Out of India: Amazing Scrubbers and Self Esteem

What are Toockies?

Toockies® are organic cloth scrubbers handmade by women in a rural village outside Calcutta, India. They are mighty little cloths that clean just about anything and are sold through large and small retailers in the U.S.

After speaking at a meeting of the International Housewares Association’s CORE group of CEOs, we got to meet with Sinko Corporation, the wonderful organization behind the little cloth scrubbers that do more than just clean.

The making of Toockies opens an unimaginable door of opportunity for women in Nababpur who are desperate for a dignified way to earn a living. In a community center established by Sinko, women gather to train, knit, pick-up yarn, and drop off finished Toockies. Many knitters work from home, allowing them to work flexible hours.

The Toockies project makes a difference by empowering these women to take charge of their own destiny. After learning of this inspiring business L&A pitched in to revise the packaging to be more competitive on shelf, keeping in mind a couple of interesting manufacturing requirements: the printing would be done in Nababpur where the cloths are made, using either an inkjet printer or a small press; there would be very little – if any – quality control on the printing, and no paper stock could be specified. The product had been picked up by a major retailer, so the packaging had to be good.

The packaging is printing well, the knitters are gaining self-esteem, and retailers are placing orders. Everyone is happy!

How could we not do our part when one of the results of this organization’s work is that each knitter learns to write her name so she can sign the package of the cloths she creates?

Anna Marie Stauss and Ms. Jaya Basu are Toockie’s founders. You can read more about their story here.