‘sustainability’ has become one of the most important words of today’s world, facing critical challenges such as climate change and pollution. According to a survey by Mahindra Group, 88 percent The Indians now want to live more sustainably.
One of them is based on Siliguri Nikita Agarwal which is called “sustainability obsessed”. However, while trying to paint her house with sustainable decorations, the former 29-year-old Air Asia crew member found herself in constant motion.
“I wanted to fill my house with interiors made of bamboo or jute,” he says Your story. However, finding suitable products in local Siliguri markets and online has become a challenge.
She saw a business opportunity and beganHandmade in October 2019 as a personal project.
Operation under Suvnik Concierge Services Pvt LtdThe craft startup began selling jute rugs with reed baskets and boxes.
While Nikita was looking for a dealer in Northeast India, especially Assam and Sikkim, to decorate her house, she was also looking to embark on her new business.
“We also set up a group on Facebook called ‘Handicraft Buyers and Sellers’, which provided a platform for sellers to showcase their products. This gave us access to 15,000 local artisans and dealers. We also started receiving purchase requests from all over the country, ”says Nikita.
The co-founder also created an Instagram page and started uploading pictures of some products.
Idhiyaan Handicrafts started with reed baskets and jute carpets. But in the last year, the company has expanded into the categories of stationery and home decoration.
Then her brothers – Nikhil and Suraj Agarwalwho tried to keep their travel company afloat due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – got involved in the project and invested Rs 5 million from their travel agency.
One of the biggest challenges the startup initially faced was persuading the locals in Siliguri to buy their products.
“People in our city have not been able to understand anything about these products because there is still a lack of awareness. Many said ye ghaas phoos kaun khareedega (who buys this grass and weeds)Nikita says, adding, “We wanted to say it, even though it is ghaas phoos, the products are much better than plastics and look extremely nice. ”
The craft startup, which began selling offline through a physical store in Siliguri, sought to educate consumers visiting their store. However, the creation of local demand, which pushed them back at least a year, became a big problem. The trio then decided to bring their products online through their own website.
The initial group of customers were companies and wedding planners looking for gift options. “A lot of our boxes and baskets were sold there,” says Nikita. As the second wave began to recede and tourism opened, many hotels also began to buy their products as interior decorations. Since then, the company has expanded into the categories of stationery, personal care and home decor.
These products come from artisans and dealers in Manipur, which is known for cane products. Bamboo products come from Tripura, while clay products come from Maharashtra and other countries across India.
Idhiyaan Handicrafts cooperates with 30-40 dealers and artisans who buy products from them in bulk at wholesale prices and sell them at their own margin. The company refrained from revealing its margins.
Credit: YourStory Design
Much of the demand for startup products comes from Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru, as well as other parts of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Idhiyaan also launched its website about two months ago and receives 90 percent of orders through its digital channels, including the website, Facebook and Instagram.
Business model and future
On average, Idhiyaan claims to meet 80-90 orders every monthresulting in a sale Rs 3-4 thousand. Their customers include companies, individuals and resellers who create order value among themselves Rs 1,000 and 30,000according to Suraj, who leads the company’s sales.
In the financial year 2021-2022, the company generated Sales of Rs 22 million compared to Rs 3 lakh in fiscal year 21. Sure, Idhiyaan only operated for six months in the first year of business. The company’s goal is to generate Rs 1.10 million to the end of FY23.
Idhiyaan has also opened another store in Siliguri and plans to turn its website into a marketplace for buyers and sellers of handicrafts within the next year. The company is trying to obtain external resources for its expansion plans.
The Indian handicraft industry employs over seven million regional artisansaccording to the India Brand Equity Foundation, with more than 67,000 export houses exporting to the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Australia, among others.
In fiscal year 2021-22, India exported $ 380.83 million in value handmade wood (until August 2021), while in fiscal year 2021 it was $ 845.51 million.
Idhiyaan Handicrafts is currently competing with Better Capital-sponsored Beco, Rusabl (owned by EvenFlow) and a number of other retailers selling bamboo-based personal care products.