Yes!poho bids to improve lives of poor weavers, artisans

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Feb 21, 2019

Yes!poho, India’s first techno-experience social platform connecting artisans and weavers with customers directly, plans to expand to several villages this year to bring a change in the lives of some of the poorest craftsmen who barely earn ₹50 a day.

Yes!poho India, a subsidiary of Yes!poho Inc USA, was launched in 2018 as a start-up to work directly with craftsmen, including weavers and artisans, for the betterment of their economic status. It is funded by Vatsacapital, a US-based venture capital firm, which holds about 55 per cent of equity.

Close interaction

“At present, we are working with these beneficiaries in two villages of Andhra Pradesh, and one village each in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal and Telangana. Together, these weavers and artisans number about 220. These beneficiaries and their families can also join the Yes!poho Institute, an online portal, to improve their skills free of cost,” Raghuram Kuchibhatla, Founder, told BusinessLine . He said Yes!poho works directly with weavers to put their products, such as designer saris, on its digital platform and also provides them feedback on changing consumer taste and preferences to keep them updated. The start-up also offers offline and online programmes, job opportunities and training to local talents.

Expansion plans

Kuchibhatla said the start-up is planning to tie up with the governments and NGOs to reach out to more villages through them. “In 2019, we plan to expand to other villages in each of the States we are currently present in. Our plan is to reach out to all the villages in India in the next four to five years.”

Asked how Yes!poho is connecting with these weavers and artisans, he said the start-up was working with the beneficiaries at multiple levels, from addressing any change in their process of manufacturing, to their health concerns as a result of their continuous hand-weaving. “We also provide them analytics on consumer feedback on their taste and preferences in terms of designs.” In Vijaywada, he said, Yes!poho is sponsoring a group of low-income housewives to become independent entrepreneurs. Yes!poho has set up infrastructure for these women to make jute bags which they could market themselves or through the start-up. “We are also planning to reach out to the North-Eastern States to bring local talent to light.”

Making a difference

He said Yes!poho has onboarded these weavers and artisans on its platform to enable them to upload their products and put their price-tags. This helps them remove the middleman. Earlier, they were earning about ₹200 on a sari and they could weave only six-eight saris a month. This fetched them about ₹1,200 to ₹1,600 a month. But now they understand the value of their labour as showcasing their products on Yes!poho has increased their income by about 50 per cent, and also know the changing consumer taste.

Kuchibhatla, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur, launched the start-up after 20 years’ experience in different industries in the US.

Published on February 21, 2019
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