Growing up in a small town in Karnataka, Suresh S R grew up seeing the Areca plant as the largest commercial crop in the area.

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“It was so common for us to spot them growing around the house and in the neighbourhood. I would tear its leaves and play with it,” he recalls fondly.

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At the time, he was not aware that he would innovate vegan leather from the plant. Before innovating the leather, Suresh started a venture developing software for different companies.

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However, he longed to do something different, innovative and eco-friendly.

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“I was not sure where to look for inspiration. But you know how the saying goes; you find good things when you’re not looking! Well, that was precisely what happened to me. I stumbled upon how people were making fibre-based leather,” he shares.

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He decided to find a new material to make vegan leather and found inspiration at home. “I recalled how areca palm leaves became sturdy when dried in the sun and soaked in water. I knew there was potential in the direction I was heading,” he remarks.

He collaborated with Tjeerd Veenhoven, based in the Netherlands, who worked in the same industry. He became his mentor helping him understand the process of converting plants into leather.

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