‘Vocal for Local’: Bluerickshaw supporting Indian artisans by going digital
If India is known for its agriculture, then it surely is also known for art and crafts across the whole world. However, Indian artisans have faced several issues continuing their heritage of making art and have been victims of financial insecurity, lack of digital awareness, and fewer opportunities in the market.
Despite increasing internet penetration, the crafts sector is still far from benefiting from globalization. Akshay Wadhwa, Chief Executive Officer, Bluerickshaw realized that artisans typically are unaware of marketplaces and face a number of logistical challenges in terms of quality control, transparency of the process, and shipments.
To empower these artisans with technical knowledge to market their products online with low operational cost and a complete ecosystem for global trade, Akshay Wadhwa curated Bluerickshaw, a B2B export platform, an online marketplace for artisans and organizations to sell authentic handmade products globally, ensuring customers a quality purchase at a fair price.
Launched in March 2021, BlueRickshaw is a brainchild formed nurtured with deep industry experience in fashion, design & manufacturing with technology. The motive is to help small sellers get easy and direct access to a large pool of international buyers, thereby creating opportunities for the Indian market. It has the vision to bridge the gap between craftsmen and international customers to improve accessibility and affordability.
“The technology operated at BlueRickshaw is designed in a manner ensuring a least complicated and user-friendly experience, keeping in mind buyers of all ages. Since the pandemic hit all of us hard, more and more buyers are resorting to placing online wholesale orders. We have seen a steady growth especially post July when everything opened up on the other side of the world”, said Akshay Wadhwa, Chief Executive Officer, Bluerickshaw.
The new platform helps everyone from small weavers to artisans to manufacturers, to make their products available across the world through a transparent ecosystem, he said.
The long-term vision of BR is to create a B2B2C channel where retailers in North America work with an inventory-less model that offers end-to-end buying solutions while empowering marginal sellers.
Banking on the untapped potential of the Indian artisan market in a highly dysfunctional infrastructure, BlueRickshaw aims to provide international opportunities to undiscovered and unexposed talent. The organization wants to bring dignity to the hard work done by the craftsmen whose skill has been transferring for centuries, and these form the treasury of India. Their aim is to enable small businesses of the world to get access to high-quality Indian goods seamlessly.
45% of sellers have already got orders with the help of Bluerickshaw. The organization recently introduced credit to small buyers in partnership with Tazapay, a Singapore-fintech firm.
As far as the demand is concerned, bluerickshaw is working with various diplomatic missions and trade body organizations across the United States and Canada. The organization is exploring its links with the Canadian & US governments to become an accredited platform; as such recognitions go a long way in establishing trust.
Apart from a conventional range of products, the company’s website has on display the arts and crafts that Indian cities are famous for. From block-printed fabrics, copperware, and leather products from Rajasthan and warli art from Maharashtra to clay pottery from Khurja and products made out of Merino wool from Uttarakhand.
The quality and authenticity of each export product undergo a rigorous selection & 5-touch point check before getting dispatched, making sure that each product is in its best form & condition depicting the master skills of its artisans. The buyer can also get in touch with the seller directly and have online negotiation.
BlueRickshaw ensures that there is 100 percent transparency in payments. The software on which our platform runs is fully equipped to track and streamline payments between buyers and sellers. This means that none of our stakeholders – buyers or sellers, will ever face situations of delayed or inaccurate payments.
Bluerickshaw is enhanced by features such as Order A Sample, Online Negotiation, Product customization with MOQ (minimum order quantity) as low as one, and freedom to get in touch with the seller.
The platform has been built from the ground up with a focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive filtering of products so that buyers can ultimately purchase an item in less than 30 seconds.