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Last updated: 19 Dec, 2016  

deepti-swapnil-kshirsagarTHMB.jpg 'Implementation of policies, simple process utmost important to promote startups'

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Saurabh Gupta | 19 Dec, 2016
Government can simplify processes to enable the home-grown startups and the ones that work in the sector for promoting local, made in India goods. "There are policies but the implemention can be made easier", said the co-founders of IndiTatva, Swapnil Kshirsagar and Deepti Kshirsagar, in an email interview to SME Times.

A new startup in the handicrafts segment - IndiTatva, an e-commerce portal selling exclusive 'Made in India' products from across the country. Bootstrapped by husband wife duo Deepti Kshirsagar & Swapnil Kshirsagar, this startup aims at helping village-based craftsmen and promoting their products.
Excerpts from the interview...

Please tell some thing about your platform - IndiTatva.
Both myself and Deepti have a educational and professional background that is not even remotely related to the venture that we have started with except for the digital platform and the branding part. So yes bringing the whole idea to reality was an exciting ride and the key challenge was to identify the different art forms of India and reaching out to the artisans. Though there are a few societies that work with these artist, majority of this sector is unorganized. They are mostly based in rural or semi-rural areas, due to which things like transport, payment transfer that we would otherwise take for granted pose as big challenges, e.g  a few of the artists don't carry a phone and still rely on  a care -of number, so at times, to speak to them we had to wait for days trying persistently. So every set of challenges required a different approach, our main outlook has been to instill trust in the artisans talking to them and understanding their level of comfort to be able to cope up better.

We have launched a couple of weeks back and scaling up will be the next step.

IndiTatva is a newly launched e-commerce start-up venture by TriCycle Tribe in the handloom and handicrafts segment. Tell more about your venture like what is TriCycle Tribe and being a start-up how difficult it was to start a venture?
Tricycle Tribe is the holding company for IndiTatva apart from that it work with various brands, managing their digital marketing.

Tricycle Tribe was founded a year and half back with a intent of launching and nurturing digital businesses under it. Venturing into a new sector of Handloom and handmade was definitely a challenging cause it was like entering into new waters. However Deepti has had enough experience in running a business, spearheading WOWDesign and Swapnil has experience in leading a branding agency giving them a strong base to take off for their new start up. Both share a common vision in this venture, that of giving a right platform to the artisans and bringing the handloom and handicraft to the boardroom and urban homes.

How you see the government's start-up India movement? Did you get the benefits of this movement?
Its very positive to see the government supporting the start-up India movement providing infrastructure and financial support to ventures. We are yet to approach the government to avail the benefit and we are hopeful about it since we are operating in the sector that can contribute to the economy in large way going forward.

You said that you work with the artisans to give them recognition and a sense of pride. How?
Yes the larger purpose of Inditatva is to provide economic opportunites to the artisans. The biggest plight for them today being that they donot get the right channels to reach out to their consumers. The y have to incur their own expenses to participate in various exhibitions, trade fair and it costs them more than just the money. Inditatva, reaches out to them in their remote villages respecting their craft and skill and procures the goods with fairtrade practice and gives them a global audience.

Do you notice some kind of change (positive or negative) in your e-commerce biz due to this demonetisation drive?
Incidentally Inditatva launched just a couple of days before demonetization, so we are unable to comment on the change. However, things going digital, and more people adapting to mode of digital payments things will change for better for e-commerce venture.

What is biggest challenge in e-commerce platform you feel now a days?
Marketing is the biggest challenge today as there is overload of information on all digital mediums. The discount culture being promoted by the e-commerce giants is challenge to overcome for smaller players.

Would you like to say something to the government to facilitate start-ups like you?

Government can simplify processes to enable the home-grown start-ups and the ones that work in the sector for promoting local, made-in-India goods. While there are policies but the implemention can be made easier.

How branding is important for you? And are you doing for it?

Branding is important for any start-up and forms the back-bone to communicate the vision of your brand. As both of us come from a strong branding background, that is one thing we focused from inception of the brand and will continue to do so.

IndiTatva was started in November 2016, so how you analyze your success journey?

We are just a month old and too young to analyze anything yet.

What are your future plans?

Future plans are to launch products and services in alignment to the larger vision that will bring the handloom and handicraft into mainstream. To scale up the to a level where we not only provide fair trade opportunities to the artisans but are able to take necessary steps towards enabling them to sustain and grow in their skills progressively.

While doing that we want to be in an influential position to promote the unique heritage of Indian handlooms and craft making it more and more relevant to the Urban audience.
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