How this Kolkata based startup is helping local artisans, craftsmen
The startup works on the objective of up lifting local artisans and craftsmen spread across the diversified country that India is.
Artifacts and handicrafts have their own charm and cultural importance. Not only the products are diverse and unique in nature but also help local artisans showcase their potential. Rare Planet is one such platform through which these talented artists and craftsmen can put out their artwork and handicraft items under the light of professionals from National Institute of Fashion Technology, hence meeting the aesthetic appeal of many. India's largest incubator, Venture Catalyst witnessed the prospective local artisans and craftsmen hold and recently invested in the start up Rare Planet. The amount invested remains undisclosed, with an aim to create a strong and independent artisan work force of 1 million by the year 2024.
Based in Kolkata, Rare Planet is a souvenir selling brand started by Ranodeep Saha in the year 2014. The firm started from a little stall at a school festival and now is a startup backed by the Mudra and Startup India loan funds initiatives by the government. The startup works on the objective of up lifting local artisans and craftsmen spread across the diversified country that India is. Combining the inherited skill of the artisans and the expertise of the designers from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the final art work meets the aesthetic appeal as well as a modification to the existing traditional artifacts.
Moreover, it supports self-reliance and empowerment of traditional artisan communities. Rare Planet provides aid to the small artisan communities by opening their bank accounts. The organisation also provides insurance to the whole family of the artisan or craftsman, with the funds transferred to the eldest women in the household.
The packaging and stocking of the products for Rare Planet works on a asset light model. The items are stocked, [packages, tagged and sent to stores for sale within a span of one day. Rare planet has partnered with eminent brands such as WH Smith, Crossword and SAPNA to sell their products. The startup also provides the local artists and craftsmen with raw material and small machines required to make the end artifacts.
Commenting on the development of the seed round, Ranodeep Saha, Founder, Rare Planet elaborated, “When I started Rare Planet five years back, the basic idea was to help artisans create world-class products and make them available online. Over the period, I realized that merely creating a website and selling products through the same will not be enough, and the whole idea gradually changed to us venturing into various retail segments. Today, we have more than 500 artisans on board who have been empowered by Rare Planet’s operational model. With the current funding, we would like to grow our team to reach out to more such communities and bring rare, beautiful and unique traditional art to a larger audience."
He further added, “We are also eyeing retail markets in a few South East Asian countries and the USA. Through Rare Planet, I hope we are able to contribute substantially towards establishing India as one of the key players in the $5 billion worth global souvenir industry.”
The lead investor in the seed funding round, Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and President, Venture Catalysts remarked, “The travel retail industry for souvenirs itself is as big as Rs 5,000 crores at present in India. Amidst such a fast-emerging segment, we believe that Rare Planet has the potential to disrupt the market with its noble and distinctive vision of facilitating and empowering the local talent. Being one of the only brands in the niche segment of local craftsmen created souvenirs, Rare Planet is paving its way to become one of the most premium artisan-supportive souvenir brands in the country. With this investment, we look forward to witnessing major developments in this domain."