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For an industry that pre-dates the industrial revolution, the handloom and handicraft sectors form the largest cottage industry in India with a huge economic and societal relevance. With cloth production close to 23% and 6 million employment of artisans, the handloom and handicraft sectors respectively play a significant role in India’s agrarian economy.

In spite of all these huge figures and a tremendous growth potential, these sectors largely remain underdeveloped with respect to mass-sales and organisation due to unaddressed challenges.

Is there an old-fashioned outlook towards a traditional sector?

Most banks and independent financial institutions sway away from funding artisans with a working capital for multiple reasons—lack of constant cash flow, inconsistent collateral and even dependency on natural factors. And if they do get any kind of financial handholding, then there is the deciding factor of the middlemen and the lack of upmarket exposure to artisanal goods due to rural production.

Can e-commerce be the solution?

The e-commerce industry is currently booming with a massive footfall of online shoppers. Today, there is a market for everything online. If you want to buy it, it’s probably already being sold on the internet.

The e-commerce platform proves to be a unifying medium for artisanal talents and produce from every region of India—giving visibility beyond boundaries, creating a higher market demand and negating crippling factors like the middlemen.

But at the very core, this industry faces challenges in terms of an attitude shift with the artisans itself. The uncertainty of online marketing, up-skilling with computer knowledge, understanding online inventory management, internet availability and logistical support.

Stepping it up with e-commerce:

  • Create a sustainable system for artisanal organisations
  • A wider access to vendors and suppliers
  • Partnership with e-commerce marketplace
  • Engagement with potential buyers online
  • Sustained and bigger sales margins

The start of a new-age entrepreneurship

A strategic online presence with optimal integration of the e-commerce platform will ensure sustainability for the artisans and their craft. Considering the huge market share that these sectors hold as well as the low carbon footprint generated, e-commerce will definitely give a boom to the handloom and handicraft sectors.