Haathi Chaap: How two women turned Elephant dung into paper, resulting in a multi crore business

Haathi Chaap

Talent is how you utilise the resources precisely, recognise the value of a wastes and has ability to turn them into a diamond. Entrepreneur Mahima Mehra and Vijendra Shekhawat did the same. With a loan of Rs 15,000, they built a business of having turnover to be crores of rupees just by using elephant dung as their raw material.

History

In 2003, the duo visited Jaipur where they found hordes of fibrous dung nearby Amber Fort, Jaipur. For others, it was total waste. But Mahima and Vijendra considered it useful and found potential to make paper from it.

Making dung a brand

Haathi Chaap is a brand now and it makes everything such as notebooks, photo albums, frames, bags, gift tags, stationery, coasters, etc. These all are made by using elephant dung and the range of their prices start from Rs 10 to Rs 500.

It is very common in India that businesses are first established and then think about exporting their product to other countries. But Mahima did not follow this rule and began exporting papers to Germany for 4 years before introducing it in the Indian market. In the market of United Kingdom, their products are found too.

From dung to product

The most important process is the cleaning of dung. In large water tanks, dung is washed with water systematically. Then, dung is dried up for the use of manufacturing paper. And the dung water is used in fields as a fertilizer.

Shekhawat expressed that his mother went ballistic at the idea of bringing dung into the house. She has claimed no one would ever marry me because of my occupation.

Attitude, an aid to identify business

Since childhood, Mahima leaned towards an eco-friendly living style. Her attitude helped to recognize how elephant dung can be a useful resource. Haathi Chaap is run by a small team of villagers. They process the dung and make papers out of it.

Elephant dung is highly fibrous because of its poor digestive system whose outcome is a good quality paper. And this can market itself as the product is considered to be novel.

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