Far from the starkly urban Delhi or Bengaluru, Northeast India is largely untouched by industrialisation. Many people live in villages and make a living by farming.
Meghanath Singh founded Giskaa, an online store that sells handicrafts, food, and other handmade items from the region. He says the store has a triple purpose – to sell items, to help artisans in the region break into the ecommerce market, and to educate people across India, particularly those in large cities, about northeast Indian culture.
Meghanath, who is also Giskaa’s CEO, is from Manipur. He lived in the state until he was 17, then spent 22 years living in other parts of India. He came to Bengaluru in 2009 after working in IT and founded Giskaa in 2014 with Surchand Wahengbam and Ratheesh Elayat. The start-up is based in Bengaluru, a long way from the founder’s hometown.
“People like me who have left their homes in the northeast, looking for better career opportunities […] we have always felt this lack of awareness from the rest of mainstream India about the northeast,” Meghanath explains.
Giskaa doesn’t just sell products – it tries to create romance around each item by giving it a backstory.
“We had to create awareness from the ground up, so we focused a lot on stories, telling stories about products, and reading that interest in terms of passion.” said Meghanath. This lends itself well to organic and artisanal products – but is of course something that would not go over as well with electronics, in his opinion. The store’s website also features a blog that explains the use of and history behind select products.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.