“A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
In the busy lives, we lead today, there is hardly ever enough time for reminiscing. Yet, I often find myself reflecting on the past. Sometimes, it feels almost unreal how much we’ve changed and grown as a society over the years. While progress is always a welcome change, I have learnt that pausing is sometimes just as effective, if not more!
Today, as I open my heart out to you, I find myself not only reflecting on my 2-year journey as the founder of Brown Living but also on my journey as a conscious citizen of the planet.
It all began with a moment of reflection
When I took my first steps towards founding India’s one-stop sustainable shop, I was still transitioning from a conventional way of life to a more conscious way of life. My worldview was changing with me, and a lot of observations started to unfold. A major one that truly affirmed my mission was my observation of WE; the people.
In an ideal world, we humans should be led by kindness- For each other and the planet. Yet, the majority of us are still struggling to look beyond the societal confines of wealth creation. It is only when we pause and reflect on the kind of person we want to be known as, that we start to gain perspective. The values, message and legacy we aim to leave behind tomorrow, will define the way we lead our lives today. This was my first and biggest eye-opener in this two-year journey.
And one fine day, there was Brown Living!
The vision to create a sustainable marketplace wasn’t led by a business motive, but rather a lifestyle motive. As I began to learn about the need for sustainability and positive action, the desire to spread the word intensified. I knew that simply advocating a conscious lifestyle wasn’t enough. I had to help enable it too. From then on, my idea of a ‘business’ has become entirely personal & empathetic. It surely helps ensure we’re always aligned with the end goal: Providing useful alternatives that are good for you and the Earth!
In this journey, I’ve had many inspiring voices be my guiding force-From books to documentaries to the many real-life stories I witnessed. But surely, realising the dream of making sustainability accessible to all came with its own challenges.
Beyond creating awareness, the primary challenge was encouraging habit formation towards sustainable alternatives. The general belief that sustainability is a privilege reserved for the rich, remains a tough one to breakthrough. This is where we, as an ethical marketplace, began our efforts. I learnt early on, that this perception arises solely from the perceived unaffordability of Earth-friendly products.
Beyond the challenges of consumer education, another learning curve has been that of maintaining a truly ethical & green business model. I have always been certain about wanting to move forward with the core values of sustainability. This is why Brown Living remains rooted as a marketplace that stands for small businesses, local enterprises and fair trade. These founding pillars are not just our business principles, but the legacy we intend to leave behind for years after us.
Thankfully, the positivity around the sustainable movement has helped ease many minds. The realisation that sustainability also represents less consumerism and more long term value of one’s possessions has started to demystify the transition for many.
We’ve journeyed across 2 years & witnessed countless changes….
Whenever I get active queries about recycling a Brown Living product, on the best way to dispose of something or even general inquiries about the next step forward, I know that the change has already begun to take effect. The average Indian consumer today is much more self-aware and holds oneself accountable for their choices.
It is particularly encouraging to see the abundant awareness about the plastic crisis and increasing pressure on our landfills. More and more people are now willing to do what it takes to limit the damage to our resources. The entire concept of ‘leading a good life’ has progressed from one based on luxuries to one based on planet-positive values. The idea of living a socially ethical way of life has begun to redefine consumerism and buying patterns.
Even offline and beyond the way they shop, I have noticed larger participation in community events like beach cleanups and plantation drives, now more than ever.
Hearteningly, we’re no longer postponing sustainability to a future possibility, and that is making all the difference.
I have also learnt over time that we all grow at different paces. To those who find themselves overwhelmed with the transition towards sustainable living, I often quote these words of one of my idols- Vandana Shiva:
“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.”
How profoundly true and humbling indeed! At the end of it all, it is crucial to remember that slow progress is still progress.
And as we look ahead, we realise this is just the beginning.
While slowly but surely the Indian mindset is changing, there is also a lot of initial doubt about choosing the right kind of Earth-friendly alternatives. Having a market so saturated with greenwashing, makes the decision making a lot harder for the average consumer. This is why I am glad that Brown Living is playing a positive and meaningful role in your individual journeys towards becoming sustainable.
Our meticulously planned process of product curation, a.k.a the Brown Lens, was designed to take away this burden from the consumer’s shoulders entirely. I believe that over these two wonderful years, this has helped us become #AGoodPlaceToStart for anyone and everyone seeking a more holistic way forward.
As I conclude the happy celebrations of Brown Living’s second year, I end this note with a hope- To enable an ecosystem, where living sustainably is no longer an option, but a norm for all. It remains Brown Living and my personal endeavour to continue making sustainability easy and accessible to you.
I thank each and every one of you for being a part of this journey and look forward to walking into a greener future as one enlightened tribe.With immense Love, Light & Positivity,
Founder, Brown Living.