Sumita Swain is the founder of Apki Akanksha, The platform which endeavors to fulfill the aspiration of the artisans and the customers. The artisan aspires for a helping hand to create sustainability and longevity in his or her craft. She believe that they create not an object but narrate stories of a history that speaks about thousands of years heritage, folklore,traditions and culture therefore they need to be preserved. Today we got chance to interview her. Lets know more about her & her startup Apki Akanksha

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

We hope this can inspire you to become a successful person too! It is worth listening to a successful entrepreneur or to people who share their success stories? We can significantly learn many things from the experiences of them, by listening to their story.

Excerpts from our exclusive interview with her:

Q1) Tell us a little bit about your start-up and How did the idea for your business/startup come about?

Our journey starts with Sita Akka stationed on a Taladanda canal in Cuttack who was the last of her family to weave bamboo baskets. No one from the family after her, neither her son nor daughter in law were interested in her craft. Vaishnavi her granddaughter asked me a stark question, “ Will we die a death without recognition “. Preservation of thousands of years heritage and Indian culture needs participation of people who believe in upholding the same for millions of families and cultural identity. So, can we make a difference? 

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

Q2) What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?

The story of Sita Akka and the words of Vaishnavi Spurs our spirit to see this initiative to reach a spectrum of the society who can make a change. 

Q3) How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?

If I can quote “ Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead “ – Louisa May Alcott. The name comes from our niece, but it justifies the endeavor where the artisan aspires for a helping hand to create sustainability and longevity in his or her craft.

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

Q4) What service(s) or product(s) do Apki Akanksha offer/manufacture?

Apki Akanksha has the collection of handcrafted apparel, accessories, and handicrafts created by rural artisans from across India.

Q5) Why should people choose your product/services?

Our clients are ladies with heart and disposable income. We perceive that in our venture it’s the client who are equal partners of economic growth in the preservation of the dying art of India, which leads to inclusive growth and empowerment of families of craftsmen. 

Q6) How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?

By creating an online platform we provide a level playing field for direct participation of a community of artisans to have a socio-economic growth as partners. As we have just started tactical thought processes are not yet sunken since this journey has been more of emotions than economic thoughts. 

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

Q7) What risks are you facing? 

Though we have just started on this endeavor, the biggest challenge we face is from middlemen and corporatization of the arts. We may not be able to complete economically but there’s a satisfaction that we are dealing with 250 families who are direct beneficiaries of Apki Akanksha. 

Q8) Did pandemic (COVID 19) affected your business? if yes how?• Have you considered any alliance/partnership/funding?

We would like to have similar minded people to help us establish incubation centers to learn, practice, and preserve our heritage. We aim to set up a vocational training center for propagating traditional arts and crafts with a vision of encouraging the younger generation of the families of craftsmen. Our expectation is to join more families as partners in this initiative. 

Q9) What are your responsibilities as the business owner?

To create a sustainable business platform and a community to encourage younger generations and women entrepreneurs to participate in the initiative of inclusive growth. 

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

Q10) What comes first for you money or emotions?

As a woman, I feel that Apki Akanksha is more of an emotional startup rather than an economic venture. However, there is a potential for growth for the partners.

Q11) Tell us about your early life & How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

I was born to a family with extended grace to enable children to have an honorable life. I opened my eyes where my maternal grandmother had adopted 20 orphans as her own. My mother too carried on the journey. Then, I got married in a family where my mother in law has five more sons than two of hers( the five were adopted when my husband was two.) Growing up with ladies who believe in this facet of love and happiness. I feel I too want to give back to society.

Apki Akanksha
Apki Akanksha

Q12) What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs??   

Have your heart in place and just be yourself.

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StartoCure is the online entrepreneurial magazine platform, where the team brings you Interview & Stories of Entrepreneurs, Inspirations, Influencers, Startups eco-system & Change-makers. StaroCure also committed to bringing resources, research reports, funding reports, and analysis of the startups, as well as profiles of great businesses & entrepreneurs from all over the world.

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Dev Dwibedy

Super initiative! Glad to see there are people like Ms Swain who have a heart for artisans and have chosen a path to uplift their life. Best wishes!