(This is the first post of a journey series, where we share our experiences of running this beloved, beautiful company of ours! Thank you for being here!)
We've come a long way, (it's been 3 years!), but why, who, how? After 3 years, allow us to reintroduce ourselves: howdy!
Let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start).
Once upon a time, there was a Mumbai-kid-turned-techie-go-lucky-guy living in the US. He had the plush office, the swivelly chair, the 12-year software development career and the happy, shiny, frisbee-tossing lifestyle that dreams are made of. But this kid (codename: Apu) was about to burst his own bubble in a fairly major way. Enter stage left:
an article on the plight of cotton farmers in India. Suicides committed at the average rate of one every 30 minutes
, over 250,000 in number, the largest wave of suicides recorded in human history. The famous Indian cotton belt running across the width of the country becoming infamously known as The Suicide Belt
. An industry in crisis following the introduction of expensive GMO seeds & toxic pesticides, and the vicious cycle of bank loans that follow suit. This was too much to take and idly watch from the sidelines. Something needed to be done! But what?
What could be done?
The solution to the farmer suicide issue already exists in organic, fair trade, sustainable cotton farming: better for the earth, better for farmers, better for communities
. But the challenge is that there's not enough consumer demand for this cotton. You've taught the proverbial man to fish, but no one's buying it. So fast forward five years, a huge amount of research, a couple of one-way tickets out of the Big Apple and a very deep breath: No Nasties is established in Mumbai in April 2011! To create a movement for people like you & me to make a difference just by way of our purchases. Voting with your wallets. Indian consumers supporting Indian farmers. Nothing fancy, nothing grand, no moving to villages, no going all granola for those who are by nature more bagel-and-latte-to-go, just the simple habit of buying a good t-shirt can make a huge difference
if a lot of us do it together; if this becomes a movement!
How do you start a movement?
To create an engaging, inspiring movement that actually takes flight, we knew we needed to be relevant, fun and non-preachy. So here's our secret recipe for a movement: A product that you really want, A brand that you truly love, A story that you want to be a part of! Ta da! So what goes into making our products awesome? Quality, premium organic cotton. Way too much time spent on fits and details. Something for everyone hence working with our amazing designer community for prints that are fantastically diverse but united in awesomeness
. Making it fun to join and giving you what you want (and a lot more coming soon as we move from the easy canvas of t-shirts into becoming a full clothing brand).
What's No Nasties about it?
The name No Nasties is our promise to you - nothing bad will ever go into our products - no gm seeds, no carcinogenic pesticides, no toxic dyes, no unfair business practices, no nonsense! We will always be transparent in our doings and beings: in fact, we were the first Indian clothing company that we know of to share our complete supply chain
even though it's one of our biggest assets, and the first to be offering 100% organic & 100% fair trade licensed t-shirts. Booyah.
That's the kind of meaningful company we want to be for our customers.
And what do we want to create for ourselves?
We're all about the Happy Startup School's
4 P's: passion, purpose, people, profits.
Even though we're a business, profits are the last thing on our mind. We're passion-filled & purpose-driven, making fantastic products in the belief that profits will eventually follow. We employ people we love working with, and have a simple recruitment motto of hiring "adults" - responsible, motivated people who will do the right thing. We're happiness-focused, with our fabulous team working from wherever gives them joy. No Nasties HQ recently shifted from Bombay to Goa for a more peaceful, happy life of enjoying the simple things. (Sunset ocean swims beat rush-hour on the Mumbai Western Line, for sure!)
What difference does all this make?
For our farmers?
A more sustainable way of farming – not maximising output, but minimising risk. On average, farmers get paid 30% more for this cotton, while the fair trade community premium fosters social and environmental development. Farming organically reduces health risks by taking away carcinogenic pesticides and reduces dependency on external factors like seed companies and export quotas. In the end, it all results in fewer suicides, healthier lives, happier communities
For you, our customers?
It gives you the chance to make a difference without really changing your lifestyle too much at all. You want to do good, but it has to be something within reach – hello! At your service. With a simple purchase you're now making a difference to both people and planet, and in return, are getting one helluva awesome t-shirt! Win win!
And for us?
No Nasties is an incredible experience to work with passionate people all trying to make a difference. It's a hard journey, but a happy & satisfying one. Three years in, and we’re hitting our stride. Look good. Feel good. And do No Nasties.