10 Sites To Buy Indian Handicrafts From
India has so much skill and beauty that, at times, I feel one life is not enough to explore it. I am not talking about the monuments or religious places, but the local art and craft. People in parts of Bihar showcase their skills with Madhubani paintings, while some in Rajasthan marvel you with puppets and the traditional style of dyeing clothes. Have your tried the Bandhani prints of Gujarat or Chanderi and Batik prints of Madhya Pradesh? Or does your heart go out to Lucknowi style and Kashmiri karigiri?
Whatever your choice is, here is a compilation of the 10 best sites to buy Indian handicrafts that aim to protect our national heritage and also help artisans earn a livelihood, by presenting the products not just at the national level, but globally as well. So, make sure you explore them:
iTokri is an online platform best described as “a store with a story”. The store offers a wide range of products, be it in personal grooming or home décor. iTokri aims to bring together many innovative design and craft businesses in India which need a logistics centre, thus building a store, which understands Indian shopping sensibilities, and develops a creative and sustainable model for craftspeople at the same time.
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Muheet, the founder of KashmirBox, says: “KashmirBox is the creation of thoughtful young minds that went online to promote the heritage of Kashmir. Affected by the plight of Kashmiri artisans, the founders vowed to make a difference to the lives of thousands of craftspeople and create a global marketplace for them. The idea was to bring the world to their doorstep! Gradually, the idea grew and took the beautiful form of KashmirBox, taking Kashmir to the world.”
Muheet, who likes both online and offline shopping “as both have their uniqueness”, talks about how they make sure artisans get their due credit: “The model of KashmirBox is such that we partner with artisans directly, and apart from the product, everything--photography, cataloguing, marketing, logistics and payments--is taken care of by us. Therefore, once the order comes in, it is directly passed on to the artisans, who then get down to work on it--so they don’t even have to invest in stock. There are certain products where there are multiple artisans involved; so we map the product to an artisan, and at the time of sale, a royalty is paid to the artisans, which is besides the wages they get. This way, we transform them from daily wagers to shareholders.”
KashmirBox provides a range of Kashmiri products--from spices to Kashmiri embroidery, and even home décor. Go check out their website for more
Giskaa, one of the northeastern portals, has chosen a three-petal logo that narrates the key principle they follow--”We hold the key to change in our hands, we shape our environment and our future by our very own hands. Giskaa also values the skilled hands of hundreds of amazing craftsmen who offer a unique taste of India. Hence, our logo subtly honors the craftsmen by contouring the two petals in the form of two hands. The hands in yellow and red represent the passion and warmth that the artisans put in while making the products, also reflecting that the key to eco-friendly and natural lifestyle lies in our hands. The leaf in green represents the end product, which is environment--friendly and natural.” Giskaa offers fragrances, home décor, clothing, furniture and even toys that are 100% natural and environment-friendly.
Okhai showcases handcrafted apparel and lifestyle products including ladies’ wear, men’s wear, home décor products and accessories, created by local artisans across India. The artisans use their regional and traditional style like mirror work, embroidery, patchwork, etc. Okhai has been identified as a promising means of generating livelihood for hundreds of rural artisans, and has made a significant contribution to the lives of the women artisans working with it, helping improve their economic as well as social status
Craftkari is an online platform that offers a variety of products made or designed by quilling. It's quite interesting how they started their journey. Way back in 2008, a few enthusiastic girls gathered and started their experiment on different forms of Indian craft, supported by Manzil, a non-profit learning center based in Khan Market. After days of experimenting, they finally found their passion--quilling, an ancient practice which involves rolling, shaping and gluing strips of paper together to create decorative designs. And then Craftkari was born. Over the years, the group has blossomed. The distinctive style in each of the products has helped them gain recognition and success.
The team at Gaatha is not just involved in sales and product management. They aim to create a dialogue between the artisans and the global audience, through the stories and ideologies drafted by them. The project was conjured to play the key role of storytelling, besides bringing social and commercial benefit to the artisans.
Peoli, which means ‘spring flower’, offers hand-knit apparel (sweaters, dresses, tunics), accessories (stoles, cowls, shawls, ponchos gloves, caps), blankets, floor coverings, cushion covers, etc. They make sure they use natural materials and dyes to save the environment. The craftswomen of the hills weave each piece with warmth and love. Peoli aims at nurturing the creativity of the hand and cultivating a culture of providing a fair means of livelihood to skilled people through sustainable practices and promotion of a sustainable lifestyle.
Emithlahaat was born to help artisans of Mithila who are skilled Madhubani painters. Most of the artisans did not have the means/platform to sell their products to the customers, and mediators used to abuse them by quoting lower prices. Emithlahaat serves as a platform that would directly connect the buyer and sellers, thereby allowing artisans to get a fair price. Emithlahaat not only offers a wide variety of paintings, but women’s kurtis and jewellery as well.
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Although recently, they have stopped taking the retail orders, this is one of the best portals, offering a range of Indian handicrafts in partnership with independent artisans. This way, they help the skilled individuals get a fair price for the products they make, thereby eliminating the mediator. If you are looking for business enquiries, make sure to check out their website.
Chanderiyaan is an e-commerce platform set up to help artisans from Madhya Pradesh showcase the skills of Chanderi weavers. Chanderiyaan has a wide range of pure ethnic Chanderi designer handiwork. It is a platform to share the richness of weaving and design patterns evolved through centuries in this weaving town with its historical dynamics and stories waiting to be discovered.
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