Embracing Sustainability: One Product at a Time

Dopolgy

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land

Overview

Dopolgy has fully devoted itself to becoming a sustainable and eco-friendly organization with warmth for fellow human beings and hope for a greener tomorrow. Its aim has always been straightforward – selling only eco-friendly products and creating innovative merchandise to make our daily lives more sustainable.

Authors

Shubham Chaudhary

Shubham Chaudhary

Sushmita Mudenagudi

Sushmita Mudenagudi

Sudeep Thakkar

Sudeep Thakkar

Anindya Debnath

Anindya Debnath

Sejuti Basak

Sejuti Basak

Melvin Joseph

Melvin Joseph

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

Divya Singhal

Divya Singhal

Innovation

Dopolgy is a company that loves recycled materials. Ms. Akshata Bhadranna, the founder of Dopolgy, explained that “when you think about making a difference with sustainability, you cannot think about only the 2% of the people who believe in the idea, but you would want to convince the entire 100% to live their lives in a sustainable manner so that we can fight climate change.” Founded in 2018 by Akshata Bhadranna and her partner Rahul Pagad, Dopolgy is more than just a brand. It's an emotion and a movement towards creating magical objects from recycled materials. The company has fully devoted itself to becoming a sustainable and eco-friendly organization with warmth for fellow human beings and hope for a greener tomorrow. Its aim has always been simple – selling only eco-friendly products and creating innovative merchandise to make our daily lives more sustainable.

“As a kid, it often used to happen, just like most students, I would use half a pencil and throw the rest away. When I started thinking about the number of pencils that we let go of similarly, and the number of trees that were cut to make those pencils, it was truly a shocking realization.”

This prompted Akshata and Rahul to give their customers a chance to become more sustainable with “newspaper pencils” – one of Dopology's most innovative products. A little bit of research was enough for these founders to understand the potential impact making newspaper pencils in India would have. Newspaper pencils were being produced in India for around eight years, but they were mostly exported to other countries.

The situation was similar to bamboo toothbrushes. While plastic brushes can take over 450 years to decompose and end up in landfills, bamboo toothbrushes result in less environmental harm. There were many merchants selling bamboo toothbrushes in India, but manufacturers were limited in number. Dopolgy brought innovation to bamboo toothbrushes' marketing and packaging, which helped reduce manufacturing costs and made the product more accessible to people looking for a sustainable alternative to plastic toothbrushes.

At Dopolgy, it's not only about creating a successful business but rather building a community. The owners love having personal connections with their customers and always prioritize quality over quantity.

In addition to bamboo toothbrushes and newspaper pencils, Dopolgy offers its customers options for a sustainable lifestyle by offering various eco-friendly products like cards, highlighters, bookmarks, loofahs, calendars, and diyas, or oil lamps. The owners love experimenting with recycled materials and have been diligently working with seed paper to make seasonal greeting cards, wedding invitations, bookmarks, and calendars. These cards can be torn up and planted to beautify the environment. These are zero waste products that contribute to the ethos of sustainability. Dopolgy has also created innovative awards and prizes from recycled tetra-packs and cartons.

The company's objective has always been to use recycled materials excitingly, and innovatively. Dopolgy wants to encourage its customers to shift towards using more recycled materials in daily life.

“The potential for sustainability was already existing in India when we started Dopolgy. But we aimed at innovating it in our way, to change the perception of the people towards sustainability, how it is looked upon, and to spread awareness about its multipurpose usage."

According to Akshata, Dopology's innovation is in the way in which it sells its products. The founders had to convince people that sustainable products can actually work.

Dopolgy appreciates and values art. The company uses its platform and products to promote the work of several talented artists. These artists have collaborated with Dopolgy to create beautiful and innovative products such as sustainable cards, wedding invitations, and bookmarks.

Dopolgy is proud to call its business an amalgamation of art and sustainability. Akshata and Rahul consider themselves to be owners of a conscious business, and they are passionate about sustainability and awareness of the social and environmental impact of their work.

Embracing Sustainability: One Product at a Time

Inspiration

Akshata and Rahul are travel enthusiasts. After living in the multicultural city of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the couple decided to embark on their entrepreneurial adventure in their home city of Bengaluru. Bengaluru is known for its weather, diversified culture, and role as the Silicon Valley or start-up hub of India. With a combined experience of over 10 years in sales and marketing, the couple was confident in their skillset to start this entrepreneurial journey.

Although Bengaluru was once filled with trees, upon returning to the city Akshata and Rahul were disappointed to see that they had been cleared. Bengaluru lacks a proper legislative body in place to regulate plastic usage and waste management. The climate-conscious couple was worried about the impact of these human actions on the environment.

