- Tell us something about this Ilandlo?
Ilandlo is an initiative started by co-founders Imtisunup Longchar and Lipokjungla Ozukum in the year 2014 and was incorporated as Ilandlo Services Pvt Ltd in 2016. Its aim is to Empower a Sustainable Rural Livelihood by nurturing homegrown brands, Farmers, artisans, Indigenous entrepreneurs and individuals of Nagaland and the North East by promoting their brands and selling the products through one of its online service, www.ilandlo.com, the first in Northeast India to be launched as a fully fledged e-commerce website for buyers across India and with world. We have also started our first ilandlo Express Center at Kohima which serves as the walk-in store followed by our second store to be launched in Dimapur.
In tune to this, one of our basic requirements was logistics services, which unfortunately is poor yet costly in Nagaland especially for businesses. Because we struggled in tying up with different logistic companies in the initial years, we realized that availing this service to our other entrepreneurs will save a lot of their time and money and offer improved quality delivery service. Hence, we started one of our services, Ilandlo logistics solutions (ILS), which cater to the logistics for business entities with reasonable packages and offer end to end delivery solutions with dropshipping facilities to enable quicker and better logistic service.
We also have a registered brand called Exotic Delights which cater to the Farmers community. It is a marketing and packaging brand for agricultural products directly sourced from the farmers. This brand evolved after we realized our farmers had good produce but no market linkages, no idea about logistics and packaging. We now pack and market their products, retail and sell in bulk to various factories all over India. In the same way, handloom and handicrafts, accessories also reach bulk buyers directly sourced from our Artisans.
As we met and interacted with people from the grassroots who were dealing with the food processing industry, we found the lack of packaging and labeling solutions without proper knowledge of food security and safety issues. In collaboration with different government and private entities, we started educating the importance of having an FSSAI license, hygienic production, product packaging and labeling requirements. Availing proper packaging materials for the food processing units was a major problem faced by small business owners especially in smaller quantities. Hence we started bringing in packaging materials like food grade zip lock stand-up pouches and bottles which were made available at reasonable rates and manageable quantities to encourage small businesses use proper packaging solutions under the banner Packaging Solutions which would in turn make their products more presentable and lasting. This service is recently invested upon by two more partners and is now operating under Nagaland Packaging Solutions.
Ilandlo also employ school and college dropouts at the entry levels in the packaging and delivery departments and train them to upgrade in their jobs and be leaders. They are encouraged to work in a corporate office environment emphasizing on their all round training, development and skill upgrade. Young unemployed college dropouts are trained in making jewelries and beadworks so they can earn on their own. This is labeled under the brand ‘Ethnic Inspirations’ where a master trainer has been trained under Ilandlo. We have opened wider channels for other North-East states and currently have vendors from Manipur, Sikkim and Shillong on board.
Ilandlo, in a nutshell is more of a social enterprise where we focus on fostering an environment of sustainable living, skill development and knowledge dissemination for the community.
2.How did you started this venture?
In a scenario when the market was getting dumped with products only entering Nagaland but not going out, the idea of embracing and boosting locally made products became a necessity. We saw the problems faced by Entrepreneurs in finding the right markets for their products and wanted to change the economy and help people have sustainable income with what they can produce. ilandlo.com provided this place of having a marketplace under one umbrella. [Kindly refer response to 1st question for the reasons for creating the other services under Ilandlo Services Pvt Ltd.)
- How was the northeastern perspective to e-commerce initially?
Because we wanted to showcase and sell to the rest of India and the world, from the beginning we did not target Nagaland or even Northeast as our customer base while our target base in Nagaland and the North-east India were the vendors when it came to our ecommerce platform, Ilandlo.com. We knew that the products should go out and money should come in and that’s one reason that made our vendors sell with us. In the last two years, we have started promoting in the North East India and have gotten positive responses with the internet gaining momentum and more people understanding its advantages. Everyone is supportive and we now have more than 300 progressive vendors selling on Ilandlo.com from all over North east India under various product categories. With more and more people living with busy schedules and work life, they are becoming reliant on home delivery service provided by us because time is very important and we fill this space of getting things delivered at their doorsteps with just few clicks from their phones or computers.
- What was the biggest challenge and struggle coming up with this innovation?
One of the biggest challenges was to convince our entrepreneurs about Internet and how we could use internet to sell their products and become a tool for their progress. With internet being at a very nascent stage in Nagaland in 2014, we had to struggle relying on the service because it was the base of our startup. When the internet was down, it meant the shop was closed. On the other hand, explaining the concept of selling online was something new and creating a vision of a global marketplace online was a tough concept to explain the artisans, small business owners, craftsmen and weavers. Even convincing the bankers and funding institutions was difficult because no one believed in the idea of generating revenues through an online medium.
- Giant business like amazon and jabong are setting their foot on northeast so whats ilandlo dimension?
Ilandlo is not trying to be Amazon or Jabong as our entire business model is in different dimensions. Our business is people centric with niche categories and focus on empowering producers, artisans and vendors for an overall sustainable rural livelihood.
- How do customer connect with ilandlo, do you have an app or website and instagram and facebook please share so that more people will connect with you!
Ilandlo has its own e-commerce website called www.ilandlo.com where we give platform for entrepreneurs from the Northeast part of India to sell across India. We also have a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, whatsapp and email. We also provide constant updates over sms, push messages and other social media platforms where we are very responsive to our customer queries and feedbacks. We keep customers updated about new entrepreneurs and their products and how entrepreneurship is taking the flight in Northeast. We also share stories about Youth Education, Women empowerment, and upcoming young entrepreneurs in our social media pages for people to see and get encouraged.
- Who are your collaborator?
Our Collaborators are the entrepreneurs from Northeast India, Self Help Groups (SHGs), artisans, craftsmen, publishers and authors, hobbyists, artists, designers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Industries across Northeast. We also believe in developing our budding entrepreneurs and look forward to help them give the right start in their business venture.
- So far how many youths have been employed?
At present we employ 7 staff members in Dimapur, 3 Female and 4 Male staffs, and in Kohima we have 2 staffs, 1 male and 1 Female. We are fast growing in-terms of work engagement, so we are screening more people to get employed in the next 2-3 months. We also offer free summer and winter internship trainings for students at our premises.
- What’s your perspective on our current unemployment crises?
In reality there is no crises of unemployment, it’s just the way we look at jobs that we do, it’s about our common state of employment. Only a government job is considered as employment in our society which is why we keep on struggling to understand the value of work. If we work smart with integrity and passion, our success don’t have to be measured with having a prestigious government job to be called an employed individual.
- Is entrepreneurial the answered in achieving the new realm of success?
Success is not just achieving success in Entrepreneurship or business; success can come from anything that we pursue to do. It can come from music, education, art, or even acting. But at the larger picture, where talent is not for all, but survival is a fundamental, we need to learn the skills of entrepreneurship which can be acquired by due diligence and focusing on our goals. Entrepreneurship teaches us the face challenges and helps us understand the value of money and empower us with wealth management. Whichever skills we excel at or whatever job we hold, if we are entrepreneurial at what we do, we will definitely achieve the new realm of success by doing something enterprising.
- What are the drawbacks of our Northeast entrepreneur?
Most of our Northeast Entrepreneurs are struggling as first generation entrepreneurs, where every process is an acquired knowledge by hit and trails. Thus, we lack idols and advisors in our society where upcoming entrepreneurs can be mentored and guided. We start with lots of enthusiasm but we lack focus and consistency in the long run of our business. Also, we lack creative ideas and innovations to leverage capabilities to attain long-term success.
- Did the govt. Supported your entrepreneurship?
No, we have not received any support from the government.
- What’s your message to all the upcoming entrepreneurs?
There can be a lot of do’s and don’ts when a person jumps into entrepreneurship however, the most important thing to understand is to stay focused and keep learning everyday even after one reaches the success point, because learning should never end. An entrepreneur
- Vision of ilandlo?
Ilandlo strives to become the most favorable and recommended company for the entrepreneurs in the Northeast region. We want to be there solving problems and growing businesses of our entrepreneurs starting from creating a product to finding Market linkages and to make world class brands just as our tagline goes, “Our Business is to grow your business”