Becoming a parent is a unique experience. It feels like you are always playing catch-up with time, but before you know it- one experience with your baby has morphed into another. He was a newborn yesterday, hardly keeping his eyes open, now he is a toddler, now a primary-school goer already.
We look back and often wonder- where did all that time go? When was she so little?
The days are long, but the years are short- Gretchen Rubin, Author- The Happiness Project.
It’s true. It’s a strange time-warp.
As a parent, you wish to hold on to those shreds of memory. In my wardrobe, there is a special corner with a bundle that contains my kids’ first clothes and their favourite ones every year as they grew up. So do other parents I know.
And now I know that scores of other parents do it too, after I spoke with Farah Ahmed, co-founder of Soul Quilts. Soul Quilts emerged as a business idea when three moms in Bangalore saw the rising trend of homes wanting to declutter during the pandemic. Mundane things found an easy exit from homes, but most families hit a roadblock with items with sentimental value. Unable to throw away adorable baby clothes that were kept for years with the sole purpose of preserving memories, moms started looking for alternatives.
Soul Quilts was born. Farah Ahmed, along with two friends started Soul Quilts as a way to promote sustainable living that values human emotions. Their venture was incubated by IIMB-NSRCEL, under the Goldman Sachs 10K Women Program as an idea that helped parents relive memories that warmed their hearts. Pun entirely intended, as the idea took birth in the winter of the pandemic year 2020 in Bangalore. It was an immediate and appealing answer to customers looking for premium handmade quilts for the winter. Soul quilts just topped it up with the pleasure of fond memories.
Hello Farah. Thank you for being a part of Kidskintha. What was the inspiration for Soul Quilts?
Soul Quilts Powered by Sweet Root is a product range that enables human connection through upcycling. We certainly promote the idea of donation of clothes, however we find that after all donation, we are all still left with clothes of sentimental value that we are not ready to part with. These clothes of sentimental attachment are crafted into beautiful quilts and keepsakes for families… The whole idea of conscious consumption, minimalism is what triggered this concept.
Our business solves an existing problem, by upcycling and promoting minimalism. We wanted to create a business that has a purpose and our memory quilts support sustainable living.
What were your early marketing tactics to get these memory quilts from old baby clothes off the ground?
Marketing is a tricky ball game. Our marketing was all word of mouth marketing and we did it by providing premium quality products to our existing customers.
How do you keep up with new memory quilt ideas and trends to reflect in your upcycled products?
We focus on comfort at the crux of all the designs we create. We make memory quilts for parents all over the country and we value their sentiments. Hence, co-creation with them is our USP. Trends keep changing and we design products that can be cherished right from toddlerhood to adulthood. We keep our designs minimalistic while personalising it to our client’s requirement.
How long does it typically take to make a quilt? How many pieces would you need? What if there aren’t enough clothes?
Turnaround time is 3-4 weeks after the ideation stage, the quilts are all handmade. Depending on the size of the quilt, the number of cloth articles vary. We try to do the BEST with whatever is available to us, and of course, by keeping the customer in the loop! Every piece of cloth article sent to us is utlilized as patch work for the memory quilt. Our team includes textile designers and fashion designers from the best design colleges in India.
What were your biggest challenges when you first started with Soul Quilts?
Starting itself is a big challenge, the whole idea of upcycling fond baby clothes that are left behind after donation was a challenge. We had to start with the question: ‘ how to make a quilt out of baby clothes.’
Sentiments were attached and we had to help parents preserve their memories. It meant taking care of everything with zero negligence. Every project needed immense patience to execute.
How has Soul Quilts evolved since you started?
We have been doing extremely well since we started and now cater not just to parents in our country but also in other countries, our business has been successful in garnering trust from our customers.
What do you aspire to achieve with the Soul Quilts brand?
The spirit of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Contributing to the circular economy concept and creating a business which thrives on human connections, priceless emotional value and care.
Tell us some of the cool experiences has this venture brought to you?
Talking with mothers across the globe and realised we all are the same. We want the best for our children, it could mean taking care of minute details not just about their wellbeing but also about how they will cherish memories years later with Soul Quilts. Most mothers are actively involved in co-creating memory quilts and each day is a new learning.
What is your one habit you are very proud of as an entrepreneur?
I just cannot be casual when it comes to customer’s requirement, each point is carefully noted and executing it is always on top of my mind. Hence, the final output is always very very close to what the customer had asked for.
How do you divide your time between your fast-growing vibrant memory quilts venture and family?
Weekend is reserved for family and I strictly follow a no gadget time post 6pm. Which means to pause, rewind and relax with my 7 year old son.
How do you envision Soul Quilts evolving from memory quilts over the next 10 years?
Upcycling will always be very close to the heart. However, we envision to introduce a wide range of products catering to home decor and children’s segments all made from preloved cloth articles. As part of our social responsibility, we are open to receiving some sponsorship and support to make blankets of unused cloth articles for children in slums, we hope to make this a venture that is filled with human connections, sentiments and social responsibility with little support, I am sure we will…
And finally, what do you like about Kidskintha?
Kidskintha is doing a brilliant job!! As it brings together businesses that not just focus on wealth creation but also have a purpose and a soul!
You can check out the Soul Quilts collection here: