Tuesday, May 20, 2008

India's Cottage Industry Rocks!

Truly, India's cottage industry rocks. The wealth of fabrics and handicrafts that get 'exported' to the cities from our villages and small towns is truly mind-boggling.

But, I wonder where you buy these? Earlier I used to buy them at exhibitions and other handicraft showrooms, but now I feel the best places to buy these from are the government-owned/cooperative stores such as Janatha Bazaar, Cooptex, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, Sarvodaya, etc. You get them much, much cheaper!

Imagine getting a beautiful, ethnic pillow cover for Rs 21/- or a classy, aesthetic, durable bed spread for Rs 75/- And oh well, I forgot the 15% seasonal discount on them! These are pretty much the same goods (often from the same manufacturers) that you would buy for triple the price at posh shops!

If the products are so economically-priced and yet durable, why is it that more people don't buy from these cooperative stores? I can only guess. Maybe it's because these stores are very to-the-point without any fancy decor or lighting? Maybe it's because these stores are not given much publicity? Maybe it's because they do not stock 'everything' all the time and only moving stock that matches the season? Well, I would say, that is why they are able to sell at such a price!

Personally speaking, any day, I would prefer to window shop at exhibitions and upmarket stores and then go buy the same products (if available) from the Janatha Bazaars of this world! What if one pillow cover or dupatta fades... 90% of the time I am able to bet on the quality :-)