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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Meet ex-HUL employee Pooja Monga who built sustainable apparel brand Saltpetre

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Saltpetre is a sustainable apparel and lifestyle business that strives to introduce eco-ethically
made products. The Bengaluru-based company was founded by former Hindustan Unilever employee
Pooja Monga.

Pooja Monga, was tasked with rallying support for the adoption of sustainable goods among global
stakeholders, legislators, and consumers, when she was a young corporate who worked with Hindustan

Pooja would observe lifestyle things such as apparel and accessories around her during meetings. There
should be a brand that is as accessible as any other and provides genuine, eco-ethical products. Pooja
was inspired to launch Saltpetre, a sustainable lifestyle company, in October 2020. The Bengaluru-based
firm offers environmentally friendly clothes, skincare, accessories, and home accents.

Saltpetre was a dream come true for Pooja. She had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but she also
wanted to obtain valuable experience. She learned how businesses worked after beginning her career
with companies such as Hero MotoCorp and Hindustan Unilever.

Her passion and desire to produce eco-ethical fabrics on a wide scale led her to cotton producers in
Gujarat and weavers in Kutch and Himachal Pradesh.

Pooja spent over a year in the field learning everything she could about cotton sowing, harvesting cycles,
yarn spinning, textile production units, weaving, processing, dyeing, and garment manufacture.
Following that, she began working on her first batch of clothing for the pilot. The brand’s concept is to
create a modern lifestyle anchored in sustainable living via minimalist design and eco-ethical production.

The firm also uses hemp in its clothing and offers skincare goods such as hemp oil-based eye balms.

She explains, “By limiting the use of frills and ornamentation to the maximum extent possible, the
product design is constructed for simple recycling at the end of its life.”

Furthermore, the manufacturing is done in small quantities, and the trash is repurposed into accessories
like scrunchies, pouches, journals with reusable covers, and so on.

Pooja explains, “Typically, garment workers dump or sell their trash, and we have no idea where it ends
up. Our crew has placed bags beside the cutting tables to collect all trash. Every month, we submit it to
be repurposed into accessories or accents. Small batch production eliminates unnecessary inventory,
forces human resource upskilling, and provides above-industry-average compensation.”

Saltpetre’s core team of five includes Pooja, the Founder and CEO, and Jelin George, the Design and
Product Partner, who anchors the company’s product vertical.

Many people expected Pooja’s non-textile background to be a barrier in the beginning, but it wasn’t. It
really worked in her favor.

However, some of the problems were encouraging sustainability inside the garment and textile
business, such as convincing vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers of the industry’s importance.

Pooja says, “The textile business is one of the oldest in the world. “Our order return rates are pretty low
at around 3-5 percent, and repetitions are outstanding at 35 percent.”

Pooja began the firm with her personal resources and a Rs 5 lakh first investment. The firm is currently
bootstrapped and uses its earnings to support its expansion.

According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs reports, Saltpetre earned more than Rs 11 lakh in revenue in

Pooja currently estimates the Indian sustainable fashion and lifestyle industry to be $1.5 billion, with a
CAGR of 9.5 percent.

She says, “The organic food and natural skin care sectors are rising at a CAGR of 25% and 15%,
respectively. I expect the rate of growth to accelerate. The market for sustainable products is currently
expanding, as people seek for products that are distinctive and do not hurt the environment.”

Because of the increased demand, major businesses such as Zara, Marks & Spencer, H&M, and Uniqlo
have created sustainable clothes and goods.

To mention a few, Saltpetre competes with Go Native, The August Company, No Nasties, Okhai, and

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