By Jayprakash Panwar ‘JP’
‘A Journey towards the Hills’ is the motto of a new startup established by a couple of youths working abroad. The Uttarakhand Government is trying hard to attract and promote entrepreneurship to retain the young generation in the state. However, there are very few examples such as ‘Fyuli and Pine’, a creative production company that came up with a unique idea of a pahadi doll named Junyali.
“During my job in Dubai, we celebrated the birthdays of our children and gave them various kinds of gifts including dolls like Barbie. On so many occasions, I always thought, why could we not produce a Pahadi doll? It would represent our culture, costumes, ornaments, songs and music, and the idea was born with Junyali – a Pahadi doll,” recalls Deep Negi, the originator of the idea.
Deep Negi is a management professional who worked in Dubai over the last decade. He had migrated from his Tehri village to many places but his heart and mind always beat for the mountains. He has a creative bug from his childhood. He has authored two books, ‘Surya Ast Pahad Mast’ a poetry collection, and a storybook, ‘Kuchh Teri Kuchh Meri’. While talking to him about the journey of Junyali doll production and his startup, he mentioned the huge migration from the state. However, so far, little has been seen on the ground on reversing it. So, he has taken this initiative by setting up “Fyuli and Pine” in 2019 with his friends Pankaj Adhikari and Akbeer Adhikari in Delhi. Their combined first initiative was to launch the Junyali doll in the market. Together, they have done intensive research to finalise the design, raw material, production and assemby. But they did not find anyone who could provide the required quality product in the country. Finally, they had to try it out of the country. Their strategy succeeded and they found the best quality raw doll products in Hong Kong.
The Fyuli and Pine Company started importing the raw doll materials and began assembling at his Delhi workplace. The next challenge was to decorate the doll so that it looked like a Pahadi Princess – Junyali. “We contacted local artisans in Uttarakhand and trained them in making Kumaoni, Garhwali, and Jaunsari clothes, caps, baskets, ornaments like Nathuli, Gulaband, Nose and Earrings, Bangles, etc. We also have selected and composed 7 short length songs and music track duration of 60 seconds,” reveals Deep Negi. They could now start assembling it in various required designs and demand.
The beauty of the Pahadi Doll, Junyali, is that it is very flexible, non-toxic, and unbreakable; she can dance to music and her 3-D eyes blink while moving. The Junyali doll is becoming popular in the state. People are demanding it for birthday gifts, as a memento and decorative piece. The Fyuli and Pine startup has already engaged distributors in Uttarakhand and other parts of the country.
Last year, Junyali was launched by the famous folk singer, Narendra Singh Negi. The startup has also been appreciated by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Today, Junyali is available in all the prominent tourist hot spots including airports.
The tagline, ‘A Journey towards the Hills’ is self explanatory and reveals our dreams to stop migration and be self-reliant by engaging local youth in value-added enterprises such as Junyali, adds Deep Negi. Further, he says that they are still in search of more mountain products to add to the venture.