Last week two C&A employees visited India to support Women on Wings’ business partner GoCoop with their knowledge and experience in the textile business. The C&A employees are participating in an employee engagement program, which enables them to share their retail knowledge with Indian social entrepreneurs. The program is executed in partnership with C&A, C&A Foundation and Women on Wings, established to create jobs for women in rural India.
Four organizations on one mission
The team from the French C&A headquarters were accompanied by a colleague of the C&A Foundation, which funds the program, and Ronald van het Hof, joint MD at Women on Wings India . All were on a mission: supporting GoCoop in getting export ready and increase sales in order to increase the employment of women in rural India. GoCoop is India’s 1st online social marketplace for weavers and artisans which is supported by Women on Wings in its business growth since 2014. GoCoop currently works with over 225 co-operatives with over 60,000 weavers across 35 textile clusters in 7 states across India.
Sharing knowledge becomes enriching experience
Eric Werner, Planning Coordinator at C&A France: “We didn’t know what to expect in India exactly. Turns out the team from GoCoop are eager-to-learn professionals that gave us a more than warm welcome. The close relation of Ronald with GoCoop enabled very quickly a sound working atmosphere. We discussed sustainability, quality, planning and had a creative session making mood boards.” “We also worked on a new collection for fabrics and visited weavers in villages near Hyderabad. It was just an amazing experience. We too gained a lot from this visit,” adds Hatman Chaieb, District Manager at C&A France.
Bringing handloom to western textile retailers
For GoCoop it also was a valuable experience. Six GoCoop team members participated in the sessions. Siva Devireddy, Founder and CEO at GoCoop: “The workshops gave us a good understanding of how to work with international retailers, their buying cycles and how we should plan our sales and marketing activities around these clients. We now have a good plan on creating specific B2B collections over the next few months and taking them to market. After the field visit, we discussed the topics around sustainability and how the handloom co-operatives present a very different alternative to the traditional textile supply chains across the world. I am very hopeful that we would get to take this agenda forward and more fashion brands and retailers would adopt sourcing of handmade fabrics through co-ops.”
C&A Foundation: women are at the heart of effecting real, systemic change
C&A Foundation aspires to a fair and sustainable apparel industry, based on respect and in balance with nature. Where everyone touched by the industry – from farmer to consumer – can thrive. Stefan Bakker, Social Media Specialist at C&A Foundation: “Women are at the heart of C&A. The majority of the C&A team and workers at suppliers are women, and they are the core of the C&A customer base. We know that when women are healthy, educated and economically empowered, their children, families and communities prosper. I’m proud I was part of this visit and I’m interested to set up a broad discussion on the handloom industry in relation to exports and compliance.”