With every changing day the tastes and preferences of people are also changing. There was a time when we all used to run after all the modern and western clothes and accessories, something that is not Indian so as to look cool and hip. But with time, our age-old traditions are coming back and gaining huge ground in the current market. Now we all are running after things with an ethnic touch to bring about that class and sophistications that we all yarn for. The demand for handmade products is returning and has caught the attention of high class individuals mostly in the urban areas who don’t mind spending huge amounts to avail these products. The success of FabIndia, Mother Earth and Khadi are few such stories which serve as an epitome in this segment.
After government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, the planning commission proposed the Handmade in India Campaign, a handloom policy that will leverage the union among handlooms, handicrafts and khadi and village industries creating a one-stop shop or a single identity brand to sell such goods to niche markets through e-marketing.
With this mission in mind Rajarshi Guha and Sonal Gupta came up with the idea of Navrang. “The accessibility of handicrafts and handloom products, as well as the availability of skilled workers, has drastically reduced. Counterfeit products are available large scale. So Navrang was conceived primarily with the idea of conserving rich Indian tradition and culture,” says Rajarshi, Co-founder, Navrang.
The duo started the venture with an initial investment of 25 lakhs which has been spent mainly on procurement of products, setting up office space and coming up with a website. No funds have been raiser until now.
Navrang sources its products from local artisans. For example, they get phulkaris from Patiala and kantha from shantiniketan, khadi from Gujarat and other materials likewise which is the main key point that sets it apart from its competitors. Navrang has government registered artisans/weavers who provide authentic handloom and handcrafted materials and also focuses on national award winners as it helps in getting original products. Marketing costs are always low and this leads to making profit as well. Internet is the platform for making sales.
To derive authentic products, the venture faces the problem of interference from middle men. The accessibility of the remote villages is also not up to the mark. Yet another challenge is that of competition from well funded platforms that are able to market its products smoothly.
We all are aware of the fact that India is the largest manufacturer of handloom, handicrafts and other traditional products; it is carving out a huge platform in the economy of our country and going to be among the top contributors to the Indian economy in near future. This sector is one that has been passed down from our ancestors to new and coming generations. The USP of the sector lies in its uniqueness, highly flexible production, innovation, adaptability to the supplier’s requirement and the wealth of its rich tradition. Due to various policy initiatives, interventions like the cluster approach, aggressive marketing initiatives, and social welfare measures, the handloom sector has shown positive growth, and the income level of weavers has improved.
‘Reservation Articles for Production Act 1985’ is a bill passed by the Indian government to protect handloom and handcrafted items from being plagiarized by power looms. This ensures high growth opportunities for startups who are promoting handmade products.
“Our objective is to cover all the states of India. As of now, we are covering seven states. We wish to offer to our customers hand-woven and handcrafted textile work from any state in India by the end of this year,” says Sonal.