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Redefining The Handicraft Sector For The 4G Generation Handicraft exports from India in the fiscal year 2015- 2016 was registered at a whopping $1.9 billion

By Sheela Lunkad

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The handmade space in India holds a commendable position, in terms of the artistic value it offers as well as the large-scale employment availed by it. Primarily pursued in the rural areas, this space covers almost all states of the country with a plethora of products being brought out, right from paintings to puppets, from decorative items to apparels such as shawls and dupattas and much more.

Handicraft Sector In India

The handicraft sector of India is currently divided into three segments, of which the first and the largest is exports. As a matter of fact, handicraft exports from India in the fiscal year 2015- 2016 was registered at a whopping $1.9 billion. The second segment in this sector is essentially run by NGOs, who work in tandem with the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles to encourage the work and development of artisans from all across the country. The last segment is that of small articles, which are brought to the market by the artists themselves. Needless to say, this segment is highly unorganised.

Handmade Sector Includes A Myriad Skills

When we speak of handmade products, handicrafts and textiles are merely a part of the bigger picture. As a matter of fact, the hand-based category is extremely extensive and includes myriad skills, such as gold designing, creation of customised luxury products like leather articles, cosmetics, metal-crafted items and much more. Here's a brief look at what this segment essentially looks like -

  • Jewellery

Inclusions - Gold Crafting and Diamond Cutting

Current Scope - $40 Billion

  • Health and Wellness

Inclusions - Gold Crafting and Diamond Cutting

Current Scope - $40 Billion

  • Health and Wellness

Inclusions - Traditional Healing, Essential Oils, Medicinal Cosmetics, Environments such as wellness centres

Current Scope - $700 Billion

  • Wedding Industry

Inclusions -Environments, Jewellery, Wellness, D?cor

  • Home Furnishings and D?cor

Inclusions - Handmade Furniture, Upholstery and Architectural Finishes

  • Luxury Products

Inclusions - Cosmetics, Metal Crafts, Perfumes, Bags, Accessories

  • Essential Apparel

Inclusions - Basic Garments and apparel

For what it's worth, the handmade positioning of various segments within the wedding industry such as apparel, jewellery, d?cor, environments and even wellness add up to an incredible US$ 300 Billion, in the global level. If estimates are to be believed, the Indian Handmade Industry alone, can clock over US$ 70 Billion.


Given that there are innumerable art forms that brim in the rural segments of the nation, the underlying opportunities in this segment are immense.

The need of the hour is to tap these opportunities in a way that not only helps the sector get organised but also that the designers, makers, the buyers as well as the convenors, can all be brought together on one platform.

In this regard, what is truly needed is an innovative solution, which can help the designers bring forth unique and customised designs every single time.

For the realisation of the true potential of Indian Handmade Industry, a platform that caters to high-quality craftsmanship, and offers customised products, even if on a fairly low-scale is required, and this is needed on both, B2B as well as the B2C front.

Here, it isn't just the convergence of various stakeholders but also the initiation of a dialogue between them that leads to collaborative efforts, is what will bring about the much-desired revolution.

In addition, optimal marketing effects for the handmade products also need to be taken up to a larger scale, where everyone, right from the industry stalwarts to the layman can come to know and recognise the offerings of the industry, and enter into collaborations and/or make direct purchases as and when required.

Present Scenario

Unfortunately, the current market structure where conventional platforms like online shopping portals or retail giants largely offer industry produced items in bulk, do not fulfil this basic need, leaving a tremendous scope for new entrants to envisage this opportunity.

The mass industry which produces less number of SKUs and more quantity of the same products is unfit to cater to this handmade segment where the quantity of products is lesser but the number of SKUs is huge!

Once realised to full potential, the Indian Handmade sector can undoubtedly take verticals such as fashion, retail, home d?cor and interiors along with luxury, by an unprecedented storm.

Sheela Lunkad

Founder, Direct Create

Sheela Lunkad is the founder of Direct Create - a collaboration based community platform. Built to rapidly scale the Handmade sector, it redefining the business process environment for the Internet generation, that's seeking a more sustainable and emotionally connected consumer eco-system. Direct Create is connecting with the Makers and Designers to buildIndia’s first online community of creators who can seamlessly work online and offline.
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