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Leather home décor craftsmen at wits end due to slowdown

24
Mar '09
The economic recession which has gripped the globe and the resultant slowdown has gripped each and every sector in any given country, to an extent which was just unimaginable, even till the first half of 2008.

With it is textiles and garments, engineering goods, chemicals or leather, not one sector has been able to escape the tsunami like wrath of the meltdown. The booming leather accessories and decorative items industry is no exception.

A small locality in the industrial city of Indore, which is famous for its leather accessories and decorative items, is also going through the same throes as its contemporaries in the leather industry, elsewhere in the country.

The leather home décor and accessory industry is more of a cottage industry, where each and very grown up person in the community, which migrated from the nearby state of Rajasthan, involved in the trade of producing these products.

The leather sector over here has specialized in manufacturing caricatures of animals in all sizes from toy to life size from leather. The curing and the tanning process of the raw leather hide are done by means of tree and vegetable herbs, an eco-friendly method.

These artifacts and toys are created with hands without using machines at any stage. Models of animals like elephants, lions, bears, crocodiles, etc are well accepted and commanded good prices in local as well as overseas markets.

But the economic crisis has brought this quarter century old traditional business to a grinding halt. Orders are 50-60 percent of those received at the same time in the previous year, which is making life difficult for these poor, but talented craftsmen.

The Development Commissioner, Handicrafts has sanctioned a grant of Rs 20 million to create a bank to stock raw materials and leather hides for the craftsman who may be able to source their requirements locally at lower prices in a bid to make them survive the crisis.

The biggest drawback these poor craftsmen face is the channel of sales, which is traditionally done through agents. The agents purchase at very low prices from these artisans and these very items are then sold at 10 times the original price in the US and EU markets.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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