American Express Supports Indian Women Artisans With Market Visibility And Recognition

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Edited By: Namit Singh Sengar

Last Updated: February 21, 2023, 16:23 IST

Laila Tyabji, founder member and chairperson, Dastkar

Laila Tyabji, founder member and chairperson, Dastkar

The initiative is part of American Express and Dastkar’s program – ‘Backing Women Artisans’.

American Express on Tuesday said that and along with NGO Dastkar, it is supporting the economic empowerment of craftswomen across nine states in India through market visibility, recognition and earnings.

The initiative is part of American Express and Dastkar’s program – ‘Backing Women Artisans’ aimed at building financial resilience among women-led small businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The program has already made a positive impact on the lives of over 14,000 craftswomen, a press note stated.

The nine states are Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Delhi, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal.

Laila Tyabji, founder member and chairperson, Dastkar, said, “At the end of phase one of our project, there was a clear need to address more than mere subsistence. For ultimate survival and sustainability, we needed to ensure that the hand skills of Indian craftswomen garner their rightful place in the Indian and international marketplace.”

“For this, new product development and design was a primary necessity. We thank American Express for recognising this need and continuing with their support with an additional grant of approx. Rs 1 crore,” Tyabji added.

Vibha Bajaj, vice president, corporate affairs, Asia, American Express, added, “Our association with Dastkar has been very fulfilling and inspiring, where craftswomen have gained a new lease of life with increased earnings and self-confidence. The program sought to honour, enable, and empower these women artisans, giving them their own place in the economic mainstream – as earners and entrepreneurs, and we are proud to have been able to achieve this objective.”

The theme finalised for the phase two of the project was ‘AT HOME’ and included household products like soft furnishings, home accessories, art and wall hangings, basketry, and floor coverings.

Twelve women-based craft groups with unique identities and a strong will to bring change were selected from across India.

Experienced designers mentored and worked with each group over a period of nine months to produce ranges of 15 items each, including one show-stopper piece in each range.

The craft groups were introduced to design techniques like design thinking and color theory, as well as rigorous quality control. This enhanced their understanding of creating unique, contemporary, and market-ready designs.

They also benefited from learnings in costing and pricing, sizing, finishing and timelines, direct interaction with design professionals and understanding of consumer and market trends.

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