Who we are

Our guiding principle is to use design as a tool of inclusion.

Creating contemporary products with a touch of tradition, is our style.

Using sustainable materials, we make products of everyday use to create opportunities for homebound women. 

Our Approach

 

We seek out women who have not had an opportunity to acquire employable skills and then we invest our efforts in training them. 

Since our beneficiaries are farmers and housewives, a key product innovation strategy for us is ‘easy to make’.  

Learning to Earning

Our makers are rural women who cannot get work without leaving their homes or villages. The training, skills and materials we provide, give them a source of livelihood, financial independence and self-respect.

Since our makers start with very basic skills, this is the longest and most the challenging part of our process.

We train them for free. 

Though slow, long and challenging, we believe strongly in what we do, because with the training, our makers are able to start earning a living that otherwise would not be possible. It thus creates a new life for them. 

We hold very high standards of quality and do not compromise on it.

For our makers however, this is quite challenging, since they start with minimal skills and typically have never had prior exposure to such stringent standards.

It takes us and them very long to reach this benchmark. 

Sustainbility

Our products are all made using natural fibers like jute and cotton. Even our packaging is made from up-cycled saris.

Jute is completely biodegradable, eco-friendly and the expired fiber can be recycled more than once.

It is referred to as the ‘golden fibre’ due to its importance as a sustainable fiber, its value for money and its silky, lustrous and golden-brown color.

Versatile and natural, it has emerged endless possibilities as a fibre of choice today.

Sustainable to the core is Ohrna’s motto, so we have designed up-cycled packaging for every one of our sustainable products that are packaged in a cover made from donated cotton or silk saris, giving you a sustainable and beautiful keepsake as well!  
 Ohrna is proud to not be a part of pollution by packaging. 

We at Ohrna believe in zero waste.

Scrap fabric by-products of our production process become beautiful scrunchies, masks and dolls!

Packaging material for our products are donated saris from generous well wishers. With a stitched flap design, it then becomes a reusable bag.

Craft

We are passionate about innovating contemporary, everyday products by applying traditional arts and crafts to them, from backpacks to laptop sleeves to planter holders and more. Our style is therefore 'contemporary with a touch of tradition'!

This style of embroidery has, since ages, been a household term and craft-form of Bengal, land of Ohrna’s roots. It is considered one of the simplest of embroideries.

Our workplace however is rural Maharashtra, where women are not familiar with hand embroidery. Teaching and then gearing them up to apply it effectively is challenging for both us and them!

While kantha on jute is something they have since learned, because of the guiding holes of its weave, embroidering it on plain fabric, which we do infrequently, is a tall order for them.

We complement our base fabric jute with ikkat or bandhani to create beautiful fabric and color combinations.

We source these fabrics from our home-based ikkat weaver partners and bandhani tie-dye partners. They practice a craft that has emerged to perfection over centuries.

Working from a village in south India and west India respectively, they continue to use traditional techniques, working tirelessly to keep their traditions alive. 

Our Team

Driven by a passion to give back our team takes pride in having built a value based, sustainable and ethical organization. 

Founder & CEO

Jhumkee Iyengar

Ohrna was founded by Jhumkee Sengupta Iyengar in 2017. A people centered product & experience designer, Jhumkee is also a teacher, writer and presenter.

Her strong desire to give back, to help preserve rich craft traditions of her roots in Bengal, India, along with her artistic flair, imagination and love for colors, initiated Ohrna as her passion project few years ago, that soon turned into a social enterprise operating globally. This work also brings her full circle to span a cultural bridge between India and USA, the two places she considers home.

Jhumkee is based in Pune, India. She designs, trains all artisans for free, while also running and growing the enterprise in India and overseas.

Co-founder

Mitul Iyengar

Mitul Iyengar co-founded Ohrna with her mother Jhumkee. She studied graphic design and visual communication, before working as a digital product designer.

She is inspired by Ohrna’s mission to promote a sustainable product lifecycle, as well as the ability for design to empower women. She is passionate about crafts and textiles, and enjoys working with her hands.

Mitul is based in Brooklyn, New York, and works on new product development, as well as Ohrna’s online presence.

Inspiration

Sharmila Sen

Ohrna is inspired by Sharmila Sen, a Fine Arts graduate who worked with the philosophies that Ohrna has imbibed.

Sharmila ran a home-based enterprise for 24 years, training tribal women and selling locally, jute based products made by them. The results were apparent over the years, when many a woman came back with recounts of how the income helped educate their children or solved some of their basic monetary problems.