If you were to journey from one corner of our country to another, you would see the treasure trove of arts and crafts that it holds.
Busy hands in the rural stretches of our nation work day and night in making beautiful masterpieces. Many of these goods were hidden gems in the nooks and crannies of villages, only making guest appearances at exhibitions. And the few people who took time off to venture into the countryside, found valuable goods that they could carry home. But times are changing - and they are changing for the better. Small artisans and craftsmen are making their way into larger markets thanks to a path paved by Amazon.
Amazon Karigar – designed to empower Indian artisans
Skilled men and women from different parts of the country are growing thanks to the empowerment of e-commerce. 13 Government Emporiums and 5 Government bodies have joined hands with Amazon to connect artisans of all kinds with customers across the country. They have set up a platform especially for handcrafted and handmade products called Amazon Karigar.
Commenting on the Karigar Platform, Gopal Pillai, Vice President, Seller Services, Amazon India, said; “At Amazon, we are committed to providing weavers and craftsmen of all sizes and scale easy access to a comprehensive suite of offerings to help them expand their business. The eve of National Handloom Day is perfectly suited to launch Amazon Karigar which is in alignment with Amazon’s sustained efforts to contribute to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Through the Karigar program, we are engaging with government and handicraft bodies across the country, training craftsmen to embrace online selling and enabling them to sell to a wide consumer base. We believe in working backwards from the customer and innovating on their behalf, and as a result Amazon Karigar offers an unmatched and authentic selection of handloom and handicraft products for individuals to choose from. It is remarkable to note that the average sales of weavers on Amazon Karigar has increased by 4X YoY. Over time, we aim to expand our seller base and selection, to support newer local art forms benefitting both craftsmen and consumers in the process”.
“ It is remarkable to note that the average sales of weavers on Amazon Karigar has increased by 4X YoY. Over time, we aim to expand our seller base and selection, to support newer local art forms benefitting both craftsmen and consumers in the process.”
This platform has over 55,000 products that showcases around 270 arts and craft forms from 20 states across the country. These numbers have made it the largest store for handmade and handcrafted goods in India. Customers can browse through a variety of khadi kurtas, Kantha embroidered fabrics, bamboo & cane products from Northeast India, Jaipur's blue pottery, brass figurines sourced from Aligarh, terracotta jewelry, and even Odisha handloom sarees with Sambalpuri weaves that have a background steeped in mythology and magic. Odisha Handloom is working magic as well. The group started selling through Amazon in 2018 and reported over 1 crore in sales. Money isn't the only part of their success story. The success of this business with over 500 products online lies in the fact that they have created new job opportunities for over 50 families.
Many artisans from around the country claimed that they were unable to sell their goods or get them to a place where customers could purchase them. Traveling to the city and setting up stalls in exhibitions was time-consuming and often unfruitful. Thanks to Amazon Karigar, they are now able to sell their goods and have them delivered without having to leave home. The exposure has opened them up to a greater demand and higher profitability. Women of the Santhal Tribe are now making extra money thanks to Kantha embroidery, while artists of the Gond Community are earning a livelihood by making brass idols and figurines.
Businesses such as Asavari Sarees have more orders thanks to their sales on the e-commerce platform. Asavari Sarees works with 500 families who help in creating fabrics using looms, dying fabrics and embroidering them. This has helped the Varanasi-based business to grow and prosper alongside these families. TRIFED also works closely with Bodh Shawl Weavers to sell their goods through Amazon. This has helped bring beautiful shawls that are woven at the foothills of the Himalayas to people across the country, and in turn creates more business and employment for the group.
Like it's often said, when you support handmade, you don't just support a person. You support a family, a business, our economy. And you purchase a little part of an artist's heart! So on this National Handloom Day, go get a little bit of India into your homes