An entrepreneur from Kerala launches a handloom challenge


Anjali Chandran’s challenge is to assist weavers in Andhra Pradesh. August 7 is National Handloom Day

When looms fell silent through the lockdown, a number of entrepreneurs and craft organisations rushed to assist weavers making an attempt to make ends meet. Anjali Chandran, an entrepreneur from Kozhikode, has introduced a “handloom challenge” to assist her weavers throughout this powerful time.

“I have been purchasing fabric from looms in remote villages in Andhra Pradesh and have seen their struggle and hard work from close quarters. The pandemic has thrown their lives out of gear. Tonnes of fabric are lying unsold with the weavers and families are in debt with no kind of support systems. That’s why I came up with the challenge,” says Anjali.

The initiative requests prospects to pay ₹550 (inclusive of the delivery costs inside India) and get 2.5 metres or its multiples of ikat material. “Among the handspun fabric from across India, ikat has been Anjali’s online boutique’s niche product. Although I stock ikat from Orissa as well, this challenge is to help weavers in Andhra,” she says. Within a week of the announcement, there was an amazing response.

Turning level

An alumni of BITS Pilani, she resigned from her job with Wipro in Bengaluru to deal with her one-year-old daughter. A visit to a weaving village made her an entrepreneur and she or he launched Impresa in 2012. “I am crazy about ikat and was at one of the looms to buy material for myself. But I was short of money and there weren’t any ATMs around to draw cash. When I promised the weaver that I would transfer the money once I reached home, he told me that even if I duped him he wouldn’t feel bad! He was happy to see a youngster taking a keen interest in their weaves. That’s when he talked at length about the difficulties in keeping their looms afloat. Coming from a weaving village, Thiruvangoor in Kozhikode district, I could understand what they were going through,” she says.

Once she got here again with the salwar units she bought, she opened a Facebook web page to promote them. Impresa (means ‘signature’ or ‘emblem’) took off from there. As it grew, it was chosen as one among the many greatest ten world social start-ups by the MNC, Capgemini, in its Innovators Race and was the one start-up from India based by a lady to be a part of the occasion.

The handloom challenge can be on all through this month. To be a part of the challenge, go browsing to www.impresa.in

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