Harish & Rashmi have had an interesting journey so far! They both come from diverse backgrounds. Harish is a civil engineer& Rashmi is a homoeopathic doctor by academics. They both lived in Singapore for 4 yrs where they worked in Retail & Harish was involved in sourcing Indian products for a Singapore company. They then migrated to Australia & lived there for 10yrs. There Harish worked in Manufacturing & in Retail & Wholesale for a large discount Retail chain.
In 2004, they moved back to India & wanted to start something to empower rural women. So, they started a small factory, AEC Offshore Trading Pty Ltd with 40 workers in Bangalore & started producing handmade products using handmade paper. They started exporting this to Australia. They then started creating more & more handmade products & extended their operations to rural Karnataka to fulfil their goal of empowering rural women by providing employment to them. Today, AEC has 17 manufacturing units in Karnataka proving employment to more than 2000 rural women & export craft merchandise to over 100 craft retailers , Importers & distributors around the world.
In 2007, they saw a need for extending their operations to the domestic market & the first Itsy Bitsy was opened in 2007 in Banashankari 2nd stage as a small 400 Sqft store. Itsy Bitsy’s goal was to be a one stop shop for all Hobby, Art & Craft supplies. Today, we have 15 stores, 10 in Bangalore, 1 in Mumbai, 2 in Delhi, 1 in Hubli, 1 in Goa, 1 coming up soon in Chennai & there are more in the pipeline!
Itsy Bitsy have successfully built business models that combines business with a social cause!
At a time when Hobby & Crafts was sold largely in unorganised sector, Harish & Rashmi introduced Hobby, Arts & Crafts category in modern retailing & established it as a successful Retail chain! Itsy Bitsy’ s core categories are Scrapbooking, Card Making, Jewellery Making, Kids Craft, Paper Crafting, Quilling, Candle Making just to name a few.
Itsy Bitsy is a DIY ( Do It Yourself ) concept store & carries over 20,000 products that’ll excite & inspire creativity in all ages! Every product is available in a multitude of colours & finishes. Here’s just a few examples of how extensive Itsy Bitsy’s range is!
- Beads: over 1000 types in rotation in our unique concept bead bar
- Sequins: about 40 colours in about 30 varieties in rotation.
- Glitter: Is available in about 20 colours.
- Crystals: 45 variations in crystals
- Handmade Papers: 400 types in various sizes in rotation
- Imported Patterned Papers: Over 4000 designs.
- Felt: Is available in about 20 colours & in different sizes.
- Foam: Is available in various sizes, in over 14 colours & in regular & glitter finish.
- Quilling: 25 colours , 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 5mm & 10mm – 125 varieties made from imported + another 200 varieties of standard quilling strips.
- Findings for Jewellery Making: 1000 varieties of findings which includes about 5 finishes. Besides, there’s also a variety of Jewellery making tools, variety of wires & cords.
- There are also a variety of adhesives ranging from craft glue to silicon glue, glue gun, adhesive tapes, foam dots & more!
Besides, this the store also carries craft supplies like a variety of ribbons, needle craft supplies, kids craft supplies like PomPoms, Chenille stems ( pipe cleaners ), Thermocol balls, craft sticks, Ice cream sticks ( popsicle sticks ) etc. Itsy Bitsy also carries uniquely creative craft kits specially designed for children. There is also a huge range of Art supplies ranging from a brush to an Easel. Both Imported & Domestic brands can be found in the store. Itsy Bitsy also carries a huge range of Baking & Party supplies. There’s also themed party supplies which are very innovative & unique!
Most of the creative Itsy Bitsy products are designed in house. Some are imported from leading craft brands around the world. Itsy Bitsy also carries leading domestic brands.
Globally Hobby, Arts & Crafts is a multi – billion dollar Industry & India has a long way to go! In countries like America, there is at least one crafter in ¾ of households.
India is an emerging market & takes lot of education before crafting can become a profitable venture.
Itsy Bitsy has done a lot in creating awareness in this sector & since it’s inception has invested a lot of time, money & effort in doing lot of free workshops, free demos in store, workshops in various places to create awareness & interest!
However, there is a shift in the buying trend in recent times. Globally people are looking for value in the consumer Industry & India is not behind. Consumers always look for value &Itsy Bitsy believes in re-inventing itself to suit the consumer needs. So we have changed our strategy & from an everyday Retailer & have now shifted to being more of a “Craft Service Retailer” where Itsy Bitsy sources, produces, packs & puts on shelves quality products at an affordable cost !
This move is also a way of saying “Thank You“ to customers who have supported the business wholeheartedly since it’s inception!
Here’s more info on Itsy Bitsy’s new philosophy & what we call the “CRAFT RETAIL REVOLUTION”. WE HAVE SLASHED OUR PRICES, BIG TIME!!!
This is probably the first time ever, a brick & mortar retailer in Craft Industry has slashed his prices, not just during a sale but has changed its philosophy to give value every day, that is exactly why we call this a “CRAFT RETAIL REVOLUTION”. Our prices are no longer Retail prices, they have become almost like “WHOLESALE PRICES”!