With dwindling local demand and dying heritage of Indian art and handicraft, many artisans in Uttar Pradesh have been struggling to make ends meet. This was true for artisans who work with resin, wood, and iron as these sectors face competition from Chinese goods. But help is at hand with companies like Tied Ribbons. Its founder Priya Tyagi from Ghaziabad was working in the corporate sector when she first started to notice the slow death of Indian handicraft.
“We work with artisans from across India to innovate forms of traditional handicraft that suit contemporary Indian aesthetics and in the process, revives not only the craft but also the livelihoods of the artisans.”
Reviving our heritage
Priya was tired of seeing the same mass-produced goods on the high street. It did not make sense to her that the rich heritage of Indian art and crafts was getting replaced with Chinese goods that had little sense of identity and didn’t sit well with Indian aesthetics. This is how Tied Ribbons was born in 2016. Today, Tied Ribbons, Priya says “has resolved to bring Indian art and handicraft back from the brink of death. We work with artisans across Uttar Pradesh to innovate forms of traditional handicraft that suit contemporary Indian aesthetics and in the process, revives not only the craft but also the livelihoods of the artisans.”
There are many lives of artisans that Tied Ribbons’ has changed, but probably the most awe-inspiring story comes from Ghaziabad where they helped carpenter Devendra Kumar find a respectable livelihood. His business was seasonal and earnings ranged from nothing to a couple of hundred rupees a day. Today, Devendra manages to support his family with an annual income of 15-20 lakhs. Tied Ribbons, which started with a close-knit team of 10 people employs almost 50 full time employees. The company’s larger ecosystem includes close to 15 artisans who, in turn, employ 8-10 people each. Women form a large part of this network. The company’s policy dictates that part of these women’s incomes goes into savings for their children’s education. And all this is paying off - in less than two years, Tied Ribbons has closed Rs 14.5 crore in sales, thanks to its resourcefulness, creativity and reach it has found since it made its way to Amazon.