Yakoooh plans to be the one-stop e-shop for everything Himalayan
f you’re heading to Himachal Pradesh for a vacation at any point of the year, requests for a Kullu shawl, ponchos, jackets, or even incense sticks will invariably pour in. Now you don’t need to stash these gifts on your way back, you can simply order them online. Thanks to Tsering Dekey, and her e-store, Yakoooh.
The startup, based out of Dharamshala, aims to promote art makers, and businesses from the Himalayan region, and while the focus is on selling regional handicrafts, handloom, and other ethnic products online, Yakoooh also lets travellers look up for accommodation (even book them), salons, and even laundry services. You can also make your mountain getaway count by buying spiritual and wellness packages.
It’s taken Dekey, a former PR professional, two years to set up the online marketplace. She tells us about her maiden entrepreneurial venture, “Himalayan handicrafts are quite sought-after, but they have limited reach. Their market is driven by the tourist season, which lasts for anywhere between six and nine months. The local artisans can’t sell their products until people come and visit them, their towns, and villages. This affects their income. So Yakoooh aims to fill these gaps by providing an online store where handicrafts makers of the region can sell their products anytime, without worrying what season it is.”
Interestingly, these products, 80 in number at the moment, are sold on the market price (`75 onwards). They are made by Green Shop, Tibet Tailoring, Amnye Machen Institute, TCV School Handicrafts and 15 small-scale handicrafts sellers of Dharamshala. Lodges, restaurants, and wellness services add up to 150. These numbers have been increasing fast since Yakoooh’s launch in mid-February.
Dekey walks us through the e-shelves. “We have got traditional attire (chupa), Tibetan silver jewellery, Kullu shawls, brocade Monk bags, bedsheets and cushions. You can also browse for herbal incense, prayer flags, lampshades, eco-friendly Tibetan handmade paper and notebooks. We will soon add Tibetan tables, and home decor items, traditional woollen carpets, paintings, and calligraphy works,” says the 30-year-old Tibetan.
Over the next few months, she plans to bring other stretches of the Himalayas, such as Ladakh, Kashmir, Dehradun, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, online.
Even if you have nothing Himalayan to buy for now, just skim through the website. With strings of colourful flags running across the mountains, and clouds hovering over them, the landing page is quite inviting. There is something about the mountains, you know.