Hailing from Jaipur, the Pink City, Prashant Jain, an engineer from education background, had observed craftsmen and their businesses from close quarters. With an aim to bring such artistic works to the forefront, he wished to launch a curated marketplace for core artists and handicraft manufacturers to sell. He discussed the idea with his friends Hemant Shekhawat and Aryan Sharma, both engineers, and got them on board as co-founders. In September 2015, the trio launched Namastecraft, a channel for craftsman to showcase their art and get promoted.
“We aim to take care of all the problems faced by artists whether in terms of product photography, marketing, packaging, logistic and others. We have a vision to create a welfare association for artists and craftsman who will be organising different events for artists, promoting them on national and international platforms and providing support in terms of art creation as well as financially and socially,” says Prashant, who is the CEO of the company.
The trio bootstrapped the venture with their savings. The outlay was spent on platform development, inventory and warehouse setup, shipping and packaging solutions, marketing and user engagement and vendor management.
Prashant says that it's been a few months to the launch and they have already delivered products to different parts of India like Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Vadodara, Jaipur and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. “Currently, we have different handcrafted products in marble, mosaic and blue potter art and we will be launching handmade bags, apparel, jewellery and footwear section soon,” he adds.
The revenue for the platform is modelled on sale through the online channel, and by organising and participating in different events and fairs, getting associated with interior designers and real estate players, and selling the products through stores.
On growth, Prashant adds that the company is associated with core artists and craftsman who are awarded at national level and is speaking with more who are interested.
“We have been getting good response on our Facebook page and users have started showing interest and curiosity in our products. We have already received many orders and delivered across India,” adds Prashant.
Competition and challenges
India does the export of almost $5,000 million annually for art and craft products. That gives us idea of the potential of this segment.
Craftsvilla, IndianRoots, CBazaar abd Utsav Fashion, among others, are some of the current players in the market that bring regional as well as national flavour for consumers.
On challenges, Prashant says that not all craftsman realise the potential they have or the vast market that is ready to accept these products. This may be due to lack of knowledge, infrastructure support, incorrect pricing of products or major benefit landing in middleman’s pocket.
“We believe some of them are not as confident in their own talent as they should be and this holds them back. To overcome this, we plan to educate them and make them realise the importance of their work,” Prashant explains.