I always believe in this famous saying – when your soul wants something and you work hard with sincerity and honesty, the universe will conspire to help you achieve those goals. This is exactly why and how I left my high-paying, successful corporate job and dived into the unknown and challenging life of entrepreneurship. It was to live my passion and build an awareness around what I am passionate about – sustainable living practices.
I always wanted to do something of my own, build an impactful brand with a bigger purpose, generate employment, and share my extensive global professional experience of almost two decades. I am a nature lover since childhood and was also part of the nature club in high school. So, the calling was always there, and it finally took over when I ultimately left my corporate job and conceived the idea of ‘Verdura Care’. ‘Verdura’ literary means greenery. Through this name our brand evokes our core values of promoting eco-friendliness, sustainability, and renewability. So, it was passion which led to extensive market research, great deal of reading and interacting with people who share the same passion for sustainable living, chalking out plans on how to implement my ideas into a viable and impactful business model while generating awareness around the importance and the need for a sustainable world. You can believe in your ideas and share it with others with full conviction only when you yourself are well versed with it. To learn about every aspect of sustainability, I went ahead and added an extra certification from the University of Cambridge to my already existing management degree. Now, being a certified professional in sustainability and circular economy, it gives me an edge to understand the existing problems better and build a solution for it using my expertise, experience and implement those in my own business and help our clients.
As they say charity begins at home, and India being my home country, I started my entrepreneurial journey from my motherland and once it was decently established, well-recognized and appreciated with some coveted national and international awards as the most promising impactful startup of the year, I moved on to focus on my second home of almost over a decade – Qatar. Thus, Verdura Care Qatar was born with the sole objective of working towards Qatar National Vision 2030’s goal of sustainable development. Qatar holds a very special place in my heart because majority of my professional life is spent in Qatar and this country has showered me and family with so much love, kindness, generosity – the gratitude I have is hard to express in words. It gives me an unexplained sense of satisfaction and happiness when I see good things happening for Qatar, the same way I feel if I hear India doing well on the global map.
Verdura Care Qatar is the coming together of two strong women who are empathetic, passionate and shares the common values of being strong advocates of Qatar’s sustainability initiatives. Often you meet someone co-indecently and you feel a strong connection, and that happens when your values match. This is exactly how I met my business partner Dr.Latifa Al Darwish. Though we were connected professionally on Linkedin since long, but we never met or had any interaction until one fine day I dropped her a message requesting a meeting as a member of a local business association that I am part of. That was our first interaction, and our conversation had an instant connect. Our conversation revolved around topics of women empowerment, women entrepreneurship, social development, environmental concerns, and the importance of sustainability which is not a ‘fashion’ word but the actual need of the hour. I was fascinated by the amazing body of work in similar lines, in various aspects Dr.Latifa has been doing in Qatar and for Qatar which is absolutely commendable. She has achieved some remarkable milestones in her career and is a woman of high values and morals. She is an inspiration to every woman who wants to make a mark for themselves, work on their passion, live their dreams while balancing both professional and personal lives with equal ease.
Verdura Care was established to solve the biggest problem that I as a consumer faced in my day-to-day life and that is greenwashing. The word ‘sustainability’ is often used more like a trendy word and there is random usage of it by suppliers who if asked fumble to gather facts to prove that the product they are selling as sustainable is actually sustainable in every aspect. Sustainability is an extensive term and to call a product sustainable we need to understand, evaluate various aspects of the product’s lifecycle and be transparent with our customers. And this is exactly the problem that my company Verdura Care is set to resolve. As an impact based social purpose company our goal is to turn the billion-dollar global corporate gifting industry green by providing our customers in Qatar and the region access to authentic and verified sustainable gifting solutions. We are not a product-based company, but a solution based one. Through our in-house expertise on the subject matter, we study the existing problem that a client is facing or may be unaware of and we provide tailor-made solutions to each of our clients selecting from a wide range of physical, experiential, and digital gifting solutions that we have. Each of our gifting package clearly educates the client the SDG goals that relate to it and the ESG impact which we especially share with our clients to make them aware of the various stages of the product’s lifecycle. This is our USP which sets us apart from the other gifting solution providers in the market. We are clearly one of the only companies which is solely focused and working on making the gifting industry green.
We are here to make a change on the age-old and repetitive thinking of gift giving, where a branded ceramic mug or USB, or an engraved crystal something or a tabletop is considered the idle corporate gift that helps to have a brand recall. I think completely different. How about gifting your employees, customers, stakeholders, investors something that has an intangible value attached to it? How about making them feel extra special? How about empowering them to contribute towards a larger and pressing cause like climate change that the entire world is trying to tackle? How about making them deeply connected to Qatar National Vision 2030’s goal of sustainability?
