In the past decade, only 33% of females in India were financially independent but this rate has evolved to 46% today and is growing continuously. More and more women are stepping out of their patriarchal comfort zones to earn for themselves and be the bold and strong women they always wanted to be.
Modern-age individuals contributed a lot in increasing this ratio and Gauri Malik was one of them. Witnessing the financial dependency of her own mother in the family, this girl founded Sirohi – A sustainable luxury brand launched to uplift underserved illiterate women to give them a fair shot in life.
Starting with her own surroundings, Gauri gave an opportunity to more than 700 women from different villages in Muzaffarnagar to earn and work with Sirohi, developing their own identity defining them as strong independent women.
Who is Gauri Malik?
An investment banking analyst turned entrepreneur Gauri Malik is an independent woman who completed her education from prestigious institutes like St. Xavier’s in Mumbai and Warwick Business School in UK. As a postgraduate, she worked in a micro-credit organization for three months in Peru. The organization helped single mothers to start their own businesses by lending money loans. After this, she secured a well-paying job and started working with Deutsche Bank.
While working for some time with Deutsche Bank, Gauri realized that she was not meant for it as the three months of her internship were really enjoyable and worthwhile but her job was not. So, in 2012 she founded the Skilled Samaritan Foundation(SSF) with the idea of doing something for the needy.
SSF enlightened the underserved villages with solar power and as a part of her work, she had to visit various villages witnessing so many poor ladies dependent on somebody else for their own expenses. Her childhood frustration of seeing her mother dependent on her father financially resurfaced.
Later in 2020, she revised the idea of her organization and founded Sirohi – A Sustainable Luxury Brand. The idea behind this brand was a unique way of uplifting all the financially dependent females like her mom from different areas across the country.
Sirohi – uplifting underserved ladies since 2020
The name ‘Sirohi’ has a great story as the first village targeted by SSF was Sirohi and because “firsts” are always special, Gauri named her brand after that. She developed a mission to change the lives of rural women artisans through her social enterprise Sirohi and started from the villages of her own state Muzaffarnagar.
Sirohi upcycles plastic waste and scraps of clothes called ‘Pinni’ and ‘Chindi’ to produce something meaningful, sustainable, and beautiful from it. This raw material is converted into strong ropes and then utilized to weave different products like laptop holders, table organizers, baskets and much more.
Females from village households are selected for the artistic work and are given proper training in their initial days before beginning the actual work. After the proper training, female artisans spend their art and creativity preparing beautiful hand-woven products for Sirohi. The brand sells these products and shares a fair deal with the female artisans valuing their efforts and time.
Challenges for Sirohi
When Gauri started the switch from SSF to Sirohi, it was challenging as the ladies from the underserved areas are so conservative and comfortable in their lifestyle that they keep less scope for change. It is not easy to penetrate their thinking of being financially dependent their whole lives. Gauri started the Sirohi journey with a Muslim artisan lady named Gauhar Fatma.
Gauhar was a strong woman who was able to formulate an answer to the question of why she wanted to work. Initially, she was a shy lady who wouldn’t look up or pose for a photo which was an important piece of visual communication. Later on, she developed as an empowered female and months later she didn’t have a burkha on, her body language and tone pointed to a huge increase of confidence in her. The first set of 35 Sirohi products was made by Gauhar in two months which paid off really well.
Today, every product tells a different story at Sirohi.
Gauhar’s transformation created a domino effect and the second woman joined in, soon after that the ladies from the nearby villages joined in and today, Sirohi has a team of over 750 women and it is an aim to replicate what they did in Muzaffarnagar the other clusters of the country.
Why choose Sustainable consumption and production?
The brand believes you cannot just propose a choice for the customers thinking they will buy it. No matter whatever tagline you use, at the end of the day, cost, convenience, and production speed matters that will impact the customer’s purchase decisions. As a producer, Sirohi is conscious about the way they utilize and upcycle any given materials putting all the effort into composing sustainable materials.
They aim to support hundreds and thousands of underserved women and firstly, they need to create demands for the products they produce. Their initiative to support women alone cannot do the needful but the fact they produce high quality sustainable products can. So, Sirohi lets the customer decide what they want and from where they want. Their finest quality and the purity of the ideology behind is the reason for the success of the brand. Do you also believe that this developing India needs more such transforming initiatives?
Let us know in the comments below!
If you loved reading this inspiring story of Gauri Malik and her brand Sirohi, then do give a read to the story of Janvi Bhuva who sacrificed her own IT career for teaching slum kids under bridge of a highway.
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