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The handicrafts sector is the second-largest source of income after agriculture for India’s population. Official sources claim that there are nearly 7 million artisans in India but given the unorganized nature of this sector, we could be looking at a figure of 200 million. Despite being part of such a large workforce, Indian artisans face some serious challenges.
We took a trip to India in early 2020. During our visit we talked to many artisans, who told us about how they did not get fair wages for their work. On top of that, they lost two-thirds of the profits they made on their handcrafted products to middle agents. We learned that it often got so hard to make a living that they were forced to stop making handicraft items entirely and rely upon other unskilled jobs for a living.
It was then that the idea of creating a platform to support the artisans took root. We decided to set up a marketplace where they could sell their work to a global audience without worrying about losing their profits. Svadia was born with an aim to connect them to the international market. Driven by a mission to empower the artisans, we wanted to ensure that they earned a fair price for their hard work.
It became all the more essential and urgent for us in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As small businesses shut down due to lockdowns worldwide, we were sure there was no better time to get started. We got in touch with the artisans and discussed our ideas about setting an online platform for handicraft products and were pleasantly surprised by the reaction and support we got from them. They were eager to join us and were happy to be spared the logistics of setting up an account on e-commerce marketplaces. Listening to them, it was not hard to understand the challenges of a competitive market where digital solutions are an important part of marketing. We assured them that we would take care of all the aspects of online selling so that they could focus solely on their artwork and creativity.
At Svadia, we believe that mass-produced, machine-made goods can never replace handmade items. Apart from their cultural worth, handcrafted items are sustainable and eco-friendly, and allow the buyer to customize products, unlike goods produced for mass consumption in factories.
We realize that there is a growing need for practical yet aesthetic handcrafted products. People are increasingly looking to buy sustainable products that are genuine and have been produced ethically. Through our platform we want to reach that audience, those of you who are well-informed and care about the environmental impact of our choices.
We hope that you will join us on our mission to make a difference in the lives of our talented craftspeople! Your support will go a long way in ensuring that artisans can continue to produce rare Indian art forms and pass on their skills to other tribe members from their community.