Meet the maker: Amishi Parasrampuria – The Upcycle Project
If we’re to judge a book by its cover, the folks at The Upcycle Project have mastered the art. The brainchild of Amishi Parasrampuria, the brand is known for making gifting and home decor items from waste, scraps, and more interestingly, old vinyl records, that were made using a non-recyclable material called PVC.
‘What is upcycling? Is it like recycling?’
Well, that would be a big fat nope. While recycling is important, upcycling is the art of reusing a material without affecting its original quality — or in some cases, even improving it. And if we’re to judge a book by its cover, the folks at The Upcycle Project have mastered the art. The brainchild of Amishi Parasrampuria, the brand is known for making gifting and home decor items from waste, scraps, and more interestingly, old vinyl records, that were made using a non-recyclable material called PVC.
“While I was studying for my master’s in the UK, I happened to take a class that involved scores of case studies on sustainability and unique businesses that stemmed from being environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable,” Amishi explains. “A well-designed, functional, upcycled product that could compete with mainstream products in both price and quality was the need of the hour — so we decided to give it a shot. It started off as a project, where we tried experimenting with trash. It was more of an endeavour than a venture, honestly, and it’s still an endeavour because we never stop pushing ourselves. The idea behind upcycling is that it is so simple that it can be undertaken as a project by anyone. In fact, the name of the brand itself is an encouragement for people to take up upcycling at home themselves.”
Constantly improving every passing day, The Upcycle Project has definitely made heads turn and will celebrate its second birthday this April.
Kripa Shah, the brand’s Business Development Manager, says the benefits of upcycling are significant in more ways than one. “The very fact that you reuse a particular item and delay its fate of reaching the dumping grounds is the biggest pro in my opinion,” says Kripa. “Furthermore, you’re also contributing majorly by helping the environment and at the end of the day, you get to retain the things you love. I mean, technically speaking, you could make business out of trash! While our project was in its infancy, we started of with numerous materials like glass, plastic bottles, and the like. However, managing it all was proving to be a tall order — so we decided to stick to a solitary material and produce varieties of the same. Getting concepts for vinyls was born out of our own creativity, which is something we’re proud of. It’s a good feeling when people come up to us and say, ‘We didn’t know you could do this with records!’”
Since the response to the upcycled creations has been terrific, it’s only natural for the brand to have grand plans on expanding. “We have a few products in line that includes a notebook for travel fanatics, which says, ‘Let’s go somewhere, anywhere, everywhere’. We’ve also added a quote to our usual bookends that says, ‘Professional Dreamer’. The Vinyl Record Wall Clock is by far our best seller, so we came up with a desk version for the same — a small Vinyl Desk Clock. Finally, for all those who don’t fit into the aforementioned categories, we have the ‘I’m too sober for this shit’ wall decal too!”
While home decor might be its forte, the brand has latterly entered the interior space too. “Recently, we made commercially functional upcycled furniture and table accessories for two bars in Mumbai,” says Amishi. “These consist of tables made from waste CDs, bottle caps, waste keys, etc, chairs from tyres and pallet stools, and so on.”
One mustn’t forget that upcycling is nascent — not just in the country, but all around the world. “While there are scores of individual artists who are passionate about upcycling, a handful have managed to create a scalable company that can compete with mainstream organisations,” explains Kripa. “With conversations in the world about waste management getting more pregnant by the day, there is a dire need for creative solutions such as upcycling. For that very reason, we hope to introduce new materials and expand our product range soon. We’ve upcycled 480kgs of non recyclable waste thus far, and plan on doubling the number by this time next year.”
Amish signs off by adding that the brand’s ultimate aim is to make everyone, both old and young, understand the importance and need of upcycling in today’s times. “Since we work with vinyl records, the older generation especially loves it,” says an excited Amishi. “Vintage is the new cool, after all!”
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