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About Us
About Us

Craftroots is a unique platform that showcases and brings into spotlight the best of craftsmanship from Gujarat. Craftroots, an initiative of Gramshree aims to empower artisans by connecting them to our resources, tools and network of partner members.

Craftroots was born to revive, preserve and share the craft traditions of Gujarat, India with the world. We aim to bring together people, process and technology to revive our traditional craft and building an eco-system with partner members to develop a scalable and sustainable model for craft development. Our partner members include Artisans, NGO’s, businesses & corporations, prominent designers, architects and educational institutions that specialize in design & development of various craft forms.

At Craftroots, we support Fair trade and Craft mark certification standards.

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Mission and Value
Mission & Values

Mission & Values

Mission

In celebration of the creative process, our mission is to revive, preserve and share the craft traditions of Gujarat, India with the world.

We are building a network of organizations and people who share our mission. These organizations and people are our partner members; they include:

  • Artisans
  • NGOs or any collective/group of artisans such as self-help groups (SGHs) and cooperatives
  • Businesses and corporations
  • Education institutes including design and management institutes
  • Individuals and experts such as designers, educators, students, and customers

We aim to work with our partner members to develop a sustainable and scalable model for craft development. As there are too many dying crafts in our region, we hope to bring people together and revive our traditional craft eco-system.

Values

We value the deep connection between a craftsman and craft. We trust this connection is part of a universal creative process that is divine. We place the holistic development and happiness of all craftsmen first.

missionandvalues
Our Journey

Our Journey

Our journey began when our founder Anar Patel witnessed firsthand the lives and struggles of several artisans of Gujarat. Craftroots was inspired by our team’s direct experiences with four kinds of artisans.

In Ludiya: Woodwork artisans

During our first visit to the village of Ludiya in the district of Kutch, we noticed that there were only 10-12 families (all distant relatives) who practiced a specific kind of woodwork carving technique. Because of the shortage in demand, it was not unusual to see these families fight. The artisans also overpriced their products, which drove their customers away and lead their families into extreme poverty. During our time in Ludiya, we realized there was a need for mutual respect and dialogue between artisans as well as an understanding of effective pricing.

In Nirona: Lacquer artisans

Similarly, during our visit to Nirona village, we had the chance to see the lifestyle of lacquer artisans. Lacquer is a technique of decorating wood or metal surfaces with lacquer varnish. These artisans were very poor and lived in unhygienic conditions, some with severe addictions. They didn’t have any other livelihood generating skills.

Since lacquer is an old craft, the artisans didn’t know how to tailor the products according to current trend and market demands. Their products were old-fashioned and hard to sell. As sales decreased, their chances for survival decreased (it reached a point when they could not even afford two meals a day). We realized that effective marketing was going to be part of the solution.

In Ramapir No Tekra: Potters

We also found potters from a slum in Ahmdedabad called Ramapir No Tekra in similar conditions. People used to buy pots, but with new options on the market, these specific potters were beginning to lose business. The same questions come to our mind: How will they sustain a living? In addition, the Indian government banned ‘brick killing’ (bhatha) because of problems with pollution. Not surprisingly, the second generation of potters got diverted to other work and this pottery craft began dying.

We realized that artisans also needed technology upgrades and alternative techniques to save their crafts.

In Bhujodi: Master Weaver Artisans

During our visit to Bhujodi village, we came across many award-winning master weavers. These master weavers mentored and trained small-scale artisans by giving them knowledge to grow on their own. However, they were still unable to train these fellow artisans in understanding design, marketing and appropriate product pricing.

Weaving it All Together

We realized there was a critical gap between the artisan and the customer, and that each side has its own set of unique needs.

For artisans

  • They didn’t know how to price their products because they did not have a sense of the market value of their crafts.
  • They were unfamiliar with current market trends and demands.
  • Their products were not in line with the current market’s level of quality standards.
  • They needed access to new technologies to help streamline processing.
  • They needed help to design their products according to market trends and demands.
  • They were not able to take big orders because they did not have enough seed money to buy raw material.

For customers

  • They were unaware of the crafts that exist in Gujarat and the techniques behind making these beautiful crafts.
  • They didn’t understand the time and effort to make these crafts, and therefore did not have a sense of fair and appropriate pricing.
  • They had limited access to several rare crafts which were being made in remote rural villages.

To address the challenges from artisans and consumers alike, Craftroots was born.

Closing the Gap: Live Interactive Exhibitions

We believe that live in-person demonstrations of how the products are made are one of the best ways to close the gap between artisans and customers. By inviting customers to sit, observe, and learn how a craft is made, we are increasing their awareness and appreciation of the craft. At the same time, we provide artisans with a powerful marketing platform.

This is one strong example of how we can revive a deep sense of appreciation for our traditional crafts. Our first exhibition was a successful 3-day demonstration in Ahmadabad in 2010.

