IShippo aims to sell handmade Indian crafts in Global Market

India has over 2,000 traditional skill-based clusters covering various skills from textile designing, handicrafts, glass, leather and brass goods to wooden industries.

Of these, 470 clusters are handloom related. The sector has been providing employment to about 65 lakh people. However, most of those working in the sector are suffering from exploitation, poor living conditions, extremely low wages and inaccessibility to the direct market.

To support these artisans, Karma Bhutia, a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of expertise in providing solutions for e-governance, mobile innovation, big data analytics, cloud computing, banking and finance, telecom and hospitality, started, an online ecommerce marketplace to buy and sell handcrafted, creative products produced by some of the finest craftsmen, in April 2015.

Empower weavers

iShippo has tied up with more than 40 self-help groups mainly from north-east and Karnataka in the last six months. Besides, it recently joined hands with Development Commissioner Handloom of the Ministry of Textiles to educate, train and empower weavers to directly sell their products on its platform.

Sharing details about the partnership, Bhutia said, “It allows us to engage with weavers in Bagalkot and other clusters in the state of Karnataka. The products will carry government certified ‘India Handloom Brand’ and ‘Handloom Mark’. We will ensure the availability of quality products to buyers across the globe.”

At present, iShippo is selling over 25,000 products in 12 different categories. “We are looking at adding artisans, weavers, artists and painters, among others, to join our network. Hopefully, by the end of this year, we will have about 10,000 craftsmen on our network,” he said.   

The startup has filed two patents for its technology. “With our technology, expertise and skills, we introduce better and more efficient ways of connecting buyers, sellers, artisans, weavers and the designers community.”

“We provide artisans, craftsmen and weavers an easier access to market, access to capital, capacity building and a more sustainable means of livelihood. We can take an idea, convert it into design, produce it and deliver it to the hands of buyers in one seamless transaction,” informed Bhutia.

On future plans, he said, “We will be looking at raising about $2 million (Rs 15 crore) before the end of this year to build sales networks in the US, UK and Germany, where we feel people will appreciate the handmade crafts, without compromising on the price of the art works. This will allow us support the artisans to get the price they deserve for their skills, talent and hardship they put in making them.”