For all the hype around e-commerce and its impact on our daily lives, one of the least-known aspects of the sector is the handloom sari market. In the age of the digital marketplace, where we can choose from as many as 1,000 saris online, the impact of the handloom sari market can be less noticed. But in fact, this sector is bigger than we think. It is a business, not a hobby. It is an essential part of the livelihood of people from all walks of life. And it is one of the oldest business models in the world.
In this blog post, we will tell you about how a few ordinary people from different walks of life are fighting to protect their heritage, keep their culture alive and preserve their ancestral way of life.
What is a handloom sari?
The sari is a cultural icon of India, associated with women’s liberation and feminism. It symbolizes relaxation and calmness, and it is often worn to meditation and yoga classes.
What is the story of the Bharatsthali Handloom Saree?
The British had banned the wearing of shawls and other traditional garments by Indians, and as a result, people were resorting to low-cost alternatives like the sari. The handmade khadi sari used to cost around Rs. 2,500 or over Rs. 1,000.
Ajit and Anuradha, owners of a small clothing shop inWAR- Chambery, made a bold decision and started manufacturing and selling the handmade sari. In a very short period, they created a sensation amongst the Indian diaspora, and the demand for the sari was far beyond their expectations.
Today, their business employs around 60 people, and the products are available in more than 80 outlets across 30 cities in 12 countries.
How Anuradha and Ajit have brought their business to the fore
Anuradha and Ajit’s story is a classic American success story. In the early 2000s, both were working as salespeople for a large pharmaceutical company in the US.
One day, Ajit called Anuradha and told her about a startup he was working for. It was doing online sales of pharmaceutical products. Ajit wanted to turn this idea into a venture and sell saris online.
Anuradha was initially hesitant, but Ajit assured her that the company would be worth investing in. Ajit was right. The business started as a small idea between friends and has evolved into a global company with offices in the US, Europe, and Asia.
Today, the company has become a household name thanks to its popular saris and is aggressively expanding its product range.
In their own words, “Anuradha and Ajit’s story is an example of how a small group of investors can create a huge impact through a simple idea.”
Why people should care about the Bharatsthali Handloom Saree
The handloom sari is an essential part of the cultural heritage of India. The industry employs around 130 million people, 40% of them being women. A large percentage of them are farmers’ wives.
The sari industry is crucial to the country’s economy. Without it, the women of our country would have no other option but to work in the less-than-caring service sectors.
It is through saris that women can show the world and potential partners that they are not just ‘eye-candy’ but also strong and capable women.
The sari industry also provides employment and a source of livelihood for many women who might not have had other options.
How Bharatsthali Handloom Saree can be revived
The demand for handmade saris has never been higher. The number of orders from abroad has also exploded, and people are now searching for affordable options in the digital world.
This has prompted the Handloom Saree Industry to think about reviving the old-fashioned craft. There is a chance that this could happen shortly.
How to Make a Handloom Sari
To make a handloom sari, you will need to know the following –
Type of fabric: The fabric used for a handloom sari should be a natural, woven fabric.
How to weave: This is the most important step in the making of a handloom sari. The weaver firstly prepares the fabric, which consists of bleaching, dyeing, spinning, and weaving. The weaver then goes on to weave the saree.
The Challenges in the Handloom Sari Market
The ease with which we can order a sari online, the popularity of Indian culture among Westerners, and the growing importance of Fair Trade have led to the expansion of the handloom sari business in the last few years.
Unfortunately, due to the low productivity and poor weft quality of the handloom sari yarn, most Indian handloom weavers have to sell their products in foreign countries through online retailers. This means that they lack the support of their families and the ability to work in their traditional way.
Bharatsthali Handloom Sarees: How They Are Made
To make a sari, the weaver firstly prepares the fabric, which consists of bleaching, dyeing, spinning, and weaving. Then she removes the fiber from the spool and lays it out flat on a table. The next step is to apply a solvent to the fibers to make them softer and easier to weave. After the solvents, the fibers are fixed to the table with glue.
There are various types of weft used in handloom saris. The weft used should be durable, strong, lustrous, smooth, and warm. The weft should not be too fine or gross, otherwise, it will be difficult to weave the fibers together to form the fabric.
The Future of Handloom Sarees
Currently, the handloom sari business is experiencing rapid growth in India and abroad. The demand for Indian handmade saris is increasing at a rapid pace.
The demand for handloom saris is expected to continue to increase over the coming years. The volume of operations of a typical weaving unit in the state of Uttarakhand increases dramatically during winters when the snows are deep and the climatic conditions are harsh. The demand for winter wear is expected to last for several years to come.
Other than winter clothing, our products are finding more and more use in the summer as they get warm and humid and require more enjoyable wear.
The handloom sari is a cultural icon of India, associated with women’s liberation and feminism.
The Bharatsthali Handloom Saree, with its bright colors and unusual patterns, is a perfect part of the Indian style wardrobe.
Reaching out to the people who make up this significant part of the society, especially the women, is the key to saving this sari. Anyone can wear a sari, regardless of age or gender. All they have to do is choose the right sari and wear it with pride.