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How it Works

How it Works

In working to revive and share the richness of our craft traditions, we offer our partner members with resources, tools, and access to our network. Partner members include artisans, NGOs (i.e., collective of artisans), businesses, education institutes, and key individuals such as designers and customers. We connect partner members to each other in a way that benefits the whole craft eco-system and is fair to all involved.

We are currently providing several services and are in the process of building out others. They include:

1) Marketing channels and support.

2) Product development and craft revival.

3) Micro-finance and raw material community banks.

4) Entrepreneurial training.

5) Fair trade awareness.

1) Marketing Channels and Support

Main partner members involved: Artisans, NGOs, businesses, individuals (customers, designers)

We provide fair trade marketing through various means: domestic and international exhibitions, e-commerce, retail outlets, corporate gifting, and cross sales.

  • Domestic and international exhibitions: Live exhibitions of products foster interactive and direct connection between artisan and customer. It is one of the most effective ways to acquire loyal and inspired customers. Our most recent exhibition was in 2010 (see Closing the Gap: Live Interactive Exhibitions).
  • E-commerce: We offer an online community that allows artisans to connect with a greater customer base. In turn, our e-store provides customers with greater access to a variety of rare craft forms, as well as faster delivery. Check out our e-store here.
  • Retail outlets: As another form of distribution, we are in the process of establishing several retail stores throughout Gujarat that connect local craftsmen with customers on a regular basis.
  • Corporate gifting: We will offer large corporations with the ability to make educated bulk purchases. Corporations can easily gift crafts to employees and clients as a way to celebrate and preserve cultural identity of our region. In turn, corporate gifting can be a powerful form of sustenance for artisans (i.e., one gifting can sustain an artisan for a whole year).
  • Cross sales: As we are connecting several players within the craft eco-system, we will foster easy sourcing within the community. Specialized artisans can reach out to fellow specialized artisans for direct purchasing through our platform. This will encourage more streamlined cross-sales and avoid continual price hikes from middlemen. Similarly, designers will be able to source materials and semi-finished products directly from artisans.

2) Product Development and Craft Revival

Main partner members involved: artisans, NGOs, designers.

We will provide assistance with product development of crafts, including design and production, by connecting artisans with the relevant resources and experts (i.e., designers).

Product Development

Design Goals:

  • Partner with design institutes to hold design workshops for artisans.
  • Set best practices for fair and equal business partnerships between artisans and designers.
  • Assist artisans in designing packaging for their products.

Production Goals:

  • Provide new technology resources and upgrades for artisans.
  • Organize skill training workshops for new technologies (to match competitors and differentiate handwork).
  • Assist in identifying ways to streamline their production chain.

Craft Village: A Vision for Craft Design and Production


In order to assist artisans with the design and production of their crafts, we have a vision to build Craft village in the next two years. Craft Village is an institute where artisans have the freedom to come together and experiment. Built on love, accountability and self-discipline, it will be an environment where artisans can problem solve, collaborate with designers, and have access to the newest technologies.

Craft Village will be primarily a home for craftsmen. Freelance designers and design educators will be invited to hold workshops and exchange skills and knowledge with craftsmen.

Our vision is to have craftsmen learn in their own language and then disseminate this knowledge to fellow artisans in rural areas who don’t have marketing and design resources.

This institute will primarily target a first and second generation artisans who are open and willing to learn and create. In sum, our vision includes:

  • Design workshops & access to designers.
  • Access to latest technologies & skills training.
  • Entrepreneurship center for women.
  • Meditation center

Craft Revival

A central part of the Craftroot’s initiative is to find, research, and revive languishing crafts from Gujarati’s villages. We believe the extinction of our crafts results in a loss of our unique cultural identity. As an example, we are in the process of reviving “mashroo,” a unique fabric in which the outer layer is silk and the inner layer is cotton, from Patan, Gujarat.

Goals:

  • Travel to remote rural villages and identify languishing crafts.
  • Spend time with and listen to artisans in order to deeply understand reasons for possible craft extinction (e.g., gaps in techniques, lack of customer base, social tensions between artisans etc.).
  • Extend invitation into our Craftroot’s community and programming to work toward immediate revival and preservation.

3) Micro-finance and Raw Material Community Banks

Partner members involved: artisans, NGOs

Goals:

  • Organize cost management training workshops for artisans.
  • Facilitate access to soft loans from local and regional banks.
  • Provide access to Craftroot’s raw material community bank.

4) Entrepreneurial Training

Partner members involved: artisans, NGOs, businesses, education institutes

Goals:

  • Partner with businesses and education institutes to provide business training.
  • Organize workshops in leadership, partnership building, as well as finance and accounting for artisans.
  • Build entrepreneurial capacity among female artisans (see Craft Village).

