Namrata Lodha started Myaraa at the age of 52 in a drive to make sustainable accessories fun again. In an interview with Luxe Code, she discusses how she started her design brand and helps with empowerment of women.
Inspired by the natural grass fiber baskets and tools from her childhood home in Madhya Pradesh, Namrata Lodha, designs these accessories with the same material- good for the planet. Today Myaraa’s hats are designed in a combination of Indo-Western styles and personalised with your name, message, or occasion. This production empowers rural women whose families abandoned them for marrying outside their community or being a widow. The company makes work accessible in rural India for these women making sure that when you buy a sunny hat it comes bundled with the social and financial empowerment of a woman.
“Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” - Namrata Lodha.
Excerpts from an interview:
What made you start this brand? Tell us a little bit about your own profile? I have pursued Bachelors in Arts from Sagar University (MP) and before starting Myaraa I was a homemaker raising two boys and taking care of the family. I started Myaraa last year in a drive to make sustainable accessories fun again. This entrepreneurship journey started in a living room with an idea to re-introduce the concept of hats as an accessory but with a unique design element in it. I get inspired by people around me, by how they live their lives out loud. Myaraa is nothing but the world around me. I believe your environment is one of the biggest factors that determine whether or not you'll be successful, achieve the goals you set for yourself, or even try to achieve your dreams. For me, the people you have in your life are more influential than the things that you have in your life. Whether they are friends, family or simply role models, it's critical to find a "tribe" that uplifts, inspires and encourages you. At 52, I found my ‘tribe’ in my women artisans in Harda (Madhya Pradesh) and I wanted to build an opportunity to empower them and eventually empower myself as well.
Tell us how you are supporting rural women? We are supporting rural women by providing them with employment at Myaraa and also donating 5% of our profits into the wellbeing of their welfare. This includes providing clothes, food, education and basic domestic repairs for rural households and their community. At our workshop and design studio, we have continued to pay a salary for our team even during this pandemic. We have made arrangements to work remotely on the orders that we are getting during this pandemic. The work that we do at Myaraa has empowered these women to support their household expenses even when their partners have lost their jobs because of COVID. As a women owner, I can see how these steps at Myaraa have built a strong sense of women empowerment and motivation for my team.
What next for the brand? Is it limited to Hats? Is there a plan to diversify? We are just getting started in terms of our hat design and collection. There are more than 100 types of hats designs and variations that can be made and styled. It feels like we are just getting started. Also, thanks to nearly every single 2020 Fashion Week runway, there are a ton of hat trends to try out — from major statements like cowboy hats and turbans to more low-key, wearable picks like berets and bucket hats. Right now, our goal is to embed deep in the segment of hats and down the road maybe diversify to bags made out of natural grass and cloth.
Where can people order and shop? People can be part of the design process by placing their customizations from our Instagram account (@MyaraaIndia) or our website (www.Myaraa.com). Our design team then works with customers and ensures their needs are fulfilled.
Do you have any personal travel destinations? Where would you like to go once the lockdown is over? I am fortunate to see my hats travelling all over the world, so far, they have been to 50+ countries. When I see my customers tagging us on social media, I feel like a portion of my heart has also travelled with it. Looking at the amazing places where Myaraa hats have been, I would be most interested to travel to Europe, specifically France, Spain, and Italy.