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Shining in sustainable style – The New Indian Express

An engineer and social entrepreneur supports over 10 self-help groups to earn together, writes Prasanta Mazumdar
Published: 17th July 2022 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2022 09:09 AM   |  A+A-
ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Talk about business, and a sliver of Arunachal Pradesh: the virtually crowd-owned ‘House of Macnok’ from the mountains, promises to set the trend in sustainable fashion, thanks to Ninna Lego. This civil engineer has inspired scores of people to join her to create not just a range of fashion accessories for people and homes, but a brand that may well have a future across boundaries. For Ninna, the journey started in 2017 when she was pursuing her MBA after engineering from the Dr MGR University, Chennai. She said she had accidentally ventured into this field and it slowly turned into social entrepreneurship.

“I have a passion for earrings, so I started making my own jewellery back home at Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal. The interest got deeper with people around me taking notice and loving my designs. That got my spirits soaring to create more,” says Ninna, a PM Yuva Yojana leader (young entrepreneurs) from the Himalayan state.
Initially, she would get one or two orders from friends but it grew quickly to a dedicated large group of clients. The love from them motivated and inspired her and she started participating in various events, flea markets, festivals and fashion events. She said she worked as a ghost accessory designer for some famous designers of the state as well.
“With the rise in demand for Macnok (‘make and knock it out’) accessories, I had to create and expand my team. It was their interest in handmade crafts that many people were attracted to Macnok. They joined me to create and live a dream,” Ninna said.
At the initial stage, Ninna was associated with two central government projects, not related to designing accessories. The engagement entailed visits to various places in the state and she came across many designers at the village-level. She persuaded them to work with her.Now, she is supporting more than 10 self-help groups (SHGs), each with members ranging from 10-13, to earn together. She and some of her designer friends trained them. They design their accessories and Macnok sells them. Ninna runs two outlets and she has plans to set up more. The customers visit the outlets and also place orders online.
“Every member in the SHGs earns from `10,000 to `15,000 a month. Earlier, they did not have a market. It feels great that over 100 people earn a living through engagement with House of Macnok,” Ninna said.She said her love for accessories, which was inspired by tribal motifs, gave birth to Macnok. It was rechristened as ‘House of Macnok’ in due course.
“We started with earrings, bracelets, dream catchers (home décor) and traditional jewellery. As time passed by, we blended oxidised jewellery with our traditional jewellery to create a fusion. Then, we began working on making handloom products, soft toys etc. Everything is handmade,” said Ninna, who buys her raw materials from Assam and Mumbai.
Recently, she launched three different sections – Accessories by Macnok, Decor by Macnok and Wellness by Macnok. Under these, the brand makes reusable sanitary pads, pickles with no added synthetic preservatives, wild forest honey, soy wax aromatic candles, handmade soaps, crochet dolls, coasters, dreamcatchers, jewellery and other handloom products. The jewellery and handloom products are inspired by the vibrant indigenous tribes of the North-East.
Macnok had won the prize for the best handmade brand for two consecutive years (2020, 2021) during women’s day at the Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh in Arunachal where she had done her MBA from. The brand is in the process of launching its website by the end of this month with a new retail store at Miao in India’s easternmost Changlang district.“Macnok is not just a brand but a vision for a better tomorrow. It is a step towards creating responsible social entrepreneurship. Our sole aim is to create a sustainable brand without compromising on quality and design,” Ninna said. “It is our dedication to creating a unique story of our own that gave rise to the House of Macnok. We are extremely proud of our little achievements towards empowering women and youth,” she said.
DECOR AND ACCESSORIES BY THE BRAND
‘House of Macnok’ creates a range of accessories for people and homes. Recently, Ninna launched three different sections – Accessories by Macnok, Decor by Macnok and Wellness by Macnok. The brand makes reusable sanitary pads, pickles with no synthetic preservatives, wild forest honey, soy wax aromatic candles, handmade soaps, coasters, jewellery and other handloom products
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