Techies go on an umbrella sales drive

Progressive Techies helps tribal women market Karthumbi brand of umbrellas

May 20, 2018 12:29 am | Updated 12:29 am IST - KOCHI

Tribal women of Attappady engaged in making umbrellas. Nearly 6,000 umbrellas have been sold so far.

Tribal women of Attappady engaged in making umbrellas. Nearly 6,000 umbrellas have been sold so far.

On the face of it, techies promoting sale of umbrellas may appear anachronistic. Not for Progressive Techies, a socio-cultural organisation, which has units in all major IT parks in the State, including Infopark in Kochi. Their intent is to lend a helping hand in the sale of Karthumbi brand of umbrellas made by the tribal women of Attappady.

“Thamp, an organisation working for the welfare of tribal community, approached us last year asking whether we could help them with the promotion of umbrella since they can hardly afford marketing expenses,” said Anish Panthalani. At that time, 50 trained tribal women were engaged in umbrella making under the aegis of Thampu and an online organisation called Peace Collective.

That association really proved fruitful as Progressive Techies helped sell 6,000-odd umbrellas, including 2,000 in the four IT Parks in the State amassing over ₹2 lakh. “Since we did it purely as charity, the women engaged were able to make anywhere between ₹100 and ₹120 on a three-fold umbrella sold at ₹350,” said Mr. Panthalani. Since then the price has been brought down to ₹300 in the quest of a larger customer base.

The first lot of umbrellas ordered by techies will be handed over at a function to be held at Infopark in the first week of June. Unlike last year when the product was marketed in all IT parks, this time the organisation is focusing is mainly on Infopark in Kochi. But the support of companies in other IT parks has been sought to promote the sale of umbrellas in other centres.

Pre-sale order

Progressive Techies has already started collecting the pre-sale order for this year through a Google Forum created for the purpose. The order can be placed by paying an advance of ₹100, while the rest can be paid at the time of the delivery. An initial order for 750 umbrellas was placed on Friday.

The organisation has decided to restrict itself to the direct delivery of umbrellas only inside the park this year, while leaving the rest of the orders from outside to Thamp. Mr. Panthalani said efforts to make greater varieties of umbrellas remained yet to materialise, restricting the sale to three-fold umbrellas alone for the time being. For ordering umbrellas contact: 99478-54597.

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