An Entrepreneur with a difference
Lakshmi Menon, a woman with so many qualities rolled into one, is an entrepreneur with a difference. She is a designer, par excellence, in interior designing, jewellery, clay pot and handicraft items. Above all, she believes whatever she does should benefit fellow human beings and society at large.
Lakshmi Menon is 24/7, busy conceptualizing new ideas and shaping them up as fascinating products. This vibrant woman has once again come up with a new idea. She is going to hit the Onam market by an event named ‘Varadakshina’, a tribute to the great artist Namboothiri through an ethnic and niche design series based on the eminent artist’s woman characters.
Lakshmi has always surprised with her unique ideas like Rolapena, paper pen, to replace plastic pens and the most recent addition to it ‘KalamKalam’-a tribute to former president and the great visionary Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, who died recently. The pen,an eco-friendly product, carries famous quotes of Dr.Kalam. Lakshmi is also known for her socially committed brand Ammoommatthiri, the thin cotton wicks used in sacred lamps in temples and houses. She started the production of Ammoommatthiri as an initiative to support the elderly women staying at old age homes.
Besides her crowded work schedule, she finds time for social activities too. “My father’s words inspired me to become a social entrepreneur in between all my other activities. He used to remind me and my brother from our childhood onwards that, “we have what we want, so we should help others in realising their needs.” These words are still guiding me for everything in my life,” says Lakshmi.
Lakshmi’s social commitment has no boundaries. Foremost in her initiatives is her effort to help destitute old women through producing ‘Ammoommathiri’.An initiative through which she could help many old age people. “Actually I got the idea of Ammoommathiri from my own grandmother. I found her rolling wicks one evening. I thought of gifting some of them to our relatives when they visited our house. I found they all were very happy to receive them. I think no other wicks will be more valuable than the ones rolled by our own grandmothers”.
Lakshmi widened her project when she thought of many other old people who lived a lonely life at old age homes. “The advantage of the project is that there is no need for me to give them any special training to make these wicks because it was something they used to practise from their childhood onwards. I found them enthusiastically involved in it”.
“The main problem that I felt with this was to make it popular among people. I approached many. It was easy for me if theDewasom Board, which has so many temples under it helped me by purchasing them, but it refused. lt made me think about other possible ways to promote the wicks. It was Ravi D C, the chief of DC Books who came forward with a helping hand”, says Lakshmi. He attached one pack of Ammoommathiri with each copy of Ramayanam published by D C Books. That was the way through which the product came to be recognised. After that, many including AshwathithirunnalThamburatti, came forward with their support.
Lakshmi now plans to create an online platform. “I thought of online because it will be a way through which I could broaden the project. Many people can thus be part of the project. I am not sticking to Ammoommathiri alone but will promote many such products”. She has given names for this venture in three different languages, Ammoommamark in Malayalam, Grandmark in English and Dadhimark in Hindi. Any product with a grandmark can be uploaded to the site. The selection of products will involve certain criterion.
Lakshmi finds peace when she does this kind of work and she tells others in society to involve in any social work so that they can be a helping hand in making many poor lives colourful and happy. She is not hiding her happiness when saying that there are many youths who now come forward with many socially helpful projects.
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