When Gwalior-based Nitin Pamnani was visiting the Dastkar Nature Bazaar in New Delhi in 2011, he got the germ of an idea to start iTokri.com. He visualised it as an adda for designers, craftspeople, filmmakers and other creative collaborators. Pamnani worked on the concept for a year with craftsmen, designers, stores and groups, and eventually launched the website in June 2012.
“We are a really young company based out of a small, quiet town of Madhya Pradesh. We don’t aspire to be an online mall. We want to keep it low-key and grow in an organic fashion. We dream of iTokri as a tall tree of stories and storytellers,” says Pamnani.
iTokri features craft and design products by brands such as People Tree, Either Or, Haathi Chaap, Malkha, Bindaas Unlimited, and groups like Dastkar, Khamir, Sadhana and Avani who have worked in the craft sector for several decades.
The range of products includes apparel, a variety of fabric including Ajrak prints, kitchenware, home decor, bags, toys, stationery, laptop accessories, yoga mat bags, carpets, stoles, shot glasses and more. The best thing: they have budget products priced below Rs 300 in most categories. They also sell independent films (priced at Rs 399 onwards).
“iTokri is a collaborative effort where we have partnered with independent filmmakers and producers, including PSBT for distributing documentaries. We warehouse 100% of the stuff we sell through our site, so customers don’t have to wait for long for the products to arrive,” adds Pamnani.
The iTokri team monitors the prices and quality and the site only displays non-studio shot photographs so that the consumer gets an accurate sense of how the product actually looks. Next up, they plan to build a platform for alternative book publishers.