Former colleagues Meera Ramakrishnan and Archish Mathe Madhavan, along with Archish’s cousin Varshita Sampath, wanted to revive traditional practices which offered health and environmental benefits.
“Growing up in a Tamilian household, the rasam at home tasted heavenly. Later, we realized that the Eeya Chombu, a handcrafted tin vessel in which the rasam was made, added to the taste and was also good for blood circulation,” says Meera.
So the trio started Zishta. Eeya Chombu was among the first products that Zishta launched in 2016, with others being the Sengottai Dosa Kallu, a traditional iron pan used for making dosas, and kal chatti, a soapstone vessel used for making Indian gravies.
Today, Zishta works with 18 artisan clusters across the country who make traditional handcrafted products. This includes clay makers of Cuddalore, soapstone craftsmen in Salem, kansa artisans of Odisha, Reha knife makers of Kutch, brass tambat makers of Maharashtra, neem wood craftsman of West Bengal, Uruli and Vengalam makers of Kerala, among others.
But because these products have not been part of Indian households for a while now, there are misconceptions about them and a lack of awareness. That's where WhatsApp comes in.
“A lot of new customers reach out to us on WhatsApp"
“We share customer-generated videos that showcase how they use the products. We also share videos and photographs of artisans working on the products, information on how they are made, how to use them, health benefits and popular misconceptions,” says Archish. “A lot of new customers reach out to us on WhatsApp. Because we are able to quickly address their queries on the platform, the sale conversion is commendable.”
Zishta’s success is a great example of how modern technology is helping revive age-old traditions.