Bansal said she cares deeply about sustainability and the environment. But instead of entering a scientific discipline, she decided to study business economics.
“I know it seems counterintuitive,” Bansal said. “But I thought that by going into business, I could try to change the business world and turn it into something where the only purpose isn’t to serve profit, but also to serve life.”
Bansal spent a semester studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where she interned for Elieth and Humberto Brenescoto, who wanted marketing help for their seamstress business. The couple had ideas for recycled clothing items, but did not see much interest within their own community, Bansal said.
“Their creativity really inspired me, and I thought that their idea could easily be a successful business in the U.S., where sustainable clothing has become a great trend,” Bansal said. “So I got a grant for the project over the summer and decided to give it a try.”
Her company, Punctata Accessories, sells scarves and headbands made by locals of Monteverde out of 100 percent recycled materials. She named the business after a small animal native to Costa Rica she used to see in the Brenescoto’s seamstress shop.
After receiving her grant, Bansal spent the summer registering the company and making a small product order.
Now, Bansal is making larger orders and starting to see her business achieve real success. She also spoke on a panel called “On Sale: The Current State of Labor in Fashion” for IU’s Themester program, and the Hutton Honors College recently nominated her for Glamour Magazine’s “Top Ten College Women of the Year” competition.
“The idea that she turned her sustainability field study experience into a potential career is very inspirational,” Kelley School of Business professor Siri Terjesen said. Terjesen taught Bansal last year in a business strategy course.
“I had no idea my business would take off like this, because I just thought it was a good opportunity to try entrepreneurship in a field I cared about,” Bansal said. “And while we’re often pushed to get internships with huge companies, I liked the idea of taking something and making it my own.”
Bansal’s drive and level of participation made her stand out from the start, Terjesen said. Only about five of Bansal’s 150 classmates have started businesses as students.
Bansal decided to go to Costa Rica because of its biodiversity and the opportunity to take science-based classes. All profits made by Punctata Accessories go to the Costa Rica Conservation Foundation.
Bansal said she hopes to eventually apply for Punctata Accessories to become a nonprofit organization. After her graduation, Bansal plans to accept a position as a full-time business consultant in Washington, D.C.
“I’ll use that experience to learn more and continue to grow my business,” Bansal said. “Things have already gone so well and I feel like what I’m doing is so rewarding, so being able to take it further would be the dream.”
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