SHUBHAM CRAFTS: RISING LADDERS IN HAND WITH SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
What comes to mind when anyone thinks of our incredible India? It is its diversity, rich cultural heritage, traditions and ethnic beauty. The aroma and the essence of all these are best carried and represented by our unique handicraft sector. In ancient times, the people of this golden bird (that India was called), used to live in groups known as tribes and made their routine-purpose items manually from natural and raw material. These items also became a source of income when they started selling them in local markets called ‘Haats’. The handmade tools and items meant for common use or as decorative pieces are known as Handicrafts.
Shubham Crafts is an emerging Handicrafts manufacturing start-up that has taken the torch in its hand to lighten the path for the revival of this diminishing art form that has not only gained them impressive success but also continues to empower women, preserve our traditions, and address issues of national importance like unemployment. They have identified the huge potential of this field that finds its roots mainly in rural areas.
THE OBJECTIVES BEHIND THE IDEA
Under the vision of the NITians Purnima Singh and Chinmay Banthia, this potent idea evolved insight of the Make in India scheme launched by the ruling government, which motivated them to leave their corporate jobs and take up the task that can involve the native citizens and indigenous technology. According to them, the name ‘Shubham’ itself means good fortune which Indian rural women also deserve to have. They are filled with artistic talent and simply need a medium to express it. This will also help them become independent along with establishing the lost art form in popular culture again, that lost its significance due to the technical advancements, urbanization and glorification of the western ways that took place under the influence of the British Raj.
Shubham Crafts was also started with a vision to provide employment to the unemployed, with an opportunity that they were aware of, and could relate themselves to. By successfully achieving these objectives, it has emerged as a fresh breeze of air cutting away the shackles of blatant commercialization as well. With one arrow, many targets have been hit, exactly what other businesses must also look up to.
THE JOURNEY OF EVOLUTION
Every big dream has its fair share of struggles before its completion. But, where there is a will, there is a way, which is very apparent from the overall journey of Shubham Crafts Getting women out of their confined mindsets, chained in the plights imposed by the male-dominated patriarchal society was a mammoth task in itself, according to the CEO, Purnima Singh. Even the basic amenities like electricity were to be fought over for several months. Procurement of the raw and waste materials from reliable suppliers was not easy either. Educating the buyers about Handicraft products, sustaining the manufacturing units through continuous work and making their place in the very unaware foreign markets, were all a part of their expedition full of hardships. Being up-to-date with the national policies and schemes gave wings to their efforts. The government’s initiatives to promote entrepreneurship by encouraging the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ through schemes like ‘NITI Ayog Atal Incubation Mission’ (of which the founders were apart for 4 months at Banasthali campus) and ‘Start-Up India’, they were able to achieve the necessary thrust required for the business. Taking the inspiration of breaking the stereotypes and being patient in every circumstance from the strong rural women also helped them to overcome their obstacles with resilience.
AN EDGE OVER THE PEERS
The world is looking up to eco-friendly, recyclable, and natural items in this ever-deteriorating environmental scenario, and Shubham Crafts promises it all with utmost sensitivity towards the environment and the society by doing the charity work simultaneously. Even the much concerning the problem of burning ‘Parali’ in Haryana and Punjab, which suffocates the surrounding areas like Delhi, is also taken into consideration. Much admired products are made out of this Parali.
Giving the women their due credit, providing them with the skill-training, and making them a part of their production team is a minuscule part of the colossal social responsibility that this startup is rendering. Sharing some stories of their employees, Purnima Singh tells that they instill their employees with a sense of positivity and motivation by addressing each artisan as a ‘kalakaar’. KalaakarBimla is the oldest artisan, who is a widow and has been able to incur the expenses of her children’s education and marriage through hard work in this start-up. Similarly, Kalaakar Santosh, KalaakarBinja, and many more like them have been able to educate their children and break free from the patriarchal oppression by earning with dignity at Shubham Crafts
Ensuring an undaunted faith in their clients, their motto is “We deliver what we promise and when we promise”, given that time and quality are the two most valued attributes in the business. Providing the client with free access to the production facility at any given time for inspection is a unique approach opted by them to ensure transparency, which is further enhanced by keeping in touch with the client via e-mail in the form of pictures and videos at least 4 times in a single purchase order cycle.
With an enthusiastic design team, frequent visits to new places based on hypotheses are made to gain fresh ideas and make new discoveries. They put up an absolutely fresh line of products in every exhibition, which is possible only by the permutations and combinations of almost 700 different styles and materials. The Research and Development team does all the brainstorming to make the products more efficiently, and free from any discrepancy. For them, everyone wins when everyone is included. Shubham Crafts added feathers to its cap by investing a small amount of 5 Lakh Rupees in a team of 6 members (including the two founders) initially, and currently making a turnover of 1 Crore Rupees (second-year turnover) following a meager 90,000 Rupees which was its first turnover in the financial year 2018-2019. The team has also expanded to 35 women working from 3 villages. The remarkable jump in its turnover within such a short span of time speaks in itself about the company’s success.
The clientele of Shubham Crafts already boasts of the company’s success in doing business in several countries all-round the globe. The future aim is to expand their production to more and more rural areas, make more lives better, increase in terms of revenue and in terms of business volume. Shubham Crafts plans on expanding its facility in all aspects, even for the stay of clients to ensure their long-term attachment with the start-up. Achieving more insights into the market, rising up to the international standards, and understanding the client’s needs by paying more visits is on the cards in the near future. Empowering more women and bringing them out of the oppressive social construct, giving them an identity outside of the masculine set-up is what Shubham Crafts aspires for.
A MESSAGE FOR OUR READERS
CEO, Purnima Singh says, a woman has unbreakable strength in her, with which she can achieve everything she dreams of. Mrs. Purnima’s mother and mother-in-law have been the powerful pillars who constantly stood by her, along with her better half and the rest of the family.
India must stop imitating the west in terms of business, and look up to its traditionally skilled and employable workforce instead of turning to mechanized technologies opted in lack of man-force. The mindless money-making has never been an objective of Shubham Crafts. Impacting more and more lives positively is something more central to their aim. This is what the budding entrepreneurs must also try to do. One only has to come up with newer ideas and look into what potential we already have.