Coconut is one of the most versatile crops you’ll find in Kerala. You can utilise different parts of coconuts to make various materials like coconut oil, coir, fiber, etc. Coconut shells, on the other hand, are generally used to make charcoal. Maria Kuriakose, a young entrepreneur from Thrissur, uses coconut shells to make various daily-use products. Her homegrown brand – Thenga – has a wide variety of eco-friendly coconut shell products such as bowls, candles, planters, etc.
The Success Story of Thenga
“Business has always been my area of interest since my childhood, and I wished to learn more about the field. That interest led me to do a Master’s in Business Administration from a university in Spain. After the course, I worked for two years in an MNC in Mumbai. But, I quit my job and joined a startup,” said Maria Kuriakose, the founder of Thenga.
Maria’s passion has always been to start her own initiative. She had a proper plan to execute her business too. Her objective was to choose a natural, eco-friendly product easily available in her native place Kerala. After researching, Maria realised that people throw away coconut shells after using their meat. An idea was born! She realised that wasted coconut shells can be used to make something useful.
“With the help of my father, I was able to set up small-scale machinery in our house. I made some sample products with coconut shells and sent them to two eco-friendly businesses in Bangalore and Delhi. They were quite satisfied with my product, and I got my first order from them,” Maria added.
After the success of the initial orders, Maria decided to set up proper channels and sources for raw materials. She also approached artisans who were well-versed with the craft of manufacturing coconut shells. At present, she has 12 artisans as part of the manufacturing team of Thenga.
The product list of Thenga is rich with around 15 various eco-friendly products such as bowls, candles, planters, serving spoons, plant hangers, teacups, etc. The upcoming products from Thenga are small containers with lids and toys for children. That’s definitely something to look forward to.