Mandi- An artisan’s story through craft

As a sociology major born and raised in Mumbai I have always been fascinated by tribal societies. What particularly fascinated me about these close knit societies was their enchanting craftsmanship. Tribal and rural societies in India have an intrinsic skill at creating art.  With no formal training received many of these skills are passed on through generations and remain a family secret.  However many of their designs are plagiarized by mass retail corporations to amass profits.  This may have been the time I was inspired to create my own venture that would support and sustain the local artisans. Thus I created Indologie six years ago ,specialized in retailing folk arts products from different parts of India. It was only three years ago that it was rebranded as  Mandi . The term is derived from Hindi with its literal meaning as marketplace. With a quite coast of Betalbatim beach in Goa as its location, we wanted to stay away from the commercial and crowded areas. Every product in our store has been directly sourced from artisans ,weavers and craftsmen.  We also take part in many exhibitions and fair trade shows around Goa in order for people to get a glimpse of the Mandi experience. The Indian cow, dominated the brand logo, albeit, aptly since a vibrant Indian marketplace is never complete without the Indian cow at the market square. “Your Indian fix” became the brand’s tagline, perfectly describing the common thread running through all its products.A second store opened in November 2013. For a year, the store established brand Mandi in the local Goa market, as a store that was out-of-the-box and Indian. The store organized 2 major festivals showcasing the Bengal art and craft Hub, with a promotional evening, of Bengal folk music fusing with Swedish folk. The Festival, co branded by Absolut! got rave reviews and coverage in all major newspapers and magazines. Apart from this event, Mandi took part in the major Goan festivals, the annual Marathi Awards festival, to name a few.This helped the Brand visibility and firm establishment in the Goan market.The unique out-of-the-box interiors, and fresh product line, got covered and mentioned by local magazines and newspapers.The Mandi cow “dressed up”,according to theme becoming a brand to reckon with, firmly in the minds of people.Based on the huge feedback from the international clientele on the popularity and demand of the humble Indian handicraft in the overseas marketspaces, Mandi evolved from the brick and mortar store, into a 100% online ecommerce platform, in March 2016.

The brand taps the export markets and potential of Indian handicrafts, by making the crafted product export worthy. Sourced from across India, whilst focusing on the handicraft quality and design with subtle preferences unique to individual global market spaces.

At http://www.mandistore.com, we retail apparels, accessories, art, furnishings, fabrics and other lifestyle products that are handcrafted and unique.

Mandi especially focuses on the handicraft quality and design, with the help of our design intervention team and quality audits, while sourcing a majority of its products under common categories, from little known crafts in India.

Rural artisan empowerment is what we ultimately strive for – where the artisan gains an understanding of the global marketplace, and retails independently, at par with the global craft community.

 

About the author

Cleodel Savkur is the founder of Mandi-Your Indian Fix .

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