Upcycling her way to entrepreneurship-Shikha Shah

Why discard an unwanted product when you can upcycle it and create something that’s better than the original? Upcycling is the way forward, and Shikha shows us how we can be a part of this revolution!

Upcycling is changing the physical composition of a product, without changing its chemical composition. It’s less energy consuming and adds value to a product that would have otherwise been scrapped.

Originally from Varanasi, Shikha founded Scrapshala in Jan 2016. Born into a typical Marwari business family, the entrepreneurial bug bit Shikha quite expectedly, and she joined IIT Madras’ Rural Technology and Business Incubator cell to learn more about social entrepreneurship. She moved back to Varanasi and started brainstorming about ideas relating to green products. She realized that landfills is the only way people discard waste, and wanted to do her bit as a consumer.


After her initial research and constant interaction with the Municipal corporation, she learnt that many industries produce scrap that’s accessible in Varanasi, and began her first round of experiments. “Ideating and creating products in a tier 2 city accelerated the process and lowered production costs for us. Logistics is hardly ever a problem since it’s a small city.” says Shikha, who designs most of the products herself. Barely over a year old, Scrapshala’s achievements are applaud-worthy. From being gifting partners for TEDx Talks in Varanasi to Swacch Bharat drive projects to selling online, they’re doing their best to ensure the upcycle fever spreads across the country.

Products with a past, for the present and future:

Artisan Anecdotes

Scrapshala has given employment opportunities to around 7 artisans, each of whom have seen a tremendous change in their way of living after being associated with the company. Shikha tells us the story about a particular artisan, who has been working for her for the past 6 months or more “He joined us right after school because he didn’t have anything to do, but was quick to learn carpentry. This has uplifted him and helped him lead a comfortable life. We also encourage artisans to learn modern techniques of painting and hone their skills with the help of technology.”

Challenges involved

“Explaining to artisans why they have to always work with tiny pieces of waste instead of picking up material that’s readily available is a continuous task. Not many people understand what upcycling entails. The minute we mention it’s made of scrap, they expect to buy the product at a bargain price, without understanding the process involved” says Shikha.

Help contribute to the cause!

Let’s support Scrapshala’s vision to create employment for at least 50 artisans in 2017, and help them organize skill development programs for different sections of society, so that artisans can convince other artisans to work more with scrap, and students can learn to have fun upcycling! Shikha also urges people to try upcycling products in your own homes, as it’s easy and economical. You can either contribute by sending them scrap, or simply buy one of their beautiful products! To meet expenses for waste collection and outreach for volunteer activities, Shikha has created a crowdfunding campaign on BitGiving. Share, like and support the campaign!

Location: Varanasi

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scrapshala/

Bitgiving Campaign: https://www.bitgiving.com/scrapshalamakerslab

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