Our Founder, Basharat grew up fascinated by the exquisite creations that have been part of Kashmir's rich history in arts and crafts. The moment Basharat held a papier mache bauble in hand as a child, a rush of joy over came him, and he instantly fell in love with the creation.
In 2016, during a visit to Kashmir for his cousin's wedding, Basharat received a small bag containing dry fruits and a papier mache trinket box as a gift. A sense of calmness and joy washed over him, triggering nostalgic memories from his early childhood.
Inspired by this experience, Basharat decided to purchase papier mache products and handmade designer bags from a local artisan store in 2017 to gift to friends and family in the UK. This led him to research more about papier mache and its significance in Kashmir. He soon realised that this beautiful craft was dying and many artisans were struggling to make a living from it. Comparing his own prosperous life in the UK to the difficult circumstances faced by artisans in Kashmir, Basharat felt an obligation to give back.
In late 2017, Basharat began contemplating ways to help the people of Kashmir and improve their
lives. Despite facing challenges due to the unstable political situation, Indian lockdowns, and internet
shutdowns, Basharat remained determined to invest in Kashmir. He had made initial progress in
creating employment opportunities but recognised the need for significant improvements in the
political landscape for technology-based initiatives to succeed.
During this time, Basharat's perspective on life and creative art changed when he met someone who
shared similar beliefs about the emotional connection between art and people. This encounter
sparked a eureka moment, leading Basharat to consider investing in something he had always loved.
The timing coincided with Christmas, which held a special place in Basharat's heart as it was also his
birthday. As he decorated the Christmas tree with beautiful papier mache baubles, the idea of
starting something meaningful and impactful, like Honest Love Our Planet, began to take shape.
However, as Basharat embarked on this journey, the Indian lockdown in Kashmir stripped away the
people's autonomy and imposed restrictions. The internet shutdown and the inability to operate his
technology business dealt a heavy blow, causing frustration and a sense of helplessness. In search of
a guiding light, Basharat turned to Honest Love Our Planet as the answer to making a positive
difference in people's lives.
With a sense of calm and a deep conviction, Basharat poured all available resources into making Honest Love Our Planet a success. The goal was not to create just another business but to offer something unique that customers could cherish. The quality, integrity, and ethical nature of the products became the main appeal, and Basharat's role was to market them effectively. By trading at affordable, sustainable, and ethical prices, Honest Love Our Planet gained a customer base that appreciated their values. Partnerships were formed with like-minded ethical businesses, including Zero Waste Stores and Vegan Brands, to ensure the products aligned with sustainable practices.
Starting a business is always a significant milestone, and Basharat's experience was no different. Long hours of work were dedicated to supporting the business alongside a day job, with a garage serving as a storage unit. Initially, Basharat had to learn the ropes of being a seller and a salesman. In 2019, a team was brought on board to assist with Honest Love Our Planet's daily operations.
Basharat recognised the need for investment to support the business's growth, assuming the responsibility to sustain it until it became self-sufficient. The team at Honest Love Our Planet, composed of dedicated individuals who share a passion for making a difference, has garnered positive feedback from customers and new businesses alike. As Basharat looks back on the journey, pride swells within him for the team's achievements
“Although there is still a long way to go before Honest Love Our Planet becomes a globally recognised brand, our team remains committed to their objectives of sustainability, integrity, and fair trade. We cherish the close connection to Honest Love Our Planet and hopes to dedicate full-time efforts to it in the future.”
Basharat Malik - Founder of Honest Love
our commitment to the environment
how we aim to make a difference