Uthhan: First Marketplace for India Artisans to Sell their Handicrafts to End-Customers

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Indian Artisans working with Bamboo

An initiative named Uthhan is an endeavor to empower these artisans, by ensuring profit from artifact sales go directly to the artisan families without any middlemen.

Uthhan founded in 2012 when  Mr. Leemon Ravi visited one of the tribal artisan colonies in Kerala. He has seen those artisan families over there were ready to give their products in exchange for food. Their condition was so pitying that they had no place to sleep or preserve their products. Later he has found out that they are the third-largest population in India and still underprivileged because of middlemen. The value of their products is not reaching them because of middlemen interference. The new generation is not taking up this skill. There will be a huge shortage of artisans in the future. So he decided to start an initiative that can empower the artisans.

Why the name Uthhan?

Uthhan means Empowerment. Since upgrading these underprivileged artisans this name is finalized. Uthhan – Empowering Artisans is the first initiative in India where profit from artifact sales goes directly to the artisan families without any middlemen. He chose the name Uthhan, which means “Racing towards the top position from a downtrodden condition”. Our logo represents 5 different colors with each color having a head and 2 hands holding each other. The color represents the main artisan communities as per their skills. They are all holding each other to empower the artisans. The punch line is “Empowering Artisans”.

Vision of Uthhan

The vision of Uthhan is to the upliftment of the Indian Artisan community by showcasing and selling their products worldwide, eliminating the role of middlemen. Setting up physical outlets and online stores for selling artisan products without any hassles. Creating housing, education and insurance benefits for artisan families under Uthhan.

Currently feeding more than 10,000 families with almost 50,000 plus varieties of products. Having a strong online presence and tied up with so many corporate houses across major Indian cities.

The team working to create awareness about the benefits of Uthhan till now. With the help of volunteers and NGOs, they grow at a decent pace and trying to achieve more than 50,000 families and 5,00,000 plus products by the end of 2019.

Present Condition of Artisans in India

Artisans are the third-largest population still underprivileged. There are so many challenges faced by the artisans of India. Their ignorance about the emerging ways of online marketing and interference of middlemen are the major reasons.

The other challenges are:

  • Wages are not fixed as per the quality of the product.
  • Raw material procurement and Warehousing.
  • The younger generation is reluctant to take up the job because of zero job respect and lesser payout.
  • No support from Government bodies.
  • Ignorance about consumer needs.

Uthhan has approached many government bodies including the Artisan Crafts Board for help, but all in vain. Government schemes are not at all reaching artisans.

Promoting the Cause of Uthhan

As a business Uthhan has to add more artisan families and volunteers. There is no challenge in sales because of the demand. So, the strategy should be to create awareness, give training, create elegant designs and showing transparency. Transparency is the primary aim of Uthhan and the mobile application ensures the same. It is reaching the artisan families through our volunteers who are spread across states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, New Delhi, UP, Haryana, and West Bengal.

How Does the Enrollment process work on Uthhan?

  1. Identifying the artisan family.
  2. Enrolment by filling up UTHHAN form.
  3. ID and address proof documents of the family.
  4. Generation of Artisan Identification Number (AID, this is a unique code generated by the system).
  5. Artisan Product upload to Uthhan mobile application with the price of the product decided by artisan and bank account opening of an artisan.
  6. Order from the customer and the payment from the customer is accepted by way of payment gateway.
  7. Packing and delivery from artisan locality to customers.
  8. Artisan share of profit directly to their bank account.

Uthhan has launched its mobile application for android with multiple languages such as English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil which allowed us to reach maximum families with a minimal documentation process. The volunteers and artisans can enroll, upload the product, track the sales and payments easily through the application. Tie up with corporate houses became simplified after the implementation of the app.

Uthhan Till Now

  • Uthhan mobile application is launched in multiple languages (English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu).
  • Enrolment of more 10000 plus artisan families already completed.
  • Artisan Identification Card (AID) is issued to the families under the scheme.
  • More than 250 plus NGOs and artisan organizations are helping us to identify & enroll artisans across India.
  • A wide array of products from artisan families are already displayed.
  • Uthhan is already giving revenue to more than 5000 artisan families.
  • Online Registration for Artisans under the Scheme is available.
  • Uthhan customer helpline number which is helping the underprivileged artisan families to contact us and share their ideas directly without any middlemen.

Uthhan’s Future Projects

1. Setting up industrial sheds for bulk manufacturing.

2. Uthhan outlets across major cities in India.

3. More than 50,000 families under the project.

4. Educational scholarships, Life insurance, and housing for at least 5000 families.

5. Setting up colleges for artisans with skill-related courses.

6. Job for at least 10,000 graduated Artisan youths under the scheme.

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