Did you know that the amount of plastic packaging thrown away every single year is enough in length to circle the globe four times over? #Startups #PlasticFreeIndia
Research has shown that single use plastics, especially the containers we get take-outs in, contain chemical compounds like bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA. This compound tends to migrate to food substances that are kept in plastic containers and result in endocrine disorders. Infertility, thyroid, obesity, etc are all examples of endocrine disorders.
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Furthermore, the UN came up with a report on the environmental impact of single use plastic around the world. They found that only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic produced in the world has been recycled with most of it ending up landfills, dumps and adversely polluting the environment.
“People see packaging as just an additional cost and try to buy the cheapest option. But, that cheap option comes at a cost. A lot of food delivery boxes in the market are not food grade and are not meant for direct contact with food. But, customers are unaware of this and thus do not raise a concern,” explains Nikhil Parekh, the founder of Schmancy, a start-up that provides packaging solutions to businesses so that they can deliver their products in a sustainable manner. All their packaging is made of sourced or recycled paper.
“With the rise of food delivery and e-commerce, a lot of small, home businesses are being launched that require designer but good quality packaging in smaller quantities. We cater to this demand,” informs Nikhil.
Schmancy was officially founded in 2016. But the idea took birth in 2013 when Nikhil wanted to come up with sustainable packaging solution for his friends where they wouldn’t have to buy in bulk.
“My friends were also looking for custom packaging that they did not have to buy in large quantities. Normally, the minimum order was 5,000 boxes and required an investment of almost Rs. 50,000,” he explains. He then catered to the packaging demands of his friends in small quantities and these friends spread the word to others in the market with similar needs.
Schmancy has an online store for people who want to buy designer packaging. “When Schmancy first went online for sales on Facebook in 2013, we got over 200 orders in a day!” exclaims Nikhil. This is when he realised that this idea would take and constantly worked on more products before officially launching in 2016.
A regular client of Schmancy is Poonam Maria who started Zoey’s Bakehouse about seven years ago. As the bakery started doing good business, she also started making exquisite tall cakes for different occasions. Her only dilemma at the time was that she was finding it extremely difficult to deliver her cakes that weighed anywhere between 3kgs to 14kgs.
One day, she was browsing through Facebook when she came across Schmancy’s boxes. “These boxes are so strong. There was nothing like this when I started using them before. Although, there are boxes available for big cakes now, Schmancy’s quality is unparalleled which is why we continue to buy from them,” says the 38-year-old.
Schmancy produces all kinds of packaging starting from food boxes to those that can hold liquid and even brown boxes for delivering packages sought by e-commerce companies.
Once the items have been ordered, boxes that are already available are shipped within two days and custom orders are shipped in 7-10 days. Some of their best selling products are the Tall Cake Boxes, designed to carry tall cakes like the ones that are used in Zoey’s Bakehouse.
Having worked in the packaging industry in the past, Nikhil ventured into start-up with considerable knowledge in this sector. Once the raw materials for Schmancy boxes are procured, they are sent for customised printing and later assembled at Schmancy’s unit in Peenya in Bengaluru.
The packaging is mainly for two categories of items–food and goods. The packaging for food is FSSAI certified and is made from paper which is produced using minimal wastage of resources. While, on the other hand, the boxes for goods are made from recycled paper boards. All of this is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified which means that it has been responsibly produced.
Schmancy has had its own set of challenges in their six years of operations. Nikhil says that informing the customer about different grades of paper and the importance of buying from verified sources is the biggest challenge they continue to face.
Despite a few setbacks, Schmancy has cruised through these and now supply to some of the biggest names in the market right now.
Manjunath MS, 28, Procurement Manager at Curefit, says that it has at least been two years since they’ve been purchasing small cake boxes from Schmancy. In the span of these two years, they have switched 50 per cent of their packaging to sustainable options and almost 30 per cent of these is supplied by Schmancy. Now, Schmancy also provides them with environment friendly branding packaging.
“We continue to work with Schmancy because of the amazing R&D they do. We just have to tell them our requirements and whenever they come with options, they have several samples with them for us to choose and try out,” he says. He further explains that Schmancy also fulfills their commitments on time without compromising on the quality of the product.
Some other brands in Schmancy’s client list include Chai Point, Hatti Kappi, SodaBottleOpenerWala, Socials, Zivame, Buttercups, Hoopos, Turms and home-based bakers across India.
Since, printing services are outsourced and also source paper from vendors, Schmancy also supports other allied industries.
Also, all the workers at Schmancy’s Peenya unit are migrant labourers from Assam and West Bengal. Prodip Barman, 30, from Siliguri has studied till the 10th grade and has been working with Schmancy right from the beginning. “I really like working here. I am able to manage my expenses and can even send money to my father back home,” he says.
So, what sets Schmancy apart from others in the market? Nikhil believes that it is the combination of four factors – design, quality, quantity and service. “There are great designs available, but the quantity required is high. There is low quantity available, but the designs and service isn’t great. Our focus on all four factors is what makes us different,” he says.
With over 4000 clients across the country, Schmancy wants to reach greater heights. “We see ourselves becoming the go to destination for all sustainable, branded and eco-friendly packaging solutions. We want to be able to cater to businesses of all sizes, Small, Medium and large,” he says signing off.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)