Handicraft startup 'Rare Planet' by Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajgopal & Ranodeep Saha is uplifting Indian craftsmen

Jun 11 2021 09:23 AM
Handicraft startup 'Rare Planet' by Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajgopal & Ranodeep Saha is uplifting Indian craftsmen

When Ranodeep Saha started as a student entrepreneur in 2015, selling hand-painted earthen pots infests and various events, he had probably not dreamt of co-owning a company which would, in a matter of a few years, stand at a valuation of a whopping 100 crores.Rare Planet, a Kolkata-based handicrafts start-up, sells handmade authentic products, made by Indian karigars, across India and more recently, all across the world. The products have seen huge demand and international customers, especially, have been loving these products.“If you visit major airports around the world, you’ll come across goods that are either made in the US or China. That is what we want to change. I want to see Made in India handicrafts being bought and sold all over the world,” says co-founder Ranodeep Saha.

Saha started Rare Planet in 2015 and has seen a great growth path since then. In late 2019, Mr. Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajagopal joined Rare Planet as co-founder. He has made an immense contribution in taking Rare Planet to new highs and launching new categories of products. Soon after he joined, Rare Planet received a good amount of funding, even in a year like 2020. Presently, the start-up is valued at over INR 100 crores. The annual revenues stand well above 6 crores.At the center of this growing company has over 10,000 rural artisans who lay the foundation of Rare Planet and weave magic into the products. Saha and Vijaya Kumar always ensure the well-being of these artisans even in the most difficult times.

Rare Planet also ensures that they can go every extra mile to ensure that the artisans have their needs fulfilled, as much as possible. Last year at the time of Diwali, as the pandemic was still raging, the company got the homes of their artisans painted. This was certainly an innovative step in extending all kinds of well-being assistance to artisans.Rare Planet makes sure that the artisans, who form the core of the business, never go helpless. They launched financial assistance programs by extending loans and monetary incentives to artisan communities. In the event of any karigar falling ill or getting infected with Covid, Rare planet has always stood by them.

With the funding received in 2020, a chunk of it has gone towards the betterment and better working conditions of the artisans that make the products by hand. Saha and Kumar are also using the funds to expand their retail footprint across the country, through stores at malls and airports, bringing traditional crafts to swanky retail outlets.Saha mentions Mr. Vijaya Kumar Thalanki Rajagopal as his mentor and guide is overwhelmed by his joining Rare Planet in the year 2019. “He has been a guide throughout. I look up to him for guidance at every step and now that we have him with us at the helm, I expect to achieve higher and higher feats for Rare Planet. The company is now focusing on bringing local handicrafts from many other states such as Gujarat and Odisha into its product offerings and they are already reaching out to artisans from these states. From 2015 to the present, Rare Planet has outgrown all expectations, and huge growth and expansion still lie ahead. Truly, a great step towards taking Indian handicrafts out to the world”

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