5) Fair Trade Awareness

Main partner members involved: all

There is no official system in India that outlines the setting of fair wages for artisans involved in traditional crafts. As a result, most artisans sell their crafts at below market value, threatening their financial wellbeing and the preservation of their crafts.

At Craftroots, we meet International Fair Trade and domestic Craft Mark certification standards.

Fair Trade certification is an International product certification system designed to allow people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labour and developmental standards. Overseen by a standard-setting body, Fairtrade International (FLO), and a certification body, FLO-CERT, the system involves independent auditing of producers to ensure the agreed standards are met.

Craft Mark certification is a certification issued by the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA). Craftmark developed to help protect India's unique craft processes by distinguishing them from processes used in the production of products in modern consumer markets. At a minimum, Craftmark certification prohibits child labor, and guarantees that hand-made aspect of the craft process used.

Goals:

  • Teach artisans and NGOs about the benefits of following Fair Trade policies and guide them on the certification process.
  • Encourage master craftsmen to adopt Fair Trade policies with laborer and intermediate artisans as to prevent exploitation.
  • Spread general awareness about Fair Trade in our network, especially among businesses doing corporate gifting and individual customers.
  • Develop a certification process that encompasses Fair Trade policies (and other certification policies such as Craft Mark) as well as more specific standards which are relevant to the artisans we work with (e.g., guidelines for India that include fair wage calculations for each craft form).

 

howitworks
Team

Team
Anar Patel

Anar Patel

Anar has an MBA from Nirma University in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She has over 20 years of experience in social work, focusing on the empowerment of women and children. She is founder & Managing Trustee of Gramshree, an NGO giving income generation to more than 2000 underprivileged women in Ahmedabad. She is also a Founder Member and Trustee of Manav Sadhna, an NGO working with more than 8000 street children based at Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad & Illinois, Chicago (U.S.A). She is currently Trustee for several other NGOs and initiatives focusing on engaging Indian youth in community service, including Yuva and Indicorps. She is the recipient of the ‘Gujarat Gaurav’ Award for her rehabilitation work in Kutch, Gujarat after the earth quake of 2001 and ‘Sakhi Shakti’ Award for handicraft development with underprivileged women and artisans. Her passion is to ensure the health and happiness of all artisans of Gujarat. She is a pioneer of craft revival, spearheading the ambitious revival of the dying “mashroo” technique from Patan and Kutch. When she isn’t working, she is enjoying time with her family, reading, or traveling.

Vandana Agarwal

Born into a philanthropic Marawari business family, Vandana earned an architecture degree from School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi. After a fruitful career as an architect, she decided to shift gears to her true passions: craft, art, and service. She is head of product design and marketing at partner NGO Gramshree. She was a lead organizer of the Craftroot’s live interactive exhibition in 2010 which brought together more than 65 artisans from around Gujarat to demonstrate the making of their crafts to prospective customers. Vandana has dedicated her life to the empowerment of women and children through art and design. She is ready to undertake any task and moves quickly into action. She is also a skilled painter, having created most of the paintings hanging in her own house today.

Vandana Agarwal
Anjali Desai

Anjali Desai

Born and raised in Texas, Anjali Desai graduated from University of Texas in Austin in 2002 with two degrees: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Business Administration. After graduation, she was a 2003 Indicorps Fellow in Ludiya, Kachchh, working with Manav Sadhna and Gramshree to run a rural design school that aimed to empower women artisans by encouraging them to innovate on their designs, build on their craft identity and generate a sustainable income. The rural design school eventually formed into a small cooperative. For the last eight years she has lived in Ahmedabad engaging with grassroots community development initiatives around women’s issue, alternative education, artisan upliftment and community building. In 2006, she cofounded India Guide Publications and has penned several guide books on the state of Gujarat and Ahmedabad to encourage meaningful and culturally sensitive travel. For the last five years she has been involved in an informal education program for slum children to foster leadership, life skills, creative thinking and value education.

Meghna Agrawal

Meghna Agrawal holds her Bachelors of Applied Arts Degree in Commercial Advertising from L S Raheja University in Mumbai and a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Motion Pictures and Television from The Academy of Art University San Francisco, USA, majoring in Cinematography and Editing. Her strengths lie in Marketing and Design and has hence been a part time volunteer, supervising the print and design media needs at Craftroots. Being an artist at heart and a fulltime mother to a creative toddler, she is inspired to be a part of and contribute to an idea that will be an environment and a way of living in the future for not only her child, but for many generations to come.

Meghna Agrawal
Anand Raval

Anand Raval

Anand has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA) from Westminster College , London. For the last two years, he has been chief project manager for Craftroots, with a special focus on back-end activities such as operational management, planning and co-ordination.

