An entrepreneur from Kerala launches a handloom challenge

Anjali Chandran at a loom in Andhra Pradesh   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

When looms fell silent during the lockdown, several entrepreneurs and craft organisations rushed to help weavers trying to make ends meet. Anjali Chandran, an entrepreneur from Kozhikode, has announced a “handloom challenge” to help her weavers during this tough time.

“I have been purchasing fabric from looms in remote villages in Andhra Pradesh and have seen their struggle and hard work from close quarters. The pandemic has thrown their lives out of gear. Tonnes of fabric are lying unsold with the weavers and families are in debt with no kind of support systems. That’s why I came up with the challenge,” says Anjali.

Ikat fabric

Ikat fabric   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The initiative requests customers to pay ₹550 (inclusive of the shipping charges within India) and get 2.5 metres or its multiples of ikat fabric. “Among the handspun fabric from across India, ikat has been Anjali’s online boutique’s niche product. Although I stock ikat from Orissa as well, this challenge is to help weavers in Andhra,” she says. Within a week of the announcement, there has been an overwhelming response.

Turning point

An alumni of BITS Pilani, she resigned from her job with Wipro in Bengaluru to take care of her one-year-old daughter. A trip to a weaving village made her an entrepreneur and she launched Impresa in 2012. “I am crazy about ikat and was at one of the looms to buy material for myself. But I was short of money and there weren’t any ATMs around to draw cash. When I promised the weaver that I would transfer the money once I reached home, he told me that even if I duped him he wouldn’t feel bad! He was happy to see a youngster taking a keen interest in their weaves. That’s when he talked at length about the difficulties in keeping their looms afloat. Coming from a weaving village, Thiruvangoor in Kozhikode district, I could understand what they were going through,” she says.

Once she came back with the salwar sets she purchased, she opened a Facebook page to sell them. Impresa (means ‘signature’ or ‘emblem’) took off from there. As it grew, it was selected as one among the best ten global social start-ups by the MNC, Capgemini, in its Innovators Race and was the only start-up from India founded by a woman to be part of the event.

The handloom challenge will be on throughout this month. To join the challenge, log on to

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 12:29:06 AM |

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