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September 13, 2017

These Siblings Are Redefining Green Gifting With The Eco-Friendly Ganesha

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

Radhika and Shivali Miglani of A2 Naturals have wedged a foot in the metaphorical door of sustainable products with their Seedball Ganesha

As far as stories go, it is not unheard of for people to give up lucrative careers to chase the whisperings of their gut. But when Radhika Miglani quit a promising internship at Goldman Sachs to join her mother and sister at A2 Naturals, a sustainable company that deals in personal care products, it elicited a few double takes from her friends and relatives. Miglani’s mother was the purveyor of this conscientious vision with her sibling Shivali swiftly seeing merit in the initiative and subsequently utilising her degree in finance from the London School of Economics to take up the reins as co-founder. This may seem preposterous at the outset, but not if you’re well acquainted with the sisters who have always been mindful of their ethical footprint with Shivali being an environmentalist and supporting various social initiatives in Bengaluru and Radhika receiving laurels from the United Nations for her leadership skills. Starting with natural health supplements, organic skincare products and chemical-free home care and gardening paraphernalia, A2 Naturals, named after a type of protein found only in Indian cows, soon diversified into eco-friendly gifting solutions.

The latest entrant in their green universe is the Seedball Ganesha, a tiny replica of the elephant god composed entirely out of natural ingredients, with cow dung being the primary constituent. The idea transpired from the siblings’ chagrin at the sheer magnitude of waste that was unloaded into the country’s water bodies during the immersion festivities. The idol made out of dung acts as a natural fertiliser for the seed embedded inside, eventually blossoming into a plant when it takes root in the soil. The mixture is mashed to the ideal consistency using a manual mould and the miniature Ganesha renditions are handmade and eventually sun-dried to produce the Miglanis’ labour of love. Having honed the figurine to perfection over the past few months, they have managed to attract kindred spirits who now commission the sisters to augment their wedding cards with the Ganesha. Commenting on their client base, Radhika says, “We believe that every individual, if given the option, would choose a product or lifestyle that is in harmony with nature. Our clientele is a potpourri of couples that are well travelled, quirky and experimental as well as traditional and are hoping to make their wedding cards more meaningful.” Shivali adds, “We wanted to design gifts with a purpose that would make couples feel like they are part of a bigger cause. A Ganesha that isn’t merely printed on a wedding card but can be planted in the soil, symbolising a new beginning in the true sense of the word, caught the fancy of those on the lookout for eco-conscious concepts.”

The duo believes that sustainability is more than just a trend; it is the need of the hour. This is why they are committed to the environment and have collaborated with farmers in villages near Bengaluru to conduct demonstrations on the art of crafting the idols. Shivali explains, “The aim is to increase the income of agriculturists who rear cattle and implement green farming. We’ve also held workshops where low-income women groups are taught how to make the Seedballs that come in high-end steel containers. It makes us believe we are elevating their standards of living in our own little way.” Radhika continues, “In a world flooded with mass-manufactured products, green living is an urgent necessity. We believe the combination of natural products and responsible work ethics is a powerful one and we look forward to connecting with like-minded citizens on our journey towards a planet-positive lifestyle.

On an institutional level, we are forging alliances with corporates to create bio-diversified forests with indigenous flora and fauna instead of lawns that guzzle water. We specialise in the supply of water fortified with microbes which aid the growth of plants by reviving the soil and increasing underground water levels.”

In order to bolster their future in the wedding industry, the sisters have also devised a bright alternative to the Ganesha Seedball for those who are not religiously inclined. Their recently introduced line of biodegradable pots allows couples to give away a sapling of their choice in a one-of-a-kind, self-fertilising pot that is completely natural and easy to maintain. Radhika also has personal interests at heart when prodded about why she does what she does. “I have to say that the possibility of living a guilt-free life is intoxicating. To live every moment in full awareness of the wonders of nature and to be able to give back to the environment, even if infinitesimally, strengthens my belief that there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.” This statement causes her sibling and the other half of A2 Naturals to nod her head vehemently in agreement.

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