The benefits of the college friend network and support system are well known. But when brothers Priyesh Neema and Anurag Neema and their IIT classmate Rahul Garg attended friend Megha Agarwal’s handicrafts exhibition in 2012, they realised this was a proposition that could lead them to doing business together. In June 2013, they acted on that instinct and with another partner pumped Rs 1 crore from their savings into ArtisanGilt, a website that helps consumers find rare handicrafts and non-standard, non-branded designer products such as saris, jewellery, ethnic wear, bags and home decor at affordable rates.
“We realised there was a market for good quality, unusual handicrafts available at exhibitions, but access was a problem for urban consumers. We organised three exhibitions before venturing out with 1,000 items on our site,” says Garg. ArtisanGilt plans to ramp up its catalogue of 25,000 products to 50,000 over the next three months and daily orders to 50 from the current 18-20. After refurbishing its desktop website interface, the firm is planning to make its mobile site easy on the eyes (and with orders), so that all customers have to do is look, like and click to pay.