Unique,culturally rich and diversely exotic, 71-year-young India continues to cherish its epithet of being ‘incredible’. While much of our lifestyle is accoutered with technologies like AI, we tend to overlook our centuries-old roots, especially the handicrafts spirit, which today is competing with imported goods from across the world and battling against commoditization. A bona fide leeway to a promising future, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)report implies that Indian handicrafts industry is anticipated to cross Rs.24,000 crore target by 2020, which presently shares only two percent of the world market. Clearly, technology is fuelling demand-generation and devising a platform for global consumer acquisition with possibilities like never before. This chasm between potential and reality presents a phenomenal opportunity.
Lacing technology expertise with global business acumen to create sustainable social impact, Bangalore-based CraftsBazaar has successfully maneuvered this leeway to create integrated craftsperson-consumer engagement and aims to build a healthy socio-economic ecosystem that brings craftsperson and communities together. Aparna Challu, CEO, CraftsBazaar, avers, “Those being left-behind, despite the technology and infrastructure transformations, are being brought into the mainstream economy as contributors. It’s also about India as an ancient civilization with enviable heritage reflected in its rich, vibrant arts and crafts traditions and communities. Humanity is universally enriched when these are persevered. We simply must deliver to a global heritage. On CraftsBazaar, you can Buy, you can Commission and you can Bid for Treasures because heritage is not a commodity”.
CraftsBazaar brings forth a comprehensive portfolio of high-value products sold by artisans and provides buyers the ease to have exclusive, customized pieces along with the bidding option for antiques, instead of paying exorbitant charges at stores. Since globalization is expanding horizons offering opportunity and challenging comfort zones at the same pace, CraftsBazaar etched ‘Respecting Origins’ as its credo and caters to multiples categories believing that diversification conceptually connects us all to our roots. Besides art collectibles, it also offers an array of apparel & accessories, confectioneries and herbal products along with providing selected specialty foods especially for those who crave for unique flavours.
Weaving Indian Handicrafts into the Global Fabric
Though everything from building the complex platform to seeking, educating and on-boarding artisans& NGOs has been a tough ask, CraftsBazaar, since its inception in 2016, has been adeptly representing the potentially infinite source of diverse products spread across the immense canvas of India. While identification and documentation of each craft for every state in India is done by its team of globetrotters, the crafts associated with every state are
featured with all intrinsic details including artisan’s profile. With this excellence in action, CraftsBazaar’s platform directly & indirectly engages over 400,000 artisans, NGOs and self-help groups from across all states and remote villages, right from Kashmir to North-eastern range and Western Ghats to Southern states. There are artisans in remote villages with pin codes that do not even exist on the radars of courier companies.
Every artisan on CraftsBazaar has a shop setup with their name and profiles prepared by our team at zero cost
When asked about the company’s modus operandi, Aparna elucidates, “Every artisan on CraftsBazaar has a shop setup with their name and profiles prepared by our team at zero cost. They don’t need to be literate, nor own a computer or a smart phone;we exist for them to do it all as their extended family”.Every product’s photo is prepared along with is its write-up which is uploaded and marketed for theartisans. Since all the orders go directly to them, the artisans pack the product carefully using natural and organic materials only, which is further picked up and delivered by CraftsBazaar’s ecosystem. This connected stratagem dilutes the technological complexities that local craftsman experiences and strengthens their bonds with end-consumers.
Since its inception, CraftsBazaar has chiseled customer-centric methodology in its framework with a focus on building ubiquitous globally accessible platform. Along with providing social media and digital campaigning assistance, the company flashes on socialization concept through selective participation and representation of artisans at large fairs.
e-Commerce Technology’s Ode to an Ancient Heritage
In the local arena, craft melas are the only channel available to artisans wherein they pay for travelling towards the city, accommodation &stall rents and commissions from every sale goes to local organizers with no minimum commitment of sales. What adds an extra layer of limitation is that the exclusive transportation of light-weight products, as they are ones likely to sell more than high-value, exclusive products. However through CraftsBazaar’s platform, these artisans sell nearly hundred pieces in a single order along with fulfilling customized orders without moving from their homes and creativity spaces. Opportunely anchoring this platform, an artisan from Kutch’s village fulfilled an order for a European customer in Dubai while an NGO in Manipur delivered the order for bags to a Brazil-based boutique.
A standalone e-Commerce marketplace for handicrafts, CraftsBazaar offers a platform with entire supplychain; everything from website to multiple payment gateways, logistics and delivery partners is integrated and available across geographies for global consumers. This system helps in decoding the captive setup inclusive of large retailers and online brands that place small orders to multiple artisans through middlemen. Not only do these intermediaries set prices for products but also provide raw material that cuts down artisans’ average profit value to minuscule. “Only when artisans can own the process, from buying raw-materials to creating products across a wider range and diversifying into different product categories with same materials
and skill-sets, can they become entrepreneurs themselves and become meaningful, active contributors to the economy,” asserts Aparna.
Offering an Engaged Ecosystem to Deliver Value to All
When many get baffled in planning complex strategies, CraftsBazaar takes a quantum leap by effectuating its master plan with a three-pronged strategy. It leverages collaboration tools and communitarian platforms to further promote ease of direct consumer-seller access. The firm also engages last mile via Rural CraftsBazaar Hubs for artisan services that include employment and training of locals to deliver support services, on-boarding, logistics support, skills training and quality assurance. The ecosystem is designed to engage training institutes, self-help groups and so on. Once the platform sets in place and on-boards artisans, the company then focuses on increasing market visibility through traditional means, countrywide fairs, road shows and live actions.
CraftsBazaar’s connoisseurs develop, manage and support the online details by deploying in-house technology. From creating artisan’s profile to setting shops and digital marketing to e-payments, all communication functions are carried out through mobility solutions. This technological perk not only enables consumers to place orders from anywhere in the world but also assists in processing orders seamlessly.
Demand Generation and Global Reach for Rural Talent
Provided that rural sector and crafts ecosystem is yet at a great distance away from globalization benefits, CraftsBazaaras an engine works to set these wheels in motion to gather momentum to deliver the advantages at grass-roots to rural communities. Recently, the company co-sponsored a high-profile Golf event, which exemplifies its prowess and intention to engage across all consumer segments with an aim for setting experience stores in all key markets.
Though large brands are expanding their global reach exponentially, CraftsBazaar is leaving no stone unturned to amplify Indian handicrafts reach and executing safe & sound prospects to empower artisans retain their irreplaceable position and creative value with profitable integers. “This is not about CraftsBazaar, a Marketplace for Arts and Crafts! It is about leveraging, exploring and extracting the most from technology and infrastructure-readiness in India that is poised to flourish as potentially the largest, globally active consumer-base. Artificial Intelligence and factory models can never replace creative services. To this, add phenomenal domestic and global demand-generation…now, that fantastic opportunity is what CraftsBazaar all about,” signs off Aparna.
Aparna Challu, CEO
An iron-willed women entrepreneur, Aparna’s vast industry experience pronounces her excellence of converting opportunities into successful results with impeccable insights. From being an enthusiastic opportunity dweller to upscaling business with innovation and commitment, she has everything of what it takes to edify a successful business venture.
• Handcrafted & Vintage Products
• Collectibles & Paintings
• Apparel& Accessories
• Home& Living Products
• Jewellery & Bags
• Gifts & Treasures
• Tastes of India
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