Craftveda was started by classmates and long-time friends Abhishek Sengupta and Indra Prasad Ghatak. It was started off as an ecommerce portal for handicrafts, and it has grown into other ethnic categories in accessories and fashion. So, what makes these guys different from other players in the market? Well, for one, they've got an interesting bootstrapping model; and secondly, they've tied up with some of the the country's most popular offline handicraft emporiums, in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. They even work exclusively with the handicrafts department of the government of West Bengal.
So how have they gone about doing this? I spoke to the both Abhishek and Indra, and they shared some interesting insights into their journey as well as the space where they're operating in.
A strong inclination towards the arts
Both Abhishek and Indra are from Kolkata and they credit their inclination towards the arts because of this. Indra says, "Being from Kolkata, the fine arts and literature have a heavy influence on us. We were involved in a bit of artwork ourselves. We were really interesting in handicraft and thought that this would be a great place to start working in."
"Unlike other startups, which usually have a quick time to market, we took our time in understanding the space and how customers behave with respect to these kind of products online. We spoke extensively to people in the space, including the government, to understand how we can go about setting up this business. We started research in the second half of 2011 and launched Craftveda in Feb 2013."
An interesting bootstrap model
Since its launch in February, Abhishek shared that the Craftveda is picking up steady traction. He says, "Like we said, we initially started with handicrafts, where we've partnered with some premium offline handicraft emporiums like Cauvery Emporium in Bangalore. The authenticity in handicrafts plays a very important role for the customer to make a buying decision, and we have that sorted out through these partnerships. While we believe that this will grow in the coming months, the handicrafts business contributes to about 10% of our business." Craftveda has also diversified into ethnic clothing and accessories which contributes to another 25% of their monthly revenues.
However, it is their B2B facing bulk orders of clothes made from organic cotton that contributes to the left over 65% of revenues. Indra says, "Corporates place large orders for clothes made using organic cotton, which is our largest revenue earner as of now. It is an interesting proposition for corporates because using organic cotton products reduced their carbon footprint, which is a win-win for both of us."
Of course, Craftveda would like to see their B2C offering see more traction in the coming days, but until then, this interim solution sustains them sufficiently.
Craftveda sees about 15 - 20 sales everyday on the site with an average ticket size of Rs 500. With the current revenue channels, the founders believe that the company will break even by early next year. As far as future plans are concerned, Abhishek says, "We've got warehouses in 4 cities with about 1,000 SKUs overall. We'd want to increase this to 2,500 by the end of this year. We're talking to investors as well, and we will be looking to raise a round of funding as well, in the near future.
Check out Craftveda and tell us what you think