Sandeep Gupta

Sandeep has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Gujarat University and MBA from Nirma University. He is currently heading Strategic Sourcing at Ingersoll Rand India Limited. As main strategic advisor for partner NGO Gramshree and Crafroots, he has over 17 years of experience in operations, business development, and sales. He is a core committee member of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industries’ Youth Wing, leading their corporate social responsibility activities.

Sandeep Gupta
Pratik

Pratik

5 years’ experience in charge for overall Accounts, Production & order co-ordination, Finance, Legal work and Liasioning.

 

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Mentors

Mentors

Most of our artisans come from a culturally and spiritually strong background. However, their approach towards art and life becomes limited due to less exposure into different sides of the world and different perspectives towards a holistic living. We believe that bridging this particular gap between science and spirituality will not only culminate into beautiful art, but will also make them fine human beings.

To fulfill this vision we invite mentors from different fields of life and education through whom art and artisans can see a new vision, a beautiful future.

Our current mentors are :

Jayeshbhai

Jayeshbhai

‘Be a Ladder, not a Leader’ is what you will often hear Jayesh bhai say. He trusts that when we shift from implementation to facilitation, we can bring about sustainable change in communities. As co-founder of organizations such as Manav Sadhna, Gramshree, Director of the Environmental Sanitation Institute, President of the Gandhiji founded Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh and Trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram, his service has been extended to countless people.

But according to him, his life of service is defined by small and humble acts of kindness, what he refers to as tear drops of compassion in the ocean. These tiny drops when linked to deep inner transformation can bring about a change in every corner of the globe even when our work has local roots.

Nipun Mehta

‘Believe in small act of kindness’ is the mantra of Nipun Mehta. A source of inspiration for many, Nipun started CharityFocus, a fully volunteer driven organization in 1999 to inspire the young IT professionals to provide free web based solutions for nonprofit organizations worldwide. Having served thousands of nonprofits, without any overhead, CharityFocus has now become an incubator of "gift economy" projects ranging from web services to a print magazine to a restaurant. With a base of 285,000 members, they attract millions of global viewers to its websites.

Nipun Mehta

 

mentors
Certification

We Support Fair trade and Craft mark certification standards

We Support Fair trade and Craft mark certification standards

"www.Craftroots.org" an Initiative of Gramshree Trust, a registered member of 'WFTO' (World Fair Trade Organsiation) and 'Craftmark'.

Our Motto is to use "Craftroots.org" platform as enabler to support, promote and spread awareness among NGO/Organsiaiton/Artisan/Designers/Instiution to understand mutual benefits & register with "Fair Trade Organisation" and assists their craftsto get "Craftmark" label.

We promote various genuine Indian handmade products viz., Mashru weaving (PATAN), hand embroidery, patch work art and other crafts by the NGO's & Artisans which are certified by Craftmark (AIACA).

Whats is Craftmark?

The Craftmark initiative is an effort by the All India Artisans and Craft workers Welfare Association (AIACA) to help in denoting genuine Indian handicrafts, developing sector-wide minimum standards and norms for labeling products as handicrafts and increasing consumer awareness of distinct handicraft traditions. Under this initiative, AIACA license the Craftmark logo for use by Craft-based businesses, cooperatives and NGOs for use on product tickets and labels.

What is WFTO?

World Fair Trade Organisation(WFTO's) mission is to enable producers to improve their livelihoods and communities through Fair Trade. WFTO will be the global network and advocate for Fair Trade, ensuring producer voices are heard. The interests of producers, especially small farmers and artisans, should be the main focus in all the policies, governance, structures and decision making within the WFTO.

Certification Image
certification
Upcoming

Upcoming

Craftroots Exhibition

Dates  : 21st and 22nd December 2013
Venue : Art Haat,
Pot-Tree Ceramic Studio
Opp. Samiyala Centre
Padra Road, Samiyala
Vadodara- 391410
Gujarat

Dates  : 10th to 12th January
Venue : Ball Room. Surya Palace Hotel,
Opp.Parsi Agiyari, Sayajiganj
Vadodara - 390020
Gujarat

Dates  : 25th and 26th January (Tentative Dates)
Venue : Ahmedabad.
Gujarat

Gramshree

 


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Contact Us

Contact Us

To inspire a newfound appreciation for traditional crafts, Craftroot’s recently gathered over 65 artisans from around Gujarat to show how they make their products to hundreds of people.

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CRAFTROOTS

HEAD OFFICE

10 New vidhya vihar society,
Ramji Mandir Road,
Ranip
Ahmedabad- 382480
Gujarat. India.

Phone : +91 79 27522248

Email  : info@craftroots.org

REGISTERED ADDRESS

Gramshree Women Empowerment,
8 , Samadhan society,
Ishwarbhai Patel Marg,
Ranip
Ahmedabad- 382480

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