Dastkar and the Marketing of Craft

Case Studies, Craft, Handloom, Art, Markets, Marketing, Trade, Organisations, Institutions, Movements

Dastkar and the Marketing of Craft: A Subsidized Con Trick or a Success Story

Tyabji, Laila

Many of those entering the big orange doors of the Dastkar shop in Hauz Khas Village, in search of a hand-crafted gift or embroidered kurta, are quite unaware that anything except lower prices and the absence of air-conditioning mark it out as different from the other 70-odd shops and boutiques that surround it. Others, activists and NGOs, question why Dastkar, a registered voluntary society and development organisation, has anything to do with a "commercial" activity like marketing. For Dastkar, however, the Dastkar exhibitions and Bazaars and our shop - run on a non-profit basis, with craftspeople owning the merchandise, and donating 20% of their monthly sales to the running costs - are a linked and essential part of the support services we give to craft producer groups all over the country and. Helping craftspeople learn to use their own inherent skills as a means of employment generation and self-sufficiency is the crux of the DASTKAR programme. Giving them a market to do so is the culmination of as well as the catalyst for the varied DASTKAR projects, training programmes, product development inputs and loan capital assistance to our family of craftspeople. The Dastkar shop and the Dastkari Bazaars are where we test-market not just the potential of Dastkar-developed products, but the efficacy of Dastkar-developed solutions to the problems of the craft sector in the current economic climat...
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