Monday, March 02, 2015

Do I have a business plan?

I get that question a lot and my answer? Well, no. Not really!

Long time ago when I posed my idea about bringing artisans closer to their patrons and helping them find a sustainable livelihood, many of my friends loved the idea, encouraged me and then asked me to put together a business plan so they can fund it and my ‘business’ can take off…
As much as I loved the idea it was difficult for me to communicate it to my friends that it is not a business in the traditional sense and yet it’s not charity either.
Side story: I think charity is not sustainable and unless someone has a skin in the game and there is sweat involved, it’s very hard for people to value it. 

 So, I didn’t want to make a business plan, invest money and time, jump in without knowing what exactly I am trying to achieve. My plan is to change mindset about art and artists and get away from cheap mass produced things that come into our houses for the sake of trends and then end up in landfills via the route of goodwill. And that is a vast and vague goal to achieve… I needed an exact problem and solution approach before I dive in head first along with the charity and good wishes of my dear friends. Since I’m trying to promote an organic way of life, it is only fair that I develop it organically as well.
Carol wearing a wrap around skirt made with dhakai sari
And that brings me to the tumultuous route that I’m pursuing right now. You already know that I sell handmade items and a few vintage finds on my Etsy shop to fund my effort with the artisan community. The shop isn't the ideal business solution but it provides me enough seed money to continue my exploration and acquire pieces from artisans when I meet them. 
Late last year DH game me the ultimate present, his way to show support for my organic way of doing business; and bought me the domain name ‘Craftiste’ (my company’s name) as a birthday present. Well, I am inexperienced in setting up a website, and that is to say it mildly.
Square Chikankari scarf
But its a start, the second or third rung on my yet to be revealed ladder (reference MLK junior quote). And even though it’s not the fanciest website, it is functional. This website allows me to provide a medium where I can bring products that I have acquired from the artisans on my journey so far. Its yet another tiny step in trying to find a customer base that might appreciate buying directly from the artisan and contribute directly to the arts and craft forms. On the other hand it would give the artisans an opportunity to see that they can directly contribute to an international market without having an actual brick and mortar shop.

I'll continue to sell my handmade stuff on Etsy but as and when I have stuff available from the artisans, I'll populate my pop-up shop and let you know about the inventory. For now, I am thinking of keeping the artisan shop open till the end of April and then gauge the response I get. 

Potli purse, perfect blend of fun and sophistication 
Please explore the shop 'Craftiste', send me your questions and comments and share it with friends who might be interested in buying original products directly from the artisans.

Fine work of Chikankari embroidery on a georgette stole
As always, thanks for stopping by and keeping up with me and my ideas I truly appreciate it!

1 comment:

  1. Your views on the matter are greatly appreciated, Shalini! While people have different ways on dealing with their business, it’s nice to know how you could keep being successful, despite not having a fixed idea for a business plan. Not that having a detailed plan or the lack of one is bad, but it really depends on the person's approach on the matter. Some just thrive more in one case than the other. Anyway, thanks for sharing! Good luck with your future endeavors!

    Clint Shaff @ Franchise Match