Sonarika Mahajan is the founder of Humanitive, a high-end gifting company that successfully combines providing gifts and making charitable contributions in a very transparent, significant, and artistic way.
In 2010, Sonarika graduated from Lancaster University in the UK with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Advertising. After finishing that, she continued to get her diploma in animation, filmmaking, interactive technology, graphics, and special effects. She also has a degree from the Vancouver Film School in Entertainment Business Management. For more than six years, Sonarika has served as Appolo Cranes Pvt. Ltd.’s Managing Director.
“To fulfil my dreams, I could have opted for a more direct path of opening a Non-Profit. However, I always knew that I don’t want to follow the traditional path of fundraising & being at the mercy of corporates and donors for running the operations of an NGO.”
After completing her studies, Sonarika set out to establish a Cause-Marketing company named “Charity/Unwrapped” in 2016. During her time there, she created CSR campaigns for well-known brands like MAX Fashion and Shree Ram Global Play School.
However, she chose to close shop in 2018 after spending two years looking for corporate sponsors, pitching her campaign ideas, facing several rejections, and being forced to rein in her inventiveness. She adds, “The good thing that happened during this time was me connecting with some Non-Profit founders that were doing exceptional work for the betterment of the underprivileged.”
But at that time, the challenge was establishing a self-sustaining business model that made a significant difference in the lives of the less fortunate.
Sonarika recalls receiving a gift from her husband in November 2018, right around her 26th birthday, that truly transformed her life and served as the impetus for “Humanitive.”
On Sonarika’s behalf, he partnered with a non-profit organisation that helps underprivileged children and sponsored their lunch. She was so moved by the gesture that it lingered with her for a very long time. So, she began to wonder why this was not done more often and why is it unusual to donate on behalf of a loved one.
Sonarika thought to herself, “In a world where we are surrounded by materialistic trivialities, why is no one making gifting a more meaningful experience?” And that is when she finally found her true calling and set out on her entrepreneurial journey.
Services offered at Humanitive & Achievements
Humanitive is an innovative online gifting platform that expertly combines providing gifts and making 100% transparent donations. Their website offers a variety of high-end presents that can be combined with over 100 contribution programs offered by their network of affiliated non-profits. Each donor receives a unique Thank you video from the beneficiary, and all donations are entirely commission-free.
What Sonarika considers to be a personal achievement is that since the company’s launch two years ago, she has contributed close to Rs. 10,00,000 to several social causes. This includes helping homeless people, elderly people in need, people with disabilities, women, and underprivileged transgender people. They have also supported animal welfare, environmental causes, and COVID-19 relief.
Diwali 2022 has so far been their best season, during which they were able to secure corporate gifting contracts with companies like Bata, Indeed, WebEngage, and RRB Energy. Sonarika expects Humanitive to be the most ethical store in the world, where every purchase either helps a deserving child receive education, a needy senior receive medication, or a stray puppy receive food and water.
What sets Humanitive apart from its competitors?
Due to the value addition that goes above and beyond making a simple donation, Humanitive has a significant competitive advantage in this relatively new market. The unique selling point of the concept is the customized thank-you video they send to each recipient so they can see the difference they have made.
Sonarika believes that as a woman, one has to shoulder a lot more responsibilities. She shares that in May 2022, she gave birth, which was both a challenging and motivating period for her as an entrepreneur. She recalls accepting business calls on the day of her delivery and returning to work 20 days later.
However, she does wish she had more time to spend with her newborn, but there is no maternity leave for startup founders. She is appreciative of her supportive spouse and her family for helping her realise her aspirations.
She says, “Being a parent has transformed my outlook towards my work, as now, every day I strive to be better at what I’m doing so my son can be proud of me one day.”
What the Future Holds
Sonarika’s 7-year strategy calls for making Humanitive a household name, moving away from consumerism, and embracing a simple lifestyle with fashion and home products made with zero waste and materials obtained ethically and sustainably. They intend to hire underprivileged people associated with their affiliate non-profits and give them the necessary training and skills so they can assist them with their manufacturing needs.
What are some messages Sonarika has for budding entrepreneurs?
Sonarika is an advocate of earning money while leaving an impact. She says, “The business model does not need to be as direct as mine, where donations are incorporated, but a positive impact can be left by ethical sourcing, using sustainable and eco-friendly materials, fair-trade policies, and so much more.”
She continues by pointing out that in our nation, the wealth disparity between the rich and the poor is enormous. So instead of being just another clothing brand or digital agency, attempt to improve the lives of millions of people by coming up with novel solutions to challenges they encounter every day.