Published: 12th August 2020
How this Engineering student from SRM developed a sustainable lifestyle brand to conserve water
Shantanu Pratap Singh developed The Sagez, a Bangalore-based sustainable lifestyle brand to promote products made with lesser water
All those who've stayed in the city already know that Bengaluru is super water-starved. The demand for tankers is never-ending and borewells are very few and far between. While saving water is the need of the hour, how many in the metropolis actually make an effort to do this? Not enough, for sure. Or at least that's what Shantanu Pratap Singh thought when he decided to start The Sagez, a sustainable lifestyle brand, during his internship at NSRCEL, IIM Bangalore as part of his Computer Science BTech degree from SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai.
Indeed, water scarcity was what prompted Shantanu to ideate his start-up. "I already experienced water scarcity in Chennai - there was a lack of availability of drinking water in the summers and people had to face a lot of issues to procure it - and while it was talked about in the media and even discussed in the political echelons, nothing much was being done. This problem was also present in Bengaluru. Not many were doing anything about it and I thought that make my contribution towards easing the problem," he says, adding, "After pondering over it, I decided to create sustainable stationery — pens, pencils, paper — and even bamboo brushes and straws to provide an alternative to plastic and also to promote products that use less water."
The Sagez specialises in seed paper — a variety of paper that has seeds infused and can be planted later after use. "The paper has to be torn and planted and after a week or so, it will germinate," explains Shantanu. He believes that if each person tries to be a little more sustainable in their daily lives, it can create a bigger impact. "We sold around 20,000 units of seed paper in six months after starting in October 2019. Even if a few of those went back and planted the paper, we'll have more trees. It is all about those little steps," says Shantanu.
Shantanu Pratap Singh
Before the lockdown, Shantanu would travel to Bengaluru from Chennai almost every weekend to manage The Sagez, which is still based out of the city. "It was a hectic period," he says. But the lockdown changed it all. "I had to fly down to my hometown, Prayagraj. Currently, I'm managing the company remotely but sales have been hit drastically over the last few months," he rues. He had to discontinue some of his products during the lockdown and is now focusing mainly on the stationery. "We are slowly getting back on our feet and trying to keep things running," says the 21-year-old. Shantanu says the pandemic also halted their plans to develop textile-based products.