What started as a hobby and turned into a small side hustle has grown into a booming company valued at over 100 crores. Ranodeep Saha, a Kolkata-based engineer, and entrepreneur sells handmade terracotta products, home decor, stationery, and other decorative items all over the country and the world, through online and offline channels.
Starting in 2015, it was Saha managing the entire operations. He used to hand-paint earthen kulhads sourced directly from rural artisans and sell through his websites and various other physical stores.
Gradually, as the business grew, he hired a few people who helped him create a greater assortment of products. Initially, it was his parents who helped him with some financial assistance. But later on, he went on to receive funding from the Start-up India program under the Government of India, and several other quarters.
Fast forward to this day, the start-up employs over 10,000 artisans and is valued at over 100 crores. It has created a pan-India presence and has recently started shipping international orders.
The Covid and the accompanying financial turmoil have shaken companies and especially start-ups profoundly. At the point when the chaos settles, and we change by the ‘new normal’ there will be brands that hold solid, and those attempting to endure.
“One of the key challenges was to educate our karigars on what a face mask was and its purpose. There were several hits and misses on meeting quality standards with many artisans unable to meet the criteria initially,” says Saha. But we arranged regular meetings at that time and initially had to check piece-by-piece for the specifications and standards.”
Rare Planet recently launched its new stores in Bangalore, Varanasi, and Goa. “Our international markets have been doing well. We have seen overwhelming responses from the US and Europe. We want to target locations in India that attract the highest number of foreign tourists,” said the co-founders.
”Especially these days, when India is hugely hit by the second wave of Covid-19, the international market has shown huge traction. We want to completely leverage and expand on that. Tourists coming from abroad love Indian handicrafts. But even today, there are limited retail options to buy these items. We want to make artisan-made products in every major tourist location.”
Along with their growth in revenues, Rare Planet is parallelly working on bettering the quality of lives of these artisans. By selling their products to Rare Planet, they are already earning more than double the prices they would earn by selling through a network of middlemen.
Rare Planet aims at providing employment opportunities to over a million karigars soon. They wish to take the local handicrafts and arts to the international stage, as they feel that this market has huge potential and is largely untapped by brands. They are already in talks with artisans from states like Gujarat and Odisha to bring these products into their offerings as well.
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