Eastside mama Vinita Baravkar has been fortunate to travel to many exciting destinations on the planet, and experience the beauty of nature and cultures of the world. She was working in international public health when she travelled to agricultural regions in India and Bangladesh. Here she saw firsthand the disastrous health and environmental impacts of traditional cotton growing, and knew it was time for positive change.
Vinita then combined her deep love for the Earth, humanity, and sustainable design to create Bhumi Organic Cotton. If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business, we ask Vinita everything you would want to know. We ask her how she went about opening her store, and how she juggles running a business with a child; she offers some fantastic advice to mums who are thinking about doing the same.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
My husband and I have a daughter who is now 6 years old and we are all passionate about creating a lighter footprint on our beautiful planet. We are vegetarian and outside of professional life I love doing yoga, meditation, cooking and classical Indian dancing with my daughter.
How did you come to opening a store dedicated to organic, sustainable cotton? What were you doing before you had your daughter?
I have a background in international public health. It was through my travels and time overseas before my daughter was born that my journey began of learning about organic cotton and its benefits to the earth and humanity. I experienced first-hand the disastrous health and environmental impacts of traditional cotton growing with farmer suicides, pesticide poisoning, birth defects, harmful dyes and toxic chemicals. Nobody deserves these adverse effects and it is not seen or heard or talked about much in the mainstream. I wanted to create a line of products that we need and use daily that tell the story as well as help the earth, humanity and us as consumers. I combined my deep love for the Earth and humanity to create Bhumi Organic Cotton.
How do you juggle running your own business with motherhood? What is your favourite part of what you do?
Undoubtedly the greatest challenge is balancing time and responsibilities of being a good Mum, Wife, Sister, Friend and Business Owner. Prioritising, being organised and taking some time out to reenergise and rejuvenate, even if it means something small like a soak in a tub. It is important you time which is critical to remain motivated and grow the business, along with fulfilling my family responsibilities. My mantra is being a Mum first but also being a Mum to the business to love it, nurture it, grow it to help make a difference to the world, to the community and know that I am teaching my daughter about the world and how to nurture the earth and humanity.
I love the creativity behind the business – the design process, seeing products come to life, and the flow on with the photo shoots and creating the visual content. And I love talking about my journey and the education component of the truth behind the textile industry. I have thoroughly enjoyed many speaking engagements at schools and universities and I strongly believe that with knowledge comes power, with power comes choice and with choice comes change. Through education and awareness I feel it is helping to build foundations for dreams in the minds and hearts of young people who are the change-makers of tomorrow.
What amazing products can we find in your store, and what is your bestseller?
Bhumi means Mother Earth in Sanskrit and our mission is to be the home for sustainable bedding and basics that reflect the natural beauty around us and provides the building blocks for greening your life and home. Everything we offer is designed to comfort, nurture, revive and sustain – it is a way of living and our products are there to help you turn your home into a blissful sanctuary. All of our products are designed with respect for the Earth and sustainable design and manufacturing practices. We have recently launched Australia’s first fairtrade certified yoga and activewear line. The best sellers are bedding and basics which are items that are close to one’s skin so it gives people the reassurance to know what lies close to your body is non-toxic and has a journey from seed to shelf that does not cost the earth or humanity.
What other advice would you give mums who are considering starting a business?
I would say believe in your dream and take the plunge. There will be many moments of stress and worries but have faith in why you started. Don’t give up – things may take time, you may feel disheartened, you may question everything, but persist and surround yourself with your dreams and visions to keep you going. Mistakes are perfectly okay, embrace them, acknowledge them and analyse them to help navigate and strengthen the direction you wish to go.
Where can we find Bhumi?
To experience the beauty of organic cotton, head to the store at 138 Commercial Road, Prahran, open every day 10am – 5pm (closed on public holidays). Shop online at bhumi.com.au