LAKARCADE – A significant turning point in Sri Lankan handicrafts. 0 2798

By : Cameron Blake

With Sri Lanka becoming the number one travel destination according to The Lonely Planet rankings, the success of the novelty gift and souvenir industry, which is one of the major developing categories in tourism, is thus far stabilized. One could say LAKARCADE’s entry into the industry is well-timed, and it is the view of LAKARCADE CEO and Managing Director Anil Koswatte that it is here to cater to the demanding market, by setting up its flagship store in the heart of Colombo.

LAKARCADE is one of the biggest novelty Gift & Souvenir shopping malls in Asia located in the heart of Colombo, LAKARCADE offers a wide array of authentic Sri Lankan souvenirs and novelty gift items. The fine range on display includes carefully selected teas, spices, traditional art & craft items, batiks, gems, jewelry, silverware and many more creative products.

“Sri Lanka is now focusing more on the tourism industry, and we need to exploit this opportunity as much as possible like other South East Asian countries. When you look at tourism development, novelty gift and souvenir industry is one of the major developing categories in the world that contribute to tourism. Gem and jewelry, spa products and handicrafts are subcategories in this industry,” Koswatte said.

According to Koswatte, the statistics of tourists’ arrivals are on the rise, with numbers increasing every year; Sri Lanka currently has reached a mark of 2.5 million arrivals per year. He believes that Sri Lanka has the potential to reach the heights of countries like Thailand and Malaysia, and increase these numbers up to 20 million. As a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Koswatte states that LAKARCADE is getting ready to take up this challenge by aiding the Government as a private entity, to boost economic growth from grassroots level by increasing its service to the rural crafts community.

LakArcade Sri Lanka
Koswatte says that almost all of the products sold at the store are manufactured by village- or cottage-based craftsmen, with the exception of some products being sourced by local but established manufacturers. Crafts and artefacts from Batticaloa, Puttalam and Jaffna, covering areas from North to South, are sourced by LAKARCADE.
“Products that require a quality assurance such as tea, coffee, and spa products, we have reputed and established local manufacturers who supply for us. All products are manufactured here and all resources and expertise are local; we’re not importing anything. So, the majority of the products are produced in the cottage industry,”

According to Koswatte, LAKARCADE provides the rural craftsmen the ability to demand their prices. He said that no bargaining happens on their part, and therefore the craftsmen are assured a reasonable income for their efforts. “We don’t tell them this is your price. They come with their prices and we accept.”

LakArcade Sri Lanka

Koswatte added that the suppliers, the cottage industry manufacturers, are very talented, creative and efficient. However, according to certain market standards and trends, some changes needs to be made, and this is where LAKARCADE collaborates with their designers and produces an end product that has more market value. “The manufacturers are very independent people. There are as per my calculations, 3000-odd suppliers of handicraft in Si Lanka. We purchase from some of these manufacturers, either what they are producing according to their designs, or after we do our own designs and value additions.”

LAKARCADE has recruited a very famous design consultant, Senaka De Silva. His expertise is utilised into understanding current market trends, and incorporated into the products produced by the suppliers.

“Suppliers come and see the stores. They can see the consumer points, consumer behaviour, market trends, what components in their production they should enhance such as packaging and weight. It’s an exposure program for them also. This is where the manufacturer and the buyer meets. They can see for themselves how the market behaves to their products,” he explained.
With a wide range of items such as gem and jewelry, handloom, Sri Lankan batik, Ceylon spices, Ceylon tea and coffee and handicrafts, the exclusivity of a gift shop such as this is its ability to make a global presence through e-commerce, says Koswatte. “We already have the facility in place for customers to do their shopping online. We’re joining with Ikman.lk and we’re aiming to have a global presence like Amazon and Alibaba as vendors.”

“Our market segment here is 80% tourists. Some people come and order items big in size such as wooden elephants or artefacts, and we will deliver it to their doorstep through our air-freight or sea cargo,” Koswatte explained.

LakArcade Sri Lanka

The team at LAKARCADE is equipped with expertise knowledge as they all have prior experience working in a similar scope. With ease, one can observe a cross-section of Sri Lankan heritage and culture at LAKARCADE.

Koswatte says that unless marketing linkage is provided, the village- or cottage-based craftsman doesn’t get reasonable prices for their efforts. He states that the backward integration in the business, from buyer to manufacturer linking, is one of its main goals. Therefore, the sustainability of this business in the long run with adequate income to the craftsman is promised when market facilities such as LAKARCADE is available in the Centre of Colombo, aiming the tourists.

“As a marketing linkage institution, LAKARCADE does not produce any items sold at the store. All these are produced in the village level, either in the cottage industry or either in a rural level craftsman-owned business. Most of the products come from the cottage industry,” Koswatte explained.
Sri Lanka has a significant advantage on gem and jewellery, being one of the major countries manufacturing gems and jewellery, in addition to tea and spices, according to Koswatte, and he further added that Sri Lanka has the competitor advantage, with the ability to demand higher prices in these categories. “If the consumers aren’t happy with our product, including our gem and jewellery, they can return it and we can pay back. We have the money-back guarantee as well.”
Koswatte says that from the point of country, LAKARCADE plays the part of brand-building or destination-marketing for Sri Lanka, and that it is their corporate responsibility, objective, vision and goal.

“The tourism industry should sustain with a good image and attractive campaign and we are part of it. Our Sri Lankan authentic products should enhance the total value of the Sri Lankan brand. I believe LAKARCADE plays a major role in providing this assurance,” Koswatte elaborated.
LAKARCADE truly Sri Lankan with a vision “To become the global representative of authentic Sri Lankan Novelty Gift & Souvenir items by preserving our heritage”.

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4 Ways to Stay Motivated as You Build Your Business 0 759

By : Chantal D

It takes consistent motivation to push through the hard times.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re having an amazing month when things are flowing in your business. You’re signing new clients, your current customers are spreading the word about your business. Things are going so well that you pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.

Then, the next month arrives. Business slows down. Potential clients decide to use someone else. One thing after another just doesn’t go your way.

In either case, your motivation affects the growth of your business. During the good times, motivation can be a little different to stay focused on the smaller tasks that grow a business. During the hard times, you don’t feel motivated to do anything but sit with a drink on the couch verging out on your favorite TV series.

It takes a lot to build a business. Your motivation is an important part of the equation. Being motivated 100 percent of the time is not a realistic expectation, but there are strategies for staying consistently motivated to achieve explosive growth in your business.

01. Take plenty of ‘you’ time. 

Take plenty of 'you' time

It’s easy and common to get lost in the hustle of building your business. You have long workdays, respond to message all hours of the day and chase down potential business when it looks within your grasp. Before you know it, you start to hate your business because it’s overtaken your life. You start to get bitter about what you once loved. To stay constantly motivated, you need breaks.

You need to schedule lots of “you” time. This includes vacations and hours when you turn off “business mode.” Set boundaries with clients and have lots of time set aside for doing the things that light your fire. You need to recharge your batteries so that you can come back stronger after the “you” time.

Those breaks will help you get more done because it brings greater consistency.

02. Build connections into each week. 

Build connections into each week

Human beings crave connection with other human beings. You can try building a business on your own, but at some point, you’ll need to involve others. It may be bringing on employees, a virtual assistant or strategic partnerships. But also, it’s human contact and connection through groups and masterminds. Don’t build your business on an island.

Consistent motivation comes when you’re sharing experiences with other motivated people. You learn from each other while getting the connection that’s built into your DNA. Set aside time to mastermind, connect and meet fellow entrepreneurs who can help your entrepreneurial journey.

03. Have your sources of instant inspiration. 

Have your sources of instant inspiration

No one is motivated 100 percent of the time, but with the right sources of inspiration, you can get motivated instantly. There are videos, podcasts, articles and different forms of virtual content that you can consume immediately. Have content on the ready for tapping into when you’re unmotivated.

Listen to what the entrepreneurial greats who are doing what you’re working to do have to say about taking action. When you feel down, hit “play” and get an instant boost of inspiration to keep going. You’ll be surprised by what a simple video or article can do for your mindset.

 

04. Have a mission bigger than just a business. 

Have a mission bigger than just a business

Take a look at any successful business and you’ll see it is more than the widgets, marketing or who is in charge. They are businesses that are built around a mission and vision. There was a driving force that caused the business to be formed with the main goal being to help people and change the world.

Constant and consistent motivation comes when you build your business around an idea that’s bigger than just making money. Build a business that makes an impact on the lives of those your business serves. A business that creates freedom and financial security. Get clear on your mission and the values that shape the actions you’re taking.

You’re an entrepreneur building your dream. You’re putting your dent in a world that’s full of conformity. It will take a lot of consistent motivation to push through the hard times because there will be plenty of them every single day. Use these four tips to tap into your inner power and use that motivation to do amazing things.

 

Hassan Esufally – He has a story to tell! Comments Off on Hassan Esufally – He has a story to tell! 971

Hassan Esufally-01.jpg

‘’Running a marathon is all about perseverance, dedication and a healthy dose of motivation. ‘’

Running a marathon is a tough challenge. If it was your first marathon, then just getting to the start was an achievement, never mind the finish line. Completing a marathon – regardless of the time – should be considered an amazing achievement. 

Hassan Esufally-02

How many amazing sights they see – the scenery on an amazing trail run or the electric sights of a big city marathon. Did you hook up with any runners and make new friends? How did you feel? Did you get your nutrition and hydration right? Did you run strong and feel good? 

The adventure marathoner Hassan Esufally, the first Sri Lankan in history to run a marathon in all seven continents by completing the difficult Antarctic Ice Marathon with a time of 8 hours and 35 minutes, shared his stirring experience with us. 

The champion marathoner endured the 42.2km event under tough conditions with falling snow and poor visibility which required a phenomenal effort. Previous multiple times winners of both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and 100km events who participated in the event, were quoted as saying that this was one of the toughest years in the competition. 

Hassan Esufally, one of Sri Lanka’s leading marathoners recently took on the ambitious mission of earning the prestigious and highly sought-after Seven Continents Marathon Club Membership. The challenging endeavor required him to complete some of the world’s toughest and most exclusive marathons across all seven continents. Before the Antarctic Ice Marathon he was also the first Sri Lankan in history to complete the world’s hardest marathon, the Inca Trail Marathon. He has completed marathons in Europe (Stockholm Marathon in June 2017), Asia (Colombo Marathon in October 2017), Australia (Melbourne Marathon in 2014 and 2016), and Boston Marathon in USA (April 2018) and the Big Five Marathon in South Africa (June 2018) – putting Sri Lanka on the marathon map.

By: Chantal D 
Photography by: Eranga Pilimatalawwe

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