Thursday, 22 May 2014

Supporting the Handicrafts ....

We like and we purchase these products, however we never think what is the price the poor weaver sells this to middle man and what price we are paying for this. Why don't we directly purchase from the one who makes it? How? I want to solve this how by creating a network for urban community to buy rural products and directly support the social cause. Tisser aims to create this product network. It works with the original artists, artisans, handicraft makers on designs, product development and brings these products directly to the consumer through online network. The proceeds from sale are used to support girl child education of the artisans/weavers. The Self Help Group movement will be most benefited by this.

Weaving on Tisser leads to beautiful ethnic designs in Chanderi Maheswari and Tussar (Kosa) Fabric. This exclusive collection of hand weaved Dupattas , Sarees and Scarfs come directly from the weavers loom. Dupattas and Sarees can also be customized as per the requirement in terms of colour scheme and pattern. The products are lower priced since they come from the weavers. However if you go and see the situation of these weavers, they look like a bonded labor, totally exploited by the middle man. The weaver community is so poor that even after having the skill they can’t purchase raw material, neither can they market the product. I am creating stakeholders. The weavers weave for themselves. The products are marketed by Tisser and all proceeds go to the girl child education of the weavers’ daughters in Chanderi. A paid up capital of two lacs has been supported for this cause. Products have been purchased. 

The innovation piloting has started. Bulk and retail orders have started pouring. It’s like helping them respectfully.
I have been working with SHGs through the National Rural Livelihood Mission. I visit the rural areas regularly and have witnessed how rich is Indian rural community in traditional art. I live in urban Mumbai and see my friends wearing the hand woven saris and using the products to decorate the households. However they purchase through the available shops and on a very high price. The real art and the people attached to the same are dying in extreme poverty hence want to create this unique network to support the art in a respectable way. “You purchase the product and through proceeds we support the art and the artist” is the slogan. It has started with two products from handwoven fabric duppatta & sarees from Chanderi and Maheshwar. The new products to be added include tribal jewelry from jhabua, terracotta jewelry made by Self help group members from wardha, Tusar sarees weaved by the weavers from bhandara. 

There is a tremendous amount of enterprise in the rural world. What is lacking is the market connect and also identification of the value additions needed by the consumer i.e. market research. From my limited experience in the Livelihood program, interaction from field practitioners and also the various analysis in the innovation forum which was recently held, this is the kind of partnership and support rural India needs.  

This is definitely the way ahead.
It's a great idea to encourage the idea of "teach by showing and learn by doing".

Many of my friends are interested to support but don’t know how to do. Further I can’t ask people to just support anybody for girl child education and so on. Hence I have decided to work on products, which urban people like to purchase. Since I am working with the Livelihood Mission , I have access to SHG groups and products. I have started with three famous products which are popular and sell like hot cakes. Tisser has 100 Plus products now.

The idea is that you purchase the product and I use the proceed for the respective weavers’ girl child, hence it’s a win-win. Consumer gets the product, weavers can get money for product and I get the margin for the social cause

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