In recent times, the use of plastic has increased drastically, creating many environmental hazards. Anyone can observe landfills at the entry point of the different cities or hill stations. Everyone has become very dependent on plastic and use them in their everyday lives.
Idea of Unbox Himachal Valley
While running her cottage business in Manali almost 6 years ago, Shivee Sirmauri realized that the local handicrafts were losing their importance and were dying a slow death. To support local businesses and help in creating a sustainable lifestyle Shivee, a resident of Himachal Pradesh and a writer by profession came up with a very creative idea almost 3 years ago.
She observed that the ladies of Himachal Pradesh who earlier actively used to weave and knit enthusiastically now had stopped working. There were no money-making opportunities for them.
Instead, these women had chosen an alternate way to make money for livelihood. These women would take their animals like rabbits and sheep to different tourist spots and request tourists to get photographed with these animals. Tourists did not pay them over 30-40 rupees and some even misbehaved with them.
This scenario disturbed Shivee, and she wanted to help these women. She did not know what exactly needed to improve the situation of the local women.
Shivee as an individual had adopted an eco-friendly lifestyle and gave up on products that were bad for the environment. She went plastic-free and used products that would support her vision of a sustainable lifestyle and environment. Her changed lifestyle eventually gave her an idea to start something in this direction.
Progress of Unbox Himachal Valley
After three years of hard work and struggles, Shivee came up with the idea of Unbox Himachal Valley, a small start-up that included all women of Himachal Pradesh who were interested in making handmade products and contribute towards a sustainable lifestyle.
Amrita, who is also the idea designer of Unbox Himachal Valley, helped Shivee turn her dream into reality. It currently involves Amrita in designing products and curating good ideas for the start-up.
Apart from working with Unbox Himachal Valley, Amrita also actively organizes art exhibitions, mental health, and theatre workshops and supports budding entrepreneurs with their start-ups.
The specialty of Unbox Himachal Valley makes it unique, as it is completely plastic-free. From the making of products to the packaging, they use no plastic.
All the Himachali women who work and provide products to Unbox Himachal Valley are known by the name of ‘The Unique Pahadans’. The Unique Pahadans work from home and try to create products from whatever eco-friendly materials are available to them.
A wide variety of patented products are created by these women ranging from clothing items like socks, shawls, caps, stoles, sarees, shirts, and masks to items like jams, fruit preservatives, chemical-free soaps, and lip balms!
The central idea behind this initiative was to empower local women and support local businesses that are losing their value. The idea to create products that would be environmentally friendly was like a cherry on the cake.
Neetika Sharma, who became Miss Himachal (2019) also supports this initiative and appreciates the efforts of all the people associated with Unboxing Himachal Valley. Some campsites and home-stays have also tied with Unboxing Himachal Valley as gift partners like Nomad Shimla, Shimla Gypsy, and Nomad Fagu.
Currently, Shivee Sirmauri and her two friends Sunaina Thapa and Sushant Singh Thapa are managing the official website, Instagram, and Facebook pages of the company. Their aim is to increase awareness about this amazing initiative of Unbox Himachal Valley and to promote handmade eco-friendly products offered by the Unique Pahadans.
To know about Shivee Sirmauri, please check – LinkedIn.