In March 2021, a little before the second lockdown took place in Mumbai, team Kosha had a chance to spend an evening with Pukhraj Ranjan. A woman entrepreneur who is making Finnish & Indian cultures meet through craft heritage. From quick tips on moving to Finland to what motivates her to keep going. Read our little interview with her.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose to become an entrepreneur.
I am Pukhraj Ranjan, an Indian living in Helsinki, Finland. For the past decade, I have used my skills in the education and development sector. For the last few years, I was working as the Head of Community & Impact at an international non-profit. However, as an expatriate, I felt the need to contribute back to my country. The answer came to me at our wedding as we shared handcrafted gifts with all our wedding guests. These gifts were handcrafted by Indian women who were given training & livelihood opportunities through a self-help group setup. I saw this as a perfect intersection of my work in the development sector as well as my desire to celebrate and preserve Indian craftsmanship.
2. Introduce us to Moi.Namaste. What inspired you to do this? What do you hope to achieve with it? Where can our readers stay updated about Moi.Namaste?
Firmly rooted in our two cultures, Moi.Namaste is a Finnish-Indian lifestyle brand that promotes mindful living and ethical consumerism. Our mission is to provide fair, and dignified livelihood opportunities for artisans (mostly women), in partnership with independent female artists, women-benefitting self-help groups, small and medium-sized women-led enterprises, and NGOs across India. We co-create products with our artisan partners that are mindfully & ethically made and sustainable. We use natural fibres that have a low carbon footprint.
Through deep and meaningful relationship with craftspeople, we create
– dignified livelihood opportunities
– planet and people positive products
– connection to a global audience.
3. Your move to Finland, was it premeditated? Can you share a few tips on any aspiring readers who would like to move to Finland as well?
Well, I came to Finland to pursue my Masters degree in Educational Leadership. Somewhere in those two years, I fell in love with a Finnish man, who is now my husband. When I came to Finland, I didn’t intend to stay here long term, but well, here we are 🙂
For those who are interested in knowing more about life in Finland, I would recommend checking out my friend Kathrin Deter’s blog as well as another friend’s podcast – Mastering Finland. Both are run by expats, for expats. Moving to Finland is definitely a culture shock! The more you understand the country and it’s values, the easier it will become to live here. So definitely invest in learning Finnish… and warm clothes (May I suggest Kosha?)
4. What are the challenges you have overcome as a budding entrepreneur? Any words of wisdom for fellow female entrepreneurs in the making?
Self doubt & negative self talk are definitely big barriers in my entrepreneurial journey and I assume is faced by many, especially women. I am not sure if I have overcome it completely but it is a daily practice to counter these habits.
As for advice to other women entrepreneurs, I would say invest in your own professional & personal development. The more you grow, the more your business well.
5. We noticed your love for discovering culture through travel. Can you tell us what slow immersive travel means to you?
Have you heard of this brand Hiptipico? Sorry, I am not trying to plug all the amazing women leaders I know and follow, but the founder Alyssa runs this ethical brand in Guatemala. If you are ever in Panajachel, she could take you on craft & textile tours as well as create immersive experiences where you get to meet her artisans. Of course, this is a very crafty example (that’s all I can think about these days!), but even though my educator lens, immersing oneself in another person’s community enables us to empathise, learn quicker, build deeper relationships and meaningful memories.
Why wouldn’t you want the same thing from travel? Slow immersive travel for me is a way to be part of someone else’s community – while staying in their homes (Hello Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Homestays, etc.!), eating their food and enjoying life like a true local!
6. It has been a dynamic couple of years, especially with the pandemic and what not. Is there something you have learnt during these unprecedented times that you would like to share?
Wow.. I don’t know. I think I am still trying to figure out what 2020 was? For me, it was the year where I left my full-time, well-paying job to start my own entrepreneurial journey. The pandemic reminded me that life is too short, and the time is now if I want to live my dreams! Since 2015 (when I moved to Finland), I wanted to bring more of India to my friends and family. Now I do it in the most meaningful & creative way that would not have been possible if the pandemic would not have impacted my life.
Another thing I have learned is the importance of relationships in my life! As an only child, worrying about my parents in the pandemic or not having the comfort of friends to vent this worry, was point blank hard! In our current reality, I can’t stop being grateful for the people in my life and the role they play in making my life full!
7. Anything else you would like to add?
Live a kind, meaningful life. As Ellen De Generes says “be kind to one another”.
The winter essentials for a trip to Finland include Merino Wool accessories like touch gloves, arch support socks and a reversible beanie to keep your extremeties warm. Wear our temperature regulating Merino×Bamboo thermals as Tees or Leggings or as base layers. Our fleece lined Puffer is packed with features to make your travels that much easier. We also have skiing jackets and pants if you are an adventure seeker!
Still not sure about what layers to get for your cold weather needs? Let us help you with the right layers! Call us / WhatsApp us at+91 9820999006 between 11am & 6pm IST Mondays to Saturdays.