Shaunak Roy’s first biz helped Indian artisans sell their handicraft

Fresh out of grad school, the Yellowdig founder raised some cash and flew to India to start OneArtisan.

Shaunak Roy checking out different kinds of embroidery techniques. (Courtesy photo)

Circa 2005, Yellowdig CEO Shaunak Roy raised a few thousand dollars through an MIT public services group and flew to India for the first (and only) business trip of his very first startup: OneArtisan.

The main concept behind the young company was to work with local artisans in a remote place and bring their art to developed markets for the benefit of both makers and consumers.

“‘OneArtisan’ behind every craft, you get the idea,” said Roy.

Roy set off on a quest to find the finest clothes and artwork from a remote part of Gujarat, India. He toured the area, rode rickshaws, spoke with local artisans and became familiar with different techniques and styles. “It was an adventure, far more interesting than a boring internship,” the edtech exec told

Upon return, the young entrepreneur sold the merchandise around college campuses and the surrounding area. Though it wasn’t the smash success he had hoped from a financial standpoint.

“I narrowly broke even,” Roy remembers. “I guess the biggest learning was from throwing myself out there as I was bit shy.”

Companies: Yellowdig

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