Wungshungmei Shangrei, from Manipur’s remote Longpi village, who has been creating black stone pottery for more than 15 years, now calls Delhi home. He shifted to the Capital almost a decade ago, after he was engaged by Tribes India to develop kitchenware for their flagship store on Mahadev Road, the neighbourhood of many bureaucrats and ministers.
“Every two months, we get rare black stones from our village by train. We are happy to be in Delhi and work on our traditional crafts so that it remains alive. Since it’s a long process to create pottery out of black stone, I am able to make only 20 to 25 pieces a month,” says Shangrei, sitting in the administrative office of Trifed, an enterprise run by the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which owns the Tribes India brand.
Trifed has, over the years, engaged 3.5 lakh such artisans from all over India to create products that are exclusively sold at Tribes India stores across India. Now, with an aim to capture a bigger market share, expand their reach, and to rein in counterfeit products, Trifed has launched an e-marketplace for its products, which will bear the Crafts India hallmark.
“All 28 Indian states and UTs (barring Haryana and Punjab) have tribal populations who are engaged in making traditional handcrafted products, from textiles, jewellery and home décor to edibles such as honey and cashew,” says Pravir Krishna, MD, Trifed. He adds, “A few months ago, we tied up with Amazon and Flipkart to sell our products online, as a pilot. We have decided to go whole hog and have our exclusive e-commerce website and app.”
They have tied up with Speedpost to deliver products at no extra cost to the consumer, within three to five working days. The website has products in eight categories as well as a section dedicated to how the products are created. Jual Oram, the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, launched http://www.tribesindia.com in Delhi last week.
Paresh Rathwa from Gujarat’s Kawand village, whose family has traditionally created Pithora paintings, says, “I come from a small village in Chhota Udaipur district. I don’t have much idea about the market. So, we are taught the basics of pricing and other marketing skills. Trifed procures products from us at our prices and sells these further to the
end consumers.” As of now, the organisation has set up an ambitious retail sales target of Rs 100 crores to be achieved during the year 2018-19. However, it remains to be seen if they maintain the momentum and sustain the sales.