Brahmaputra Fables: To expand into north-east
Tales from the mighty river from North-East
Started by Dhruba Jyoti Deka (age 25), Brahmaputra Fables is an e-commerce website of traditional indigenous and ethnic products from Assam, Viz, traditional attire and handicrafts. Hailing from Sarthebari, Barpeta district, Assam, Deka is now settled in Guwahati, Assam. M.Sc in Chemistry from Pondicherry Central University, Puducherry, he launched his startup, right after his masters.
The small town boy narrates his journey of initiating a startup with Baishali Mukherjee. Read on!
Brahmaputra river is the lifeline of Assam. So the name is inspired from the mighty Brahmaputra and fables means tales. The name summarises to ‘tales from the river.’ It is an online marketplace where local artisans in with traditional handicrafts could register with zero charges. They could then sell their products online until they start their own online web/app platform. It was launched on March 14, 2017.
The inside story
When I was in Pondicherry University, my batch mates from other states were awestruck with our traditional products and attires in the northeast fresher, festivals. That triggered me to think - why not promote our culture nationwide in forms of traditional attire and handicrafts? That’s how the idea came and the other inspiration was the TV series TVF Pitchers.
My journey, like any other startup tale has been fraught with challenges. The first challenge was market survey. As I am from science background, I did not know anything about the market. The other challenges included development of web portal, organising the initial funds for starting up and convincing my parents to have faith in me. I did not join the jobs I got through campus selection. However, the daunting challenge was to gain customers trust and making them buy from a new company and in logistics. I could not afford courier services in the beginning.
Our mission is to simplify the traditional raw products business and build an online shop that consumers love. Brahmaputra Fables is launched to reflect the awesome traditions of North-East throughout India. We want people to know our rich heritage and culture and provide the opportunity to easily procure our traditional crafts.
The road blocks
However, I was prepared for the challenges. Believing in myself and taking the calculated risks worked for me. With time things started falling in place. I did my market survey with the help of my uncles as they were in the business for long. The web portal was developed by one of my juniors from boarding school. Initial funds were managed from friends as a loan. As the products in my website came at a much lower price along with superior quality, I was able to gain the trust of initial customers, eventually. I used to deliver products in Guwahati myself, so that I could save the logistics cost.
Some of the media startups from Guwahati featured my work, which gave me a boost to work harder. And of course my love for the work I am doing helped me to grow.
Starting on my own is a milestone in itself. I was declared one of the top ten entrepreneurs from North East in a contest hosted by The Indian Awaz. Growth has been consistent in my venture and in five months my turnover was around Rs 4 lakh without any paid promotions. The number of registered users in my website is around 350 presently.
Presently I operate from Guwahati, Assam and day-to-day work is mostly done by mails, telephonic conversations and texts. Right now we have two offices, one in Guwahati and the other being the warehouse at my home town, Sarthebari. Last month I hired a student from my college of graduation.
We are planning to expand our services and products to each and every north eastern state within December, 2017. Our future strategy includes, featuring water hyacinth and jute bags along with promoting all North Eastern traditional products online. Our bigger vision aims at featuring the traditions of every state of our nation, India.
It is my dream to make Brahmaputra Fables not only be a regional entity but a national torchbearer in the online shopping of traditional product and handicrafts.
Have you ever invested into specific cultural products from our country? Do share your experience.