[Startup Bharat] This Bhubaneswar-based startup wants to become a Shopify-like platform for artisans
Entrepreneur Trilochan Parida wanted to help artisans create their own digital brand and directly sell handicrafts online. His passion led him to launch, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, in February 2021.
In an interview with YourStory, Trilochan, who is from Odisha, explains that while local artisans are able to sell their products through online marketplaces, the onboarding fee on these platforms cuts into their revenue. With COVID-19 bringing businesses and customers online, artisans require a good digital strategy to increase sales.
[Image Credit: Typof]
To make e-commerce both affordable and easy to use, Trilochan, along with co-founder Divya Mallick, launched Bhubaneswar-based Typof. The startup aims to provide a Shopify-like experience, especially for artisans, where users can create online e-commerce websites and start selling their products within minutes.
“It is a very simple to use platform where artisans can build their own website and set up their online store within three minutes and start selling directly to the customers,” Trilochan says.
Building Shopify-like platform for artisans
According to Trilochan, the software platform includes several website templates. Typof also offers users a custom domain and all the required e-commerce tools such as integrated payment gate, logistics options among others.
The startup’s main aim is to ensure sales for artisans, the co-founder says. Typof provides all the required marketing tools to help sellers market their products using social media platforms. It also offers a dashboard to help users track their sales records.
The platform offers a live video shopping tool to help creators connect with customers, an idea that Trilochan says, came from the experience of co-founder Divya.
“Divya also owns a Sambalpuri saree business. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it became difficult for her to provide in-store experience to the users. Since there are also instances of the sale of false Sambalpuri sarees, customers couldn’t build their trust. In order to solve this problem, she used to show the products over Zoom video calls to her customers. This gave us the idea to include a live video shopping tool inside the platform which can help the artisans directly connect with the users and show them their products live,” he adds.
Trilochan says that since websites created via the platform are SEO optimised, creators need not worry about online search visibility.
Illustration: YS Design
Currently, Typof has onboarded 400 artisans across India and works with a team of nine members. The co-founder explains that unlike an initial listing fee on other marketplaces, the platform has no such charge.
He reveals that artisans can make their websites for free using Typof and that users are charged only after they start selling their products. The startup operates on a commission-based model where it starts charging a 10 percent commission per transaction recorded by the artisans under its free plan.
Apart from this, the startup also offers separate plans for its venture and enterprise clients where it charges a subscription fee. Venture users are billed Rs 499 per month and need to give a 3 percent commission while users opting for the enterprise version are billed Rs 1499 a month with no commission charge. The co-founder reveals that Typof has 40 enterprise clients.
One of its enterprise clients, Bengaluru-based Maavni Designs sells handicrafts online. Founder Smaranika Mohapatra says, “We are grateful to Typof for providing an e-commerce platform which has enabled us to get more business and increase our reach to a wider audience.
“In last three months, the artisans in total recorded over 1,000 orders through our platform,” Trilochan says.
According to media reports, the Indian handicrafts industry is estimated to be around $7 to $8 billion market. Other notable startups in the handicrafts industry include Rare Planet, Maavni Designs among others. While Typof competes with Shopify in terms of its business offering, Typof solely focuses on empowering artisans.
Speaking about future plans, Trilochan adds that the startup is aimed at acquiring over 2000 artisans by early 2022.
“We are now also building a community, to be launched in a month where artisans can share their art and take validation and feedback from others. The platform is like a social media platform for artisans,” he adds.