Realizing the true potential and exceptional craftsmanship of women from underserved sections of society in Rajkot, Gujarat, Flipkart Seller Samir Rajani created opportunities for them to showcase their talent while enabling them to earn additional income. Read on to know how he creates opportunities with every handmade rakhi.
For Flipkart seller Samir Rajani, profit goes hand in hand with service. When he heard about women artisans from villages and towns in and around Rajkot without any work during the pandemic, he knew he could make a difference. Today, his annual order for handmade rakhis provides a stable, dignified source of livelihood to over 700 women.
Read his story of weaving in a little bit of prosperity while promoting ‘Make In India’ on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Finding his true north
As a student, I was always interested in social work and wanted to work towards uplifting those who didn’t have opportunities. I contributed to the Aga Khan Trust and even started an NGO before realizing that I needed substantial funds to run it!
Eventually, I got into business with my brother and got involved in import and export from China and the US. In a few years, with some experience under my belt, I realized the scope of the booming Indian e-commerce market. It was around 2014 that I decided to focus on my business operations in India.
I was experimenting with selling Chinese products in India and even setting up manufacturing in India to bring down prices and meet demand. However, I found it difficult to maintain inventory and predict demand. Things changed drastically when I onboarded to Flipkart in 2018. Ever since I became a Flipkart seller, my business has expanded, my team size has gone up, and I am able to do some good too.
Today, I sell a diverse range of products across various categories such as home improvement, gardening, home and kitchen, and much more. We sell affordable products under the price band of Rs. 500, all under the brand name of DeoDap.
China to Rajkot: A shift towards ‘Make In India’ and an opportunity to uplift rural women
When we started our business, we did it purely for profit. But eventually, we realized that no business can thrive without the human element – without the people who give it their all. Earlier, since my business was all about importing from China, we used to buy rakhis from China. Since we used to get them in bulk, we hired workers to separate them and pack them for sale in India.
That’s when workers who did the job came to us and told us they can create better, more colorful rakhis. That’s when it struck me that I should promote ‘Make In India’, especially for an Indian festival like Raksha Bandhan!
There are lots of women from underserved backgrounds in Gujarat who are skilled and want to work from home to earn a secondary income for their household. They are from towns and villages like Wankaner, Thebachada, Kherdi, Kalipat, Navagam, Devaliya, Para and Bedla.
Art in their DNA
Women from these places used to be involved in traditional labor, be it farming, construction or making earthenware. Today, these women have pivoted to handiwork.
These talented women artisans are usually seeking jobs, and they were without work during the pandemic. I felt it was my responsibility to try and ensure some stability and I placed an order with them to create handmade Rakhis.
Art is in their DNA, just like business is in mine. With a little bit of experience, they are able to become masters of their craft and can earn additional income from companies like mine. Be it moti or bead work, meenakari or ‘gunthan’, these women make beautiful, colorful rakhis with all their heart.
My endeavor is to give them stable work for 6 months out of a year, so that they can rely on us for their livelihood. The rest of the time, they get work from other manufacturers, working on earrings, anklets and more. In fact, we also give them work related to coloring the kankavati plates (decorative thalis) we sell online.
This year, we received over 4 lakh orders for our handcrafted rakhis.
A ‘Big Billion Days’ Promise
So far this year, we have worked with over 700 women and we’ll continue to work with them through the festive season and The Big Billion Days sale.
As a Flipkart seller, BBD is very important to me. This sale is always exciting and is always growing, becoming bigger and better every year. This time, we are also working with the Flipkart team to help us achieve quicker delivery.
With Flipkart offering a lot of insights on the number of orders you can achieve, the risk factor is absolutely zero. This helps Flipkart sellers like me immensely, as I’m aware of potential orders that I can look forward to receiving beforehand. It also helps us provide some stability to these women artisans who rely on us for their livelihood.
When we started selling on the Flipkart platform, we just wanted to make money. But today, we know that we are able to help those in need alongside. All the people associated with us get to enjoy the fruits of their hard work too.
I only want to say to other Flipkart sellers out there that with Flipkart by your side, you can progress steadily. I think a lot of business owners also worry about returns, but it is just a part of the game. Be disciplined and calculate your returns, and your balance sheet will always be positive!
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