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PRODUCTION AND MARKETING
CRAFTSPEOPLE’S most important prerogative is to create objects that clients need which can be sold so that they can earn a living and support their families. While aspects of design and development of the product are dealt with in another chapter, here we will look at the vario u s trad itio n a l p ro d u ctio n , d istrib u ti o n an d mark et in g strateg i es th at are availab le to craft communities in India.
A craftsperson is a skilled producer working primarily with his/her hands and traditional, often simple, tools to make articles of daily use. There is great variety an d d iversity w ith in th e crafts commu n ity in every p art o f In d ia. A craftsp erso n co u ld b e villag e o r urb an based, who procures his/her own material, uses manual skills learnt recently or from family traditio ns. H e/she may pro du ce utility items or specialised objects. Thecrafts community may supply local markets, sell through village haats, or transport goods to urban markets or for export. They may be self-employed or work as wage-earners or as members of a cooperative.
It is important to understand this diversity to appreciate the number of problems that may arise for the craftsperson at every step of the process of production and sale. It is important to remember how complex the system is and how many such systems of crafts production and marketing we have in our country.
Craft: This could be in metal, wood, clay, textile, gemcutting, jewellery, leather, cane and bamboo, tailoring, etc. Each of these groups approaches its production work in a different way.
Location: R u ral, u rb an , semi-u rban . T he lo catio n determines access to raw material, to different clients, and transport costs. Each of these will affect production, distribution and sale of crafts. Raw Material: Does the craftsperson procure the raw material independently or is it supplied by a trader or the customer, as in the case of a tailor who is given the material by the client to make a garment? The raw m a t e ri a l m a y b e s u p p l i e d b y t h e g o v e rn m e n t a t subsidised rates or by a cooperative. Skill and Technology: Is the craft produced manually or with semi-automated tools?
End Product: Is it a utility item that lasts a long time like a belan or urli or is it a daily consumable item like a flower garland? Does the craftsperson also provide services like repair and maintenance, as in the case of a blacksmith?
Markets: Can be termed village/urban, domestic, export. The craftsperson has to adapt to the needs of different types of markets and market demands. The client in each of these different markets has a varied set of demands.
Sales Channel: Does the craftsperson create objects fo r t h e v i l l a g e h a a t, j a jm a n , t ra d e rs o r f o r t h e cooperative? Are the craftspersons attached to one client or many and how familiar are they with the client’s needs, changing fashions and trends?
Employment Status: Is the craftsperson self-employed, a wage earner for a large or small organisation, a factory, an export enterprise or a member of a cooperative? The combination and computation of these different scenarios is complicated and every situation requires a suitable response in terms of production, marketing and sales.4
1. Research is essential for the production and marketing of any product. Problems would arise if a proper pre-production research market survey in not done in the following areas:
Availability of raw material
Example: Setting up a carpet centre in a non-wool producing area thereby increasing the cost of transportation and production.
Identification of buyers and review of customer needs and demands
Training and skill improvement facilities
2. Amul is a rural development success story. It gives employment to 16 lakh people. But it would not be able to do so without an appropriate distribution system. What would be the appropriatedistribution system for craft products in rural and urban areas?
3. Describe a local haat in your area. Focus on one craft and outline the main advantages and disadvantages for the local crafts community of sale in the local haat.
4. How could the pilgrimage centre in your area improve the marketing prospects for the crafts communities? Mention new products, pricing structure, packaging and display that could be improved.
5. The plight of the poor in the hands of a moneylender or a middle man, is a popular theme in Indian literary tradition be it prose, poetry or theatre. Find an example in the literature of your local language or mother tongue and explain.
6. Develop a format for a website to sell crafts on the Internet.
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