Inde’ Loom aims to impact the lives of weavers and artisans in India

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jul 15, 2019, 3:11 pm IST
Updated Jul 15, 2019, 3:43 pm IST
Inde' Loom delivering biodegradable handloom sarees.
Inde’ Loom’s target audience comprises women who love slow fashion, handloom and handmade products. (Photo: Manik Kapoor)File)
 Inde’ Loom’s target audience comprises women who love slow fashion, handloom and handmade products. (Photo: Manik Kapoor)File)

Hyderabad-based Inde’ Loom was founded in 2018 by Sandhya Tholi and Suren Chowdhary. The startup works directly with artisans and weavers across India and helps them sell handloom sarees online and offline. Indian women reignited their love affair with sarees on instagram with many hashtags #iwearhandloom #iwearhandloom #100sareepact etc and more than 100 saree influencers churning enticing content every day discussing about indigenous weaves of India.

According to the research reports, The Indian textile industry is expected to reach US dollar 250 billion by 2019, with over 4.3 million people directly and indirectly involved in the production, the handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for the rural population in India after agriculture. 

 

The spotlight has been shining particularly bright on the six-yard piece of apparel, particularly handloom sarees. However, the artisans who make these gorgeous sarees often end up being exploited by middlemen, and underpaid at least 50 per cent lesser than standard living wages; It was to solve this problem and ensure that artisans get their due that Sandhya Tholi and Suren Chowdhary started Hyderabad-based Inde’ Loom, a “maker-to-market” handloom collective.

Keen to help “local go global”, the startup works with artisans and weavers across India to offer high quality original, handcrafted products to women shoppers globally. Along the way, they ensure that the makers earn a fair share in “safe working conditions”. 

Founded in 2018, the startup sells both online and offline artisan-made sarees in natural fibres, silk and soft cotton. Apart from its own website, the startup also lists its products on online marketplace Etsy. Offline, it sells via home-based resellers, rack spaces in boutiques, and display pop-ups at trunk shows. 

The startup directly works with artisans and weavers across India to train, upskill, and help them avail of government schemes such as the Yarn Supply Scheme (where weavers get access to original certified natural yarns such as silk at a discounted price).

The for-profit company has satellite offices in West Bengal (Nadia, Shantiniketan and Kalna), Gujarat (Bhujodi), and Kashmir. Inde’ Loom connects handloom lovers across the globe with collectives produced by master artisans/weavers across handloom clusters in India.

Their USP is sarees that are pure handloom; high-end designs that are handmade. Each of these sarees takes two to three months to be made, and some (made of pure organza silk and hand-painted) weigh less than 200 gm.

Inde’ Loom’s target audience comprises women who love slow fashion, handloom, and handmade products, but are unable to find the right platform to buy due to lack of trust and traceability as market is flooded with fake goods labelled as handloom. 

The one-year-old startup is growing with 30 percent month on month in revenues and sales. Its products are priced between Rs 4,500 and Rs 18,000, and the startup has listed more than 400 products on its website. With a user base of around 10,000, the startup claims to currently receive five to six online orders per day. Since inception, the one-year-old bootstrapped startup has generated revenue of Rs 40 lakh. It is targeting revenue of Rs 2 crore in the current fiscal. 

For selling its products offline, Inde’ Loom has a network of 40 resellers in India and the US; most of these are women who operate from their homes. It also supplies products to select boutiques in India (Kochi, Vijayawada, Delhi, and Bengaluru), the US, the UK,  Poland and works with them on a profit-sharing model.

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