Handicraft startup ‘Rare Planet’ by Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajgopal & Ranodeep Saha is uplifting Indian craftsmen
Rare Planet, a Kolkata-based handicraft products brand, offering products hand-created by rural craftsmen from across the nation, has raised a seed round of financing from Venture Catalysts. The startup, which aims at curating an independent self-sufficient community of craftsmen of over 1,000,000 by 2024, will use the newly gained funding to add up to and reinforce its community and transform Rare Planet into a brand with a very Indian personality.
Begun in 2015 by Ranodeep Saha, then in 2019, Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajgopal joined Rare Planet as a cofounder is working on-hands with karigars from far-off regions to adjust existing customary things. It consolidates the innate range of abilities of Indian craftsmen with the edge and mastery of trendy planners to make items. The startup is right now present across 50+ clustersin the nation including travel retail stores like WH Smith, Relay in air terminals, and book shop chains like Crossword to name a few.
Although in the beginning, the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns came as a disappointment, eventually it turned out to be a boon in disguise. During the pandemic itself, Rare Planet raised another round of funding and is currently valued at around INR 100 crore!
Not only in terms of funding received, but it expanded in terms of presence. Recently, 4 news stores were launched in Kolkata, Bangalore, and Goa This only means that there will be a more steady income for the rural artisans who create the products by hand.
When the pandemic hit all of a sudden, the artisans behind the success of Rare Planet’s products were among the hardest hit. Rare Planet made sure their livelihoods didn’t stop, by employing them in making face masks of a variety of fabrics and colors.
Besides expanding their retail network and offering a variety of products, Rare Planet is equally focused on creating a safety net for these workmen. A bunch of facilities such as financial assistance, loan facility among many other things, was made available to this vulnerable section of the population.
After graduating in 2018, Ranodeep’s Rare Planet was doing very well and was on the path of phenomenal growth. “But things came to a grinding halt when the Covid situation arose and the nation went on lockdown,” says Ranodeep. “But that did not stop us. We ensured business continuity by selling handmade face masks, sanitizers, and other relevant items, which kept us afloat. It also ensured that the livelihoods of artisans were not disrupted.”
So what lies ahead for growth? It was from New Zealand that Rare Planet received its first international order, but now it has grown much beyond that. “We’ve recently launched our products into the international market, and it has been doing tremendously well. We plan to expand our offerings to more international markets. This way, we will also ensure better numbers for our artisans and achieve greater visibility as well. We want these India-made products to be available in all major airports the world over,” says Vijaya Kumar ThalankiRajgopal Co-founder, of Rare Planet.