Bagdoom.com and iDE WEESMS pioneering in rural women's digital empowerment
In 2017, the global market for handicrafts was estimated to be a 500 billion dollar industry. Over the next five years, it has been increasing at a CAGR of 11 percent. However, handicrafts represent a very miniscule portion of the GDP basket of Bangladesh. This isn’t, in any way, due to the lack of skills or artistic creativity, provided that Bangladesh is rich with its unique heritage of handicrafts with each region specializing on its unique craft for over a few centuries. In spite of all that, the industry isn’t thriving to its full potential because of structural problems like difficulty in market access, financial inadequacy, lack of training, etc.
Since its inception in February 2018, Bagdoom’s Krishti project, in partnership with iDE WEESMS, has been promoting female artisans from rural expanses and aiding them in preserving the artistic heritage of Bangladesh. Through this project, Bagdoom is remedying the problems that previously held the industry down, by providing direct market access to the entrepreneurs through an integrated platform. On Bagdoom’s website, each entrepreneur gets a product landing page with access to a seller dashboard that gives them full control over uploading their products at their own market retail price. All the entrepreneurs in this project are women who make a wide variety of products, ranging from home décor to daily necessities. Some of the most notable products in their product portfolio are baskets, bags, cushion covers, shatranji, rugs, gift cards, flower vessels and jute diversified products. The products are unique artworks with vivid patterns, nifty borders and dainty motifs, utilizing an extensive array of materials. Bagdoom’s website eliminates middle men who conventionally cut the bigger chunk of profits, and enables the entrepreneurs to directly reach out to the buyers. This facilitates them to deliver their products across the entire country. One of our vendors, Sapna Rani Sen from Rangpur Crafts, said, “I am a proud business owner. It gives me a lot of joy to bring the best handmade products from Rangpur to the rest of Bangladesh through Bagdoom.com.” Another vendor, Mosammat Monsura Begum from Manchura Jute Handicrafts, said, “Working with golden fibre and making home décor goods have changed my life. I have made my own identity and can now keep my head high, selling in local markets and throughout the nation, through Bagdoom.com”
Besides granting direct market access to the rural enrepreneurs, Bagdoom is also providing them with financial inclusion. Bagdoom is creating unique digital transaction profiles for each rural SME, and will grant appropriate financial services for the entrepreneurs to optimize their production capacity. In order to increase the finesse and quality of the products, Bagdoom is organizing workshops to train them. In addition, an in-house team is constantly aiding them with design improvement, marketing and inventory development. The women running various micro, small and medium enterprises (MSEs) are directly benefitted from the Krishti project. Previously, they were struggling to run successful businesses, delimited by a multitude of socio-economic causes. Bagdoom is aiding these women in fulfilling their dreams through proper guidance. Some of these women have even set up their own factories, with hundreds of women working there to gain financial empowerment. By the end of 2019, Bagdoom will reach around 1000 MSEs.
Bagdoom, through its Krishti Project, has been committed to battling operational constraints that have been restraining the growth of the handicrafts industry in Bangladesh. Previously, even with the most refined products, it was very difficult for entrepreneurs to sell their handicraft items in the Dhaka market all the way from Rajshahi or Dinajpur. With Bagdoom’s help, rural entrepreneurs can now reach customers across the country. Bagdoom has initiated a momentous leap towards the digitization of a highly unstructured, semi-formal market.
“These rural women artisans, no matter how talented, passionate or skillful, rarely had the absolute authority of sales or supply chain under their control. Being digitally inclusive was unfathomable, far-fetched. Their end market reach was miniscule, to say the least. From our launch of Krishti, thanks to iDE WEESMS, not only are they empowered to the core, but they can also make their business scalable through our marketing portal and more importantly, learn the traits and holistic aspects of products, aesthetics, supply chain management alongside being, for the first time, digital savvy. Now that we are on track, we want to provide them with total inclusiveness and deserved credibility that they have never realized before. And yes, you can buy the best of Bangladeshi handicrafts at the lowest price sitting at home.”
- Mirajul Huq, CEO, Bagdoom.com