Who we are and what we do ?
We want to connect you to the heart of India: its rural families who work in handicrafts, community tourism and agriculture. By doing so, we want to provide you with unforgettable experiences on your own personal journey of growth. Along the way, we hope you’ll choose to buy directly from rural entrepreneurs as much as possible. And realize the power you have in your purchasing decisions to really impact lives. When you buy directly from rural families, you provide them with much-needed extra income. It also allows for more sustainable consumption, in however small a way. But we know this is not easy: there is lack of information, trust, customer support. Our aim is to make this easy for you.
For our rural micro-entrepreneurs, these direct-to-consumer market linkages strengthen economic security, cut out the middle-man and allow them to set their own prices. We work to give the power back to them as they try to catch up with an up-and-coming modern India, marketing their work and bringing their voices into mainstream conversations.
We do this through our online platform:
A Farmville-meets-eCommerce gamified social-shopping site that hosts live online flea-markets (known colloquially as melas) which connect rural entrepreneurs directly to urban consumers. Virtual stalls show you how your purchase will make an impact, enabling you to speak directly to sellers via phone or video calls. A ‘Centre Stage’ with live-streamed events, music playlists, blogs and videos provide information and raise awareness around sustainable consumption, history, heritage and rural India. Stalls with quizzes and games give you a chance to win free hampers and gifts from sponsors. A mascot, acting as a shopping assistant, will answer queries and provide you with relevant information.
Our offline work in networking with grassroots organizations and directly connecting with entrepreneurs supports our online initiatives.
Our serious endeavour is to work on 3 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 1: reduced poverty - to increase the annual income of our rural producers by at least 25%
SDG 10: inclusive economic growth – to impact at least 1000 rural families in the coming year, such that they are included into the digital economy
SDG 12: ensure sustainable consumption and production, with a community of 200,000 engaged audience across all our platforms, within the next year
Note from the Founder
More than 7 years ago, I took a one-way bus ticket back to my roots in Hampi, North Karnataka. Somewhere, I felt that rural communities formed the backbone of the country. I still believe this. They make up nearly 65% of the country’s population and eke out a living at the mercy of Nature. If the rains are timely and the harvests plenty, it’s possible to have a good year. If they are not, the harsh realities of survival come crashing in. Inherently sustainable and hardworking, they are masters of Life, choosing to face the most difficult of circumstances with grace and dignity. Someone said once, that if we are anything, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants. In my view, these are the gentle giants on which the country stands with such firmness. Yet they contribute just 25-30% of the total GDP. The face of poverty in India, is largely a rural one.
From these observations, came a deep sense of duty to do as much as possible for those who live on the edge of Life and poverty to provide food for us. They get by on very little, so we can have plenty. If not for this fact, the world would have run out of resources a long time ago.
In my explorations, I found there to be 3 main sources of employment for rural families: agriculture/food, handicrafts and tourism. Capacity building and providing them with direct market linkages to urban consumers would help increase their annual incomes and strengthen their economic security. It is this realization that forms the basis of our work.
Certain core tenets form the basis of our ideology.
We believe that businesses can be powerful engines of poverty alleviation.
There must be a balance between social impact and commerce.
We must have a holistic and integrated approach, taking into consideration all the stakeholders the business affects.
Equitable and fair practices for all.
Respect for the natural environment.
Promotion of an ecosystem that holds to similar ideologies.
The fuel that drives our work, are all the people who actively choose to make a difference in the larger world, or even in their own lives, through simple choices to consume more sustainably, buy more locally and move towards a more meaningful, fulfilling life.
You are the people we seek.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. And for allowing us to be a part of yours, in any small way.