How this homeopathy professional found her creative mojo by selling handicrafts on Amazon

Monali Patel left her profession as a homeopath to start Prapti Handicrafts and works with various women entrepreneurs and artists in Surat to create jewellery, rakhis, and accessories.

Ever since she was a child, Monali Patel says she had a strong passion for arts and crafts. She found she was the happiest when she was engaged in creative pursuits.

The 36-year-old has a professional degree from homeopathy from Surat. She quit her job to follow her dream of setting up and running a handicrafts business. She started Prapti Handicrafts and became a full-time entrepreneur in 2015.

“Prapti Handicrafts deals with eco-friendly, handmade products that draw inspiration from Indian arts and crafts. The products that we sell include jewellery, rakhis, and other accessories along with home decor products and craft materials. I work with various women entrepreneurs and artisans in Surat to create these products and the entire business is run out of our homes - giving us flexibility in terms of running a business and supporting our families,” she says.

Rakhis from her range

Monali says she didn’t face many challenges while starting out.

“In fact, starting my business was the easy part, and the real challenge was to keep up with the fast-paced world and ensure that the business stays relevant. We’ve managed to overcome this by constantly innovating and creating new handcrafted products with a contemporary touch that brings joy to our customers and caters to everyone’s preference,” she says.

Engaging with customers

When she started Prapti Handicrafts, the only means to reach and engage with customers was through local melas and handicraft exhibitions.

“This was a very competitive arena and often, I would only get a small space to showcase my products. This was one of the main factors that led me to start selling online on Amazon. Through the online marketplace, I was able to list and sell my products to millions of customers across the country. This has helped grow my business exponentially and since then, there’s been no turning back,” she adds.

Having received a favourable response for the handcrafted products, Prapti believes there is a larger trend to purchase products that are eco-friendly and made from recycled/recyclable materials. She says she’s been fortunate to have receive marketing support from the Amazon team and generate visibility for its products during sales, on specially created storefronts, etc. 

Prapti Handicrafts is currently part of the Amazon Karigar and Saheli programmes.

“Through these programs, I’ve received valuable insights that have helped me grow the business. In addition, I’ve received launch support, which includes training and services offered for imaging - cataloguing and account management. I’ve also been able to access and attend free training and skill development workshops to understand the nuances of online selling,” she says.

Prapti Handicrafts began with an investment of Rs 50,000 and now generates revenues of Rs 5 to 6 lakh per year. 

During the pandemic, the women artists Monali was working with faced a lot of financial troubles. However, since there was always a demand for the products, it led her to double down on the business and continue aggressive sales of products.

“By participating in various initiatives and sales on Amazon, we were able to generate higher revenue and support the artisans we work with. Selling online has helped ensure business continuity and helped us bounce back from the challenges we faced,” she adds.

In the future, Monali wants to collaborate and work with like-minded women artisans from different parts of the country who believe and support the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

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Edited by Megha Reddy