India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
April 20, 2013

‘Ivory’ Maker

Text by Shreya Shah.

Inspired by the beauty of ivory, entrepreneur Sonia Agarwal has created an environmentally conscious material that mimics its features

Sonia Agarwal’s concern about the growing instances of elephant poaching for ivory combined with her love for fashion and style led to the genesis of her company, Whitenife. The 21-year-old entrepreneur was recently voted by the Kairos Society as one of the Top 50 most innovative student entrepreneurs (she was the only representative from India this year) in the world. She has presented her venture on the New York Stock Exchange Floor as well.

Sonia says, “When I was 17, I had a fashion revelation. I felt that it was extremely fashionable to be socially responsible. I love my work and I am addressing a massive market – fashion accessories jewellery, hospitality, interiors and art and gifting.”

She has introduced a patent-registered, mineral-based composite, called Elfh that is 89 per cent close to genuine elephant ivory. Sonia points out, “The mineral is produced at our factory in Germany. It is transported to areas in India which are in the vicinity of cities like Jaipur and Jodhpur where we employ local artisans to hand-craft the material into designs. Most people want the beauty of ivory but are faced with the ethical dilemma that arises. This is where we step in. We customise all our offerings and give shape to exactly what you have in mind.”

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