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On a mission to elevate the 'lost' gems of Indian heritage

By Swadha Mishra

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Entrepreneur India
Rahul Narvekar, CEO, IndianRoots.com

Standing up to its name, the "vibrant' Gujarat is abode to India's diverse ethnic communities and their finest and ancient crafting traditions. From the art of Bandhani (Tie and Dye), Hand Block Printing and Painting to the significant Patola Weaving tale, the state has played a vital role to build the unique craft pool of India. These crafts form an important part of the lifestyle of thousands of artisans inhabiting the state.

In its mission to eliminate "middlemen' from the journey of a handicraft being created by an artisan to it reaching the target audience, NDTV's fashion and lifestyle e-commerce venture IndianRoots.com has entered into a partnership with Craftroots in Gujarat, which aims to create an ecosystem that converges the interests of artisans, NGO, prominent designers, architects and institutions that specialise in the domain of craft revival and development.

Putting Indian heritage on global map

Commenting on the new partnership, Rahul Narvekar, CEO, IndianRoots.com, said, "We seek to connect these artisans at the grassroot level with the consumers locally and globally. We aim to showcase the richness of skills and depth of heritage found in every state of India on the world podium. So far this partnership will help in making 500 women financially independent. With steady flow of traffic from over 150 countries, IndianRoots is a valued choice of partner to help Craftroots reach its potential customer base in India and abroad."

An initiative powered by Gramshree, Craftroots is an NGO run by Anar Patel, who has been working with artisans for over two decades. Along with strengthening artisans' network and their crafts tradition by providing them design inputs, fair wages and a marketing platform, Craftroots' objective is to also educate and create awareness in the market about these crafts. And IndianRoots, with its wide reach among Indian and NRI patrons, will act as an enabler to highlight and promote the goods by the forgotten artisans of Gujarat.

The partnership with IndianRoots will help promote the crafting heritage of Gujarat through various traditional and modern marketing tools. Social media devices can further accelerate the process of getting the consumers on-board, along with educating the masses about the array of craft forms hailing from the western state. Speaking on the same lines, Anar Patel, Founder, Craftroots, said, "I started working with the craftsmen of Gujarat around twenty years ago. From my experience, there is always a need for a market platform to promote, value and acknowledge the talent of these artisans, thus enabling them to get a steady source of income."

"We at Craftroots, want to take the e-commerce route, as one can reach a wider audience with just a click. IndianRoots was the natural choice as they are committed to work towards uplifting and highlighting the artisans of India. With the portal's wide audience base, the artisans' work will surely gain acceptance and prominence in the market," Patel added further.

Future growth plans

With prime focus to provide global and local markets the essence of India, IndianRoots, earlier this month, tied-up with Banka Silk from Bihar to diligent work towards elevating the forgotten gems of Indian heritage, and helping these artisans earn fair wages by cutting out middlemen from the supply chain. After Bihar and Gujarat, IndianRoots plan to explore as many states as possible, giving the due credit and recognition to each and every craft cluster.

Further sharing their aggressive growth plans, Narvekar added, "Consumers are gradually opening up to the idea of using Indian products in their daily lives. But procurement of genuine artisan products and awareness of genuine sources is not easy in India. In our quest to bridge the gap between Indian products and Indians and NRIs, we will continue to tie up with the artisans and NGOs from various states in the months ahead."

Launched in July 2013 with a lean investment of Rs 18 crore, IndianRoots currently hosts over 100 designers and more than 700 brands on its platform. With over 65 per cent of orders emanating from India, IndianRoots is now all geared up to go omni-channel with offline experience centres all over the world, including India. In recent past, the firm raised two rounds of funding and had closed $5 million in Series B round led by KJS Group.

Swadha Mishra

Former Staff, Entrepreneur.com

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