[Startup Bharat] This Jaipur-based ecommerce platform is celebrating Rajasthan’s local artisans
India is known for its rich and diverse history of art forms. According to IBEF, the handicrafts sector is also one of the largest employment generators and accounts for a significant share in the country’s export. But these artisans and craftsmen are now struggling with less work and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support artisans working in the home decor and home furnishing space, 31-year old Deepak Jha started, an ecommerce platform, in August this year.
Deepak says Deeps Shop stands out for its elegant, royal, and spiritual curated products. “We are not a typical marketplace. I myself select suppliers, products, and check the quality,” he says.
The Jaipur-based digital marketer already claims to be making profit and garnering nearly 500 orders a month.
Millk Burni Diya by Deeps Shop
Celebrating Rajasthan’s craft
Before staring Deeps Shop, Deepak worked with many IT companies as a digital marketing manager. He continued to stay in his hometown, Jaipur, even though he got opportunities in metro cities such as Delhi, as he believed that when your hometown has opportunity why not stay there and give back to the city. This was the same reason he started a side project to celebrate his state’s craft.
“Jaipur is famous for its home furnishing and decor products, and I decided to popularise it more with my project,” says Deepak.
Initially, they were just reselling, taking orders, and helping suppliers in Rajasthan to manufacture products like handcrafted home decor outside of Jaipur.
Deepak shares that the eureka moment for Deeps Shop happened when a supplier who worked with Deepak told that the March-June lockdown has left the local artisans in dearth. This is when Deepak decided to pursue his passion project as a full-time project and started enabling artisans in Rajasthan and other states to get business and help India go ‘vocal’ for real.
“I always wanted to start my own venture and COVID-19 made this possible. The pandemic helped me understand the pain of local businesses and motivated me to work on my dream project and join the bandwagon of startups who are making Jaipur a startup hub,” says Deepak.
With just Rs 5,000, Deepak created a website and social media pages to get started. Deepak says he did not have to spend on inventory and the artisans and suppliers trusted him and waited for the payment after the sale.
Deepak had quit his job in the first week of October to focus full time on the startup. As of now, Deepak is running the show alone. However, he says that two of his family members are helping him in the venture.
Growth, revenue model and competition
Speaking about competing with the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, Deepak says, “I don’t want to compete with any of the ecommerce players as they are quite big and they have different business models. I want to go niche and work on my own segment of home decor and home furnishing with small and local manufacturers,” says Deepak.
Deepak’s digital marketing experience took more meaning when he got orders from across India in the first month of launching the startup. Within the first month, the startup got more than 100 orders, and in November, the number of monthly orders crossed 500 shipments, he says.
“My aim is to reach 5,000 orders per month by the end of 2021,” he adds.
In terms of business model, Deeps Shop relies on money made on each items sold, it takes its own margin on the products it buys from the artisans.
“We have generated revenue to the tune of Rs 15-20 lakh so far, but all has gone back into the business as operation costs and to fuel growth,” says Deepak. He also says that the startup has been profitable since the first month of its launch.
Deepak takes pride in already being profitable, as he is the first-generation entrepreneur in the family. He shares that his father is a priest in a temple, and it is the first time that someone is doing business in the family.
Challenges and funding
Deepak says that his biggest challenge at the moment is cash flow, but he still prefers being bootstrapped as he wants to grow the company’s valuation before getting investors on board.
As of now, the startup lists products from a handful of artisans in Rajasthan as well as UP. Deepak says that his dream is to get local craftsmen from across India on his website and help them get business from across the globe.