"Packaging can be theatre, it can create a story".

Steve Jobs

We identify that brand packaging plays a crucial and primary role in ensuring the safety of the products we buy but have you ever wondered where it all ends up? No, it does not disappear in the thin air. It all lands in landfills where it takes hundreds of years to decompose. Only if it is biodegradable or else your last chocolate wrapper might end up in the river next to you even after 10 long years. Decomposing right at the source is not the only step we need to take in a sustainable future. Surprise Someone, founded by the Mother-Daughter duo, Sharda Daga and Pinky Maheshwari who took an initiative, of giving new hopes by creating 100% decomposable packaging and introducing a new eco – friendly path.

Diwali is an auspicious time for all of us. It's a festival of lights and gifting each other sweets. And therefore to give an eco-friendly touch to this festival of lights, Surprise Someone has come up with Diwali gifting hamper tray, Gift hamper box, Diwali gift hamper boxes, Jar boxes and plantable diya. This helps not only to reduce the footprints of carbon but also sheds light on a new perspective of reusing what we have.

In conversation with The EarthView, Pinky Maheshwari (Co-Founder with her mother) talks about Surprise Someone and how they are changing the society by believing in surprising people.

"We create WOW in every product, we ensure every product has a wow effect in it. We surprise each other not by giving gifts but by our words and by our deeds. We believe in a smiling, happy work environment. We also infuse happiness in our boxes; we take pride in making them. We, as an entire team, celebrate our failures more than our success because they teach us a lot. We write them in our diaries and make sure we don't repeat them," said Pinky Maheshwari.

After working for one of the largest advertising agency, initially she started with 10 handmade bags and today Pinky is selling 1 lakh bags. She also talks about handmade paper budding from a conversation with her son to make the very first paper at home in a mixer.

"My mom and dad being an environmentalists since last 40 years taught me how we can recycle and make paper. This is something which existed in the society from a very long ago, I have just reinvented and refurbished it," said Pinky.

She also highlights "The strongest pillar of the company is my mom as we are in partnership, and it is a 100% women-owned business. We started to embed seeds in the paper and then create paper. We have created 1200+ products. Our mantra is: Why to throw when we can grow. If we can grow our boxes, bags, diaries, books, then why throw them? Usually, we eat the chocolate and throw them, why don't we reuse and grow them? We throw, and that is how they end up in the landfills, and then they produce carbon dioxide and contribute to global warming."

Surprise Someone was invited by Facebook India for being one of the successful women entrepreneurs who have used digital media effectively. They were also selected for Women's Entrepreneurship Development Program (among top 30) and several other awards.

"85% of the workforce at Surprise Someone comprises women. I see myself empowering more women from rural areas of India, who were always seen as just committed to their home chores or unable to work because of the social norms. Women at Surprise Someone work, they do their household chores, and still, contribute to the financial income of the family. That is something I want to give more focus to. Empowering women through what we do," said Pinky.

100 million marine animals die every year because of discarded plastic. This is for the irresponsible actions we take as consumers to not pay much attention to the packaging of plastic, which is mostly single, used. The packaging is used to ensure the safety of the product delivered or purchased, but is this decision ensuring a safe future for us?

Talking about the initial challenges, Pinky said, "Earlier people were not aware. They had questions like what is it? They used to find negative in the start. But now people are aware and excited. People are vocal about local. Now people are more interested in eco – friendly packaging. When they see the quality and the story behind it, they are happy to support.

Even at the time of Covid people are supportive of our products, and I believe that if individually we contribute then it will be a benefit to everyone."

Pinky further said, "Keep surprising Someone, not just materialistically but by deeds and appreciating people. We strongly believe in what you give is what you get."

Written by – Nidhi Choudhary