Craffts.com-Start-up of e-commerce portal in handcrafted and handmade products
Belonging to the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Meenakshi was never a stranger to the rich history and cultural heritage of this land. Despite all the troubles that the people have gone through in the past few years, the art and craft in the state has always thrived. The beautifully handcrafted and handmade products of the state speak volumes about the civilization and the culture of this land. On this Meenakshi says, “This was one of the reasons, I was struck by the level of ignorance that I witnessed on my first visit to Delhi when it comes to Kashmiri Art and Craft. Though people bestow the title of ‘heaven on earth’ on Kashmir but it saddens me to see that people had little knowledge on what all the state has to offer not only to the people of this country, but also to the world.” Meenakshi with her more than 10 years of experience in Online Marketing Industry infused her knowledge and experience with her 55 years old mother’s (Mrs. Raja Wali) hobby and skill. Mrs. Wali hails from Kashmir, where the tradition, culture and nature blends together to give rise to new skills in the field of fashionable, stylish and trendy handmade and handcrafted products. Mrs. Wali is a born artist of crochet & knitting and had learnt the art of making various handmade and handcrafted articles. With more than 10 years of experience in Online Marketing industry, for global clients’ viz. Vodafone, Northern Rock Finance, Orange Network, Barclays UK, Mars chocolates and many more. Meenakshi was now eager to start up her own venture. Meenakshi has international exposure as she has successfully handled projects for global clients for their online marketing activities like Social Media Marketing, Organic Search, PPC, Display, Viral and Affiliate Marketing. Meenakshi has experience in various verticals like finance, online retail, telecom, electronics and education. When Meenakshi saw Mrs. Wali’s passion about handmade and handcrafted products and the opportunity to blend fashion and style with handicraft products, she made up her mind to do something to make the Kashmiri craft known to the world. “Being in Internet industry for more than 10 years, I could not find any better medium to achieve this objective?”, says Meenakshi, Founder and Managing Partner, Craffts.com. Having made up her mind, she got technical assistance from one of her close friends, Kartikey Pridarshani, who has 10 years of experience on implementing and executing high-end online applications. Meenakshi started working with a team of professionals. Meenakshi further says, “As my interest in the craft grew, I came across many other forms of handmade and handcraft products that are popular in India. Soon I was exposed to the true Incredible India, full of art, culture, colours and traditional art form. It felt like entering in to a new dawn and phase of life. I not only found myself awe-struck by the diversity and cultural heritage of this country but was also surprised to know how these craft forms have managed to survive for so many centuries. Many people rather countries must be unaware of the ethnic treasure that we possess.” Finally, Meenakshi decided to include not just the craft of Kashmir but of all the states of India. After working day in and day out and doing non-stop research, Meenakshi and her team intends to bring together the different craft forms of 28 states and 7 Union Territories of India at one platform. In this process Meenakshi got to know that their initiative will not only present a new India to the world but also help the designers, suppliers and artisans to earn more and make their lives better. Slowly, Meenakshi began to realize that through this project, Craffts.com, social upliftment and employment generation are automatically dealt with. Moreover, Meenakshi’s dream to help homeless people also came true as from every sale at Craffts.com Rs. 2 is donated for the welfare of homeless people. After months of hard work, Meenakshi and her team finally launched Craffts.com. With this website, Meenakshi aims to become market leader in this space, as the portal is covering wide range of over 11 primary categories and 50 sub-categories and with 20% year on year growth of Indian Handicrafts and the Indian e-commerce growing @50%. Explaining more on her venture, she added, “We have tie-up with 500 suppliers and 1000 artisans from all over the country with more than 3000 products already on display. We have set a target of 25,000 products within 4-6 months and touching the figure to 150 thousand by 2012 and 500 thousand by 2014.” Meenakshi continued, “We are targeting to achieve 1 million registered users within 1 year and 10 million within next 3 years.” With brightness in her eyes, she said that the self-set target is achievable looking into the strong team she has with more than 40 years of experience in Business Strategy & Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Finance and Compliance. “Not only this, to strengthened our supply chain, we have partnered with over 250 award winning and reliable artisans, designers and suppliers. We also have alliance with few of the best international and domestic logistic partners.” Meenakshi added. On enquiring about the venture differentiators, she said, “the biggest key differentiator is that we have the Largest Selection of trendy & fashionable handcrafted and handmade products and besides that a highly talented and strong online marketing team, in-house designing and copywriting team along with an early mover advantage, as luckily we not see much competition yet.”. On USP, Meenakshi said, “Craffts.com takes pride to state that it has the largest selection of handpicked products, three fold quality checks, up-market and trendy products, value for money, superior image quality which depicts the exact image as seen by bare eyes, 24 by 7 customer support and easy access round the clock, to name a few.” Through Craffts.com, a vast range of handmade and handcrafted products that belong to different Indian states is presented to the world, with one of the objectives to make all familiar with the rich heritage and traditions of India with a blend of trend and style and give an easy access to all these products via online portal.