These rising concerns motivated the couple to work towards a more sustainable environment for the future. They started experimenting and implementing smaller changes in their daily lives, like using reusable bags when shopping and keeping a plastic-free home. They began composting and recycling. Just with these easy and quick changes, the couple could achieve an 80% reduction in their own waste just by recycling and composting at home. This was an eye-opener for the couple.

After extensive research, Akshata and Rahul noticed two problems with using eco-friendly products. People are not aware of the products, or they are unaffordable. Out of a desire to bring about change, Dopolgy was created. The business is based out of Dharwad, a city in Karnataka. Dopolgy aims to influence more people to make eco-friendly choices by providing green products available at affordable prices.

Akshata loves the way Dopolgy creates magic with recycled materials, bringing creativity and sustainability to products used daily. The couple believes that individuals need to take corrective measures in daily life to prevent catastrophic environmental changes from continuing.

Overall impact

Akshata and Rahul started to analyze what stopped people from embracing sustainable changes in their daily lives. They discovered that people were not aware of sustainable options or found them too expensive to adopt.

Upon researching these issues, they discovered bamboo toothbrushes. These toothbrushes were heavily discounted when purchased in bulk. Through Dopolgy, Akshata and Rahul decided to acquire these eco-friendly toothbrushes in bulk and sell them to the masses. This was an easy way for people to adopt sustainability.

Akshata and Rahul's decision-making process for running Dopolgy revolves around many factors, keeping sustainability at its core. Some of these factors include the organization's carbon footprint, the sustainability of the materials used in Dopology's products, and the amount of plastic packaging used. They have also considered the travel time for transporting these products.

Akshata and Rahul started thinking about the different ways recycled materials can be used to reduce waste. They simultaneously balance being profitable and being good for the environment.

Dopolgy has made an impact through the awareness about sustainability it promotes with its products. Akshata and Rahul share their sustainability narrative when explaining how Dopology's products are made. Dopolgy's employees have a shared passion for sustainability. Even at the loss of business, Dopolgy only collaborates with organizations that view sustainability as a core value.

Dopolgy has been able to bring many social organizations on board to be a part of its cause. One of these organizations collected clothes that were then upcycled by the NGO Mitu Foundation to make pencil pouches and wedding invite pouches. This encouraged consumers to use recycled material. This company was successful in sharing eco-friendly designs with hundreds of customers.

By adopting eco-friendly production methods and embracing sustainability, Dopolgy has prevented tons of waste from filling landfills. An example of this is using recycled newspaper for the company's newspaper pencils. This innovation allows people to purchase a more eco-friendly alternative to normal pencils.

After discovering the impact of minor lifestyle changes like composting and using reusable bags, Akshata and Rahul were inspired to create a more sustainable world. Dopolgy has been able to build a community of 1700+ people who are into sustainability. The company's customers have also encouraged new ideas for products. For instance, a customer inquired about sustainable wedding cards. Although Dopolgy had not made sustainable wedding cards, they decided to create them with seed paper. New ideas for products come from people's awareness of Dopolgy and their needs for new things.

Dopolgy has encouraged its customers to embrace sustainability while also creating a dedicated customer base and generating sales. Over 50,000 pencils have been sold, and more than 3500 seed paper cards have been produced. Because of Dopolgy's work, over 600 trees have been planted through Grow Trees in various campaigns.

“The problem with sustainability is either people are not aware of it, or they think they can’t afford it. We like to call ourselves a conscious business, a business that understands the social and the environmental impact that it makes", said Akshata Bhadranna.

Business benefit

Dopolgy has been in business since 2018. It is a startup that develops useful products from recycled materials. Dopolgy primarily reaches customers through its online store and social media platforms. Dopolgy benefits from a Multilevel Marketing Model (MLM Model), where other stores sell bulk purchased goods from the company. They have a wide variety of exciting products like newspaper pencils, bamboo brushes, seed paper books, and cards crafted from recycled materials.

Social and environmental benefit

Akshata said, ”If you are getting into a sustainable business, it doesn’t mean that they don’t earn money, they do make money, but you also have some other responsibility, as for our company we also take in consideration like what is the carbon footprint we leave, what are materials made of, is our packaging plastic-free, what is another innovation we could make using waste and many other such things that we consider. It's not like we are running an NGO; we consider how much money we could get from manufacturing such products. The thing is, we are conscious of the environment and want to coexist with the environment. We would rather make money by helping the environment by reducing waste rather than by destroying the environment.”

Dopolgy is generating a fair share of profits while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. The company is always working on new products that can be made from recycled materials. Dopolgy aspires to gain more recognition as an eco-friendly brand.

Interview

Akshata Bhadranna, Dopolgist

Photo of interviewee

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Dopolgy

Dopolgy

Bangalore, Karnataka, IN

Business Website: https://www.instamojo.com/dopolgy/

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Dopolgy is in the business of creating beautiful items from recycled materials. The company makes useful products like stationery and pencils. It serves customers who want to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.