KOCHI: During the early 70s, Convent Road, then called ‘Kollamparambmukk’, showed the first signs of evolving into a shopping epicentre. A few stalls, studios and bookshops opened their doors here and in two decades, the stretch grew into Kochi’s fashion hub. By the 90s, Convent Junction had established itself as a shoppers’ paradise, attracting women in hordes, boasting a legacy that is unparalleled. And taking the Convent Road experience online is tech entrepreneur Rijin John. He has come up with an online platform www.conventroad.com, which aims to help people across the globe to shop at their favourite hub.
Says Rijin, “There are many Kochiites settled outside the state and abroad who make it a point to include Convent Road shopping on their to-do list whenever they come down to the city. It’s deeply embedded in Kochi culture. Through the platform, we cater to such people. It is their emotional connect and love for the spot that we aim to tap,” says Rijin.
The website, which will be launched today, is still in its primary stage. “The focus right now is to build a community. We are promoting the platform now and plan to launch the product sales in another two weeks,” says Rijin. The self-financed startup has the active participation of over 14 stores along the stretch and more will join soon.
“The glory of Convent Road is on the wane. With issues like the lack of parking and not adequate real-estate space, the growth of this space is hindered. The shop owners here are feeling the pinch. So they believe initiatives like this will help them grow,” says Rijin. The team also received an overwhelming response when the idea was mooted before a few Kochiites who are settled abroad. The startup is incubated at the Centre for Social Innovation and Incubation of Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology.
They also plan to promote the city’s ethnic collections worldwide through the initiative. “We know there is a huge market for ethnic clothes. There is a huge potential for Convent Road shops to carve a niche in that space,” he says.And it is the same idea that prompted Oil and Natural Gas Corporation former director Jamestin K S to associate with the project.
“The potential for ethnic wear is expected to grow at robust rates, both in India, as well as in the overseas market. A lot of new brands have entered this segment in the recent past. This venture from Kerala has got the potential to target a wider audience nationally and internationally,” says Jamestin in a statement.
The website will be formally inaugurated on Tuesday at 12.30 pm at the Incubation Centre In Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology.