An eco-friendly start-up: High-Light | SupportBiz

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An eco-friendly start-up: High-Light

Mumbai-based High-light is a great example of upcycling and ‘best out of waste’. The brainchild of Sharanya Menon, High-Light is a one-woman operation that converts used liquor bottles into customised, beautiful lamps that are perfect for gifting.

SupportBiz presents an exclusive conversation with Sharanya, the founder of High-Light.

When did High-Light start operations?

High-Light has been in the market for 13 months now, since August 2011.

What is your background?

After a BSc in Microbiology, I decided that I needed to get into a more creatively challenging field. I did a PG diploma in 3D Animation and moved to Mumbai once I got a job in an animation studio. After about a year and a half, I wanted to switch to post-production. It was during this period that High-Light came into being.

Presently, I also work freelance as a props master in ads, along with handling High-Light.

How did the idea of High-Light come about?

For a long time, I thought there seemed to be a lack of unique, customized products for gifting. When I first started designing lamps for people, it was nothing more than a way to keep myself busy and earn a little money. Once it started picking up, though, I realised that it worked because customers nowadays do not want to gift something that is redundant and run-of-the-mill. That is when I decided to make it more than just a hobby.

How big is your team?

At the moment, I handle everything on my own, but I might consider expanding in some time.

How do you market your business?

Most of my clients have got in touch with me through Facebook and through my website. I advertise mainly through Facebook. All the press coverage has also been thanks to the same. There is a shop in Mumbai, called Memore, that also stocks some of my designs.

What are the major challenges that you face?

As of now, my major challenge is to maintain current standards and keep people happy. Since they are not mass-produced, the lamps have to be of the same quality every time.

How has the customers' response been to High-Light products?

So far, people have been extremely happy with the lamps. Many customers have offered me invaluable advice to help me grow and expand.

What are your expansion plans in the near future?

I am looking at building a team, and also concentrating on expanding in terms of designs and surfaces to work on.

High-Light offers highly customised products, and this stands at risk of being affected if you scale up operations. How do you intend to deal with this?

That is exactly why I am not thinking of up-scaling, because then, it will get into that cycle of mass-production which High-Light is not based on.

What have been your best learnings from business?

How to divide and save resources, to be more assertive, and to be more and more creative every day.

What advice would you give to prospective entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is a tough task, and not as peachy as it seems to be. There will be times when it will get overwhelming and stressful, but if you are passionate about what you are selling, it will not matter. It all works out eventually, and the feeling of achievement trumps everything! Just keep at it, and do not ever give up!