Start-up Life & Style

A small step for a larger cause

Siddhartha Kothamasu

Siddhartha Kothamasu  

Siddhartha Kothamasu’s Craftiee aims to be a one-stop e-commerce solution for handicraft purchases

Siddhartha Kothamasu, founder of the one-stop handicraft solution Craftiee, wanted to be an entrepreneur even before he knew what the word meant. He kept telling his parents that he wouldn’t want a 9-5 routine in his life. The Guntur-born B Com graduate, while pursuing his PGDM course in Internet marketing in Hyderabad, saw an article on the untapped potential of the handicraft industry, which piqued his interest in helping the artisan community. Craftiee was born out of his idea to help artisan grab maximum benefit of a purchase by eliminating a middleman. What he focused on was building an avenue that could help connect the artisan with the market.

“I ideated Craftiee as a digital solution for everything handicraft. The website went live four months ago; though the ground work to understand what ailed the artisan community began in 2015. I felt artisans didn’t have an ideal platform to market their work. Most e-commerce majors today focus on electronics and other products, the customers too don’t get authentic search results when they ask for Indian handicraft work.” He adds that the artisan will not only get the due he deserves, he also saves time (Craftiee does the marketing leg-work for them) and gets better scope to innovate.

“I was deeply attached to anything artsy for long, that prompted to have a closer look at artisans and the work they do. I wanted to give back to society in some form besides fulfilling my business interests,” Siddhartha states. His ground work made him realise that most e-commerce sites are a blessing only for the retailers who enjoy the fruits of the labour of artisans. “Craftiee will not engage the seller, it’s the artisan who is the beneficiary here.”

Not hailing from a technical background meant it wasn’t an easy start. The website that they planned to get ready in a couple of weeks took six months to go live. He realised a good team and strong financial support was necessary to get a start-up going. “I took time, but didn’t want to compromise on enabling a potential user to be sure of what they’re about to order.” The platform has crisp descriptions including the origin of the work and how it is made, all complemented by appropriate visuals.

Yet for all the effort he’s done, a few artisans are still contented by whatever little they earn and a few, despite being a part of the digital initiative, are unaware of how such an avenue could change their lives. “You can’t call them wrong either, it will take time for them to adapt to this. Certain online tie-ups in the past had them receiving money after a fortnight, which isn’t feasible for their lifestyle. Immediate money is what they desire, that’s why we too don’t endorse a COD option.” He believes this is a small step towards a larger cause.

“My family and college friends Naveen and Aravind have been pillars of support for all my initiatives. I can’t imagine Craftiee without them. Aravind is a photographer and everything you see is his labour of love. Naveen helped me from a digital marketing perspective.” Craftiee’s line-up of products now include Kondapalli toys, Bidri metalware, Cheriyal scroll painting, batik paintings, handcrafted clutch wallets, wooden masks and home décor. They plan to promote the habit of handicraft items as return gifts on auspicious occasionstoo.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 5:57:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/siddhartha-kothamasus-craftiee-aims-to-be-an-e-commerce-solution-for-handicraft-purchases/article19523620.ece

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