Published: 01st February 2021
These diffabled twins are redefining what it means to be socially responsible with their eco-friendly products. Check them out!
Diff-abled twins Sriram and Sundar Ram's Twin Twigs stores are giving a platform for diffabled to showcase their products
During their education at Vidya Sagar in Chennai, twins Sriram Ramesh and Sundar Ram Ramesh learnt how to make dinnerware with leaves. Using this knowledge, the differently-abled twins, who were born with cerebral palsy, decided to make eco-friendly plates, cups and bowls that can be used at parties. Deciding to call it Twin Enterprises, the twins began supplying leaf dinnerware to people in their circle. "At that time, we had manually-operated machines. After five years, we switched to semi-automatic machines," says the twins' father M S Ramesh. Four years later, the twins launched their first store called Twin Twigs, which not only housed their eco-friendly dinnerware but also had products made by other diff-abled people from various NGOs across the country.
Speaking about the twins' first store, Ramesh says, "It was launched in March 2019 but we had to shut down in March 2020 due to the lockdown. After the lockdown was eased, we opened an alternate store at a different location." Since then, the twins have managed to expand their business and have now opened a new store in Navalur, which is a much larger gallery, in January 2021. "Here, they decided to not only have products and artwork by diff-abled people but also pottery products made by self-help groups and handicrafts made by artisans in rural Tamil Nadu. The aim is to give differently-abled and other people too a platform to showcase and sell their products," says Ramesh.
Some of the items at Twin Twigs Gallery (Pic: M S Ramesh)
It is not just by giving a platform to the differently-abled that the twins are helping out. At their leaf dinnerware manufacturing unit, 50% of the workforce is differently-abled. "We have people who are visually impaired and are differently-abled. During bulk orders, we ask the tailors in the self-help groups to help with stitching the leaf plates. The aim is to give employment to the differently-abled," says Ramesh. And where does Twin Twigs get its orders from? "They have customers in various parts of the country, including Bhopal, Delhi and Kolkata. During the lockdown, the supply to these places had to be stopped and it was restarted only recently," says Ramesh.
Twin Enterprises has now been registered as an MSME and last year, the twins raised an annual revenue of `19 lakh through their manufacturing unit and lone store. So what does an average day look like for the twins? "In the morning, they always head to the manufacturing unit first. Ever since the new gallery opened, they have been spending their afternoons there and head to their first store on ECR in the evenings," says Ramesh. "They manage the stores themselves and as their father, I sometimes help with the accounting and purchasing of materials," he adds. Sriram and Sundar Ram are 31 years old.