He may have spent 23 years away from his home state, Manipur, but Meghnath Singh never lost sight of his goal to somehow pay tribute to his roots. By launching GISKAA, an exclusive online marketplace which showcases products sourced exclusively from the Northeast, Singh not only made a smart business decision, but made his dream come true too.
Meghnath first came to Bengaluru in 2009, and after a stint at an IT firm, started GISKAA in 2014, with co-founders Surchand Wahengbam and Ratheesh Elayat, who connected with Singh after he posted on Facebook about his idea. They had three goals– to sell items, help artisans in the region break into the ecommerce market, and to educate people across India about Northeast Indian culture. GISKAA is an acronym for the first letter of the 8 capital cities in the Northeast: Guwahati/Gangtok, Imphal/Itanagar, Shillong, Kohima, Agartala and Aizwal.
The trio took a two and a half month trip across all the states in the Northeast, meeting artisans and cooperative societies, collecting data on products, marketability and logistics. After months of groundwork, during which the team worked out of coffee shops since they didn’t have an office, they were able to obtain a seed round of funding.
Today, the site is well on its way, offering more than 1600 unique eco-friendly products, which are sourced directly from more than 100 suppliers and artisans. GISKAA gives each item a backstory, thereby making each purchase/sale a meaningful one.
Handmade apparel such as Manipuri Phanek and tribal shawls are customer favorites, as well as a variety of food items such as Chak hao, a sweet black rice grown mostly in Manipur, smoked pork and king chilli pickle of Nagaland and a traditional pickle of Apatani tribe in Arunachal Pradesh. There’s also a recipe corner on the website so that you can make delicious North-East dishes with the ingredients you purchase.
No matter what you order from the site, you can be assured that it’s genuine, authentic, exclusive and environmentally-sustainable, and true to it’s motto, brings the essence of the Northeast to your home.
Featured image source: YourStory
Words by Pavi Sagar