Our journey began in April 2015, when Jayanthi and Ram Ramanan visited Kashi and witnessed the plight of a distressed community of handloom artisans, kicking off a tour across India to investigate the issues plaguing those populations. From Kashi to Kanyakumari, our team visited every corner of India to meet individual weavers, experience their artistry, hear their stories and understand their needs.
Our research on these travels led us to learn about the dire poverty levels within the weaving community: how they are abused and taken advantage of, the threats they face in the marketplace.
Cheated by unscrupulous middlemen purchasing their products at rock-bottom prices, their wares are sold under different brand names with outrageous profit margins to tune of 100% - 1000% markups. Cheap Chinese knock-offs have saturated the market, further dwindling their meager profits and pushing many to quit the profession. Since these skills are passed on from one generation to the next, this exodus threatens extinction to ancient woven traditions.
Taking their struggles to heart, we seek to champion their cause. We vow to empower the communities of handloom artisans:
- Educate the weavers
- Support their existing craft while simultaneously reviving faded art-forms
- Expand their market by creating access to a previously unreachable customer base
- Ensure an adequate and sustainable living standard for their community
- Set an example to future generations of weavers – convince them to feel pride in creating the prestigious Indian art forms of their ancestors and follow in their parents’ footsteps instead of pursuing other professions
To create an exclusive online platform for Indian handloom weavers to showcase their products to a global audience, we partnered with EthniqDiva (an initiative spearheaded by female entrepreneurs). Gaatakatha.com will further optimize the supply chain by bringing consumers into direct contact with the creators of high quality handloom-woven clothing, home décor, handicrafts and more – eliminating the artisans’ reliance on unscrupulous middlemen. An equal share of the proceeds will be used to uplift weaving communities through various initiatives in areas of health, education, women-empowerment, etc.
Aside from our wide range of products at affordable prices, consumers can purchase with clean consciences, with the knowledge that their sale is directly helping to improve the livelihood of our artisans and conserve local arts traditions.