Flipkart Samarth salutes the spirit of India’s artisans, weavers, MSMEs across the country on World Artisan Day
To celebrate the artisans, weavers, and craftsmen on World Artisan Day, Flipkart presents the success stories of two of its artisans who remind us of the profound impact of art, that unites, and transforms lives, in quiet, intimate ways.
Samarth currently supports the livelihood of over a million artisans, weavers, and craftsmen across India. To mark the celebration of World Artisan Day, Flipkart Samarth recently hosted a two-day Flipkart Samarth's 'Crafted by Bharat' sale to showcase 100,000 products by artisans, weavers, people with disabilities and rural and urban women from SHGs.
For Dhaval Patel, owner of Rajkot-based Navrang Handicrafts, shifting to an online business was a conscious decision. “Our business requires a lot of hard work in terms of manufacturing the products. When we first started, it was just our family who worked day and night to make these products. But as we embarked on our journey online, we were able to expand our business and hire artisans from our village,” he says. It was only after they started selling online that Dhaval came to know about the Samarth platform. “We wouldn’t have to travel to other cities to sell our products, as the demand we witnessed on Flipkart was phenomenal. We were able to benefit with zero commission for the first six months, and this helped us immensely at the start to expand our business, as we were able to price our products accordingly for the customers and this helped to profit significantly. It’s been three years now that we have been managing our online business on Flipkart’s platform,” he adds.
Leveraging the power of e-commerce
The story also resonates well with another Samarth seller Vipul Shukla, owner of Meghdoot Herbals. An alumnus of IIT BHU in Lucknow, Vipul wanted to promote his traditional herbal skincare and haircare products beyond Uttar Pradesh, to a much wider audience, and help them reap the benefits of Ayurveda.
“With offline business, it took us years to establish ourselves, our brand, gain consumer trust, and even network with others in the region. With an online presence, entrepreneurs can now become available and service a large segment of diverse customers from all parts of the world. We were able to reach customers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and cater to a wide customer base,” he shares.
But, starting the journey as a first-time online seller was not a smooth ride initially. Dhaval credits the entire Flipkart seller support team to help them sail through the period. “No matter what query or problem we had, they would solve it within 24 hours. They hand-held us through the entire process of listing, elaborating on how we can increase our demand, how to price our products, etc. Besides, the Samarth program also provided us with a manager, free of cost, who was very helpful at every step of the way,” he adds.
While Dhaval battled the technical challenges of starting a business online, Vipul struggled with high shipping charges online. Besides, the logistics sector and the last mile deliveries were also not completely established at the time, and a great need was felt for a concrete system concerning payments, on-time deliveries, and management.
“Through the Samarth program, we were able to extend the offerings of our traditional and herbal products to customers from all parts of the country and grow many folds. Samarth enabled an easy e-commerce journey and provided us with confidence to carry and grow our business forward,” says Vipul.
Market and business growth
Today, Dhaval’s business boasts of a team of 35 artisans, with 80 percent of women from his village. “We were also worried about the language barrier as we were only fluent in Hindi and Gujarati. But our manager helped us every step of the way, and the platform is simple to understand. Now, the app is available even in Hindi and Gujarati, making it easier for sellers from small towns and villages to use it,” he explains.
Delving deeper on business growth, Dhaval feels that with Flipkart's national customer base, they were able to reach customers from cities/towns they would have only heard of. “Our artisans were so happy to hear that customers from Goa were ordering our products. Flipkart acted as the bridge between our business and customers. We started with two-three orders per day, and now receive 100+ orders per day. Our orders spike during the festive season, owing to our customised festive products. On such occasions, we receive 200+ orders per day,” he adds.
Onboarding and selling on Flipkart is simplified and easy, says Dhaval, as compared to other marketplaces. “We completed our listing in five minutes on Flipkart Samarth,” he says.
From processing 100 orders per day, Vipul’s Meghdoot Herbals experienced increased demand for about 500 products per day during the pandemic. “Our star product, the sanitiser, saw a transaction of 3,000 orders per day. We were able to continue our business and serve the needs of our consumers safely and seamlessly,” he adds.
The involvement level of the managerial assistance with the Samarth program, shares Vipul, is quite high and more effective than any other platform. “Through Samarth, Flipkart also organises programs and events to acknowledge the work of MSMEs and artisans. These events and awards motivate us to do better and keep going forward,” he says.
How Flipkart makes a product stand apart
What makes the products of Navrang Handicrafts unique? “We have unique designs and we create the products with our hands, without the use of machines. We currently have a very good customer rating of 4.7 on the platform, and our products are also customised according to the festivals like Diwali, Janmashtami, etc,” says Dhaval.
As an online seller, the presence of Dhaval’s business on Flipkart is his biggest achievement to date. “The team had come down to our village to film a video of our artisans. Not only was I able to provide people in our village jobs, but help them get their work recognised across the country as well. I am beyond grateful that Flipkart has helped me get to these heights,” he adds.
On the other hand, Meghdoot Herbals aims to serve diverse customers from all walks of life. “We want to make our customer base inclusive, and we are constantly increasing our product categories. The pricing of our items is also affordable. We feel that we have been lucky to gain customer trust and generate loyal customers. Flipkart’s pan-India market access and managerial support have also helped us thrive,” says Vipul, who considers generating employment and ensuring business continuity during the pandemic as his greatest achievement.
In just a year of running his business online, Dhaval was able to buy his factory and warehouse. “Now, we have different departments and a whole system in place. I wish to keep expanding our business this way, and be able to bring the number of our staff from 35 to 350,” he adds, explaining his expansion plans.
“My dream is to take my parents on a world tour. I believe I will reach great heights with the help of Flipkart and fulfil even my biggest dreams,” adds Dhaval.
Vipul plans to generate a revenue of Rs 1 crore per month from the current Rs 50 lakh on Flipkart within the next six months. “We also wish to include about 15 new categories and product offerings to make our range of offerings more inclusive and serve the new customers online,” he shares.
“One of my biggest dreams has been to establish a big plant for our business in Lucknow. My home city does not have many industries. So, I want to be able to create jobs, support the locals around me, and give something back to our country to help it grow economically,” he concludes.
About Flipkart Samarth
Back in 2019, Flipkart launched ‘Flipkart Samarth’ – an initiative to bring the rich and diverse art forms of the country onto its platform – to empower the underserved communities with greater opportunities and better livelihood. Flipkart is heading towards a global change, and hopes to uphold more such success stories in the years to come. Flipkart Samarth has entered into partnerships through MoU with various government bodies to create an ecosystem aiding capacity building for MSMEs in the state. Flipkart Samarth is committed to empowering MSMEs, artisans and craftsmen and will continue providing them with the ecosystem support they require to grow and benefit through pan-India access for e-commerce marketplace operations.