Sahar Mansoor Of Bare Necessities On Embracing Zero Waste Living

Zero-waste and low-impact living are no longer alien concepts. Finally! Fortunately, the human race has started realising the long-term implications of carbon footprints on our environment and initiatives like mandatory use of single-use plastic is a step toward the right direction. The reality remains that embracing an entirely zero waste lifestyle is an immense challenge owing to the resources that we are exposed to every day of our lives.

1. What is your educational and professional background?

I studied at Sophia High School in Bangalore, where I was awarded Outstanding Student of the year in 2007 and 2009. I pursued my undergraduate studies from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, USA, where I did my Bachelor’s in Political Science & Environmental Planning in 2013. During my term there, I received the LMU Academic and Leadership Scholarship granted to the top 2% of the international students and also won the Interdisciplinary Scholar of the Year Award in 2013.

2. What prompted the idea for Bare Necessities?

In 2012, when I was in my third year of college, I watched a video of Bea Johnson in Professor Chris Chapples’s World Religions and Ecology class. While I was blown away by her lifestyle, I remember conclusively dismissing it too. How could she afford to shop at ‘Whole Foods’? Was she free enough to make her own products? How could I have possibly lived a zero-waste lifestyle while juggling three jobs, maintaining grades for my scholarship, having a fun social life, and exploring a new city I came to call home?

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

I think I have subconsciously been an environmentalist since I was a little girl. Growing up in the garden city of Bangalore, my love for nature was fostered by spending weekends in Cubbon Park with my Dad and two big sisters, climbing trees and mostly falling off of them. My Dad would never miss his morning walk in Cubbon Park. Holidays for our family meant road trips, jumping into waterfalls, swimming in the beach, early morning walks, and soaking in the sunsets and sunrises. Having lost him when I was very young, being in nature continued to be one way of remembering him.

4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?

The first milestone was perhaps, setting up the entire woman-run manufacturing team and constantly training them to upskill and improve their skills. Bare Necessities has a 99% women-run manufacturing team, who handcraft our personal care products. We seek to work with women from tough backgrounds to bring them into the circular business workforce. Much like the women in our manufacturing team who had no form of employment prior to joining Bare Necessities.

5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?

Firstly and most importantly, maintaining discipline. It’s necessary to establish boundaries; essentially, the balance between personal and professional lives is critical. Only if you have a good personal life, will it reflect positively on your professional life, and you will feel present at work. It will ensure a good work-life balance.