Community-owned craft company RangSutra is planning to launch its e-commerce portal, says founder and managing director Sumita Ghose. The company's handcrafted products are currently available online through artisanal e-commerce platform Jaypore. It also has a retail presence at the Dastkar Nature Bazaar and Shahpur Jat in South Delhi.
Incorporated in 2005, RangSutra has till date been focusing on its B2B (business to business) foray. For the first five years of its inception, RangSutra was supplying garments and home products to ethnic retailer FabIndia, who is also an investor in the company.
It was in 2013 that they hit another big milestone - getting their first export project from the Swedish home furnishings company IKEA. This was a game changer for the company as it brought international protocols of fair trade, quality and compliance into the organisation.
At core of Rangsutra is Ghose's ability to organise artisans into producer groups or self-help groups, provide them the necessary training and tools to improve their craft, oversee the production and ensure they get regular orders to increase their incomes. Recently, they partnered with Jammu and Kashmir government, for a rehabilitation project to enable women affected by floods in Srinagar form a cluster and generate livelihood.Usually, due to lack of market access and irregular orders, artisans earn anywhere between Rs 500-Rs 1000 per month. With RangSutra, full-timers can earn anywhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000.
The company could break even in 2008 with sales of Rs 1 crore. There has been no looking back and the company has been profitable since 2009. Today, it has a turnover of Rs 10 crore.
"We have been giving dividends back to our shareholders since then and that has boosted the artisans' confidence," says Ghose.The organisation was set up as an artisan collective, when Ghose was unable to take a loan and reached out to the artisans she has been working with through Urmul Trust in Rajasthan. Putting their trust in her, 1,000 artisans pitched in Rs 1,000 each from their savings. They now work with 3,500 artisans from the states of Rajasthan, UP, J&K and Manipur, of which -2,500 artisans are RangSutra's shareholders.