The global economy is facing an uncertain future, we are all fighting for our personal health and economic health. But do we really have an action plan? Do we have the resources to combat this pandemic and not crumble? There have been reports suggesting one result or the other but, we can only know if it is true in times to come.
Running a craft enterprise where location, mobilizing workforce and logistics play a crucial role I am sharing how Silpakarman sustained the tide.
Craft and community: Mobilizing and monitoring the workforce in the rural area was considered the most challenging and unattractive aspect for craft entrepreneurs. Leave a child in a room full of toys, chocolates and all things fancy. Can you ever come up with a plan to control him? To make him obey rules and guidelines? In communities where they have the basic necessities covered, how do we pull them out of their comfort zone? The solution, you enter their comfort zone such that the balance isn’t disturbed and you engage them in activities which give you the desired result. Our most unattractive aspect became our biggest strength. Just because our artisans worked from the community set-ups even the lock down couldn’t stop us from creating and innovating.
Craft and culture: Humans have been trading long before they even knew reading. Trade is essentially a share of expertise and, over a period of time we have replaced honing our own skills to create with looking for cheaper options. Creating, innovating and sharing not only offer choices but also increase availability for all. Hence, it is this cultural synthesis that we spotted among various clusters, combined one with another and achieved a viable production set up. Moving alone is not wise, we designed a self-sustained support system which even though was nurtured by us, it sustained itself during the hard times without any external support.
Craft and creation: With the changing dynamics and work culture around the globe Innovation is the key! Reading data, analyzing markets, understanding our customer demographics, any amount of time spent doing these activities are never wasted. Strategic decisions and a linear working model not only gave us a steady growth but also, a base so strong that, now we have become a locus point for the bamboo craft. It not only connects us with the customer globally but also, introduces artisans and their lifestyle to the customer thus, establishing a relationship.
Craft and cash flow: There were at least a dozen times when we had to face some very difficult situations due to the non-existent cash flow. However, learning from these times we made some very strict guidelines to maintain liquidity in the business, an advance for every order, monitoring expenses and investing in activities which improved cash inflow. It was because of these changes that even during the lock down we could pay our artisans well in advance and plan ahead for recouping with time loss.
Craft and consumer: Even though we are trying our best to cope with the current situation and keep moving forward, we also expect a sincere response from the consumers. Considering a handmade Indian product over a foreign brand, taking the initiative to learn about the craft products, craftsmen and their culture. It will not only be enriching but will turn the product into a story. A story that will take you places without having to travel!