#EarthHour is indeed a momentous occasion. Our connection to Earth and nature is undeniable: Our planet’s gain is everyone’s gain. Over the past few years, we’ve been constantly bombarded with stories of extinction; biodiversity — the rich variety of life on Earth — continues to decline year on year. Climate change is becoming a shocking reality worldwide, and as the human race, we must urgently prioritize our planet’s biodiversity and nature.
At Plantcil, we believe that when people with intent and commitment come together, we can change the world. Which is why it was heartwarming that we collaborated with Onesta for #EarthHour, at literally the 11th hour!
Corporate Gifting and Customization at the 11th Hour
Just two days before #EarthHour, in the late evening hours of 20th March, we got a call from Onesta, asking us if we could fulfil a corporate gifting order for 2000 pencils, specifically designed for #EarthHour. Already neck-deep with our corporate customizations for other companies, and an export order for Hong Kong, we were apprehensive about taking up this order — Onesta was super clear about the delivery.
“The pencils should reach all places no later than Friday 23rd March 2018, evening.” they said.
This left us in a dilemma — the 2000 pencils weren’t for a single location, it was across ALL the Onesta locations across the country — and that meant, we had less than a day for corporate designing, getting the customization done, packing and shipping it via courier to faraway cities like Pune and Gurgoan.
I quickly called a meeting of our all-women rural team, and asked them, apprehensively:
“Are you ready to stretch and finish 2000 pencils for a company? This is for Earth Hour. We are doing something good for the planet.”
“Yes!” they bellowed together.
“Are you sure? We are already overloaded with orders. It would mean that you will have to spend time well into the night, doing customizations.” I persisted.
“Yes!” they bellowed together, again.
That was it. There was no further questions. I went back to my laptop and started to reply to the email from Onesta:
“Dear Onesta team, I will be happy to take up customization of 2000 pencils for EarthHour….”
Just as I was typing this email out, another email landed in my inbox.
“Dear Plantcil team, [Urgent Requirement] We would like to know if you could customize 4000 pencils for EarthHour.”
Well, if you are an entrepreneur, what needs to be done, needs to be done. 4000 pencils it was then. 🙂
Plantcil pencils are used by companies and organisations all over the country (and now in various parts of the world) to spread their sustainability message, and to drive home the concept of 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Sustainability and Mobility a Challenge
We make pencils from 100% recycled paper, and our variants include everything from our best-sellers, the Rainbow pencil and the Plantablepencil to our Classic Newspaper Pencils, Color Pencils and Fruit Pencils! Onesta loved our product range and gave us their design specifications:
They wanted the Onesta logo, with the background color (their characteristic coffee brown), and the text: Write a better future. #EarthHour Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
We worked quickly with their kickass design team and whipped up in triple quick time, a design for the customization.
Our machines were running overtime already, but, we overburdened it a little more that night — 4000 customizations were done through the night.
When we finished it, it was 1.30am.
We walked around like a zombie, tired but thrilled for the day ahead.
Still so much more to be done.
The Superheroes Green Army (SUGA) assembled early next morning. 6am to be precise.
SUGA consists of rural women entrepreneurs (amongst others) who broke through the glass ceiling — things aren’t as rosy here in the rural areas as in the urban areas — the women aren’t allowed to work beyond sunset, and there are vicious tongue-waggers, drunk husbands and family members who threaten any semblance of a woman standing on her own feet.
But, at 6am, before the sun was completely up, the Green Army had assembled. They had answered the call for duty, even though it was the fifth time that week that they had overworked.
Working with rural women is a different kettle of fish — they are not your normal employees — they don’t have a fixed 9 to 5 timeline — they work for a while, they get back home to cook for their family, send their kid(s) off to school, and then get back to work again. They take their work home, and onlywhen it is essential, we work together at our warehouse.
We distributed the pencils amongst them, equally, and told them that a thousand of those pencils had to get delivered that evening, alongside their other orders. [Note: 1000 pencils HAD to go that evening, and 3000(!) more the next day. It was already looking like a bad idea.]
More women came to help us out — this closely knit unit of women achievers had nothing in their path that they couldn’t destroy. We had a 100+ team, working on multiple projects at the same time. Everything else took a backseat once they started to work — silently. They were transformed beyond recognition. Extraordinary, to say the least.
The thing about Corporate Gifts is that it had to look good. There were no second chances. At 1pm, the women were only 25% done — and I was already panicking.
I called a quick meeting of the women after lunch to get clarity.
“Are we on track to get this done by tonight?” I asked, with bated breath.
“No.” they said. One thing that I’ve always driven home is that they MUST tell the truth — each and every time. No excuses.
“Okay, what do we do now?”
“I have a few friends of mine who had come over for a wedding — can I bring them in too?”
“Would that work?” I asked.
“We will make it work.” they said.
Last Minute Hiccups
Last minute delays and hiccups are all part of the excitement of an entrepreneurial journey.
Even though the parcel to Bangalore reached on the designated day, it was too late in the evening for the courier guys to deliver it.
A bit of emotional blackmail by my co-founder, in multiple languages: Hindi, Kannada, English and Tamil (different location courier offices), finally made the courier guy succumb.
“I will deliver it after I shut office.” he resigned.
At 11.30pm, the parcel got delivered. It was quickly split up and distributed to all the individual Bangalore Onesta locations in the dead of the night.
Talk about night owls.
Corporate Gifting — A Success
The event was a major success across all the locations of Onesta — Pune (a little hiccup with the courier service), Bangalore, Gurgoan, Manipal, Mysore, Chennai, and Mangalore!
“Onesta wanted to spread awareness about Earth Hour, and Plantcil pencils was a very good way of doing it — sustainability is one of our key pillars.”
—Jayanth, Sr. Manager (Marketing)
Here are some of the pictures from the event (across all different Onesta locations):
The Post Script
We rest our case that our tree-friendly pencils were indeed very well received. 🙂
If you are a corporate, and you are looking for customized gifting, look no further!
If you are into sustainability and preserving the environment, and supporting rural women entrepreneurs, look no further!
Plantcil — Recycled Paper Pencils, are ideal Corporate Gift Ideas for Clientsand can be used for:
Product launches · Conferences · Trade fairs · Kick-off events · Teambuilding sessions · Seminars · End of year gifts
Reach out to us for your corporate gifting options here, or just fill up the form below, we won’t bite: 😜
P.S: We are on Amazon as well! Check us out: bit.ly/PlantcilOnAmazon.