[Startup Bharat] Making crafts mainstream, how does this entrepreneur ensure sustainable living

‘sustainability’ It has become one of the most important words in the current era as the world deals with serious challenges such as climate change and pollution. According to Mahindra Group survey, 88 percent Many of the Indians now want to live more sustainably.

One of them is based in Siliguri Nikita Agarwal who calls themselves a “sustainability obsessed.” However, while trying to remodel her home with sustainable decorations, the 29-year-old former Air Asia crew member finds herself in flux.

“I wanted to fill my house with interiors made of bamboo or jute,” she says. your story. However, finding the right products in local Siliguri markets as well as online has become a challenge.

She saw a job opportunity and started Idhiaan Crafts in October 2019 as a personal project.

sustainable decorations

operate under Suvnik Concierge Services Pvt LtdThe handicraft company began selling jute rugs with baskets and boxes of sugarcane.

While finding vendors all over North East India, especially Assam and Sikkim, to renovate her home decor, Nikita was also looking to get them trained for her new business.

“We also set up a Facebook group called ‘Handcraft Buyers and Sellers’ which provided a platform for sellers to showcase their products. This gave us access to 15,000 local craftsmen and sellers. We also started taking orders from all over the country,” Nikita says.

The co-founder also created an Instagram page and started uploading photos of some products.

Idiyaan handicraft company started with baskets of sugarcane and jute rugs. But in the past year, the company has expanded into the stationery and home décor categories.

Then her brothers – Nikhil and Suraj Agarwalwho were struggling to keep their travel company afloat due to the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – are on board and invested 5 lakh rupees from their travel company.

overcome challenges

One of the biggest challenges the startup faced initially was convincing locals in Siliguri to buy their products.

“People in our city have not been able to understand anything about these products as there is still a lack of awareness. Many used to say Hey gus vos con khrediqa (who will buy this weed and weed)? Nikita says, adding, “We wanted to convey that even though it is Gus Foss The products are much better than plastic and look very beautiful. ”

The budding handicraft company, which began selling offline through a physical store in Siliguri, has tried to educate consumers who visit their outlet. However, the creation of domestic demand has become a major problem that has held them back for at least a year. The trio then decided to take their products online, through their own website.

The initial group of clients were companies and wedding planners looking for gifting options. “Here we ended up selling several boxes and baskets,” Nikita says. When the second wave started to recede and the travel industry opened up, many hotels also started buying their products as interior decoration. Since then, the company has expanded into the stationery, personal care, and home décor categories.

These products are sourced from artisans and vendors from Manipur, which is famous for its sugarcane products. The bamboo products are sourced from Tripura while the earthen products come from Maharashtra, among other states across India.

Idhiyaan Handicrafts working with 30-40 sellers The artisans buy products from them in bulk at wholesale prices and sell them after adding their own margin. The company declined to disclose its margins.

Credit: Design YourStory

Much of the demand for the startup’s products comes from Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, as well as from other parts of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Idiyaan also launched its website about two months ago, and received 90 percent of orders through its digital channels including website, Facebook and Instagram.

Business model and future

On average, Idhyaan claims fulfillment 80-90 orders every monthresulting in sales 3-4 lakh rupees. Their customers include companies, individuals, and sellers who create an order value between 1,000 rupees and 30,000 rupeesAccording to Suraj, who heads the company’s sales department.

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the company established 22 lakh rupees in revenue Compared to Rs 3 lakh in fiscal year 21. It is certain that Idhiyaan only worked for six months in his first year of business. The company aims to generate 1.10 crores By the end of fiscal year 23.

Idiyaan has also opened another shop in Siliguri and plans to turn his website into a market for handicraft buyers and sellers within the next year. The company is looking to raise outside funds for its expansion plans.

The handicraft industry in India employs more than Seven million regional craftsmenaccording to the India Brand Equity Foundation, with more than 67,000 export firms exporting to the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Australia, among other regions.

In the 2021-22 fiscal year, India exported 380.83 million dollars The value of wooden handicrafts (as of August 2021), while in fiscal year 2021, this number was $845.51 million.

Idiyaan Handicrafts currently competes with Beco backed by Better Capital, Rusabl (owned by EvenFlow) and a slew of other vendors selling bamboo-based personal care products.

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