At some point in time, we all go through a phase when we have that urge to do something special in life. Five years ago, Shobhit Arora got this feeling to make a difference in people’s lives. He continued his efforts to bring this change through artistic beauty and design.
For Shobhit, it was not an easy decision to quit his comfortable corporate job and venture into a new area. It took him almost a year of late nights and weekends to do some research and validate the hypothesis. He spent a lot of time studying international markets and existing trends, meeting artists and designers in person, and visiting exhibitions. On one hand, this was a globally proven sweet spot and on the other there was a strong need for the social commerce model in this country. After a year of research, he was confident of the phenomenal opportunity.
In December 2014, he launched Worldartcommunity, a peer-to-peer online marketplace for artistic creations across a wide range of mediums and materials. Based out of Gurgaon, the platform connects appreciators of art with creators of uniquely designed or handmade works that will enrich the living spaces and enlarge the sense of beauty and joy.
“It’s a peer-to-peer platform, which is used by both buyers and sellers. We follow a simple sign up process where artists and designers can register to sell online. This is followed by a due diligence by our design team. Once approved, the sellers control their space completely,” says Shobhit Arora, Founder and CEO, Worldartcommunity.
The platform operates in the zone of lifestyle creations, whether it’s fine art, fashion or décor. “There’s no cost levied on artists and designers for selling on our platform. This enables them access to the entire dashboard, which includes product upload, shop look and fix the products price. A seller can even link their online presence, including social media handles, with their shop at the Worldartcommunity platform. We also allow them to offer discounts, if they like to offer, to select customers. We cater to a wide range of price points. It’s more a matter of taste than pocket. The fact that we have artists and designers selling directly, customers get the benefit of direct pricing,” says Appachu SK, Co-Founder and COO, Worldartcommunity.
The revenue model of this platform is commission-based. It charges a flat 10 per cent commission on a successful transaction. The initiative was initially bootstrapped. It raised angel funding of USD 200,000 in April 2015. This round was led by Viraj Tyagi, a serial entrepreneur and an investor.
Market and competition
India exports almost 5,000 million art and craft products annually. This gives us an understanding of the potential of this segment.
Craftsvilla, IndianRoots, CBazaar, Utsav Fashion, and Namaste Craft, among others, are some of the direct competitors of Worldartcommunity. In addition, many e-commerce platforms are catering to this segment. Early this year, Flipkart tied up with multiple government ministries to help artisans shift towards online sales. Snapdeal has partnered with India Post to enable Varanasi artisans to sell their work on the online platform.
On competition, Shobhit says that the category holds a strong promise and there are many players at an early stage. He believes that there’s an opportunity for all as the segment at this stage is quite fragmented and unorganised with low online share.
He further adds, “Our vision is to strongly entrench ourselves in the art and design ecosystem, which would be a mix of online and offline presence. We would be looking at brand extension to empower artisans and craftsmen to sell directly on our platform.”