Biswajit Swain was born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, Odisha but as fate would have it, he soon moved to Delhi to pursue higher education and settled there. However, every time he came back to Bhubaneswar and traveled across the villages of Odisha he knew he wanted to help eradicate poverty and create emplyment in some way possible. He had always wanted to help the artisans who were being forced to forgo their skill and hunt for jobs that could earn them a sustainable livelihood.
Since Odisha handicrafts are available in abundance locally, it led to a gradual decrease in demand across Odisha. But, Biswajit felt differently and wanted the world to see what Odisha had to offer. While he still held a full time position with an IT company in Delhi, he set up an online store on Amazon because setting up a retail store wouldn't be possible with a full time job. He used his contacts in Bhubaneswar who helped him reach out to the nearby districts and villages. They spent considerable amount of time researching the markets and launched their store without owning a single unit of inventory. All they did was travel to these villages, do product photoshoot, come back and upload them on Amazon. Once they started getting orders, they would buy as per the requested quantity and then fulfil them from their office in Bhubaneswar.
Currently, their Bhubaneswar office is based out of Biswajit’s childhood home. And, Haastika employs around 10 employees who work relentlessly to meet the growing orders coming from Amazon.
Biswajit Swain: ''The uniqueness of Odisha handicrafts is that, the products are very ancient and very old and getting manufactured from a long period of time. But, as the local demand is diminishing with time the artists are leaving their job and looking for something else. These products are not available apart from Odisha, so using the internet, using Haastika, these products are available all over India.
We have built this company to promote, to market the Odisha handicraft products. And, that is the uniqueness of Haastika.
Shubhranshu Shekhar Biswal: ''My brother’s childhood dream was to create employment for the numerous unemployed people of Orissa and set up a company that could provide jobs for these people. That’s why in 2015, he started this Haastika company.
When we started our business and started collecting products to sell,
we had to travel to about 15 to 20 districts across Orissa. Earlier, they could sell their products only at handicraft exhibition stalls and had no other options to sell.
But, once we approached them and slowly started to purchase from them,
the artisans began trusting us and now they are always ready to make products for us to sell.''
Biswajit Swain: ''I understand from my experience and knowledge that Amazon is the best e-commerce website in the world, even in India. And, Amazon also gives better margins compared to other e-commerce websites. I can bring a better revenue, better margin, better profits to my artists and organisation.''
Kumar Biswajit: ''We have famous products in Pattachitra, Pipili Chandua, Paper mache, which is purely handmade, also dealing in sea shells, woolen boots, jute bag etc. We have also our own manufacturing unit of jute bag.
At first, we started our business in a small room. We had nothing, no inventory at all. We would go, do product photoshoot, come back and upload them. Since we didn’t have sufficient inventory, as we get an order, we would go purchase the inventory, then come back and fulfill the order.
Today, we have an inventory of 1000 products that makes our shipments process very easy. It is very helpful.''
Haastika Employee: ''I have been working here for the past 6 months. While working here I have received a lot of benefit. Sir is giving us twice the amount of salary from what he used to give when I had joined. Those of us who were just sitting idle at home, didn’t know much about stitching, but here it’s simple to learn about stitching.
Lots of our products are being listed for Online Shopping.''
Biswajit Swain: Haastika