Written by Sumedha Sharma
Maneet Gohil, co-founder of Lal10, an e-commerce portal for artisans to showcase their handloom, handicraft and indigenous food products from different parts of the country, recently featured in Forbes India 30 under 30.
When did you start your company?
I started this company in January 2014 from my hostel room. There was just one thing on my mind, to bridge the gap between rural artisan and urban consumers. I wanted to bring light in the lives of our artisans, which is why I named it ‘Lal10’ . Today we are a team of 38 people, based out of Noida and Bhubaneshwar, currently in collaboration with 1200 artisans. We provide our products to 300 retailers, including companies like Zara, Fab India, Reliance and many others.
Any particular turning point?
It was while visiting the art festival, ‘Kala Ghoda’, that I met around 80 artisans from eight states. I studied their products and price listing and was shocked to know that the prices for these products were so less. I looked upon it as a great opportunity. I thought I must take these products to international markets where they could be sold at their true cost.
Any initial struggle?
I was in first year of my MBA, when I decided to register my company. We tapped IITs , NIFTs and IIMs for interns and managed to get 28 from six states, who were managing blogs, price dealing, website et al. But my parents wanted me to go for a job, which I did, but Lal10 was still in my head. During the day, I used to work on my regular job and at night, I would work for Lal10. My roommate, who is my co-founder, and I, used to run our company from our apartment.
What is the biggest road block you have faced in your journey?
I was passionate about my ideas and work . I had strong intuition that whatever I am doing will surely turn around one day. I never had a Plan B. I believed in my Plan A so strongly that for me nothing could be a roadblock in my journey . I have traveled to many villages and came across many artisans, who deserve to be acknowledged for their art and craft skill.
What was your reaction when you were features in Forbes India 30 under 30 this year ?
I feel extremely happy. 2019 has been lucky for our team. I, along with my co- founders, Sanchit Govil and Alvin Jose, were super happy when we came across the news. Now, our only aim is to bring together the entire 7 million artisan population of the country and showcase their art to the world.
What are your future plans?
Lal10 gets about 1000 visitors on its website every day with successful checkouts standing at 4% to 5%. But we are still aiming more in terms of expansion. We recently had our second round of expansion and a lot of foundations from the US, Germany and India, have supported us. We are collaborating with more brands so that we have a wider reach for our goods in national as well as international markets.
Your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Change is the only constant. Just make Plan A and stick to that. Make it possible because once you start believing in it, things will work out. Everyone is driven by some passion. Age is just a number, you need to be driven by pure passion to just do it. Just live for your Plan A.