Do you feel like your home décor could be spruced up with Chhattisgarhi dokra artefacts or Gujarati Warli paintings? Could your wardrobe use more traditional weaves like Lotha waistcoats and Sambalpuri sarees? Fret not, because Amazon Karigar has just launched a two-week-long, colourful handicraft fair - the Karigar Mela, which is a dedicated storefront with an extensive selection of handmade products made by indigenous communities, traditional artisans and heritage weavers. 

Launched by Shri Arjun Munda, Hon'ble Minister of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, the Karigar Mela storefront this is an initiative to empower Indian artisans, weavers and handicraft sellers to showcase their products to shoppers across India. The initiative supports local indigenous and artisan communities by launching, scaling up and marketing their businesses on Amazon’s online marketplace.

The storefront offers an excellent collection of handwoven apparel, home décor and handmade accessories, among others. The Karigar Mela hopes to meet the Indian consumer’s demand for heritage arts and crafts, especially in these unprecedented times for shoppers and sellers alike, with the ease of online shopping. Heritage Kanchipuram sarees, handmade terracotta pottery, intricate wooden lamps, traditional brassware and loads of elegant clothing and artwork are up for sale.

Hand-holding the handicraft and handloom sector

The handloom and handicrafts sector is not only a source of livelihood for weavers and artisans, but also a sector that embraces environment friendly and energy saving strategies. Particularly with the pandemic scenario having created a high sense of insecurity among local indigenous, weaver and artisan communities, there is a special need to support this traditional sector.

Speaking at the launch event, Shri Arjun Munda, Hon'ble Minister of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, said, “The tribal artisan and weaver community are at the nucleus of the Indian economy. It is also one of the segments that have been most severely hit due to the ongoing pandemic. The launch of Karigar Mela will play an important role in helping artisans and weavers revive their livelihoods and accelerate their growth during these challenging times. I also appreciate the long-term partnership of TRIFED and Amazon to empower artisans and weavers from across India and helping in increasing visibility for local products by bringing the offerings to the forefront. Such initiatives will help in driving deeper sentiment of ‘vocal for local’ among Indian consumers and help in boosting Prime Minister’s vision to be an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Generating online demand for artisans and weavers’ products

The art and craft of India’s heritage handlooms have been handed down for generations. Preserving this priceless cultural heritage and creating platforms for our handlooms and crafts to flourish are of immense importance. Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India, said, “India’s rich cultural heritage is held together by the tribal artisan and weaver community; whose creations are a source of livelihood for millions of families. To help generate online demand for artisans and weavers’ products while supporting them with working capital as they look to bounce back from the recent disruptions, we have launched the ‘Karigar Mela’ storefront. With the festive season coming up, we believe that such initiatives will empower indigenous craftspeople, weavers and tribal artisans and help the rich legacy of Indian art and craft to thrive. We will continue to collaborate with government and non-government organizations to enable Indian artisans and weavers across the country to accelerate their growth through e-commerce.

Online marketplace for Indian weavers and artisans

Local indigenous communities throughout the country design the most exquisite and authentic handlooms and handicrafts. There is a growing need to revive India’s handicrafts more than ever and initiatives such as the Amazon Karigar Mela are exactly what the sector needs right now.

As internet access and adoption is increasing rapidly, online shopping is at an all- time high. This provides an excellent opportunity for the community to showcase their talent to potential shoppers. The online marketplace has emerged as a boon for small and traditional crafts businesses to reach customers across the country, especially for the upcoming festive season.

“TRIFED and Tribes India are a family of 5 lakh tribal master craftsmen and women who produce a rich volume of handicraft and handloom products in India. Our partnership with Amazon as part of the MoU signed has enabled us to take Made in India tribal products to customers across the country and the world. With Amazon introducing the Karigar Mela initiative towards the revival of this segment, tribal artisan sellers will benefit from a dedicated store as it will bring customer attention to their unique and differentiated products while providing them with a host of relaxations and benefits of selling online,” said, Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED, Government of India.

In the last 12 months, Amazon launched other initiatives such as Stand for Handmade in 2020 for Karigar sellers which enabled over 4500+ Pochampally weavers from 56 villages of Telangana, 5000+ weavers from West Bengal, 1000+ artisans from East India, over 10,000 artisans from Chhattisgarh among many more who are associated with sellers that are part of Amazon Karigar program to recover and resume their handlooms and handicrafts business.