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Lots more in store

art and culture Updated: Jul 02, 2011 14:52 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Hunting for a hand-painted silk scarf and don’t know where to look? This spanking new website, Shopo.in, brings together a host of small-time Indian designers and handicraft enthusiasts on a single platform, allowing you to browse through designs from across the country.

“As a designer, I was finding it hard to take my work to the next level. It was turning out to be too expensive to run an online store on my own,” says Krithika Nelson, who’s turned her little problem into a solution for many others with the help of her partner Theyagarajan S.

“When I told him about my idea, we both got very excited. At that time there was no online space for Indian handicrafts and that’s when we knew that we would impact a huge community of craftsman.”

Starting off
Nelson created a list of about 300 handicraft specialists that she was acquainted with and liked, and short-listed 20 to start off with. Jewellery brands like She Sells and Swa Shop share space on the website with New-Improved recycled bags and eco-friendly Haathi Chaap, under categories like accessories, home furnishing, eco-friendly and jewellery.

“We knew we would have to work out logistics like delivery, the responsibility for which we have taken upon ourselves. We’ve just been open for two weeks now, but we’re overwhelmed by the response,” Nelson adds. “And most of the people we’ve tied up with are really excited too. A silver jewellery designer would not be able to courier her products across the country because most courier companies won’t take silver from an individual. But they will courier for a company like ours.”

The website is also helping these businesses grow. “Since you can get in touch with the seller directly on our website, they’ve even had other shops approach them to stock merchandise, and we’re very happy for them,” Nelson reveals. An online community of stores, Shopo allows each seller to decide on shipping costs and retail rates, while keeping a check on quality standards and screening interested buyers.

Products range from R 30 to R 16,000, and delivery usually takes about three days within India. “We’ll be adding more sellers every month, and maybe in six months’ time, we’ll bring it down to every week,” Nelson promises.

Salonee Gadgil, whose handmade shell jewellery line She Sells retails on Shopo, admits that the concept has helped her expand her brand. “It would not be financially feasible for me to open a store or website on my own. And now people are becoming more open to buying online, so this helps those designers who work out of studio spaces.”