27 May 2016, 10:30 — 6 min read
A Confucian quote says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Meet Avani Goiporia, an engineer by qualification, but a creative genius by passion who is joyfully following her dream to create a unique marketplace for bespoke handicraft items. While living in the US, Avani spent a lot of time creating intricate hand-made items and being a connoisseur of sorts, she realised the need for an online marketplace for beautiful handicraft items. After spending time exploring and contacting various craft-artists Avani launched Vilyoo in December 2015 in partnership with Ankit Manglik.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), she (Avani) shares how the concept of this unique marketplace has evolved and how she has found her calling through her business.
GL: Tell us about your business.
Avani: Vilyoo is an online marketplace dedicated to craft-artists & individuals who value, handcrafted and high quality products with original designs. These artists make contemporary products using modern or age-old craft techniques. Vilyoo, helps these artists sell their handmade products, organises workshops and provides DIY kits & supplies. Customers looking for made-to-order items can share their requirements through the portal too.
Vilyoo was conceptualised many years back as an extension to our other information blog site hobbymela.com, though it was officially launched in December 2015.
GL: You are an engineer by qualification, how did you get interested in arts and crafts and decide to establish this business?
Avani: I have worked for few IT organisations. But the journey that led me to Vilyoo started more than 10 years ago during my stay in the United States. What inspired me to take up this field was the DIY network (TV channel) that introduced me to world of handmade products & the amazing artists who made them.
I learnt different crafting techniques during my stay there & started a blog to express my creativity. While back in India, my interest continued and I started an information site where other artists could contribute too.
Through this venture, I realised that there are creative crafters in India who make different ‘out of the box’, exquisite products and their only avenue to sell is Facebook and local fairs.
There is no single website that caters to a craft-artist’s requirements and at the same time, there is no single e-commerce site offering exclusive handmade and exquisite products, craft workshops, DIY kits, customisation services and craft supplies.
From the desire to fill this space, Vilyoo was born.
GL: What are some of the challenges you have faced (or are facing) in establishing your business?
Avani: Challenges are part of running any business. We face challenges that vary from technology to logistics to marketing to hiring people on daily basis. But our current biggest challenge is building brand awareness and differentiating ourselves in the market.
GL: What is the USP of Vilyoo as compared to other e-commerce portals and marketplaces?
Avani: Vilyoo is not just an e-commerce site like many in the market. It’s about celebrating contemporary crafts & artisanship in India. It caters to aspects such as helping artists sell handmade products and promote the craft/art that they practice through blogs, workshops & DIY kits. Moreover, artists can procure supplies from the stores within Vilyoo. Through made-to-order requests artists get to express their creativity.
Vilyoo also provides a platform to buyers looking for unusual products. It’s a win-win situation, whereby artists can reach a wider audience and buyers get a large variety to choose from.
GL: What is your big business dream?
Avani: My dream is to have all Indian craft-artists signed up on our marketplace & see their handmade products in every house that appreciates its value. My dream is that when people think of creativity or handmade stuff, Vilyoo should be the preferred site. Having said that, generating a profit is essential to run business and I look forward to achieving that success very soon.
GL: What do you believe is the value of a platform like GlobalLinker for SMEs like yourself?
Avani: GlobalLinker is an important platform for us, as it connects us to people who have similar ventures & we can learn from each other’s experiences. The people in the community can direct us to right contacts for the gaps we might have in our business.
GL: What according to you are some of the challenges that women entrepreneurs face?
Avani: So far my experience has been very positive – all the challenges that we face are related to building a business and selling online and not gender specific. I feel very lucky that the local environment, infrastructure and technologies have evolved so that I can get all the services I need online, and can very effectively work from home. Without these advances I would have found it very challenging to balance family responsibilities and my business priorities.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Avani: Have big dreams, be prepared to adapt and do not try to do everything yourself.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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