Storytelling from Thar Desert; empowering women artisans

Anupama and I received a warm welcome at GVCS after a 3 hours drive from Jodphur. After a short introduction – including chai & biscuits- we started with the workshop.

GVCS is a NGO in textiles @Barmer. Situated in colourful Rajasthan in between Jaisalmar and Jodphur, known as the Thar desert. The artisans with whom GVCS works are specialized in Embroidery, Applique and Patchwork. With these skills they make the most beautiful products, from bedcovers to curtains. From cushions to bags. A delight to see & feel the high quality of handcrafted products created by these artisans. GVCS has a network of 11,000 artisans out of which 3,000 get regular work.

Our mission was to at least try to tackle the following issues:

  1. Co building a brand for GVCS: name/logo & values
  2. Co creating of marketing & sales plan

How do we create more market opportunities for GVCS. What are the challenges? We started brainstorming and identify them. We discussed the challenges/issues regarding large customers regarding pricing/timing/quality, the opportunities of product segmentation, pricing in general, competitors and outsourcing of fabrics & stitching.

The last remaining hours of the first day we did a brainstorm exercise on branding: names and values where. Thinking out of the box.

The second day we followed up on the marketing & sales. We discussed the value chain. We continued on where we left off the day before. We challenged GVCS on knowing the market and an active sales approach. After a good discussion during an outstanding Rajasthani lunch we put focus on sales skills & tactics. We showcased the usage of their network, how to explore the world-wide-web and use the Linked-in network. Changes can be made by an active sales approach. And follow up. Go out there and use share the wonderful story there is to tell! Dare to share and ask. By end of January GVCS will finalize their prospectlist for 2016.

All together it was a fruitful 2-day workshop. A lot of progress made, and still a lot to do. With the potential of GVCS there are a lot of opportunities. The main deliverables are: a list of potential brandnames and the marketing & sales plan- including timings for the first quarter of 2016.

To Ms Ruma Devi, Mr Vikram Singh and Ms Aradhana Singh of GVCS-> thank you so much for your active and transparent contribution to the workshop!

Cornelie Guise, Anupama Mairal