waste to the portfolio.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Start with a little bit more thought and planning.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Love to try new places everytime.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”