They have come 24 hours by train from Bihar, from Jaipur and Varanasi and 29 hours by bus from Leh to attend a Retail and Shop Management workshop here in Delhi. They are from four of the producer groups supplying MESH. When we asked all our producer groups what they needed help with several of them said they wanted to improve their local sales, either from their shops or directly from their workshops. So we have linked up with Sarba Shanti Ayog(SSA) for this workshop.
SSA comes to the subject with 35 years of retail experience as a sister organisation to SASHA in Kolkata. On the first day they were sharing that they have a team of nine looking after Indian sales and they are self sufficient and independent of the export business of SASHA. With regular events in their shop and masses of planning, a distinctive brand and lovely ambiance they have managed to keep customers interested and even tourists return looking for Indian handicrafts.
GoCoop Deputy Manager, Roshan Singh introduced us to their online global marketplace for weavers and artisans and judging by the question and answer session afterwards it seems as if we all recognised the potential for our producer groups in linking up with GoCoop.
Then in the evening they all went off to a high end crafts emporium in Connaught Place to see merchandising at it's best.
Just a little about the groups who are at this workshop -
Kiran Centre has a gift shop in Varanasi town as well as a bakery. Sunil has come from there as part of a new plan to boost their retail sales with the help of some international volunteers.
Sartik Manav Kusht Ashram produces hand woven and block printed home furnishings. They have a store in the ashram and would like to sell more to the local community.
Pagir has a small shop in Leh catering to the summer tourists visiting the mountains and they have seen increased sales but would like to give it a boost.
Little Flower produces wonderful handspun silk scarves and stoles as well as fine cotton fabric. They have recently appointed someone to focus on local marketing in Patna. To know more about little Flower look here
Deepa and Rohit from MESH shop are also participating.
The workshop is part of IM Development Partner's funded project for Producer Development.