Online market places are now aplenty but those unique Indian products including handmade, vintage, ethnic, organic and natural products need a rendezvous of categories and entrepreneurship. Add direct advantage to the craftsman behind the product, and you have Craftsvilla where you buy products directly from their makers across India. Monica Gupta of Craftsvilla chats with TG.
Earlier in July, it was made public that Craftsvilla had received $1.5 million Series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners. This was Lightspeed and Nexus’s second round of funding of Craftsvilla.
Techgoss (TG): The usual question first, how was Craftsvilla conceived and why? If there is a person impetus for this, or an incident that inspired or a person who made you conscious of the need for Craftsvilla, do let’s know more.
Monica Gupta (MG): Craftsvilla was actually conceived because of my road trip to Kutch. There I could see loads of handcrafted products available at very reasonable rates. The same products were sold by them to middlemen at cheap rates who in turn sold the same at exorbitant rates to urban people. This was a triggering point where I thought that if we can directly connect these artisans to consumers, they can get better prices and consumers can also get cheaper rates.
TG: This question is for the first time acquaintance, what does Craftsvilla do for the artisan? Tell us more about the Vision / Mission of Craftsvilla?
MG: Our mission is to connect as many as possible rural artisans to the consumers, so that they can get better prices and continue the art and craft to pass down to the next generation. Craftsvilla reaches out to the rural artisans by establishing studios in Jaipur, Bangalore and Delhi NCR. These studios handhold the artisans for photography, content writing, packaging and shipping, so that they can also sell online in spite of not being very tech savvy.
TG: How and where does Craftsvilla step in? Like do you help with finding markets alone or also do value additions like pricing / customer interaction / product presentation / warehousing guidance for the uninitiated and cyber shy artisan?
MG: We help the artisans and micro-entrepreneurs in every step starting from design inputs to pricing, aesthetic appeal, customer relationships, packaging and dispatch techniques. We even help them in after sales customer care like giving feedback and offer calls and emails.
TG: Could you describe the process by which an artisan sells through Craftsvilla?
MG: The artisan / micro entrepreneurs can register in easy one step. Than he can upload his products himself in his shop or contact our executive for help in free photoshoot, content writing or any other part of the process. As soon as the order comes, he gets and email as well as call from our studio executive. The order is dispatched by them or our studio office. The customer confirms the receipt of the order and the payment is made to the seller within 21 days in his bank account. We only deduct a commission of 15% on MRP while making the payment. Hence, there is no registration or listing fees. They pay us only when they sell their products. Our vendor panel helps him keep track of his most loved products, most sold products as well as any communication with the customer.
TG: How long has Craftsvilla been around, and could you give us some experiences that made it worthwhile?
MG: Craftsvilla.com started in end of 2010. The best experience in Craftsvilla was when an artisan called me and said that because of his sales on Craftsvilla, he can now send his son to school for studies. That was very touching as apart from a business I was also helping someone and working for a social cause. It gives immense satisfaction.
TG: What is the next stage envisaged for Craftsvilla? There has been reports of new funding, how will that help Craftsvilla surge ahead to help Indian craftsmen?
MG: Our next step is to connect these artisans to the international customers. We have also started an initiative wherein people can buy products in bulk for gifting purposes. We are also planning to set up studios in other parts of the country so that we can reach out to many other artisans.
TG: Please tell us about the other by-products of Craftsvilla like the Artisan Fund?
MG: Our major differentiating points are our studios that help us connect to the artisans in rural India who would otherwise never come to an online platform.
People can know more about us at our website