Andhra Pradesh

Young carpet maker revamps sector with unique sales idea

Mohammed Nasim is helping many artisans earn a livelihood by establishing craft exhibitions in Srikakulam and other places in north-coastal A.P.  

A young carpet maker from Varanasi, Mohammed Nasim, has ensured a new lease of life for his struggling fellow artisans by revamping their traditional sales model.

Mr. Nasim (29), whose family owns a carpet factory in Varanasi, travels regularly to north-coastal Andhra Pradesh with his family members to ply their wares. However, ensuring decent sales was an uphill task despite their products being of superior quality, he said.

A few years ago, Mr. Nasim said he observed that shops and establishments which were procuring carpets from him at throwaway prices were selling the same products to customers at an exorbitant mark-up.

This prompted him to consider taking the direct route by selling directly to customers instead of selling to retail outlets. Thus began a series of handicraft expos at popular tourist spots across north-coastal A.P., where other carpet artisans like him also converged to sell their wares directly to customers.

Mr. Nasim said he has organised nearly 170 exhibitions in the last five years. He takes the necessary permissions from municipal authorities and property owners to organise the exhibitions, in which stalls are given to artisans at a nominal charge which is used for maintenance, electricity charges and rent. The artisans need not pay any deposit amount to set up their stall but need to pay around ₹100 to ₹150 per day, which is low compared to the ₹1,000 to ₹2,000 charged by business houses.

“Due to the impact of the lockdown, customers are keen on getting a good deal. That is why they are now going to exhibitions instead of big showrooms where prices are steep as the latter have to also cover their overhead costs,” Mr. Nasim told The Hindu at the Craft Bazaar established near the Forest Office of Srikakulam. Mr. Nasim, who is also the founder president of Visakha Artisans Development Society, is able to ensure a livelihood for artisans of Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and several other States.

The artisans are selling Bengal Cotton saris, Kalankari dress material, Rajasthani bedsheets, Warangal towels, Etikoppaka toys and Hyderabadi pearls among others. Local women put up food and pickle stalls at the exhibition which will continue up to January 26.

Mohammed Saleem, who also oversees the maintenance of Indian Craft Bazar in Srikakulam, expressed happiness at the good response to the exhibition. K.A. Bala, a Kashmiri artisan who sells saris, says that the exhibition has helped him get back on his feet. “Due to COVID-19, there were no sales between March and August in 2020. But we managed to recoup all losses and earn decent profits thanks to the brisk business in the last two months,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 9:51:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/young-carpet-maker-revamps-sector-with-unique-sales-idea/article33590147.ece

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