Having been a brand communications professional all my life, I can tell you, we humans subconsciously connect to a brand not for a logo printed on a product but for the values it has. We connect to that overall experience that brand is giving us and that’s how we recall the brand and remember it.
With Verdura Care we are trying to reach this stage through our purposeful gifting solutions. We work with corporates for their gifting, merchandising requirements, with wedding planners, event companies to provide purposeful customized gifting solutions. We also work with conscious individuals for baby shower gift hampers. Our solution is deep rooted in sustainability and an effort to shift the linear model to a more circular solution.
We are about to witness a carbon neutral FIFA World Cup in Qatar next year which we all should be immensely proud of and the same time it is our individual responsibility as a conscious and responsible resident of this country to make sure that we make a conscious effort in our own small ways to Qatar’s sustainability goals, the effects of which will last even in generations to come. To quote the famous saying – “we do not inherit the world from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children”.
I do not come from a family of entrepreneurs neither I had a backing of a family run business or any Godfather. When I started, it was completely with my perseverance, grit, and passion an idea or cause which I firmly believe in. My goal is not money driven. It is purpose driven. I am here to create an impact with my company, and I believe when you are true to your values, your customers, investors, employees, and partners can also see the long-term impact and value of an organization. A business leader is respected and become an inspiration by not just leading a billion-dollar business empire. You become an inspiration if you live the values of your company and set an example by leading the path. To me the essential quality of an inspiring business leader is walking the talk. What you expect others to do, first do it yourself and set the example and standards. Second is being empathetic towards your team, customers, surroundings, and each stakeholder. I can tell from my personal experience that a lot of challenges could be resolved if you are empathetic in your verbal and non-verbal communications. Your personal values must reflect in your company values. Third, have the tenacity to keep going on with the same enthusiasm and positivity both during highs and lows.
I could live my passion and work on it only because of the unwavering support from my husband and my family. My husband is my strength, my critique, my friend who stands beside and believes in me. I am grateful and consider myself blessed to have him in my life.
My advice to all young and budding entrepreneurs would be – just believe in yourself and your ideas. Be honest and kind to yourself and with the people you deal with and work hard, extremely hard because someone somewhere might be working harder than you to achieve their dreams. To all budding women entrepreneurs I want you to never think that you lack anything for being a woman. No, you do not. If your ideas are powerful, you believe in it with conviction, have garnered the required skills and education, then just go with it and launch it. Stay positive always. There might be plenty of obstacles, challenges, and negativity. Just keep focused, stay strong, positive, love and respect yourself, have faith and go on.
It was a pleasure to share with the readers of Essence of Qatar in short, my journey and a bit about my life and my company. Thank you for spending your time in reading my story.
Please feel free to connect with me at [email protected]. Until we meet again stay strong, stay happy and stay positive and remember Verdura Care – a step towards a greener, sustainable, and empowered world.
Atreyi Basu, Founder of Verdura Care
Company Name: Verdura Care Trading WLL
Related Companies: Verdura Care Pvt.Ltd, India
e-commerce platform MyVerduraCare.com
Key achievements, milestones and social impact works of Verdura Care Group
- Atreyi Basu is the achiever of Qatar’s Woman Leaders Award by World Women Leadership Congress.
- Atreyi Basu’s journey was featured in the April 2021 issue of the Dublin based business magazine CIO Look as among the most Inspiring Women in Business in Asia. She has also been featured in many other reputed business magazines in India.
- Verdura Care Qatar’s sister concern Verdura Care India is a multi-award winning company.
- Awarded twice in 2020 by the MSME Chamber of Commerce and Industries of India as the Most Socially Responsible Brand of the Year and another award for The Brand Contributing to A Clean India and Green India.
- Recipient of MADCon Global awards Dubai as the 100 most promising start-ups in Asia contributing to innovative impact marketing.
- India5000 Awards for Start Ups with Quality Excellence.
- We are also connected to Society for Indian Children’s’ Welfare, Kolkata and work with them for sponsoring the higher education of underprivileged children in India. We have collaborated with Artemis Foundation a recognized NGO who works for the development of rural artisans, work against human trafficking and make the victims employable by teaching them the right skill sets. All these products made by these people are featured on our both platforms under ‘Shop for a cause’ section and people from anywhere in the world can explore and shop them and get it delivered to their doorsteps.