how these entrepreneurs are monetising Indian tradition and crafts

Winners of the latest NICE Aarohana Enterprise Plan Competitors 2021 have been introduced for early-stage and growth-stage cultural enterprises. Co-founded by Sanjay Anandaram, the Community of Indian Cultural Enterprises (NICE) goals to construct ‘Model India’ by way of its cultural and artistic economic system.

It helps entrepreneurs who leverage the business potential of indigenous tradition, heritage, and data by way of a reworked product, service or expertise by selling startups who respect ideas of authenticity, innovation, range, sustainability and inclusion. Goal domains embody wellness, meals, vogue, décor, and tourism.

NICE Aarohana is a free, on-line, three-month programme for distinguished entrepreneurs, with assist from specialists and mentors. It contains workshops and peer studying alternatives in branding, fundraising, provide chains, and operational scaling.

From greater than 100 functions obtained earlier this yr, 10 have been shortlisted for the expansion stage class. The jury consisted of Kanwaljit Singh, Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Yogesh Choudhary, Siva Devireddy, and Anchal Jain.

 The winners additionally obtain money prizes, certificates, and publicity. Three general winners have been declared within the development stage class.

AyuRythm is a digital platform for personalised holistic wellness based mostly on Ayurvedic well being evaluation ideas. NativChefs is a multi-cuisine platform selling conventional and native delicacies made by residence cooks. Tamaala (‘evergreen tree’) is a social organisation working with 150 rural and tribal artisans, and brings the aesthetics of Indian craft and artwork to properties.

On this article, founders of those organisations share insights on problem-spotting, traction, pandemic resilience, future plans, and success ideas for different aspiring entrepreneurs.

Staff NativChefs

Drawback recognizing

“On this planet of fusion and innovation, persons are shifting away from their origin. Regardless of the variety of Indian meals, nativity is vanishing. House cooks have distinctive culinary abilities however don’t have a platform to showcase it,” explains Leena Dixit, Founding father of NativChefs, in a chat with YourStory.

She was earlier at Persistent Methods and Madison PR, and has participated within the Girls’s Startup Programme at IIM Bangalore. She is a tech graduate, and branched out into advertising and marketing, HR and entrepreneurship.

“We have been associates and neighbours for 15 years, and shared frequent pursuits corresponding to working, cricket and golf. We couldn’t however discover that there have been many individuals who hated calorie counting and bodybuilding, however nonetheless aspired to look good and keep nicely,” says AyuRythm founder Abhilesh Gupta, explaining how his founding workforce noticed the market hole.

Their thought was to create an answer which is sustainable and at all times obtainable to the customers. The trio evaluated a number of strategies of wellness and zeroed upon the standard Indian technique of Ayurveda to handle the wants of this market phase.

“Ayurveda wellness relies on easy do’s and don’ts and doesn’t require intensive logging of meals and calorie consumption,” Abhilesh says. The entire thought was to usher in a technological angle for the simplified resolution, with personalised advisory and to take it past the believers’ phase.

Abhilesh has a background in engineering, manufacturing and advertising and marketing, and is an avid person of well being devices and gadgets. Co-founder Sandeep Acharya is a pc engineer with expertise in finance and analytics, whereas Ramanath Padmanabhan has broad expertise within the well being and wellness house. 

AyuRythm Team Sandeep, Ram, Abhilesh (L-R)

AyuRythm Staff Sandeep, Ram, Abhilesh (L-R)

“We’re witnessing decreased utilization of Indian conventional merchandise in residence décor, which can influence the livelihoods of craftspeople in addition to the continuity of the artwork and craft itself,” explains Vinay Prashant, Co-founder of Tamaala artwork studio (see earlier PhotoSparks essay right here).

The subsequent era of artisans are steadily leaving the commerce for jobs within the cities. “If the incomes potential was levelled with a metropolis job, then extra artisans would relatively keep again within the consolation of their villages and cities,” Vinay provides. However for city households who need conventional artwork and craft as decor choices, the variety of distinctive choices out there is few and much between.

Vinay Prashant is a administration skilled with 18 years of expertise in retail, telecom and media. Co-founder Suvarna Kamakshi is an artist with expertise in customer support as nicely, and handles design and curation (see earlier photograph essay right here).

Tamaala Co-founders Vinay Prashant (L), Suvarna Kamakshi (R)

Tamaala Co-founders Vinay Prashant (L), Suvarna Kamakshi (R)


AyuRythm’s Abhilesh claims their wellness app has round 60,000 downloads and 30,000 customers, with 13 minutes of common engagement time per person. “Whereas pre-revenue, we nonetheless have seen near 90 paid transactions,” he provides.  

Monetisation is by way of fee from merchandise, providers and the content material market. He shares some buyer testimonials as nicely. Some customers even provided strategies like including options for group meals and household suggestions.

“Easy, straightforward to navigate. Provides fast evaluation of Vat Pitt Kaph stability. The large quantity of knowledge reveals that somebody has constructed it with love and nice perception of Ayurveda.”

“I discover my physique, my food regimen, and my sleep cycle resonating with the outcomes and strategies supplied by the app. Good work, completely will need to have app.”

AyuRythm app

AyuRythm app

Vinay of Tamaala claims to have about 3,500 prospects on the retail storefront in addition to the web site (which grew to become energetic through the pandemic). In addition they have ten institutional prospects. A number of the design-based craft and improvements have obtained buyer testimonials on social media as nicely.

“It’s a normal apprehension that the artisans might offer you a useful product and never aesthetically designed/packed one. However, you could see Tamala’s work. They’re bringing forgotten Indian board video games and puzzles to the world again once more.” – Ramesh Kumar, CTO, Eduquity

“The Founding father of Tamaala – Suvarna Kamakshi and Vinay – are giving it again. In their very own means. Altering lives for good.” – Chandra, DRDO Scientist

NativChefs now has greater than 70 cooks on board in Nagpur, who’ve bought over 10,000 delicacies. Some prospects raved about particular dishes and mentioned it introduced again childhood recollections. Others appreciated the punctual supply and bundle design, and mentioned they did not miss visiting eating places through the lockdown.

Tamaala artisan

Tamaala artisan

Award advantages

The NICE Arohana programme and awards have a number of benefits for winners and finalists. “Lastly, tradition startups are getting a platform. Although their development may look sluggish, the influence is large,” Leena of NativChefs explains. Being part of the programme additionally helps with networking and mentor connects.

The award will convey extra visibility, retail prospects and institutional leads, based on Vinay of Tamaala. They’ll profit from entry to mentors and thought leaders, in addition to development funds.

AyuRythm’s Abhilesh feels the award programme will assist join with the bigger cultural enterprise ecosystem worldwide. Entry to knowledgeable mentors and high quality capital may also help construct and scale the enterprise.

NativChefs customer testimonials

NativChefs buyer testimonials

Pandemic impacts

The continuing COVD-19 pandemic had opposed financial and well being impacts, but in addition accelerated some sectors and channels. “The pandemic decreased obstacles for digital wellness teaching and DIY strategies. It renewed and rekindled curiosity in our age-old knowledge like Ayurveda and yoga,” explains AyuRythm’s Abhilesh.

The tradition of working from residence additionally introduced down operational and journey price considerably. “We might hook up with mentors and VC on-line with out incurring prices and time for journey,” he provides. Nevertheless, there have been important disruptions in product growth and launch as a result of lockdown within the early phases of the pandemic.


“Individuals are trying ahead to wholesome home-cooked delicacies, which has given us a possibility,” Leena observes.

“We suffered from lack of walk-ins on the studio through the lockdowns. Extra importantly, all our artisans ran out of cash since we have been unable to assist them with out revenues coming in,” remembers Vinay of Tamaala.

Although they did attain out to a couple prospects for donating cash to artisans wherever there was a dire want within the early phases of the lockdown, charity was not a long-term resolution. “We labored first on activating our e-commerce platform,” Vinay explains.

“We noticed how our prospects’ life modified drastically, and checked out how we might make stay-at-home extra pleasurable for households. We additionally took this as a possibility to achieve out to different crafts organisations and NGOs to unfold our influence and collaborate on the design entrance,” Vinay provides.

For instance, the acoustic amplifier venture landed them a craft fellowship from the Indic Academy in Hyderabad. This was used to work on design enhancements together with companions corresponding to Maya Natural (now Faircraft Creations), based on Vinay.

Different notable tasks featured Terracotta Rakhi, conventional video games (with Hosa Belaku artisan basis), eco-friendly Ganesha venture (2,500 idols delivered throughout properties in Bengaluru), and Deepavali lamp-making at Ramanagara and different pottery clusters.

Tamaala artworks

Tamaala artworks

The street forward

Trying forward, AyuRythm’s Abhilesh plans on scaling the variety of downloads, registered customers and engagement. In addition they plan to focus on markets past India, just like the US and Europe. Primarily based on buyer suggestions, the product will likely be enhanced and monetised.

NativChefs plans to launch in a number of cities, and thus create employment alternatives for residence cooks to showcase their expertise.

“We wish to attain 10,000 retail patrons in India and globally. We wish to on-board a minimum of one other 10 establishments,” explains Vinay of Tamaala. They plan to enhance the earnings of their artisans and search extra collaborations with NGOs.


Founder ideas

The founders additionally provide insights and success ideas for different aspiring entrepreneurs. “Nothing is correct or improper. Take a choice and make it occur,” advises Leena of NativChefs.

“Attempt to take a look at worth creation for the patron in every step. Collaborate, the age of competitors is over,” advises Vinay of Tamaala. “Have an effectual method every day to entrepreneurship,” he provides.

“Take fast judgment calls, however confirm it with information. Embrace change, adapt to it,” advises AyuRythm’s Abhilesh. “Don’t be afraid to take suggestions and constructive criticism,” he indicators off.

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