“Gifts fall from heaven only in fairy tales.” is what Walter Ulbricht once said. But if only he knew the merits of online gifting solutions of today, he wouldn’t have been so disappointed after all.With an aim to target the Chinese gift market, and popularize Indian handcrafted products, Craftila was started by high school friends. The online gift store helps you send personalized unique gifts and offers over 500 products created lovingly by artisans from across India.
What probably makes them different is that their idea is to build, manufacture and distribute the products themselves. With products ranging from bags to home décor, corporate gifts to wall masks, paintings to jewellery, Piyush Jain, co-founder of Craftila expresses “why do so many Indians buy Chinese products? Why can’t we offer services and products that are completely Indian and not Chinese.”
Abhilasha Dafria for YourStory, engages with Piyush and finds out more.
How is Craftila different from other online gifting platforms?
The fact that we are not just a gifting platform makes us different. Most of our products can be categorized as collectibles and accessories.
We have our own unique designs that we manufacture ourselves and hence are able to offer very reasonable prices and quality because we don’t have a middle man. The Drive for innovation and creativity is what sets us apart. Yes we want to do business, but we also want to see our products creating a niche in the market.
Please introduce us to the business idea behind Craftila.
The idea behind Craftila is to create a brand which will have unique and interesting collectibles and accessories, targeting people’s trendy wants and tastes. Thirdly, our main purpose is to create a niche for our brand in e-commerce. For that, we are not only promoting our website, but we are also selling our products through other popular e-commerce websites. The plan is to give people what they want, in time and without any hassles.
Could you tell us in detail about the products and services you offer?
Craftila ensures that we make sure that each and every product has something new and something attractive, because it is very clear, that today’s customer is very smart.Our products are all meticulously hand-made and range from funky accessories like - footwear, keychains, laptop skins and bags, to corporate items like - mugs, notepads, pen drives and clocks.
We make sure our online portal is robust without any payment hassles. We also have an option of cash-on-delivery. More importantly, we are doing something that we love and understand. And we try to put that in our products as much as we can.
We cater for personal gifting, corporate items, customised products and employee rewards.
How did the business ideas for Craftila’s products come about?
We saw space in the market and how less the options were available for such products. We studied the market and saw the need to create a brand which offers more than just your usual posters, or cards, or boxes of chocolates.
We realised Indians are now looking for new, innovative ideas to gift, collect or keep in the house. We invested our time in understanding those needs and making sure that our products don’t end up clogging the drain of unwanted items.
How much capital was required to implement the ideas?
We’ve so far invested 6 lakhs to start the company. And now we’re looking for funding to grow our products base.
What is the revenue model?
The revenue model comes from our online sales which we get from our website and other major Indian ecommerce websites. We also earn from various fairs, flee markets, self retailing, corporate gifting and personalised orders.
Where are you based and since when are you operational?
We’ve been operating since past three-months from Bangalore. We have a warehouse in Udaipur, Rajasthan and Bangalore where we ship the items from.
How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
We’re a team of 8 people and yes we’re currently looking to hire product designers and supply chain managers. We are also looking for people who are as passionate as we are about our products for marketing and website management.
Tell us about your backgrounds.
Craftila was launched by two high school friends, Siddharth Maheshwari and myself, Piyush Jain from The Scindia School and we completed our graduation from Rajasthan University and University of Westminster, respectively.
Siddharth has also been an active member of TIE (The Indus Entrepeneurs) while I’ve worked with the Foundation for MSME (Micro Small Medium Enterprise) clusters and United Nations for a year before starting Craftila.
Let us know about the tie-ups that you have. Is there acceptance for your concept?
With regards to products, we have tie-ups with manufacturing units in Rajasthan and Gujarat. As far as selling platforms are concerned, we have now tie-ups with a number of ecommerce companies and established retailers. The acceptance is proven by our rise in sales after these tie-ups and our products have been very well received.
We have also received very warm and positive feedback from our tie-ups. However, cost of logistics like shipping and product return are pressuring our margins.
What is the size of the market that you’re addressing?
We cater to the ever-growing market of personal items (excluding gadgets) which makes for 3 percent of the overall e-commerce market of Rs. 46,000 Ccrore.
What challenges do you face in the gifting solutions sector and how do you plan to tackle them?
Since we have ventured into an online business and brand creation, its easy for people to lose interest. Also, everyone wants to have quick solutions, so they settle for chocolates and flowers. However, we are pushing forward the delivery of our products to be as quick as possible and make sure that people have the option and freedom to choose from a variety of items without getting restrained by delivery timings.
Another challenge we face is design theft, we are currently in process of registering for copyrights and trademarks.
How many unique visitors do you record per day on your website?
We record round about 200 unique visitors on our website alone. Then, everyday we also receive orders from other websites where we showcase our products.
Where do you see Craftila five years from now?
We see Craftila increasing its sales channels and at the same time, exporting and catering to international customers. We also see a rise in number of our warehouses and manufacturing units to at least two more locations in India.
Anything else you’d like to mention to our readers?
We’d like to receive as much feedback as possible. So even if they don’t end up buying anything, we’d love them to write to us, connect with us, encourage and criticize us.
For first-generation self made entrepreneurs out there, we’d just like to say- that get a business plan ready no matter how initial it is. Throw your hesitations out of the window and go for it.
Check out Craftila for further details. And, do not forget to share your thoughts on this venture by leaving a comment.