With global demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products growing at a fast pace, companies are looking for different ways to meet their customers’ needs.
Qalara is a digital platform that enables producers and brands of consciously designed goods to access global markets with ease and reliability.
“We strive to reimagine the global supply chain to make it convenient, reliable and affordable for wholesale buyers of all sizes to source through our one-stop-shop digital ecommerce platform, and to add transparency between ethical producers, buyers and end consumers of consciously designed products,” says founder Aditi Pany. “We are backed by a Fortune 100 Indian company.”
Kala in Hindi means ‘a skilled craft’ while Ira stands for ‘Earth’ in Sanskrit. “We believe that combined, these words convey the essence of who we are. Qalara is a combination of artisanal crafts and responsibly produced earth-friendly offerings. It’s a celebration of human ingenuity and regard for the environment.”
So how can Australian businesses benefit from this platform?
“There are several macro consumer trends and values in Australia that strongly resonate with our raison d’etre,” explains Pany.
Sustained, increasing consumer preference for sustainable and natural products
This is a much-written trend driven by millennials and Gen Z that has significantly grown through the pandemic―Google Trends reveals a two to three times increase of interest in ‘ecofriendly’, ‘ethical’ values in context of shopping in Australia in the last 12 months alone.
“The 30,000+ products that we offer at Qalara are curated around our core values of artisanal, ecofriendly, recycled, organic, and fair and social, and our mission is to offer the widest selection of conscious goods. We are also working on newer, interesting forms of packaging substitutes for plastics. Our products span a range of materials like cast iron, copper, brass, wood, bamboo, marble, stone; natural fibres like water hyacinth, jute, banana fibre, bamboo and more; natural dyes and lacquers made from fruits and plants, and much more.”
Smaller, newer brands capturing disproportionate share of growth in Australia
2020 Euromonitor reports indicate that small brands in Australia contributed to almost 50 per cent of growth between 2014 and 2019 in certain sectors, and this trend is expected to accelerate post-Covid due to increased willingness of consumers to try new brands.
“As a platform, we work with brands to create new lines of products, we understand and negotiate on their behalf for lower minimums as best possible, we offer custom branding and packaging for new brands, and we support brands with design development advice as well,” says Pany.
The re-affirmed importance of home
The pandemic has renewed the importance of the home, which has shown in the incredible growth in retail sales of home as a category. A large majority of the selection at Qalara is centred around home products―home décor, home textiles, furniture, home office, kitchen and dining, Garden and outdoor, and more.
“This is our key area of strength and we work with wide ranging materials, craft forms, design aesthetic, and are seeing a lot of innovation in this category. We have a growing understanding of Australian seasonality and needs, and are happy to work with strategic partners in creating custom products for the Australian market.”
Long-term relationships matter
“Ours is a unique ecommerce model, with a human face. We work closely with buyers to understand their requirements, we offer product assurance and undertake physical quality checks for every product before it is dispatched.
“We believe in investing in long-term relationships, we are transparent in our dealings―many of the products sourced from us can come with a QR code which when scanned plays a geo-tagged video showcasing where and how the product is made. We are not just a platform, but your extended sourcing team working on the ground, managing the back-and-forth with producers, towards ensuring that producers meet their promise,” adds Pany.
Specially for Australia
“We are analysing multiple signals and data sources of the Australian market and will be developing product and pricing intelligence that can be leveraged by Australian buyers. We plan to enable dropship for select product categories in Australia starting in 2021, and for now we offer multiple payment options including an option to pay in AUD via a local bank transfer.”