The site has 800 products across nine categories including jewellery, wood products, bidriware, Kinnal handicraft, paddy handicraft, Channapatna toys and food products.

A website thats helping small rural Karnataka artisans take their craft to the world
news Art Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 14:08

Clay fashioned and baked into intricate terracotta jewellery by women in Shivamogga. The famous toys of Channapatna. Bidriware from Bidar. Pickles from northern Karnataka. 

All of these, just a click away, no matter where on earth you are. 

totalkarnataka.com, an e-portal started in July, kills two birds with a single website. Not only does it make specialty products of Karnataka origin available all over the world, it also gives small, medium and rural enterprises a boost by providing access to increased sales through online business.

What makes the enterprise remarkable, is that its founders Chandrashekar Kakal, a start-up coach, and Lakshmikanth V, a software engineer-turned-entrepreneur, built the website merely as the platform for buyers and sellers to meet. 

“The logistics,” Lakshmikanth says, “have been set up in such a way that when we receive an order, we pass it directly to the manufacturers. The products are shipped directly from them to the customers. And even in case of returns, the items are sent back to the craftsmen.”

Total Karnataka gets 30-40 orders a month, most of which come from Karnataka, parts of Maharashtra, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Dubai and Singapore. 

Chandrashekar Kakal (left), and Lakshmikanth V

The site currently has 800 products across nine categories which includes jewellery, handicrafts, wood products made of rosewood and sandalwood, bidriware, Kinnal handicraft, paddy handicraft, Channapatna toys, food products such as millets (barnyard, foxtail and kodo millets are a staple in many parts of Karnataka), and north Karnataka specialties like gulladaki laddu and jowar kadak roti. 

The idea for the business came up when Lakshmikanth met Chandrashekar last year at a function. For the past 10 years, Lakshmikanth has been running totalkannada.com, a website for Kannada books and movies. During discussions, the pair hit upon the idea “To Online the Un-onlined”. 

“We decided to take Total Kannada to the next level. We wanted to cover small, medium and rural enterprises in the state. These enterprises are just into manufacturing and usually sell their products to wholesale dealers. They aren't tech savvy, or cannot go to Flipkart and Amazon,” Lakshmikanth says. 

And so, they built their own version of OLX.

They eventually want to expand their product range to include 3,000 products from more regions in the state. 

While many of the products are culturally rooted in the state, there’s also a section of "Kannada T-shirts" with Kannada slogans, pictures of famous personalities or the state map printed on them. 

While they may seem a little out of place, Lakshmikanth says that there’s an increasing demand for such T-shirts. "These are very popular in Bengaluru and other parts of the state. They are locally designed and printed and so we decided to include it.” 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.