Rare Planet, a Kolkata-based souvenir brand selling items crafted by local artisans from all over the country, has raised a seed round of funding from Venture Catalysts. The startup, which aims at creating an independent self-sustained artisan force of one million by 2024, will utilise the funding amount to strengthen its team and create a strong pan-India brand identity.
Started in 2014 by a student entrepreneur, Ranodeep Saha, Rare Planet is working directly with artisans from remote areas to modify existing traditional items. It combines the inherent skill set of Indian artisans with the edge and expertise of new-age designers to create products. The startup is currently present across 50+ locations in the country including conveyance stores like WH Smith in airports, and bookstore chains like Crossword, and SAPNA, to name a few.
The brand provides artisans with raw materials as well as small machines for production. The startup said that it doesn't have any warehouse for stocking, the stock once created is moved to a temporary establishment where packaging and tagging of the products is done and the stock is then sent to respective stores for sale within a day.
Speaking about the brand and the seed round, Ranodeep Saha, Founder, Rare Planet, said,
“When I started Rare Planet five years back, the basic idea was to help artisans create world-class products and make them available online. Over the period, I realised that merely creating a website and selling products through the same will not be enough, and the whole idea gradually changed to us venturing into various retail segments. Today, we have more than 500 artisans on board who have been empowered by Rare Planet’s operational model. With the current funding, we would like to grow our team to reach out to more communities and bring traditional art to a larger audience.
He further added that with the funds raised, Rare Planet aims to build a strong team and identity throughout the country, and explore the high-potent export market for souvenirs. "Moreover, we are also eyeing retail markets in a few Southeast Asian countries and the US. Through Rare Planet, I hope we are able to contribute substantially towards establishing India as one of the key players in the $5 billion worth global souvenir industry.”
Rare Planet has been granted both Mudra and Stand Up India loan funds from the Government of India.
Last month, sweets and snacks manufacturer Haldiram’s made an investment in Venture Catalysts with an aim to boost and facilitate startups in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector.