Indian fashion designer connects North American retailers with Indian artisans

Akshay Wadhwa

New B2B tech platform BlueRickshaw’s top sellers are products made of wood, brass, copper and ceramics.

Keen to connect Indian artisans with top American retailers, noted Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur, Akshay Wadhwa once went knocking on their doors, but soon realized he was not being taken seriously.

Named one of the top ten designers of Vancouver Fashion Week in 2016 and covered in British Vogue, Wadhwa, then, created (BR), a highly-curated, digital, B2B, wholesale export platform.

To make his dream a reality, Wadhwa joined hands with co-founder Krishan Chandak, whose 23 years of experience in technology and leadership resulted in the formation of the B2B platform,

Launched in March, it connects verified small businesses, weavers and artisans across India to small and mid-size retailers, mom-and-pop shops and boutique stores in North America, according to a media release.

Banking on the untapped potential of the Indian artisan market in a highly dysfunctional infrastructure, BR aims to provide international opportunities to undiscovered and unexposed talent.

Read: British American designer Premal Badiani gets standing ovation at New York Fashion Week (September 10, 2017)

The new platform helps everyone from small weavers to artisans to manufacturers, to make their products available across the world through a transparent ecosystem, it said.

Currently, small businesses in the US and Canada are unable to source products directly from India, due to high minimum order quantities (MOQs), trust and reliability issues and, now, strict travel restrictions in place post-Covid, the release said.

BR will serve as the only tech platform on which smaller retailers can personally select products from verified suppliers across various categories with minimum MOQs, in most cases, just one product per style.

Since most sellers and buyers are unable to produce or procure volumes during these uncertain times, BR serves as the perfect matchmaking service for these small-to-mid-size businesses looking for alternative avenues, the release said.

The platform has been built from the ground-up with a focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive filtering of products, so that buyers can ultimately purchase an item in less than 30 seconds, it said.

The long-term vision of BR is to help the small manufacturers, weavers and artisans of India expand in the international market without having to make investments in promotion or travel, while enabling retailers across North America create an inventory-free model to sell directly to their customers without having to invest in purchasing minimum orders.

Other platforms like Etsy or Amazon are either seller-centric or buyer-centric, whereas Blue Rickshaw caters to both segments equally by espousing the values of trust, transparency and timeliness as part of its core philosophy, making it the new leader in tech-based, B2B wholesale export.

“We just want to help small businesses get back on their feet, post-pandemic,” says Wadhwa.

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