Published: 09th December 2020
They're IIM and TISS grads, but this Delhi duo is Insta-famous via their 'street shopping' page Janpath Online
Janpath Online has a wide range of products starting from junk jewellery — earrings, anklets, bangles, necklaces to handmade bags from Kutch and a lot more
Even if we haven't visited Delhi even once in our lives, we can bet that all of us know about and are fond of Janpath's famous junk jewellery that comes at quite a reasonable price. The Janpath market has been known for its quaint collection of locally made jewellery, dupattas, bags, clothes and it can easily be called every street shopper's paradise. Banking on this popularity, Deeksha Khanna and Sheetal Munshi launched their Instagram page Janpath Online to help the local vendors earn in lakhs through their portal. Started in 2017, Janpath Online now has over 13,000 followers from around the world and the duo has onboarded local vendors, artists from not just Delhi but also Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Chennai.
Deeksha and Sheetal became friends at Hans Raj College in Delhi where they were both pursuing their Bachelor’s degree in Economics. "We had always wanted to start something together but couldn't put our fingers on it. From Delhi, Sheetal went on to study at TISS in Mumbai after a year gap, while I went to IIM Lucknow to pursue my master's. We had always kept in touch even though we weren't in the same city. When Sheetal moved back to Delhi from Mumbai and I was in Bengaluru, we realised there's a gap in those cities for these type of products, prices are not that affordable too. Janpath Online then began as a hobby project and we thought of starting it with just a phone call to a few artisans in Delhi whom we already knew. We thought we would reach out and see how the initial responses are, whether they wish to put up their products on our platform," explains Deeksha.
Soon, the duo created an Instagram page and to their surprise the response was overwhelming. "We took it seriously then. We began speaking to vendors, more artisans and made them understand that this portal could do so much more for them. Firstly, it was providing an alternate source of sales for the artists, also work for them as a way of testing certain products. With us, they can produce a limited range we help them style it, present it to the audience better, then they can produce in large numbers and sell in their shops. Gradually, in the past one year, we onboarded people from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Jaipur, while earlier it was just Delhi," she adds.
Janpath Online has a wide range of products starting from junk jewellery — earrings, anklets, bangles, necklaces to handmade bags from Kutch, dupattas from Uttar Pradesh. "We are also trying to work with artisans in Kashmir to get kaftans and traditional Kashmiri needle and threadwork," she tells us.
The duo goes through a rigorous process before finally putting up the products online. "We are just a two-member team and things take time. As we know Delhi we pretty well, we go to the traditional areas known for stocking such pieces — Janpath, lanes of Chandni Chowk. A lot of convincing has to happen when they see two young girls doing business. We ask them for samples, sometimes pay them upfront. It allows us to show them how much growth we can offer through the page. We set out on weekends, visit a city and stay there for a few days, ask around and after that, it's all about how comfortable they are working remotely if they can ship things to us and the quality of products when they ship it. It's typically two to three weeks of interaction and then things become stable," says Deeksha.
An initial investment of Rs 15,000 was made by the duo for a steady inventory but Janpath Online has been self-sustaining since then. The artists and vendors could also gain from the portal even after COVID-19 hit, as when the workshops opened up and everything shifted online, their products began selling out online, adds Deeksha.
At Janpath Online, approximately 200 orders get shipped every month and their products are priced from Rs 250 upwards. Speaking about their way forward, Deeksha says, "We first want to set up a website soon as we have been retailing on Instagram only until now. We have just re-started international shipping, we had shut it down for the pandemic, but we would want to focus on that too now. We have plans on expanding the kind of products that we retail, get into home decor space in the next year."