Monday, 30th October 2017

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Online launch pad for tribal artisans

Samvaad helps with paperwork for Flipkart listing

By Antara Bose in Jamshedpur
  • Published 18.11.19, 1:27 AM
  • Updated 18.11.19, 1:27 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Mohan Karan with his product at Samvaad in Gopal Maidan, Jamshedpur, on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

There is a story behind every tribal handicraft that needs to be told, but not to a limited few. This was the idea that drove Tata Steel to handhold tribal artisans in setting up online business.

Samvaad, a tribal conclave organised by Tata Steel, has helped two such artisans register on e-commerce marketplace Flipkart.

Tata Steel’s corporate social responsibility division has helped these artisans with the paper work to list themselves as sellers on the e-commerce platform.

“Most of us showcase our products in exhibitions and fair, but registering online was a challenge because we didn’t have the documents. Tata Steel helped us get the papers, especially those related to goods and services tax, ready,” said Mohan Karan, a Jamshedpur-based entrepreneur and one of the beneficiaries. Karan is the founder of Tribal Artisans Group, which sells stoles, bed sheets and cushion covers that flaunt paitkar and sohrai paintings.

Virendra Kumar Vikey with his product at Samvaad in Gopal Maidan, Jamshedpur, on Saturday.
Virendra Kumar Vikey with his product at Samvaad in Gopal Maidan, Jamshedpur, on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Virendra Kumar Vikey, who hails from Bundia district of Madhya Pradesh, admitted that exhibitions were not enough to make his business flourish. “We have to bank on e- commerce websites to get better prices and more popularity,” Vikey, who sells wooden and iron artefacts and tribal jewellery, said.

On Sunday morning, a special session on social media marketing and advertisement was organised for tribal artisans on at Gopal Maidan. Joshua Aung from Little Looms, Mai Nini from Sonetu Textiles in Myanmar and Malavika Chauhan from Tata Trust were the speakers. While some emphaised on proper packaging and cataloguing, others drew attention to the importance of telling the story behind a product.

“Flipkart’s social responsibility wing Samarth doesn’t charge for product listings. We are trying to identify artisans who have good turnover. They have to send product pictures with a description and it will easily get listed,” said Abhijit Mahato, marketing officer with Tata Steel Rural Development Society.