Meet Anbu Anbalagapandian! She is the Founder/CEO of Orange Harp, an awesome new app where you can find socially conscious products. With a focus on the story behind their brands, Orange Harp curates clothing, skin care, accessories and home goods for people who love quality, artisanal and natural products made consciously. Here at SERENE, we are inspired by the visionary and entrepreneurial spirit of Orange Harp. Catch a glimpse of what it takes to create a sustainable start up from Anbu!
How do you describe the philosophy of Orange Harp? What is the vision and the mission?
People inherently want to live consciously and make a positive social impact. Orange Harp’s philosophy is to use technology to empower people to have a conscious lifestyle without compromising on quality or style.
Our vision is to connect mindful consumers with artisans who are creative in their own way making incredible products by being responsible to the planet and community. We believe that we can thereby achieve our mission to make conscious the norm.
What inspired you to start Orange Harp?
I come from an entrepreneurial family. I always wanted to start a company and use technology and design to make a social impact. After our advisor, Chris Jones introduced me to the concept of sustainability in fashion, I realized that it was my calling.
What were you doing before Orange Harp?
I’m an engineer by training. You can call me a nerd I was leading Growth and Revenue at Lookout, a mobile security startup in San Francisco.
What did you need to overcome to make Orange Harp a reality? Did you have doubts or fears?
There is a saying - “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When you start out, you don’t have a lot of resources. You have to convince the best engineers and designers to join you when your product is just a dream.
True passion and grit are magnetic - they attract the best people to work with you. We have some amazing people working with us and advising us now.
I believe that rational fear is healthy. It forces you to be prepared and to make contingency plans. Being honest to yourself and the company eliminates doubts and fears.
Tell us about the process of sourcing conscious products for Orange Harp. What are the challenges? What are the rewards?
I was sourcing in the initial days but now my co-founder runs sourcing and business partnerships. I would say discovering the makers is the biggest challenge which is what exactly we set out to solve.
The most rewarding of all is learning about the impact people make by creating or buying these products. The next one would be using a product from the app that I fall in love with!
How do you envision the future? How will values and lifestyles shift? How will business and commerce shift?
Technology is already a huge part of our lives. I envision bolder and more impactful innovation in technology and design in the future.
Many of my friends in SF who have high paying jobs don’t have a car and they volunteer a lot. With millennials and Gen X being more mindful, our values will be more about following our dreams, being unique and giving back to the community.
1 in 3 millennials look for brands to make a positive impact on the world. CSR will become a strong identity for all businesses. Commerce will not be about finding the best deal. It would be more about finding the brand that resonates with our core values.
What is your favorite Orange Harp product? And what is the story behind the maker/designer?
This is a tough one. I love all our products. I recently bought Purakai’s Sailboat Split Tee. It is 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, Made in the USA. It is bright and sunny in SF now and this is the perfect Top.
Purakai was founded by a father-daughter team who are surfers. Their designs are ocean themed and made in a way that didn’t negatively affect the oceans. No harmful chemicals used. They support many causes like The Billion Baby Turtle Project and they have set out to donate $1MM in the next 10 years. That is such a generous goal.
What advice do you have for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
A wise person once told me:
“If you want something - make it a true priority, work hard, meditate to the universe. It will happen”
There is no better time than now. Get started. You’ll figure out how to get what you want from life.