December 18, 2021

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The Story of Dhwani Shree and Silpakarman: Sustainability, Social Impact and Art

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Dhwani Shree, a filmmaker and the co-founder of Silpakarman, shares with Girl Power Talk her journey as a woman entrepreneur working towards sustainability.

Coming from a family of travel enthusiasts, I always had a life full of adventure. My mom has a very keen eye for handicrafts, which took us to even the most remote villages as we explored. My father, who is a filmmaker, would shoot different tribal community members and their crafts with his camera as part of a documentary. All of that influenced me to be sensitive to their stories and realize that these people deserved a platform to exhibit their skills and showcase their products. It went on to become a central part of my life as I helped local artisans become micropreneurs.

As we went to Sanskrit dictionaries searching for a name for my venture, Silpakarman came to life. The name does not just complement our bamboo products, but it also showcases the creative work of our artisans. Bamboo crafts are rare and are an excellent sustainable, reusable alternative to plastic.

Dhwani Shree Childhood_Girl Power Talk

The initial challenge in starting Silpakarman was to gain the trust of the artisans. This involved spending time and energy to gain an understanding of their daily routine. The next challenge was to create awareness about handicraft products to maintain them; we keep sharing that knowledge with people.

Being part of the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2021 was surprising, to say the least. When we told our local partners about what it meant, they realized how serious we are about making an impact. The feature inspired more trust from people, who now worked with us to share their knowledge and skills. This, I feel, is one of the most beautiful things that happened for our venture.

We’re currently working on our newest innovation in BeYouTea, and around 350+ women will be employed for this launch. The locals made an impact on us, and that is the reason we can make an impact on their lives. We would not have taken this initiative to give them stable income opportunities if their art and dedication did not influence us. Therefore, it was a mutual process of love, growth, and dedication.

BeYouTea_Dhwani Shree_Girl Power Talk

I know so many women who are multi-taskers with minds full of bright ideas. Sadly, even today, society doesn’t allow them to explore freely and progress in life. Feminism is not about women overpowering men, it is about being equal. Therefore, women should be aware of their legal rights; don’t just include them in a quota, allow them to compete. Do work at the ground level to create a level playing field for them. 

I am confident with my idea, and I know I can pull it off. Choosing a path that is uncommon is hard as one needs to build oneself up from level zero. Most people will refuse to back you, but what’s important is that you have faith. Have that, and you shall succeed.

Silpakarman_Dhwani Shree_Girl Power Talk

My advice to young people who are about to embark upon a journey of social entrepreneurship is that if you want to be successful, hold on to that child in you because that will give you courage, craziness, and curiosity. Be energetic and question people even though it seems silly. Children shrug it off when somebody tries to pull them down. They do not give a second thought to those who don’t support them, and that is what many people need to do as well.

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