I had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Siddhant Garg, Founder, and CEO of the fashion brand Banyancraft.  I was originally introduced to Sid when he reached out to me on LinkedIn back in November.  Since then I have been working with him and Banyancraft by doing product reviews.  For this interview, we had a chance to discuss the origin of Banyancraft, working with Indian artisans, and giving back to the community.  Read below on why you use should check out Banyancraft to find out more. The brand lives up to their message of fashion for a cause. 

Siddhant Gang

1.      Given your background what inspired you to start Banyancraft?

Siddhant Garg: As an individual, I have always been inspired with handmade stuff. I spend time designing products and get them made by artisans (furniture, carry cases, etc)

In 2013, when I was wanted to set up something, the most logical thing was to choose a field that I liked and a growing vertical. Handmade Fashion Accessories and Handicrafts was one such area that met both the requirements and thus Banyancraft took shape.

As a child, I have been closely associated with the work that Mother Teresa has done and I continue to support their activities in New Delhi. I also had an opportunity to meet her personally. Her selfless approach inspired me to have a cause perspective to the business. That’s when our NGO came up and we are proud to share that we aim to continue working with the same selfless attitude, as Mother Teresa, for the cause of Art and Artisans. We hope to reach a level in our venture that we are able to undertake more social cause activities.

2. Banyancraft products are handmade from local Indian artisans. How did you make this decision to work with them specifically?

Siddhant Garg: When I started working on BanyanCraft, I studied the business environment market dynamics. I found out that most artists who make fashion accessories or for that matter any handmade product are at the lowest rung of the supply chain and in most cases get the smallest share of the profits. They are paid a small fee for their skill and that too after much follow-up and pursuing them.

I am inspired by Fair Trade and I chose to build the business core on the principles promoted by Fair Trade Forum.

Unlike the traditional business sense, we do not negotiate with the artisans and we leave it to them to put a fair price for their produce. Secondly, we pay them on time without any reminders from their side. I want the money to be in their hand which will help them to meet the needs of their families and loved ones.

Lastly, we also contribute 2% of all orders received to the NGO Account which then is used to work for the progress of art and the bearers of the unique art forms, the artisans.

3. Touching more on the Indian artisans, 2% of every single order to your Social Foundation- Nav Chetna Seva Sansthan. Do you have a success story you would like to share?

Siddhant Garg: Sure, I can share one such instance, when one artist who works with us, came to our office to discuss his issues related to communications.

In today’s modern times almost all communication happens on mobile phones. Especially in the Jewellery making trade, designs are usually shared thru’ WhatsApp Mobile Application.  This artist, Sabir, did not have the spare money to buy a smartphone that is the basic requirement of being able to send and receive WhatsApp messages.

When he discussed his problems and the issues he is facing including lost opportunities, we procured a Smartphone (Make iBall) for him and got him activated on WhatsApp. The cost of doing it was about Rs. 5000/- (US$85). Today Sabir has been able to move on and overcome the problem of communication. We wish him all the best!

4. As of right now what would you say is your biggest accomplishment with Banyancraft?

Siddhant Garg: I feel my biggest accomplishment has been the ray of hope and confidence that I have managed to ignite in the artisans who are associated with us. We are a new startup and our revenues are not large but the partner artisans continue to repose their faith and confidence in what we are attempting to do and commit their unconditional support in our efforts.

5. What are some of these things can we expect from Banyancraft?

Siddhant Garg: Today we offer Handmade Jewellery (Necklaces, Bangles & Bracelets, Earrings), Fashion Accessories (Clutch Bags), Décor (Tibetan Statuettes, Golden Grass Souvenirs).  We are evaluating a few more products like Handmade Indian Puppets, An exclusive Range of Traditional Indian Style Jewellery,  Ghurmi Dolls, Stuffed Leather Decorative Toys.

This is an ongoing work and we keep evaluating art forms and artisan capabilities so that we can offer them on www.banyancraft.com, we are selective in what we promote and we hope to continue doing that.
6. What would you say is a bestseller (in India and America)? 
Is there a specific market that sells better than another?

Siddhant Garg: Our best selling market has been the USA.  Some of the top seller’s products are.
    1. Dream Girl Necklace

$27.51 USD

2. Agni Necklace

        3. Dreamcatcher

$25.95 USD

4. White Shell Clutch

$48.39 USD

5.Hair-on Leather Clutch

$100.00 USD

6.  Golden Taj Bracelet

$23.01 USD

Images courtesy of Banyancraft.

7.What do you wish to accomplish with Banyancraft in the future?

Siddhant Garg: My vision for Banyancraft is to be recognized as the “Promoter and Curator” of India Art Forms and Artists and a destination where customers, who live a bespoke (handmade) lifestyle, can find exclusive handcrafted items that are curated to their tastes and trends.
8. Lastly, where can readers find Banyancraft?
Sid Garg:
My Coordinates

1.      Linkedin  : http://linkd.in/1KhJFQV

Special thanks again to Siddhant Garg for the interview. Be sure to check out Banyancraft at the website & on the listed social media platforms.  My Own Sense of Fashion ©

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