Sumiran Pandya, a resident of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, has done engineering with computer science. Currently runs Handmade Craft’s online store in Ahmedabad. His products are in demand in the country as well as abroad. Every month 400-500 product orders come. It is earning Rs 1 crore annually.
The 39-year-old Sumiran worked in a company in Mumbai for two years after engineering from Bhopal in 2004. After this he moved to Ahmedabad. Here he did his masters from the National Institute of Design. Then worked in software design for a few years. Also worked on different government projects.
Sumiran’s father was a block development officer, so most of his time was spent in villages. That too in different villages where he was posted. He explains, ‘When I was doing a master’s in Ahmedabad, a professor came in contact with MP Ranjan who was working on a book about Kraft. I was also associated with him.
Sumiran says that when we used to go to villages, we used to meet the artisans, see their work. They used to tell about the merits of the product from the methods of preparation. Which we used to note in our diary. At the same time, we realised that when we are going to different villages, why not write something about these people so that other people also know.
After that, we created a blog called Gatha. Wherever we went, we prepared a story about the handmade craft and its creator and posted it on the blog. At that time, social media and the Internet did not have such craze. Still many people liked our story. Many people call and message us and ask for information about the product. Many people said that they want to buy this product.
They say that when we used to go to villages, the artisans there used to say that even after getting their product right, they could not reach the market. Even the products that are sold are not able to get the right price. They do not get credit for their work.
After this, we thought that why not do some work so that the goods of these artisans are also sold and those who want to buy, they also get that product. Since we were from the technical background, instead of opening shop, we planned to start an online store and in late 2013, along with two more friends Shivani Dhar and Himanshu Khar, started an e-commerce portal called Gatha.
He says that with every product we upload on the website, we also post the merits of that product, the process of preparing it, and the story of that artisan. So those people who bought goods, they know-how and who has prepared this product. What is its merit? The artisan is also named by this, people also get information about his art.
Sumiran’s team currently employs 13 people. More than 800 artisans are associated with them. Its biggest advantage is also to these artisans that they do not have to wander around to sell goods and get the right price. Items like handmade crafts like sarees, pottery, paintings, ear rings, bangles, makeup are available on its online store in many states including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Kashmir.