"The competition for Indian handmade carpets is Turkish machine-made carpets, which have copied exactly what the traditional carpets used to look like," Atul Nagi, VP-International Sales, Carpet Crafts LLC, Dubai, said during the panel discussion on 'Buying agents and buying in the new global order', guest anchored by Fibre2Fashion Consulting Editor Richa Bansal.
However, customisation is also increasing. "The most encouraging part is that if you are working with design teams or architectural firms who are planning for future projects – customisation is the name of the game. We are into 100 per cent customisation from the GCC market or anywhere in the world whoever needs," Nagi said during the panel discussion organised by Buying Agents Association.
Giving an example from India, Nagi said, "Earlier in Bhadohi, everyone was making one design and that was being exported all over the place. But now if you look at Jaipur Rug Company, it has really focused and built up a company on strong bases like design, supply chain metrics, right for the mass market, etc. But we are seeing a movement towards customisation."
Is India getting ready for customization? According to Nagi, big architectural firms are not just looking at just the product per se of selling it, but also looking at the quality aspect. "What are the endurance quality parameters your products can meet? So, all these international standards are becoming very critical even in the handloom sector. Example, getting CRI certificate for endurance qualities. That is the kind of big change we are looking at. It means we have to train our labour force for such changes. The training process is still lagging way behind for that process to happen."
Explaining a key difference in Indian and Chinese carpet production methods, Nagi said, "People use sun to dry up of a product which is the right thing, because best colours come out in the sun, no doubt about it. But if you are going into a contract mode, it is a specific delivery which needs to be done. How many factories are building this up as an industry? We are still like a handicraft industry. If we look at China, they have built this up as an industry, where they have drying chambers of 20 metres or 30 metres long where carpets could be dried today. So, there is a lot of work which needs to be done on these parameters."
However, demand will still remain for handmade carpets. "There are machine-made carpets coming out from China and Turkey, but the real quality is still coming from India because handmade production is major in India. And I think it is going to stay that way. We need to invest in our process of development, technology, etc," he concluded.
Click here to watch recording of the panel discussion
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