Online selling can work wonders
The pandemic has slowed down a bit but a possible third wave is again being predicted by experts. Since more than 18 months have been consumed by the pandemic it has left some indelible marks on various sectors including handicrafts in Jammu and Kashmir.
The handicrafts sector has been one of the worse hit as the demand for products, not only in India but worldwide decreased to an all time low. This resulted into loses worth crores and joblessness for thousands of artisan, craftsmen and small time traders. The situation not only gave rise to huge unemployment but loss of market share for the artistic handicrafts produced in Kashmir.
The sector had already experienced some lows as the machine made produce was proving a challenge for the artisans who spend a huge amount of time to prepare masterpieces stitch by stitch.
Now that the situation is witnessing some sanity, the hopes for the artisan and small time traders have come alive with people preferring to buy products through online mode. This mode of trade has given some hope to the artisans who feel that a revival can be round the corner if the government and other stakeholders pitch in and provide their support.
One such effort that generated hope among the artisan community was the tie-up between Jammu and Kashmir government and online retail platform ‘Flipkart’ where both have came together to provide an online platform for showcasing and facilitating the local artisans and craftsmen and weavers to reach customers across the globe.
The step aimed towards the promotion of rural economy and to boost the sale of genuine exotic products of Handicrafts and Handloom sector and find new destinations for niche handmade products from Jammu and Kashmir could have proved to be a boon not only for the arisan community but would also contribute hugely towards strengthening the economy of the region.
There is no doubt that the move will expose artisans, crafts-persons and weavers to millions of customers shopping online thereby ensuring efficient marketing that too when virtual marketing has overtaken the physical marketing of goods and services across the globe.
The platform if used effectively will also provide an appropriate opportunity for the momentous growth and development of the handicrafts sector and facilitate e-commerce facility for sale and marketing of the unsold inventories that have piled up due to the pandemic.
The initiative will also help eliminate the role of the middleman to a larger extent and will benefit the artisans in a way that the proceeds of the sale of their products shall go directly into their accounts.
Initially this tie-up was supposed to cover dozens of products of lower and middle range segments like Paper-mache, Walnut craft gift items, Shawls and Stoles, Embroidery made-ups and Namda Rugs, Chain Stitch wall hangings, Willow wicker, Gabba, etc. Many more craft items shall be added subsequently.
However, experts associated with online marketing and others have been pitching for creating awareness among the artisan community so that they can be made aware about the online selling and targeting audiences so as to generate maximum sales.
For ensuring this the department of handlooms and handicrafts can also put in their bit and constitute well trained tech savvy teams who can visit artisan clusters or even their work places to aware them about availing the facility.