Anooja loves handlooms and artifacts and whenever she visits a place, she makes it a point to collect the authentic craft of that place. However, many times she has felt that the products are overpriced and fake. She had such an experience when she bought an Aranmula kannadi (mirror) from Mumbai. All these emotions led her to start Rareitis, a platform for rare Indian artifacts and apparels, when she shifted to Kochi.
“Before that, I had been working as an IT professor. When we moved to Kochi in 2013, my initial plan was to continue teaching. But, later I zeroed in on this artificat idea,” says Anooja V.M., who started the venture in January. “We researched on traditional artifacts of India and places from where we could source them. That process itself took one year. We identified around 18 such artisans and started our website that serves as a platform for them to sell their products,” she explains. She runs the venture with two partners — Aravind and Sreenath Gopi.
The project aims to make original products available to customers for a reasonable price without the involvement of middlemen. Bidiware of Karnataka, Aranmula kannadi, handloom saris, dhokra metalware of Chhattisgarh, art plates and bronze statues of Thanjavur, metal works of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and paper mesh crafts of Kashmir are a few rare items they offer. They have a dedicated team to find the artisans. “Aravind handles that department. His team travels to different places, identifies the genuine seller, and analyses their products. If the product is real, he would invite them to be a registered seller with our website. The customer can interact directly with the seller. We collaborate only with designers, weavers and craftsmen,” says Anooja, who also travels to places within the state.