5 brands that are bringing Indian craftsmanship and creating livelihoods for rural artisans

Each state and region of India has its own unique art and skills, and this is deeply embedded in our culture. Although there has been a growing demand for handicrafts in domestic and international markets, most artisans live in rural areas and cannot take advantage of this opportunity. However, with the Make in India initiative, things are taking a good shape and empowering Indian artisans, weavers and artisans.

Here is the list of 5 Indian brands that have also taken a step forward in harnessing creative minds and providing them with job opportunities:

Mansi Gupta, 36, born out of love for traditional craftsmanship and to meet the global demand for Indian handicrafts, she launched Tjori in 2013 in New Delhi.

Mansi recalls, “While studying at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, I saw a huge demand for Indian handicrafts overseas. However, I couldn’t find any Indian brand meeting this need. There was no brand to lead the Indian public there. Therefore, I thought of starting something in this niche,”

Tjori is a multi-category brand that sells apparel, wellness, home, and mother and child products. Over 500 craftsmen and artisans contribute to Tjori’s collection today. The company was launched with an investment of Rs 10 lakh from Mansi’s personal savings, and now has an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore. Currently, Tjori serves 195 countries through digital marketing and its website.

  • Ramnarayan blue art pottery

The seeded company Ramnarayan Blue Art Potteries was established in 1980, headed by Ramnarayan Prajapat, is a second generation company, which has expanded its business not only in India but also abroad. It is a traditional craft of Jaipur, and Kot Jewar is its center of production.

Vimal Prajapat says: “My family was very poor. My grandfather was a farmer but could not help feed the family, so my father started this pottery job. He went to Jodhpur to learn about blue art pottery and got some training.

Today, nearly 250 rural artisans produce these items and have also created employment opportunities for women. It also seeks to create jobs for the people of Kot Jewar and nearby villages and provide them with a source of income. The company has participated in various training programs for MSMEs in recent years.

At present, Ramnarayan Blue Art Potteries is exporting its products to New York, Canada, California and recently received an order worth Rs 2 crore from the Netherlands.

As we all know, Lucknow is known for its world famous Chikan embroidery which dates back to the Mughals. It’s no surprise, then, that many businesses thrive on this ancient form of craftsmanship.

Triveni Chikan Arts is one such business which was started by Nitesh Agarwal. The company manufactures and exports hand-embroidered Chikankari garments for men and women. The business started with an initial investment of Rs 13,000 and now has an annual turnover of around Rs 3 crore.

The team has 15 people working directly, including four family members. Apart from that, about 200 women and a few men work indirectly with them. These artisans do hand embroidery work, sew handmade lace, sew on buttons, do applique and katia-zaali work, and also specialize in different types of embroidery.

Triveni Chikan Arts currently caters to national and international markets. It exports its products to overseas markets like Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, USA, UK and others.

Rajan Sodhi started collecting antiques, chandeliers, clocks, pocket watches and artifacts from Rajasthani havelis. What started as a hobby eventually turned into entrepreneurship.

He started Ethnic Kraft with his wife Reena Sodhi, who is an interior designer, in New Delhi in 1992. The business started with Rs 5 lakh and currently has a retail store in New Delhi. From sofas and dining sets to beautifully carved jharokhas (windows) and Indian swings, the company manufactures and exports traditional hand carved teak Rajasthani furniture.

Rajan says, “I have always been into art and culture, and when I saw such beautiful work in Rajasthan, I couldn’t resist myself and started the business to publicize this beauty around the world.

“We directly or indirectly employ around 80 skilled artisans in our operations and supply them with the raw materials needed to manufacture the products,” he added.

The company is currently exporting to countries like USA, UK, Bulgaria, Australia, Kenya, Middle East etc.

Rajasthani craftsmanship has always fascinated Rahul Jain, a native of Jaipur. Be it mesmerizing Katputli puppets, embellished Mochdi shoes, or colorful bangles, Rajasthani handicrafts are sought after around the world.

Rahul, 31, says, “I know how much a handicraft from Rajasthan costs. The selling price of the item was four times higher than the actual cost, and I was shocked to see that there was no preset market rate for these handicrafts.

This experience inspired Rahul to open his own e-commerce business a year later to collaborate with artisans and artisans to sell affordable products by cutting out the middleman. In 2014, Rahul along with Ankit Agarwal and Pawan Goyal founded eCraftIndia.com with an initial capital of Rs 20,000 ranging from home decor to furniture, furnishings, paintings, kitchenware and gifts, the portal is home to over 8,000 unique products , eCraftIndia.com is currently recording Rs 12 crore in revenue.

“Our burning desire is to create a global reach for Indian arts and crafts by contributing to the development of skills and encouraging these artisans. Therefore, with the aim of bringing to light these hidden gems of rural villages and small cities across the country, we built eCraftIndia,” says Rahul.

These brands have taken great initiatives, which not only bring them business but also rural crafts will benefit from it.

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