Yes!poho takes the occasion of celebrating its 5 years of aiding the life of artists by connecting them to the right customers by partnering with the North Eastern Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporation Ltd. (NEHHDC) in order to uplift the livelihoods of artisans and showcase their beautiful creations across India and the world. The main objective of the collaboration is to encourage and enable rural artisans to start or grow their own businesses, and help them transition their operations to an e-commerce platform.
NEHHDC launched its e-commerce store, Purbashree, to market and sell handicraft and handloom items from the North East in July 2021. The online store is being redesigned to include more local artisans, and also to give them an opportunity to expand their business by increasing their virtual presence.
The partnership seeks to explore, promote and champion a variety of cottage industries, handloom techniques and newer art forms, among them Sitalpith, brass and bell metal works, ivory, woodwork, Sholapith, pottery and fiber craft, as well as cane and bamboo products; traditional handcrafted masks; gold and gold-plated jewellery such as earrings, necklaces, armlets and bracelets; dolls; toys of straw and clay; and mats made from spongy reeds.
Artisans and craftspeople from all the Northeast states will be covered under the collaboration, including those in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
According to Raghuram Kuchibhatla, Founder and CEO, Yes!poho, “My aim in life is to improve the livelihood and socio-economic conditions of the craftsmen and revive the dying culture of handloom and handicraft artisans. Most artisans lack digital readiness and fear online platforms for selling due to loss aversion. They generally exhibit status quo bias and hesitate to work with online platforms. They seek social proof from trusted people, such as friends, and in-person meetings to overcome fear, prolonging the process of lead generation and onboarding. To improve digital literacy and capacity building, the startup initiated Yes!poho Institute – an online training program for the artisan associated with its platform. The training focuses on accounting, technology, inventory management, and automation, helping artisans become familiar with the digital interfaces and build financial acumen
With the purpose of improving the livelihood and social-economic conditions of the craftsmen, the founders believe while it helps build trust and relationships in the long run, the short-term gains are even higher when they interact with artisans at the grassroots. Team Yes!poho visits artisanal villages, conducts training sessions to improve skills and technical knowledge; creates opportunities for jobs such as photography, order processing, design development etc; conducts product demos. The team then establishes an operational hub and works with local logistics for product delivery. Operational hubs are responsible for ensuring there is constant training, skill development, product management and order tracking and delivery. Meenakshi, who is the Head of Operations, also conducts periodic meetings with artisans to ensure that their problems are heard and addressed to the extent possible. The real challenge for the artisans is to make ample income to sustain their living. One of Yes!poho’s key metrics is growth in Artisan’s primary income.
Artisan’s primary income has increased over 20% month over month since the time they have joined the platform. In addition, Yes!poho has increased artisans’ product exposure to global market access by over 30%. Finally, Yes!poho has created over 100+ jobs in artisanal villages and with the ongoing collaboration with NEHHDC the numbers are projected to be increasing in the coming future.