Manali: With Boycott China movement and the buzz regarding supporting the local business, our women from the mountains have designed sustainable and handmade solution to remove cheap plastic rakhis from the market. Himachal Pradesh offers a bounty of traditional handicrafts. We have lived a sustainable lifestyle until the plastic reached the hills, and rest you know and have seen as the landfills on the entry point of almost every hill station. It has become quite important to improve the environmental conditions and promote eco-friendly lifestyle. Keeping this significant aspect during the festive buzz of Rakhi, a group of lesser known yet highly talented women of Himachal Pradesh, well known on the internet as, The Unique Pahadans have come up with beautiful and traditional designs of Rakhis using the local handicrafts. The Rakhis are woven, and hand stitched, using the eco-friendly materials. This innovative idea of protecting the environment with green products came to Amrita Bhasin last year, and she got the copyright of her idea.

Amrita is the Idea Designer of Unbox Himachal Valley and she is also the founder of a Shimla based cultural community named Fursat Se. Amrita’s idea is to create environmental friendly products to every household. Apart from designing products and creating ideas with Unbox Himachal Valley, she conducts open mic, poetry workshops, art exhibitions, theatre workshops, mental health workshops, Food walks, and meet-ups for startups and budding entrepreneurs in Shimla under Fursat Se.

Unbox Himachal Valley is a brain child of Shivee Sirmauri who lives in Shimla, Nahan and Manali. Shivee is a writer, blogger, Social Media Manger for various brands, Trained Mountaineer- from JIM Kashmir and an environmentalist. She follows a zero waste and 100% plastic-free lifestyle and wants to promote the sustainable culture. Six years back when she was running some cottages in Manali, she felt that the local handicraft was dying a slow death. Most of the women from her village, in Manali had stopped knitting and weaving because there was no business opportunity. They rather found a short cut of making money by taking rabbits, and pattu to the Hadimba Devi temple complex and pleading in front of the tourists to get photographed. They made 20-30 rs for each photograph and sometimes the tourists refuse to pay and misbehave. It disturbed Shivee and she spoke to the ladies. She wanted to do something, but how, when, what, why, where, who, was the question. In the meanwhile she thought of adapting an eco-friendly lifestyle. She started practicing sustainable life with zero-waste and created the concepts and designs of packaging in a green way.  In last three years, Unbox Himachal Valley has become 100% plastic free company. They make gift hampers on various occasions like Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Birthdays, Rakhi, and other festivals. They also make customized gift hampers for wedding gifts, corporate gifts, literature festivals, and poetry events. Last year their gift hamper bags were appreciated by national and international film makers at the International Film Festival of Shimla. Celebrities like Krushna Abhishek, Bharti Singh, Harsh Limbachiya and Pankaj Badra from The Kapil Sharma Show encourage the efforts of the team by buying customized accessories with their Pahadi touch. The 3 years old venture is also the gift partners with various eco-friendly home stays and campsites like, Shimla Gypsy, Nomad Shimla and Nomad Fagu.  Talking about Local Pe Vocal and encouraging the rural Himachali women to be Atamnirbhar, Miss Himachal 2019, Neetika Sharma, supports the venture and appreciates The Unique Phadans for coming up with stylish ideas infused with traditional elements.

The main idea behind the venture is to promote local handicrafts, empower the women from Himachal Pradesh and bring the culture of the state right from the local households to the world. The Unique Phadans work from their homes and create whatever they can with the eco-friendly materials. The core team of women working with Unbox Himachal Valley is located in District Sirmaur, Kullu, Shimla, Chamba and Kangra. Unbox Himachal Valley also procures various handmade items like traditional shawls, pattu, stoles and Kulluvi socks, Pulle from various villages of Kullu district. They buy local herbal tea from an NGO which is 100% chemical free. The edible range of their products include various local pickles, Jams, fruit preserves, Chamba Chukh that they get from the rural kitchens of Himachal Pradesh. Their patented products include stylish bags, pouches, knitted headbands, coasters, cushion covers, shirts, and Rakhis. They also make face masks, natural and chemical free soaps and lip balms.