Kashmir, a land of dazzling rivers, serene lakes, splendid gardens and flowering meadows is known for its captivating beauty. It is also known for exquisite craftsmanship of its hard working and passionate workforce. Kashmir has been a market for many years now. From the rugs to shawls to walnuts to saffron Kashmir has it all. Carpets, Namdas, Papier Mache, Saffron, Walnuts, Almonds, Honey, Silks, Tweeds, Pherans, Basketry, Silverware, Food Items, Tea & Spices are some of Kashmir’s offerings that people look for globally. What’s disheartening is that these products are still out of reach of the people! Kashimir Bazaar, was thus started to make Kashmiri products reach from brick and mortar to click and portal. In an exclusive conversation with us, Vivek Gurkha, Founder, Kashmiri Bazaar shares with us the idea and vision behind his venture and a lot more:
Founder's Background: Vivek shares," Before taking the entrepreneurial leap, I have had a fair share of corporate experience. In my 12+ years of professional stint, I have been majorly working as a Technical and Marketing Consultant. My major contribution has been in the strategy formation and implementation for startups." He adds, "In addition to this, I am a big time technology enthusiast. I love reading about and exploring new technologies and implementing them in the startup ecosystem. My vision has always been to provide a platform so that the local trade and industry of Jammu and Kashmir reaches out to global markets. I want to place it on the global map of trade and industry. I want to set an example for the first generation entrepreneurs of the Valley and develop a long lasting startup ecosystem which will ultimately boost the Kashmir’s economy. "
More about Kashmiri Bazaar: "Kashmiri Bazaar is an e-commerce marketplace which home-delivers Kashmiri products. It also delivers ritual items to Kashmiri Pandits. We have gone an extra step by bringing the most sought after Kashmiri products on one platform. It is a venture that I started with my father, Raj Kumar Gurkha," shares Vivek. He adds, " A one-stop-shop for high quality Kashmiri products, Kashmiri Bazaar offers Kashmiri Spices, Kashmiri Honey, Kashmiri Dry Fruits, Kashmiri Tea, Kashmiri Pulses, Kashmiri Picke, Kashmiri Flour, Kashmiri Wazwan and some products from Jammu as well. As shared above, we have a unique classification for Kashmiri Pandits, which has Kashmiri Ritual Items. We realized that Kashmiri Pandits living in different parts of the world face challenge in getting ritual items for occasions like marriage, griha pravesh, Pooja etc. Also, with the assistance of Vijeshwar Jyotish Karyalaya, we are likewise offering Kashmiri Janamkundli (Zatuk) and Tekni. This is currently one of our primary categories. All these products are available on our websites- www.KashmiriBazaar.in, www.KashmiriSpices.com and www.KashmiriMarket.com. We partner with the local channels to deliver the best to our customers through this service based platform."
The long-term vision: Vivek shares, "Kashmiri Bazaar has been formed with a vision to give a re-birth to the ‘The Art of Kashmir’. Through online as well as an offline platform, we want the real taste of Kashmir to reach the world. Our strength is our knowledge of the best places to source the products and make sure that the buyer has multiple choices and selection criteria (like price, rating, brands etc.) when he lands at Kashmiri Bazaar. We started online, but seeing the overwhelming response we now have a retail outlet too. In addition to it, we are in the phase of launching our own product line that will include saffron, Kashmiri tea, honey, spices, etc."
Challenges: "Starting a business in the Valley has its own set of challenges. Turbulent environment, lack of basic facilities, curfews and shutdowns impact the business activities. Winning from these political, social, financial and geographic problems is the biggest challenge. From the business point of view, when we started Kashmiri bazaar, tying up with logistics companies and arranging authentic Kashmiri products was the biggest challenge." says Vivek. He adds, "Moreover, Kashmiri Bazaar is among the first players which started offering Kashmiri products online. Setting it up and now successfully running it has been a mix of challenges and learning! To add to it, Kashmiri Bazaar was not a pIanned business. I come from a corporate background and it was imperative for me to nurture sales skills required in the business. I am always open to learning and that’s how, overcoming every challenge, Kashmiri Bazaar is at the right development pace!"
Investments Made: Vivek shares, "Kashmiri bazaar is a bootstrapped company till date. I have invested from my own saving, with a lot of hard work. Thankfully, we are now at a stage where we have enough traction and planned strategies for the coming times. Till date we were not looking for any external investor, but now we are ready and open for investor’ with expertise and someone who shares the same vision, passion and patience as we do!"
Advice to entrepreneurs: Whenever a young entrepreneur talks to me, I always tell him/her that your willpower, confidence and determination will lead your way. All the strength you want is within yourself’. When I started, I never looked back and worked day-in and day-on to live my dream! Many suggested not to go ahead with it, while many stood by my dream and believed in my vision. The initial hurdles were crossed easily as I had a strong support my family, especially my late grandfather (whom I consider as my Guru), my mom and dad!