early days of crafting change
On August 15th 2011 (our Independence Day) with a strong belief that technology can drive social change, we started an ambitious journey to strengthen and promote rural co-operatives, micro and small entrepreneurs. Our vision was to digitally enable the co-ops and small entrepreneurs through an online platform that enables collaboration and commerce with consumers and buyers.
A senior freedom fighter we met on our first cluster visits said “There was a time when we manufactured almost all we wanted. India was in true sense self-sufficient” At GoCoop, we are convinced that revival of handloom and handicraft industries will make the largest contribution to the economic and social development of rural India. The millions in rural India need the cottage industries to supplement agriculture.
It took us years to understand the handloom clusters, working of co-operatives, master artisans, their challenges and inconsistencies in demand across various crafts.
We started developing a team of specialists in technology, marketing, product design and development and supply chain with relevant experience in Handloom, Handicrafts and Rural management.
Through cluster level workshops and artisan development initiatives in various craft clusters across the country, we were able to create awareness and change in how the craft communities perceive online business.
These were early days of eCommerce in India and understandably there were many concerns on online business, some of the artisans had never seen a computer before. But, we were able to build the required confidence by workshops and training and also developed local cluster representatives who can hand hold artisans in their online journey.
We also developed a unique approach of listing artisan partners on our eDirectory as a first step before merchandising their products for B2B listings or eCommerce. These were our early days but we were able to see how technology could drive social change.
gocoop goes live
On August 15th, 2014, we launched GoCoop online marketplace. Our dream was to create and support sustainable livelihoods for weavers and artisans through a simple and transparent online marketplace platform, while promoting authentic handloom products to consumers and buyers globally.
We immediately saw good organic demand for authentic handlooms including sarees and home furnishings from consumers and buyers. One of our first clients was a fair trade retailer from the UK who reached us through online search and continues to be one of our best buyers over the years.
Through our platform, our artisan partners were able to list and sell their merchandise almost at their fingertips. The benefits of creating their identity online and reaching both domestic and international markets was becoming more clearer to our artisan partners.
We developed our support services to help artisans with merchandising, cataloging, order fulfilment and logistics. We also started providing trade management services to help buyers source and buy handlooms directly from co-operatives across India. To further help in improving visibility and streamline operations, we implemented an ERP system for managing the back-end supply chain for handloom co-operatives.
goswadeshi with pride
GoCoop has strongly contributed in reinstating the pride in hand-spun, hand-woven & handcrafted products through our flagship event GoSwadeshi across 12 Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities in India.
We provided a unique opportunity for our customers to not only buy from our weavers but also to interact directly with artisans and hear their stories and indulge in the rich handloom traditions of our great country.
We have successfully completed over 90 GoSwadeshi exhibitions across India showcasing the rich handloom traditions while helping artisans .
Over the years, GoCoop built a seamless supply chain, supporting over 350 weaver cooperatives, and craft entrepreneurs from over 70 handloom clusters from 22 states across India.
Today, our marketplace showcases the largest collection of handmade textiles from India and we have merchandised over 70k+ products across sarees, apparel, accessories, home furnishings, fabrics categories.
Over 150k orders processed to 100k customers in India and 20 countries globally including wholesale orders from 100+ buyers.
making a difference
Through our unique online and offline model, GoCoop has been digitally enabling and creating identity for weaver co-ops and entrepreneurs, creating awareness for their clusters and products, disintermediating two or more intermediaries in the supply chain and connecting consumers and buyers directly with the artisans. This has resulted in 20-30% higher prices to the makers while also passing on part of the benefit to the customers. Since the launch of our marketplace, following is the impact we have created
- Generated Rs. 5,51,141 average revenue per craft enterprise
- Generated Rs. 27,557 average additional income per artisan
- Created 7,55,559 person days of work
- Supported 30,222 livelihoods
GoCoop was recogised for its efforts by the Government of India with the first National Award for Handlooms Marketing (eCommerce) in 2015 and recognized as a Champion of Change by NITI Aayog and the Hon'ble Prime Minister in 2017.
The platform was also the first company showcased by Sundar Pichai at Google Unlocked 2017.
GoCoop as a case study was presented at the ESCAP eCommerce for Sustainable development conference in Bangkok in 2017.
crafting change, together
With COVID-19, the handloom and crafts sector has faced a complete breakdown in value chains. Without the market linkages that existed previously, artisan clusters need to be rebuilt in order to enable and empower the artisans with greater focus on entrepreneurship, product design and development and online market linkages.
This pandemic has also made us all deeply realise how unsustainable we have become with fast fashion, irresponsible production and consumption, and growing inequality. Yes, we can change this and we can drive this change together.
As we look to the future, we are focused on empowering our artisans further. We understand that it is now more than ever necessary to collaborate with other partners and stakeholders in this ecosystem who want to support the promotion of our country’s rich heritage, for a more impactful outcome.
For a sector that supports over 10million artisans, effective impact cannot be made unless we all work on it together.
On completing 10 years of crafting change, all of us at GoCoop from the bottom of our heart thank everyone who has stood by us, supported us in this wonderful journey.
We welcome the new year with a stronger belief that we can create a larger social impact by #CraftingChange, together.