India is a land of artisans. Art, as you all know, evolved a long time ago in our nation. But do you know what still keeps it preserved? It’s the importance, quality and the way they manifest India’s rich tradition and culture.
But, with the rapid industrialisation, machine-made products overshadowed the demand for traditional handicrafts. As a result, many rural and local artisans lost their source of livelihood. You’ll be surprised to know that rural artisans’ current cited estimates are always less than the original.
Of course, the need to preserve traditional art and rural artisans is essential. Rare Planet focuses on the upliftment of rural artisans. This Kolkata-based startup not only provides them livelihood but also brings their handicrafts to the limelight.
Meet the Founders
Ranodeep Saha, a b.tech graduate from IIT Kolkata, founded Rare Planet in 2015. He is an experienced co-founder with a demonstrated history of working in the retail industry. With his startup, he’s on a mission to convert a million karigars into Micro-Entrepreneurs.
Ranodeep is not only skilled in entrepreneurship but also has excellent management skills. In 2019, Vijay Kumar, with his years of retail and lifestyle experience, joined the startup as a co-founder. He feels blessed to be a co-founder and a part of the journey of Rare Planet.
Journey from Stall to Startup
Ranodeep was very much passionate about the social impact and Indian artisans. He always had the desire to take the legacy of Indian artisans forward. Hence, he started Rare Planet from Scratch as a First-Year Student of Engineering.
What started with a little stall at a school festival, later turned into a startup. Initially, Rare Planet developed and sold terracotta-made kulhad (teacups) both offline and online. The coated teacups are non-stick and reusable.
Rare Planet expanded its product line to stationery, handicrafts, pottery, home decor, bottles, and souvenirs. These products get their shape from terracotta, ceramic, copper, brass, marble and wood. Besides, this startup also focuses on Travel Retail.
Empowering Local and Rural Artisans
The startup works on the goal of uplifting and empowering local artisans and craftsmen of the diversified country. They combine the artisan’s skills and the NIIFT’s designers expertise. Accordingly, the final artwork meets both the aesthetic appeal and modification to the existing traditional artefacts.
Firstly the startup’s in-house team lists the designed products. When they receive the order for a particular product, they pass it on to the artisans and craftsmen who work. After completion and order collection, artisans get payment.
Generally, payments made to artisans and craftsmen take three days. This step ensures its reinvestment in the next product. The modified modern products result in higher income for the local artisans. Eventually, they end up making up to 130-150% more.
Rare Planet aids the community of small artisans and craftsmen by opening their bank accounts. The startup also provides insurance for their family. This fund goes to the eldest women in the household. Hence, this indicates the support of the startup to empower traditional artisan and craftsmen communities.
Rare Planet is the Direct- to-consumers ( D2C ) brand. Here, products are available for WH Smith, Crossword, SAPNA Books, and around 60 stores. Customers can buy online as well, through the startup’s official website. The product’s prices depend on the logistics, artwork costs, marketing, among others.
In October 2020, Rare Planet raised Pre Series A funds from Uni-M Ventures and Venture Catalysts- India’s largest integrated incubator and accelerator. This funding validated the strength of the startup’s business proposition.
Ranodeep says, “We remain committed and create greater value for rural artisans. Moreover, we take indigenous Indian handicraft items to a much larger audience across the globe keeping the profits growing quarter on the quarter ”.
Into the Future
To date, Rare Planet retailed over 5 lakh units worth Rs 20 crore and has its presence in 100+ locations across India. By 2022, It aims to provide a livelihood to over 25,000 artisans with more states to cover in India.
The Rare Planet founders believe that tying up with artisans like Madhubani, Kutch, and Puri will bring more authentic creations. Moreover, further, the expansion will enable them to expand its array of offerings.
Rare Planet also intends to widen its reach to customers by tying up with more retail outlets across airports in India.
Creating the Difference
Rare Planet procures Indian handmade items from the local artisans and further retails it through offline and online platforms. Accordingly, providing value to the karigars for their products.
In a short period, the startup created a difference across local artisans’ lives in the country. And now with a vision is looking forward to widening its footprint globally.