online platforms for handcrafted products
Sunila Joshi, a consultant in Hyderabad, first discovered the Farida Gupta ethnic wear label online on social media two years ago. An enthusiastic mall goer, she was quite wary initially. “But the experience has been satisfying in terms of both fits and the exclusive ethnic handcrafted patterns and embroidery. The customer service of the brand is what I find appealing and they actually added on a new XL plus size that I needed,” says Joshi who has since become a loyal customer of the online handcrafted ethnic wear label.
Farida Gupta, a homemaker in Delhi with a passion for indigenous crafts and artisanal products, founded the eponymous label over six years back as a training center for women, personally teaching them embroidery techniques. “Even before I formally launched the label, I was running a training center at home. I sourced the fabrics from various traditional handloom centers such as Bagh (MP), Akola (Maharashtra), Ajrakh (Kutch and Gujarat ), Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) and Bagru (Rajasthan) before embellishing the women’s ethnic garments with embroidery,” recollects Gupta, whose label still carries on the signature tradition of block-prints and hand embroidery.
In the initial years, Gupta was focussed on holding exhibitions across the country as the only channel to sell her products; later she opened outlets at the tony Meherchand Market, Lajpat Nagar and Hauz Khas Village in south Delhi. It was when her son Sahil Gupta joined as business head in April 2016 that the entire business model was changed and operations went completely online.
“We shut down all the outlets and are not investment-heavy anymore — we are now following a business model of 100% online sales,” says Sahil Gupta. He created a robust digital team, hiring top professionals from various e-commerce companies. “We have domain expertise in sourcing and creating the best artisanal products. Now with a strong digital team, we have end-to-end control and hope to reach out to Indian women overseas in a big way by the end of this year.” The 100% digital model has helped the company find a level playing field with larger players in the market; it claims to have serviced 30,000 customers at an average of 200-300 orders being placed daily, and an annual turnover of $2 million last year.
Initially, Jaypore was created as a platform to present exclusive collections to customers in the US as an iPad-only shopping experience. But that soon changed and, in 2013, Jaypore became India-focussed; today India accounts for three-fourths of revenues with the rest coming from overseas markets such as the UK, the US, Canada, Singapore, and Dubai.
“The mainstay of our curation work is about finding crafts from people who don’t have voices and opening up the platform for them to showcase their products. We visit crafts exhibition, buyer-seller meets and use referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations from members of the crafts community especially at clusters such as Gujarat and Rajasthan,” says Sharma.