India Now - page 34

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H A N D I C R A F T S & H A N D L O OM S
38
APRIL-MAY2015
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communities traditionally engaged with crafts to continue
the art. Significantly, Caravan Craft has been working towards
up-skilling a substantial number of artisans across different
forms by providing communities with training opportunities
relevant to market needs. It has received funding from the
public sector entity National Skill Development Corporation
for engaging artisans across the value chain.
Capacity enhancement and skill building are also top priori-
ties of the government. HEPC’s focus is the export-oriented
business owners and those with such potential. It organises
awareness programmes on visual merchandising, export pro-
cedures, design trends and policy framework for handloom
manufacturers and exporters. The Handicrafts & Carpet Sec-
tor Skill Council, an initiative of the Export Promotion Coun-
cil for Handicrafts and the Carpets Export Promotion Council,
focuses on skill development for the handicrafts and carpet
sector. Its mandate is to identify skill gaps, identify potential
training institutions and create standards to make it easy to
train artisans anew and teach crafts to designers, entrepre-
neurs and students.
Creating Awareness
Patronising Indian handmade products can help preserve a
rich crafts heritage. It is also good for the economy as it pro-
motes employment. “Most handicraft units are in the small
scale sector, typically with an average turnover of between
`
2
crore and
`
5 crore, and are manpower intensive,” says Avi-
nash Khanna, Director-Owner, A G Exports Inc, Moradabad,
a metal handicrafts unit catering mostly to markets in USA,
Latin America and Europe. To create awareness about the
social implications of buying handmades among foreign buy-
ers, buying agents, designers, importers and Indian missions,
HEPC has released a book,
Indian Handwovens Sourcing Direc-
tory.
At the same time, brand building is a priority to reinforce
the attention paid to quality control. “We have created an
audio-video film on the HandloomMark to generate aware-
ness about Indian handlooms,” adds Anand.
Discerning customers set great score on transparency—
knowing the source of the product to ensure that the artisans
get their rightful dues. With this in mind, three National Insti-
tute of Design (NID) alumni have launched Gaatha, meaning
story, an initiative under NID’s National Design Business
Incubator, to promote the sale of handmade products through
a model that stands out for emphasising engagement. Gaatha
Co-Founder Sumiran Pandya and the team behind it have
visited each of the various artisan creators of the apparel and
accessories, gift articles, toys, stationary, paintings and home
décor products on offer. “We experience their way of life for a
few days to get a feel for their craft and what their livelihood
means to them,” Pandya explains. In design and even mode
of sale, Indian handmades are going chic. The various initia-
tives being taken to help craftspeople get the right value for
their craft certainly bode well for the sector.
with current fashion trends to make them relevant to greater
numbers of buyers over the long term. Arora is of the firm
opinion that simply showcasing a certain handloom in
one season doesn’t help crafts people—“they need steady
business and revenue to sustain their livelihoods.” To meet
this need, Arora works with select groups, providing crafts
people design inputs and challenging them to reinvent their
craft. “After all we have to come up with fresh lines season
after season,” she explains, adding that their response has
been amazing. Arora’s label Péro retails in India and overseas.
Overseas demand for Indian handlooms, according to
her, “comes from modern countries with almost no textile
heritage to speak of, such as some of the European countries.
It also comes from countries like Japan, which boasts of an
ancient textile heritage.” Caravan Craft is another brand that
is addressing the need to make products aligned to global
fashion trends. “Essentially, we’re bridging the gap between
contemporary consumer desires and traditional skills,” says
founder Kunal Sachdev.
Skilling Anew
Providing sufficient stimulating opportunities to weavers
and crafts people encourages the next generation of
Top10Export
Destinations
for Handloom
Products
(April 2014 to
January2015)
1
USA (
`
539 crore)
2
UK (
`
157 crore)
3
Germany (
`
135 crore)
4
France (
`
80 crore)
5
Italy (
`
78 crore)
6
Australia (
`
72 crore)
7
Japan (
`
55 crore)
8
Netherlands (
`
50 crore)
9
Saudi Arabia (
`
44 crore)
10
Spain (
`
43 crore)
Top 10 Export
Destinations
For Handicrafts
(excluding hand
knotted carpets)
(April 2014 to
March 2015)
1
USA (
`
7,229.73 crore)
2
UK (
`
2,639.51 crore)
3
UAE (
`
2,506.28 crore)
4
Germany (
`
2,087.98 crore)
5
France (
`
1,212.54 crore)
6
Latin American Countries
(
`
1,106.40 crore)
7
Italy (
`
916.44 crore)
8
Netherlands (
`
793.52 crore)
9
Canada (
`
618.27 crore)
10
Australia (
`
540.73 crore)
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