Just-launched Desi High Street says it is the first online ethnic marketplace in the UK.
The site was founded by entrepreneur Kuljit Thiaray as a marketplace for independent retailers selling ethnic goods in categories from food to clothing and beyond. She aims to give customers choice, convenience and confidence in shopping online whether buying saris, masalas, or gifts. At the same time she also aims to encourage a new community of retailers to sell online.
Thiaray said: “Our vision is to bring the UK’s ethnic market online, onto one website. We have set out to digitalise a mainly non-digital industry in the UK, and to support small businesses in the process. This market has been successful in India, but in the UK retailers have not fully embraced ecommerce. Desi High Street is responding to the changing needs of customers and the fact that the UK’s ethnic market has not kept up with them.”
Thiaray previously worked in healthcare and higher education before deciding to turn this niche opportunity into a business. Desi is slang for South Asian, but also means ‘originating from elsewhere’.
Thiaray added: “We have huge ambitions and would like to support the UK’s ethnic market in a similar way to how ASOS marketplace supports new fashion brands and vintage boutiques, and Not on the High Street supports creative small businesses.”
Image: A shopper browses the selection on Desi High Street. Supplied by Desi High Street.