Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru announces investment in Desi Hangover

Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru announces investment in Desi Hangover
December 2, 2022

Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru announced the latest addition to its portfolio, Desi Hangover, a social enterprise that creates sustainable footwear using an age-old vegetable tanning process. The company is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra with operations in in Athani and Belgaum clusters of Karnataka.

Desi Hangover’s footing was paved in 2014, when Hitesh Kenjale, Lakshya Arora and Abha Agarwal decided to introduce modern practices to the traditional Kolhapuri shoemaking process, enabling artisans to make products at scale. The founders wanted to create a  create differentiation in the marketplace for environment-friendly footwear and uplift artisans' living standards in this industry. Desi Hangover’s products target the mid-premium segment catering to the middle-class/upper-middle-class. Currently, Desi Hangover retails on its website and through partner retailers such as FabIndia and Jaypore.

The problem Desi Hangover aims to solve for is the growth and recognition of the artisans engaged in leatherwork and tanning. Historically, leatherwork has been a family trade and the artisan households that continue to stay engaged in this trade fail to find dignified working opportunities. Moreover, lack of standardised products, poor financial acumen, and a fractured supply chain prevents them from scaling up and generating total value for the products they sell and making a meaningful livelihood. Owing to the value chain gaps and general lack of of transactional transparency, it is often challenging to source the footwear’s economic value back to the labour that created them. 

Desi Hangover has identified that lack of standardisation, differential output, quality issues, and lack of supply chain management are among the few factors that have prevented the growth and recognition of the artisans for handcrafted Indian shoes. Desi Hangover enhances the livelihoods of leatherwork artisans by developing an ethical, equitable, and organised supply chain for leather products; the company does so by training artisans on market-driven design; enabling predictable and high-quality raw materials (upcycled leather and vegan dyes); providing flexible decentralised manufacturing with quality control; and providing steady logistics across the supply chain.

Desi Hangover has inducted 160+ leatherwork artisans, while actively working with 70+ artisans for whom they have been able to increase income to 4x, and double monthly output. With respect to SDG alignment, Desi Hangover reports metrics under Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth and Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production. 

YSBFB believes that the entrepreneurs have a compelling vision and have been focused on solving the problem of the artisans over the last 5-years and have experimented on various models. Their connectedness to stakeholders across the value chain builds into the strength of the model. With its patient debt offering, YSBFB believes that it will be able to support Desi Hangover establish a solid domestic as well as international presence. YSBFB is excited to see Desi Hangover’s journey as they change the landscape of leatherwork artisanary and build a global recognition for the Indian craft. 

Find Desi Hangover on the YSBFB portfolio here

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