While many sectors found themselves in an unchartered territory and incurred huge losses during the pandemic, the Kudumbashree apparel units across the State have a different story to tell.
Women working in around 5,000 apparel units in different districts took some extra effort to tide of the crisis, successfully navigating a profitable venture in the face of adversity.
According to official records, they have reported a turnover of over ₹12 crore during the last few months, a figure much higher compared to their business during post-COVID-19 days. “We have supplied over 70 lakh masks and we are also providing cloth bags to Supplyco and Bevco. The Supplyco order alone brought us a business of ₹4 crore and it’s for the first time we are touching such figures,” says an official.
Kudumbashree also has a total of 12 apparel parks in the State, some of them with state-of-the-art machinery so that they can offer customised services as well. Though it was mainly face masks and cloth bags, some units offered PPE kits. “Our branded masks are slowly becoming popular and our products are available on Amazon as well,” she adds.
During the early days of the pandemic, Kudumbashree units were the only option for mass procurement. “We took bulk orders and ensured that they were delivered on time braving many logistical challenges. It wasn’t an easy task as many units couldn’t function due to restrictions, but the women took the material home for stitching to complete the orders on time. Though some others too have started mass producing in recent times, we don’t think our business will be affected. If somebody wants a huge volume of products we will be the first choice,” the official says.
While the units went for business models that tapped the lockdown economy and ensured short-term survival, they also have some big plans for the future.
“In the next the phase we will be focussing on branding and upgrading the quality of our products. At present it’s difficult to conduct training sessions, but we definitely have plans to diversify,” she adds.