IShippo is the first platform that connects all Indian artisans
, allowing them to sell their products online. Ishippo.com is the Indian version of Etsy
, but with more attention to services offered to artisans.
The project, which is also promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of "Make in India" initiative, is the brainchild of Karma Bhutia.
Bhutia, a native of the northeastern region of Sikkim, has worked for years in the software industry with his own strategic consulting firm in Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley. After several important projects developed for Apple, the World Bank, SAP, Dell and Intel, he sold the company and reinvented himself.
IShippo wants to stand out from all other marketplaces by offering unique products that can't be found anywhere else
. Furthermore, artisans can take orders for on-demand custom-made items, at non-exorbitant prices.
The platform is already expanding internationally by allowing customers to order easily and the company has collaborated with global shipping partners so that the products can be sent anywhere.
For example, a customized sandal can be planned together with an Indian artisan and the lead-time of your order can be followed, from creation to delivery. If the artisan does not have enough capital for the execution of larger projects, iShippo is able to back them in the request for a loan.
The numbers alone are indicative of the potential demand for homegrown products. The Indian textiles industry is the country's second biggest sector, currently estimated at around $108 billion but expected to reach $223 billion by 2021.
Bhutia's project keeps a traditional culture alive and will help to ensure employment for a large proportion of the Indian population in a historic period in which the technological revolution has taken away many jobs.