As I was idly scrolling pictures on Instagram, I saw a friend’s post recommending Magpie Crafts. I clicked on the link and reached the account of Meher Farhan, the lady behind the very creative products made out of recycled paper.
At first I was a bit surprised, because I believe the whole concept of 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — or Replace, Reduce, and Refine) has outlived its appeal. However, as long as it is based on environment-friendly modules, I am happy.
I dug Farhan’s contact, and got in touch with her for a quick profile. The young lady told me that she has a Masters degree in Marketing from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne. She said that she began in the business sometime last year, following a great deal of research on how she could contribute towards saving the environment.
“In school we were taught a lot of things about climate change, and how to reduce the use of plastic, to recycle paper etc., in order to save the environment and living beings,” she said. “Recycling paper cannot only help to reduce pollution, and dumping trash in landfills can save trees by reducing the felling of trees in order to make paper.
“Paper is something we are always wasting in one form or the other, so I thought of recycling it — but in a creative way.”
Recycling paper dates back to the pre-industrial era. In present times, we know of recycling plants that create useable material out of waste paper. Also, plastics and other waste can be reused. But this is not an easy task, especially if an individual takes it upon herself. Farhan, therefore, needs to be applauded for making an effort in the right direction. She uses newspapers and any other paper that is likely to be discarded. “It doesn’t cost much, but the whole process asks for a lot of energy,” she added.
“Weather and water play a major role in creating the end product. Before starting work I make sure that rain is not predicted in the next few days, because moisture can affect the quality of the product. While I am working, I try to restrict the use of water since I am trying to save the environment. Sadly, the industries waste a lot of water in their many processes.”
In the beginning, Farhan made things with simple, recycled paper but soon she realised that she had to add creativity to it otherwise it wouldn’t grab the buyers’ attention. She then started applying watercolours to create bookmarks and notebook covers, with quotes and sayings written on these.
In October 2018, Magpie Crafts was introduced in the market at a shopping mall in Gulberg. This was followed by a display stall at the Haryali Market (Green Market). Farhan said that “while people praised my work they weren’t really willing to buy [the products], even though we have reasonable prices. Perhaps, they like to pick stuff from branded shops only.
“I am concerned because they aren’t really aware of the importance of using products like these. They don’t even care [about it].”
Talking about the choice of her brand name, Farhan said, “After I had finalised the project, I spent a lot of time deciding a name. It was during a visit to Hunza where I saw these tiny beautiful and graceful birds called Magpies that inspired me to give this name to my line of products.”
Today, Magpie is her trademark, and it appears on her logo.
As Farhan is the sole worker on the project, she has to invest a lot of time and effort, apart from money, for the work to be done and marketed properly. But she said it’s all worth it, “as I am playing my role in saving the environment.
“We all need to make a conscious effort to recycle paper and plastic; that is the only way to ensure that our future generations lead a healthy life.”