Kairaasi’s cotton weavers produce our handloom Throws, Dhurries, Towels, and Scarves. They’re based in Gujarat, in Tamil Nadu, and in Andrah Pradesh.
Our wool products, dhurries, and shawls are made in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Bihar. We have not yet managed to fully record all our makers at work but we have a number of small videos which we will up load onto the website soon.
The pretty Temple Keepsakes are made by Yogi and his family in Orissa where a whole industry has developed out of the resourcefulness of locals needing to make a living. They produce many variations on the famous Krishna (Jaganath) Temple in Puri for pilgrims to purchase as a memento. Yogi is a talented stone carver already recognized on a national level for his achievements. He says he cannot imagine doing anything else with his life than carving even though it is poorly paid. He hopes his status will change over time.
71% of Indian artisans work as a family unit. 76% learnt their craft from the family.
Srinivas, from our Jute Rug weaving family, was not interested to learn his father's trade. But he didn’t do so well in education and struggled to pursue another career. He eventually came back to weaving. Having missed out on the early years of learning weaving he admits to not being such a good weaver but he focusses on selling and distributing the families products. For this, he has a talent and together we work on developing the products to access a wider market. We pay him a fair price and provide the possibility to export. Our orders now make up a fifth of their turnover.
Sridhar from the family of weavers in Tamil Nadu who make our gorgeous cotton Throws has a similar story. Not attracted to the hard life of a weaver he witnessed as a child (his father tells of going many times without food) he tried to find other work but struggled. Eventually, he came back, not as a weaver but trying to market the families products and playing a role in the weaver's co-op his father and colleagues eventually formed. Life has improved with the co-op, no more hunger, but still, each experienced weaver can only make three throws per day which in the Indian market earns them only £6.
We pay our makers half of the order value up front to avoid them having to go into debt to purchase the materials and pay for labor, transport etc. Lack of funds is one of the biggest barriers to producing quality products and winning new business.
Our Tiffin Boxes and Kitchen Racks are mass produced but still have to be hand finished, which gives them personality and creates jobs for the many traditionally trained metal workers.