India Plans To Open Handloom Stores Abroad

India Plans To Open Handloom Stores Abroad

India is planning to open handloom stores abroad and is in the process of pooling artisans to work on contemporary and export-oriented designs, a top government official said in Hyderabad.

“As far as the exports market is concerned, we are trying to explore new markets and look for some of the franchise model over there and also to open our own stores and we are working on that. It will take some time before we can put it into operation,” development commissioner (handlooms), Mr. Dinesh Kumar said.

Handicrafts and Handloom Exports Corporation of India as well as Handloom Export Promotion Council are working in that direction, he said.

“So, we are trying to put designers into clusters so as to make different kinds of designs which are contemporary and acceptable in the export market. Things are taking place. But growth rate… I think over a period of time we should see some upswing,” Mr. Kumar said.

Referring to the Indian market, he said though the number of looms has declined over the years, the amount of cloth that has been weaved has increased.

“There is a reduction in domestic looms much more than commercial looms. People are now spending more number of days per annum on the loom and it is getting slightly commercialised. Value addition is taking place and perhaps it is moving in the direction where it can become sustainable.”

The official also stressed the need for handloom sector to go in for more and more diversified products and contemporary designs with focus on colour consciousness.

“There is lot of demand in the domestic as well as in the export market provided we are able to offer right kind of design and right kind of fashion,” Mr. Kumar said.

Speaking on the initiatives to promote the handloom sector, he said: “We are now working on the online marketing and on that we have an MoU understanding with (E-retailing major) Flipkart.

“Flipkart will be going to the primary societies and they put their products on their website. They will receive the orders and collect the material and pack it and send it (to customers) after charging 3 to 4 per cent of service charges for that.

“That should really provide a good opening for the weavers because I presume that it should remove the middlemen and they (weavers) should be able to get the value for their products.”

As per the MoU, Flipkart will provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers from across the country, a move that will help artisans tap the growing number of online shoppers. The company has also agreed to help weavers produce items as per the buyers’ requirement.

Mr. Kumar also said the textiles ministry has sought from the government some special concessions to handloom products and if that gets through, perhaps exports may further increase.