While in Bangalore airport, a particular shop attracted my attention. The shop was full of hand made items in brass and terracotta.
I took one idol and examined the painting. It was finely crafted. The salesman told me that it was made from brass in Kolkata.
My interest piqued. Kolkata people are not particularly renowned for their entrepreneurship! Then how come this Kolkata start up had made to the Bangalore airport?!!
The founder is from Kolkata. He started this back in 2014 – 15 while studying science in first year college. His name is Ranodeep Saha and is a first generation entrepreneur.
While studying in college he got interested in local hand made items and later he was pained to see the plight of the local artisans who made these items.
Bengal is rich in heritage. Local artisans produce stunning paintings in all sorts of material. But this is little recogized.
Ranodeep Saha, the founder of Rare Planet had a dream to help the local artisans who were making utensils made of soil but had do with minimum wages.
Ranoodeep went on to study terracota and came up with the business plan of Rare Planet.
Rare Planet now has over 5,000 artisans in its network from over 5 Indian States, and 10 Cities.
The brand procures Indian handicrafts from the local artisans and retails it further through online and offline platforms.
Even during the pandemic when people lost jobs everywhere, Rare Planet helped the local artisans sustain their business. Connecting with Rare Planet led to almost 120% in sales for these small time providers.
The local artisans who used to sell Idols during the Puja times only were badly hit during the pandemic. Rare Planet stepped up to give the support by buying their crafts and selling it through their outlets,
Rare Planet expansion strategy involves covering more states in Indian and more local artisans. It is hoping to bring in more than 25,000 artisans by the end of 2022.
The start up has taken seed capital of Rs. 3.5cr. which was used in expanding its reach and offerings.
The expansion strategy seems to be establishing retail outlets in all airports in India. Besides they are tying up with existing retail outlets too.
They have selected this niche which is underserved in the sense that hand made items were not sold previously in Airports.
Rare Planet saw an opportunity there and now is capitalizing on it.
This strategy seems to be working as this is a profitable business according to the founder.
They give as much as 30% to the airports and make it up by jacking up the price. It suits them too well because only the well heeled visit the airports and can afford to pay the price!
Ranodeep Saha likes to be called a Social Entrepreneur as his start up is funding solution to a social issue.
Young entrepreneur like Saha are a bright light in the bleak and highly politicized environment of West Bengal!