Sowmya Krishnamurthy, Founder at AATIKE
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Sowmya Krishnamurthy : During my corporate working days, I realised that I wanted to be a social entrepreneur and start a business in an area that facilitates our economy in which the people involved grow collectively. As a designer at heart the area that drove my passion in wanting to be an entrepreneur was – Handicrafts & Toys. The talent & skills available under handicrafts in rural India is in abundance!
AATIKE was started with a passion for design to manufacture sustainable & natural products “MADE FROM INDIA”. Our Vision is to create a platform that brings together all the artisans and help them expand their business from micro to large scale.
Great Companies: What are the various products and services provided by AATIKE
Sowmya Krishnamurthy : AATIKE Designs and manufactures toys, home & office decor products and specializes in Indian Toys for Pre-School Children and hope on having an impact by Design on Society.
Great Companies: What makes AATIKE different from hundreds of other wooden toy manufacturing firms?
Sowmya Krishnamurthy :
AATIKE brings together various artforms available in the cottage industry. Our products are handcrafted by rural artisans from India. All our toys are carefully designed and crafted from locally available sustainable natural materials with a lot of care to enhance a child’s learning, safety in usage and most importantly be FUN. Importance is given to sourcing of materials locally following stringent quality processes as per CE certifications.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Sowmya Krishnamurthy: We constantly face difficulties both on the business front as well as in the areas of manufacturing. This is a highly unorganised sector and manufacturing large scale units is a challenge. Customers are very price sensitive and AATIKE products are handcrafted, it is a challenge to match the price points of machine-made toys available in the market. Due to pandemic, online sales channel has taken precedence over modern retail, hence our marketing spends to gain visibility has increased tremendously impacting margins.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for AATIKE?
Sowmya Krishnamurthy: Despite various challenges we have faced over years including Pandemic, AATIKE has been able to successfully overcome its challenges. We are one of the very few companies who have managed to grow even during the pandemic times.
We plan to expand our business by including more rurally available artforms and work towards creating a platform which brings together all the artisans and artforms from India in the field of toy making.
The Government of India has taken a large-scale initiative to promote handcrafted Indian toys, we hope that we gain good visibility through their initiative which will enable us to expand our business in international markets.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Sowmya Krishnamurthy: I would also like to urge the new start-ups to work towards building products that encourage rural entrepreneurship which in-turn will help in building economically strong India.
Being an entrepreneur has its own challenges and rewards. One must face the challenges with a strong mind to embrace the rewards – When the going gets tough, only THE TOUGH gets going!