Every festival in India is a celebration of art. Be it a fabric dipped in vibrant colours, or an accessory adorned with sequins, each artefact represents centuries worth of tradition. From décor to apparel, little things translate to stories very niche to a region. Bandhanwars, rangoli, jewellery, clay diyas, and even perfumes have all evolved through deft craftsmanship mastered over generations. For years, local artisans have been the pioneers of crafts originating from different parts of India.
Amazon Karigar seeks to take the goodness of Indian arts and crafts to a larger global audience. The programme helps sellers join the ecommerce world and showcase intricate products that provide due recognition to local artisans. So far, over 1.5 million artisans and weavers across India have become a part of the digital movement. Amazon Karigar makes the SMB products discoverable to a selling network spread across 20 states and union territories across India. Here are some success stories.
Bringing sustainable fashion to the fore
Kauseyah is an environment-friendly Indian clothing line inspired by the indigenous culture and hidden beauty of Chhattisgarh. It utilises leftover handloom fabrics to design meaningful products.
Shweta Rao, Founder, Kauseyah started the brand to support and preserve the hand-woven traditional Kosa fabric from her native place. The brand also dabbles in block printing and other techniques specific to the state of Chhattisgarh. Its best-selling product is the zero-waste textile journal with handmade papers.
“I am the first generation in this field from my family. I started Kauseyah after graduating from fashion school in 2018. Before that I was completely involved in the research and development process, which still continues,” says Rao.
Shweta believes in a decentralised work environment. The karigars do not have to come to the unit and can work from the comfort of their home. “This work module encourages the artisans to generate more ideas and to work in their own peaceful environment,” she adds.
The festive season, especially Diwali, is quite busy for the company as they launch new products and offers. Shweta wishes to use the Amazon Karigar platform to empower more artisans across rural India. “It's hard for a small-scale business to reach its audience and so I thought of joining the Karigar platform,” she says.
Becoming a seller on Amazon Karigar has increased visibility for both the craft and the craftsmen of Kauseyah. “I feel it's an opportunity to showcase and take ahead our town/city’s art and craft to global/national audience. It's our responsibility to carry forward these local specialities,” she adds.
Reviving traditional Indian art of perfume-making
Boond Fragrances is a venture started by siblings Varun and Krati Tandon. The brother-sister duo saw the fragrance makers of Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh struggling during the lockdown and wanted to do something to help the community. “My father has been involved in the industry, but it was more of a hobby for him. Everyone in Kannauj has at least once been involved in the perfume industry. My sister and I grew up around a community of attar makers,” says Varun.
It was a sense of admiration towards the craft they grew up watching that drove the founders to venture into the retail side of this industry. “It is a dying art,” says Varun. “Growing up we saw a lot of attar around us, naturally we also grew an interest in fragrances. But after venturing out of the city, we saw a scope for this business as a lot of people were fascinated by it.”
To maintain authenticity while expanding operations, the company employed local artisans specialising in Deg Bhapka, an ancient technique and other crafts of perfume making. Depending on a young workforce for basic operations and marketing, Boond Fragrances currently employs over 15 people. “We also have students from Delhi working for us. For our customised notes, we take help from local teachers in Kannauj,” he adds.
Starting with their now bestselling attar Maati (Petrichor), Varun and Krati joined Amazon Karigar in 2022. Showcasing a range of nostalgic and organic fragrances, Boond Fragrances is helping revive the dying craft of perfume making very niche to Kannauj.
They believe a lot of people associate fragrances with festivals. “Each perfume box is handcrafted using recycled paper, cotton scraps and comes with a personalised handwritten note. This makes it a perfect gift,” Varun highlights.
Boond introduced a special collection of products for the festive season. Talking about the brand’s new gift box – Sitara, Varun says, “It has two of our best-selling fragrances, a blue pottery tea light candle holder and a handmade photo frame. The fragrances are customisable and come with a personalised handwritten note,” he adds.
The Amazon Karigar programme has helped the siblings upscale the venture in terms of sales, operations, and opportunities. “It is a great place to discover handicrafts. From rugs, carpets and more, consumers can find out more about traditional Indian art. There is a lot of cross difference that can happen,” says Varun. “With Amazon, you know that the product will be authentic and credible,” he adds further.
Handcrafted with love
Divyakalaa is a brand that creates handcrafted products for women, by women. An early-stage venture founded in 2020, the team consists of two co-founders and three artisans at the moment. Divya Maheshwari, Co-founder, Divyakalaa is the first from her family to venture into this category of business.
“We started with selling rakhis online,” says Divya. The brand started with its own website, exclusive designs, a dedicated shipping partner and an online payment gateway. “We soon enrolled ourselves on ecommerce portals. And there was no looking back since then. Till this day our startup remains bootstrapped,” she adds.
The team started operations from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh with a wish to highlight the local crafts of their home state. “We have the famous pottery from Khurja, the craft of candle making, the contemporary art of silk thread jewellery and the terracotta pottery for earthen diyas,” she says.
Sharing her experience with Amazon Karigar so far, Divya says, “We got a dedicated SPOC who helped us with everything and an account manager giving us insights on sales and marketing. We were also given some funds to head start with running ads on the platform.”
The Karigar programme gave Divyakalaa the scope of reach millions of customers, include far-flung and remote parts of the country. “It is by far our biggest sales channel. It provides us a platform where we can portray our traditional crafts and have an audience for it,” she adds.
The brand sees a spike in traffic during Diwali. “The Great Indian Festival brings in more customers to the platform than usual. These customers also have a higher purchase affinity,” she adds.
“We recommend it to other sellers because it has given us a boom in sales,” she points. “It has very quickly become our biggest channel of sales, and it has helped us with a lot of brand visibility.”
A business takes time to evolve nurture and succeed. The success of these emerging brands also leads to rising incomes for artisans and their families.
Celebrating Indian Karigars
Since its launch in 2016, the Karigar programme has benefited over 15 lakh artisans and weavers. Amazon.in has collaborated with 30 government emporiums and five government bodies to showcase authentic crafts. The Karigar programme showcases over two lakh products, including 470+ unique arts and crafts from more than 27 states and union territories. In August, Amazon India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rajasthan Grameen Aajeevika Vikas Parishad (RGAVP)—an autonomous society by the Government of Rajasthan—to support the growth of women artisans and self-help groups across the state.
This festive season, let’s bring success to score of local artisans by supporting brands that are empowering karigars and karigari across India.