A lantern held high for 200 million rural artisans
India has around 200 million rural artisans, weavers and artists. Connecting them to global markets is Lal10, a fair trade-certified company founded two years ago by three engineers—Maneet Gohil, Sanchit Govil and Albin Jose—who met while working at Flipkart. Lal10 is positioned as an "ethical middleman".
“Traditionally, the mark-up in the sector has been 400%, involving layers of middlemen. But Lal10 becomes the single middleman and operates at 35-40% gross margin, says Gohil, co-founder and CEO. “We have given 1,800 artisans consistent demand through our network of 400 retailers across 18 countries. We have increased earnings of artisans by 23%." Lal10 reaches artisans through micro-entrepreneurs, or Cluster Champions who are hired on contract. They are upskilled and remotely trained to help artisans with contemporary designs. Lal10 gets inbound orders via marketplaces like IndiaMart and Alibaba and also generates outbound demand by reaching out to global brands like Zara. “Once we get an enquiry, we send enquiries to micro-entrepreneurs. They respond with lead time and prices and revert to the buyer. If the buyer confirms payment, the order is placed," explains Gohil. Gram Swaraj resonates with him. “Our focus is to regenerate the rural economy."