Kartikeya Goel, a fashionista since childhood himself, founder of karfa online wants to spread happiness amongst artisans. He believes that true fashion resides with these artisans, for whom the art passes on from generation to generation. They are a true emblem of hard work and artwork, and most times, money traded for their goods compensate them marginally. He also believes that there is a natural demand for their products, resulting in massive footfalls in every artisans’ fair and the same products being sold at astronomical prices in elite stores.
Kartikeya recalls an incident from his interactions at Birbhum, near Shanti Niketan in West Bengal, which houses several artisan clusters. Lakshmi, a Kantha embroidery expert is a single mother of three daughters; she struggles to keep her household running from selling Kantha items. Apparently, she takes three months to complete the Kantha embroidery of a saree, for which she would be paid only Rs 1,500. The saree itself would be sold at a minimum profit of Rs 10,000. This left a deep impact on Kartikeya. He felt that the market for artisanal products is unfair for the artisans. He, therefore, decided to build a business focused on ensuring fair market access to the artisans.
Through Karfa, He wants to build business devoid of most of the middlemen and route the returns directly to the artisans. Better income will encourage the continuation of passing on their skills to their children and will help preserve India's invaluable craft heritage. The Karfa business model revolves around ‘the beaver bridges’ created between artisans and urban consumers. The eCommerce venture collaborates with interested artisan clusters or individuals who have skills in traditional apparel/clothing/accessories and provides them with logistics and sales support with minimum costs. Karfa’s goal is to make artisanship a sustainable source of livelihood by offering them an online marketplace where they can choose their own prices which are a little lower than the market to leverage the original work and occupy a credible mind space of the customer. Karfa charges minimum logistics cost ensuring that all additional costs are paid by the end buyers and not the artisans.
The venture aims to bring back the lost charm and appeal of traditional Indian arts through reinvented ethnic fashion that has soared in popularity of late. It will help traditional arts to flourish and bask in the glory that it always deserves in the long run. Besides this direct impact, the socio-economic contribution of these cottage industries, creating opportunity of employment leading to reduction in crime, alleviation of Hunger and Poverty, better individual growth and no migration of a large pool of population that is a misfit in any other sector/industry because of its traditional and deep-rooted skill set, is immense.
Karfa has till now provided a level playing field for 1200 skilled artisans from West Bengal, Punjab, Varanasi and Jharkhand. Their profits are expected to steadily increase in the imminent future.
The e-commerce venture has also received a US$ 25000 as seed-funding from trendia.in
Kartikeya is also styling products to promote the use of “Ahimsa Silk” under the tag “Karfa – by Kartikeya” on this platform.