Nugu Handicrafts Inc.
At Nugu, we are dedicated to making sustainable products and ensuring that our business has a positive social and environmental impact.
Ironstone Dinnerware, Sustainable Handmade Dinnerware
We were inspired to start Nugu after noticing the growing popularity of handmade ceramics and experiencing the skilled craftsmanship of indigenous communities firsthand. However, we also saw that many craftspeople around the world were struggling to make a living from their craft due to a lack of consistent job opportunities and the outsourcing of production to large-scale factories.
In 2017, co-founders Sonali and Sumanth founded Nugu as a way to provide sustainable job opportunities for indigenous craftspeople and their communities, while also creating a business that is mindful of its impact on the environment. No matter how we grow or what products we create, Nugu is committed to sourcing sustainably, creating consciously, and supporting the communities where we work.
Sonali Sharma is an impact entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in learning and sustainable development. After working with innovative organizations for over a decade, she obtained her MBA from the University of Roehampton and a Design Thinking certificate from MIT. These experiences, combined with her interest in indigenous ways of living, inspired her to co-found Nugu with her partner Sumanth. Nugu is a sustainable rural ecosystem that promotes holistic development while also building a global brand centered on responsible production and conscious retail. In addition to her role as Managing Director at Nugu, Sonali is also a startup coach and mentor and has given keynotes at global events on topics such as women entrepreneurship and sustainable leadership. In 2020, she was awarded the Times Entrepreneur of the Year award. In her free time, Sonali enjoys dancing and practicing yoga with her young daughter.
Sumanth Sampath is an expert ceramicist with an engineering degree and business experience. He has spent over a decade working closely with indigenous potters to perfect his craft and develop sustainable clay recipes and production techniques, which form the basis of Nugu’s IronStone products. Through this work, Sumanth became aware of the struggles faced by local potters and the loss of job opportunities in their field. In response, he has dedicated himself to training potters to create Nugu’s sustainable products, providing technical and design consulting to ceramics factories across Asia, and co-creating a ceramic handmade tiles factory in South India. When he is not working with clay, Sumanth is passionate about horticulture and regenerative agroforestry. He spends his free time learning about ancient Malnad sustainable growing and living practices and growing a regenerative agro-forest around the Nugu community.
At Nugu Home, sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do. From sustainably-sourced raw materials to reusing our own water supply to planting trees to offset our carbon production, we take our commitment to the environment seriously. We also believe in the power of innovation and collaboration, which is why we work closely with indigenous makers to blend traditional practices with entrepreneurial know-how. Our team is made up of compassionate and empathetic individuals who prioritize relationships and kindness, and we make sure to leave space for all living beings to be themselves.
Nugu Home stands for building a sustainable future through conscious production, social equity, and a green economy. We began as a way to support indigenous craftspeople who were at risk of losing their jobs, incomes, and crafts due to a lack of local opportunities. These talented makers became the foundation of Nugu Home and continue to inspire and drive our business and processes.
Our production process is designed to create bespoke, sustainable dinnerware products meant to last a lifetime (or two). Our recycled clay recipe, forming techniques, and firing methods set our IronStone stoneware apart from traditional handmade ceramics, resulting in a stronger and more durable product.
At Nugu Home, we offer a range of dinnerware sets to suit any occasion. Our Everyday Dining collections, such as the Coupe, Edge, and Plane sets, are perfect for daily use, while our Occasion Dinnerware sets, including the Vastra, Mandala, Nilgiri, and Bekal collections, are more decorative and elegant, perfect for special occasions. No matter which collection you choose, you can be confident that all of our products are made with sustainability in mind.
In addition to creating beautiful and sustainable products, we also prioritize supporting the communities we work with. By providing training, jobs, and entrepreneurial development to the communities around our micro-factories, we give craftspeople the income stability, career development, and job satisfaction they might otherwise have lost. This is the heart of everything we do at Nugu Home.
No matter how we grow or what products we develop, Nugu Home will always prioritize sustainability, conscious creation, and supporting the communities we work with. We are committed to building a better future and helping to heal the planet through innovative and authentic solutions.