How these 24 year olds are creating a brand for Indian ethnic and unique collection of handicrafts worldwideShruthi Mohan
Moving into a new city brings along a baggage of adventures. On one hand, we deal with the whims and fancies of privacy and learning; on the other hand, the whole setting up of a new nest grows chaotic with each passing day. While this situation is redundant amongst most of the people, these two young entrepreneurs came up with a unique idea to pave way to promote rural artisans.
Akshat Goyal and Ashish Jagdale started Shinexus in 2015 when they were 23. Young and ambitious, they were trying to setup their house at a new city. Coming from a rural household, living in metro cities was way out of their comfort zones.
Akshat, who moved to Mumbai from Rajasthan, wanted to give his room a look that resonates with Indian roots and yet remains modern. He couldn’t find things that he would imagine on his walls and shelves. Considering how artists from back home enquired about the possible opportunities in cities, they opted to venture into the humongous world of handicrafts and explore the possibility to solve décor and gifting arena that would cater many needs.
Both the founders have a very decorative degree from the tech world. Akshat, an Electrical Engineer, and Ashish, an IT engineer from Mumbai University, have always had an inclination towards entrepreneurship. Working on social causes and helping others has always been their true calling.
Diving into the world of rural art
Shinexus is all about creating value for Indian handicrafts and the craftsmen who are mostly ignored in the commercial arena. The brand that the company is creating has a microscopic eye towards the artisans in remote interior territories of Indian villages. It helps them build a portal where they can reach directly to customers. Considering the customer base is urban class, all the products are sold on an online portal. The company has its own website under the name Shinexus and also has its presence at PepperFry, FabFurnish and HomeTown.
Though bootstrapped, the company sees a humongous opportunity in terms of celebrating the rural artisans. Though a pit stop for workers from villages in Rajasthan, Kashmir, UP, Shinexus doesn’t employ any artisans, they rather outsource the products which are unique and possess a higher market demand.
The team consists of about eight members who work closely with about 50 to 60 artists to lay out about 1,000 individual products. In a month, the firm transacts about 50-60 individual orders. Along with the online orders, Shinexus also has a separate division for its offline sale for customers based out of Mumbai.
What does the future hold?
In an industry worth $5 billion, Shinexus has a series of ambitious plans. Akshat says,
The products and services remain a backbone for any company to excel. We expect more sales by adding more in the unique range. After being part of Future Group’s HomeTown, Shinexus is in talks with other retail chains to have its products in their racks. We will soon be launching stone art, iron décor, Kashmiri art and fashion accessories for online sales. Selling Shinexus products as corporate gifts is another major expansion scenario. There are many other expansion plans in the bucket.
The difference between the cost price and the selling price mainly depends on the area from where the products are shipped . It ranges between 50 and 70 percent. They publish the products by artisans on all the channels that they have access to. They update their working class to get the item customiszed according to the requirements. A series of quality check, packaging, branding, logistics goes in before the product is ready to be dispatched.
Also read : How a 25-year old woman is putting rural crafts of UP’s Sitapur on the national map
As far as traction is concerned is, the company has seen a commendable growth rate in the last four months, with an average sales growth rate of about 150 percent every month. Though the Indian villages are yet to be equipped with the perks of internet, the team is heading towards a bigger goal.
Handicrafts in India
Starting a venture that creates an impact at bottom of the pyramid is always difficult but has a lasting impact. When villages are part of your e-commerce business model where there is no connectivity, logistics, etc., things become more difficult to work upon. That should not stop you from doing something marvelous.
About 90-95 percent of the total industrial products of the world are produced in small workshops run by less than 100 people. In India, handicrafts are in competition with the mechanised products both in terms of volume and quantity. The Indian handicrafts are high in labor and has seen consistent growth of approximately 15 percent over the last few years. With a workforce of about six million artisans, it plays a major role in foreign earnings.
In case of Shinexus, though the market has competitors like MALHAR, CraftsVilla, Shades, Aapno Rajasthan, the firm is strengthening its vision of empowering the rural artisans. In a sector that employs around 60 lakh people, Shinexus is paving its way to turning into a global brand by empowering the rural artisans.