Bucking the demoralising trend of death and paralysis of e-commerce companies, Karfa gives birth to an online platform for rural artisans in India. Through Karfa, I hope to create a business that boosts the prosperity and growth of those who have been oppressed for generations.
My decision may be seen as a naive one, given the risky nature of starting an e-commerce company these days. Some may even see this as a brave move to resuscitate the “Indian core” of the e-commerce industry. But, Karfa is not just a business venture, it is a step towards fulfilling my dream of giving the deprived an opportunity to dream.
As a child, I was always one step ahead when it came to fashion and knew this was THE FIELD for me. However, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do until I worked as a volunteer under Dr. Satish Sikha’s guidance. During that time, I had helped Dr. Sikha—veteran fashion designer and current mentor for ‘Karfa By Kartikeya’—in his NGO which trained women, from marginalised communities, to sew gowns for a living. I was moved after witnessing the sheer joy the participants felt at having learnt a skill that promised them financial independence. The gratitude I saw in their eyes is the most pious reward I have ever received. It was then that I pledged to incorporate social causes in my every future venture. Karfa is the entrepreneurial culmination of my love for fashion and my longing to uplift those in need.
Through Karfa, I hope to positively change the lives of artisans all over the country. This is why, the company’s main focus is on improving the livelihood of the cluster groups by providing them a larger market access than they have right now. The company operations are carefully designed to weed out most of the middlemen and route the returns directly to the artisans. Hopefully, better income would also encourage them to pass on their skills to their children and help preserve India’s invaluable craft heritage. All these exciting prospects dwarf the business risks of running an e-commerce business for me.