How We Started…
Neev Herbal Handmade Soaps was started in 2007 as a rural women’s enterprise in Village Hurlung of Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. It was registered under Khadi Village Industries Commission with the vision of providing dignified employment to the women of Village Hurlung ensuring no air, water, noise or soil pollution is created in the endeavor.
The enterprise started with a small loan of Rs 60000 and with just one woman employee, and only 5 variants of handmade soaps as the product range. Various workshops were held in the village to teach the women how to prepare soaps and new products to be added in the range. The soaps were marketed through various exhibitions across the country. The rural women visited metro cities for the first time in their life, yet they quickly became adept in the sales and marketing of the products.
Opportunities kept coming for displaying products in the organic retail shops in the metro cities and in handicraft exhibitions, national as well as international. Neev Soaps participated in prestigious Artigiano Fair in Italy, Canton Fair in Guangzhou, and in Ethopia. Neev Soaps received National Award for being the Best KVIC Unit in the Eastern Zone of India, in a function presided over by the President of India, in 2010.
Neev Soaps then took a loan again to build a factory on 5000 sq ft of land and attain the needed Drugs and Cosmetics license for the manufacturing of these products. All the documentation which required high level skills was done by the interns, national as well as international. With the help of these interns, Neev Soaps could have its own website, and presence on e-commerce sites like Amazon, and also on Facebook and Instagram.
Neev Soaps has been constantly and organically growing owing to the good wishes and support of customers, villagers and many individuals who lended their helping hand in creating media content, website, photographs, packaging designs, documentation, etc. The product range increased from 5 SKUs in 2007 to 250 in 2021. The credit goes to the concerned customers with their valuable feedback and suggestions.
During Covid times, the organisation grew in leaps owing to the efforts of young interns who increased the online presence manifold. At the same time, Shikha and Anurag, previously husband and wife, got separated owing to their different approaches in life. Now Shikha stays in the Village Factory premises and spends most of her time in the temple established on the first floor of the factory. God’s presence and blessing is felt by all alike in the factory as well as in the village. The temple acts as a religious, cultural and charitable center for the villagers.