Set up in January 2020 by Seema Mishra, the Kasrawad Art Cluster (KAC) is a handloom brand that works with 400+ weavers in the Kasrawad village of Madhya Pradesh. Mishra talks about the brand.
What was the inspiration that led to the formation/founding of the brand?
I worked as a consultant in Dubai before choosing to settle down in a small village in Madhya Pradesh where the regular hustle and voices of the handloom players intrigued me. I kept studying about the looms and after 10 years of thorough research and marketing the handloom products on e-commerce sites, I chose to work with the weavers here and today I have 407 weavers from Kasrawad and four other adjoining villages to help motivate them to take pride in their craft, and continue with it.
Which are the categories the brand is into?
Menswear | Womenswear
Who are your target audience?
Our target audience are women and men of all age groups who like to keep the traditional art of handloom alive.
Which category sells the most?
Saris and suits under the price range of ?1,500-8,000.
What is the USP of your products?
The USP of our product is that it’s a feeling, an art and an urge to keep the art alive. Hence, we have taken the Handloom Mark certification which assures authenticity apart from the priceless emotions already attached to each product!
Which are your major markets in India?
Our major markets in India include Southern India, West Bengal and Kerala for saris, Delhi and Mumbai for suits and dupattas.
What kind of brand building strategies do you implement?
We are taking necessary steps towards brand building and the first step is to get the feedback of our customers that helps us to innovate, improve and invent.
Which other product categories do you plan to move into future?
We are looking forward to penetrate the home decor sector where we have already started creating curtains and table runners out of mix and match combinations.
The other segment that we are looking forward to is the eco-friendly skin friendly new-born baby kit which will serve as a boon to the society.
What has been the impact of Covid in terms of sales, staff cutdown, rentals, stocks etc?
Definitely, Covid had an impact on our sales but as it is said every coin has two sides. We have spent quality time with our weavers and helped them understand that their art is something which will not go away even with Covid like situation; people didn’t lose jobs at least in the villages. We do have a lot of stock lying with us which is a matter of concern.
If you are looking for vendors, what are the top 3 qualities you look for beyond the givens of quality, lead time, compliances etc?
We are looking for vendors who would like to connect with our cluster and those who are looking for authentic handloom so that it can be a lifetime association and a win-win situation for both.
Where are your manufacturing facilities based at?
Our manufacturing facility is based on the banks of the river Narmada, just opposite to the world heritage site Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh.
What kind of machinery does your manufacturing facility boast of?
Our looms are in no way machines. They are handmade looms where men /women weave a tradition in the form of a cloth and deliver it to us considering that the emotions of the product are counted and hence every product has its own story. We have upgraded our looms by incorporating various modifications to prove that we are working towards social justice.
Sustainability and circularity are the buzz words today. How do you incorporate them into your product lines?
As far as sustainability is concerned, we are sure to reach the targeted level and maintain /exceed the targeted level where we are looking towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. We want to help our weavers get awards by setting up standards in lifestyle and luxury which we call a “conscious curation”. Here, by lifestyle, we mean all those products which are used in our everyday life which a weaver can weave.
What are your long-term sustainability goals?
We believe sustainability involves three segments i.e environment, society and economy. While keeping the Indianness and ethnicity in mind, we are looking forward to making KAC a global brand.
This article was first published in the February 2021 edition of the print magazine.
Published on: 15/03/2021
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