Looking for rare artisanal curios from India? Check out this online marketplace
By hand, from the heart. That seems to be the philosophy behind rareitis.com, an online marketplace that focusses solely on genuine Indian artifacts and handlooms. So, what urged Anooja V M, the entrepreneur behind this initiative to pause her lucrative career as a college lecturer and venture into the e-commerce industry?
“I was searching for an authentic Aranmulla Kannadi—a handmade metallic mirror, which can only be created by 19 craftsmen on the planet—while shopping in Mumbai. But it was insanely high-priced. This lead to me wonder if the craftsmen behind this exceptional piece, would ever receive proper remuneration? This sparked the idea to kickstart a niche platform, which would enable exemplary Indian artisans to sell their wares to anyone on the planet,” shares Anooja, who started this venture along with business partners Arun Nair, Sreenath Gopi and Aravind R V.
There’s no middle-man at play in this marketplace. The curios and clothing directly make their way from the loom to your living room, thereby the startup ensures fair trade and ethical pricing. Rareitis currently hosts 85 skilled workers—scouted out by a team that regularly travels throughout India to identify worthy craftspeople including National Award-winning specialists like master weaver of kota doria fabrics Haji Abdul Hakim Kachara.
Unlike other e-bazaars, which thrive on swiftly increasing their product portfolio to urge users to embark on buying sprees, this site encourages conscious consumption of their 4,000 plus commodities.
Their collectables range from handwoven jamawar silk saris from Kashmir as well as made-to-order silver embellished art plates from Thanjavur. “Since certain goods are created deep in Naxal-occupied territories (think Koregaon), and we tie-up with local NGO’s to discover outstanding artificers. Customers can read detailed travelogues behind each of the curios from our Facebook photo blogs,” claims Anooja. Besides starting a remote-viewing Photoshop interface, where patrons will be assisted by an in-house designer to sketch out custom-made designs, they will soon be including a curated list of rare books and paintings onto their catalogue.
Pochampally saris from `6,500