GoCoop-Weaving Sustenance

Technology, by acting as a bridge between rural artisans in India and eco-conscious urban customers in over 15 countries, has enabled the sustenance of handloom products and made them into valuable brands.

Launched in 2014, GoCoop is the first Indian online marketplace to bring together weaver groups, cooperatives, and their ultimate buyers. Certified silk, handloom and handicraft are just a few of the products this Bengaluru-based startup showcases on its platform.

Siva Devireddy, Founder, GoCoop.

Spread across more than 10 Indian states, GoCoop has partnered with over 350 weaver groups and cooperatives to date and its interventions have positively impacted the lives of more than 85,000 weavers.

The company was conceptualised by Siva Devireddy, who started his career in Hewlett Packard Startup, a marketplace for the semiconductor industry in the San Francisco, Bay area. With a Master’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University, Devireddy left his job at a consulting major to start his own company, as he wanted to use technology to transform the lives of the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

One of the biggest problems facing rural producers, he realised, is access to market. Though they were producing and supplying their weaves and artifacts to local markets, these were not able to absorb their entire produce. On the other hand, there was a lot of pent up demand in domestic Indian cities and internationally as well, for quality handlooms, weaves and artifacts.

India has a nine million-strong group of weavers and artisans, in addition to a booming domestic market, thanks to a growing middle-class population. Internationally, India is the top supplier of handmade crafts and has more than 600 clusters across its states and cities. Individually, however, these producer communities are unorganised and widely disaggregated.

GoCoop has brought handloom closer to the consumer.

An in-house design team curates and designs quarterly collections on various themes which are exclusively available on the portal.

One of the major aims of GoCoop is to address the market linkage issues of the rural producers. It was conceived as an online marketplace to connect the weavers’ groups and cooperatives directly with domestic and international customers, thus eliminating the middlemen in the process.

- Siva Devireddy, Founder, GoCoop

Lack of quality marketing, poor sourcing of products, low supplies and the dearth of strong weaver community groups are some of the key challenges the sector faces. More than two years were needed, simply to make them aware of online commerce’s possibilities. The growth and popularity of Amazon and Flipkart did a lot to help the cause.

GoCoop began by conducting small workshops with the cluster-level weavers to educate them about e-commerce in a platform-agnostic manner. ‘One cluster at a time’ was the motto that proved successful and powered the company to venture into the business-to-consumer model in addition to the existing business-to-business model.

India has a nine million-strong group of weavers and artisans, in addition to a booming domestic market, thanks to a growing middle-class population. Internationally, India is the top supplier of handmade crafts and has more than 600 clusters across its states and cities. Individually, however, these producer communities are unorganised and widely disaggregated.

Lack of quality marketing, poor sourcing of products, low supplies and the dearth of strong weaver community groups are some of the key challenges the sector faces. More than two years were needed, simply to make them aware of online commerce’s possibilities. The growth and popularity of Amazon and Flipkart did a lot to help the cause.

GoCoop began by conducting small workshops with the cluster-level weavers to educate them about e-commerce in a platform-agnostic manner. ‘One cluster at a time’ was the motto that proved successful and powered the company to venture into the business-to-consumer model in addition to the existing business-to-business model.

Its B2B segment is crafting changes as well. National and international buyers including brands, designers, retailers and wholesalers can source handmade fabrics and crafts directly from the rural producers, leading to an interactive and transparent marketplace.

The ‘Good Loom’ brand is the firm’s latest brainchild, bringing high quality and vintage handloom style to the eco-conscious consumers by assuring them of a certain quality and aesthetic design standards.

GoCoop was among the top 50 companies to be recognised in the India Innovation Program, 2012. It also bagged the First National Award for Handloom Marketing in 2015. The company was the first to be showcased by Google’s Sundar Pichai, in 2017. Siva Reddy is also a part of the Champions of Change program of the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

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