Rare Planet ‘Made in India’ global souvenirs
Kolkata based Ranodeep Saha was unaware of his fantastic artistic skills until when he had his break up. Thus was 'Rare Planet' born, and there was no stopping hence. Take a quick look...
Heartbreaks have historically been embryonic to enterprises, poetic or professional. For this 20 year old, it has given birth to his new world, a rare and unique one at that. Ranodeep Saha from Kolkata has created Rare Planet, out of his passion, anguish and emotional excess. When he spoke to Baishali Mukherjee, about his journey from turmoil to triumph –a telling tale unfolded. Read on!
I was in first year of my engineering course when I had my break up; I started Rare Planet immediately after. I feel we have got a huge potential to make impossible things possible and this energy manifests when we are either in love or are heartbroken; in my case my broken heart did it all. Me and my ex were avid visitors of tea shops in Kolkata and used to love our cuppas in the kulhars and she was a fan of DC Comics; so I started painting on those kulhars and started selling them.
Harnessing the handicrafts
Rare Planet is all about Indian Handicrafts. We closely work with craftsmen implementing our own ideas on traditional products and coming up with new products of global standard. There is a startup regulating your taxi ride experience to a startup making sure your stay at a hotel is of a specific standard but there wasn't any such group or company working with this huge handicraft sector creating a global product out of the existing cottage industry.
That was the trigger for initiating Rare Planet and today we work with more than 100 artisans in different parts of the country and create truly global products. When we travel abroad and visit the duty free stores we find French perfumes, Italian chocolates but we don't see anything Indian; we at Rare Planet want to be that handicraft company to make global souvenirs so that next time you travel, you find at least one Made in India product in that store.
Uniqueness speaks for itself
My passion and understanding about the market helped me in building my business. I started the venture by painting on kulhars and selling in school and college fests so the initial investment wasn't that big and I never did spend a penny on marketing. The unique appeal of our products and the cause became our promoter while media has been of great help in spreading the word around.
I have eight outlets currently which will grow to 32 by the end of this year. We never open standalone stores as we tie up with a big brand having a good footfall in their store already and taking a rack or else we give a franchise to a standalone store in a Tier 2-3 city. In both cases we brand the products properly before starting operations. We are a B2C company and we have sold more than half a million products over the last eight months since we started our retail. Soon we are getting into complete B2B to reduce our competition.
Our model is one of its kind and unique and we don't own any of the workshops. Different artists work with us by taking the raw material home, working on it and delivering back to us. We have hired eleven employees including two MBAs who are looking after business development.
We are currently operating with brands such as Oxford, Story, and WHSmith and are in the process of signing up a strategic tie-up with Crossword that would give us an edge in the national market. Our next target is to go international and approach brands and make products according to their market demand.
Labour of love
The product variety includes leather, terracotta, ceramics, aluminium and Patachitra art. We are also into digital art. From hybrid leather products like wallets made with leather and cane to painted kulhars the range is robust. We currently have 93 artisans who work with us as partners from different parts of the country and belong to both rural and urban India. The profiles include Patachitra community in rural Bengal to fresh graduates from NIFT and other government art colleges. I also have a separate team for ceramics who are working in our furnace at Birbhum.
Our painted kettles are greatly in demand and we have the highest range of painted kettles. Kulhars and leather stuff are also gaining grounds fast. We have a very unique range of historic cups in our ceramic collection which has the highest rate of return customers. The products in their feisty colours, artistic brilliance and commercial viability are my labour of love, an emotion I strongly feel and cherish.
Personally, what’s your take on ‘Made in India’ global souvenirs available all across the world? Please chip in with your comments.