A new future for Shrujan – Threads of Life

In November 2016 Chandra Shroff, the founder of Shrujan, passed away. 45 years back she started this social business to help the women in rural Kutch to earn an extra income and safeguard the unique embroidery of each tribal group. Currently 4,200 women are actively involved in 100 villages.

Her daughter Ami Shroff has taken over her mother’s role. I know Ami from the start of the partnership of Women on Wings and Shrujan, five years back. When I asked her in December how I could help, she asked me to come in April to help her reflect on the business plan for the coming years. I know Ami as a very active person dealing with 100 issues at the same time, but taking time for reflection and sharing policy in the team is a topic we as outsiders can really contribute with. During a 2 day interactive workshop with management team and heads of department, Ronald van het Hof, MD Women on Wings, and I helped them to develop a business plan for the future.

Shrujan aims at strengthening the dignity of women by craft development. In production and sales, Shrujan provides 4,200 women a source of income and pride. In 2020 Shrujan will be known by its ‘fine craft in Kutch’ and focus on:
1) Production of high quality embroidery products, affordable for all upper-middle and upper class clients
2) Production of high-end textile crafts (block printing, weaving). Their Unique Selling Point is the ‘finest handicraft by women in Kutch’; theirs is of the best quality!

They aim at tripling sales by 2020. Together we developed a strategy for reaching this objective and looked at the potentials for increasing sales via B2B (corporate gifting), private label (customized job order), retail (shop in shop), while at the same time increasing options for sales via their four shops, exhibitions, events, online, customized single pieces. For each sales channel we developed an action plan and assigned an owner from the sales team.

These ambitious sales figures also request a further optimization and expansion of the production capacity of 4,250 women. Plans have been developed for increasing the number of artisans and the quality of production by organizing workshops for artisans to inspire them, give them examples and benchmarks of high quality production and explain them about the target customers.

The payment will be adjusted for high performing artisans and work will be created for the elderly women. But also, the connection with artisans will be strengthened by helping them in getting an ID and artisans card from the Government. By having an overdraft facility at the bank (since this year) Shrujan can pay the artisans whenever needed. And finally the production team will reorganize its visits to villages from 12 to 20 visits and hence further facilitate the production process.

The team was very happy with the outcome. They appreciated the way we facilitated the discussion and Ami was happy to see an active contribution of all in a good atmosphere. Moreover, they decided to discuss the progress of the implementation plans on a weekly basis in the management team.

It has been a rewarding visit again. Shrujan’s tagline is ‘Threads of Life. It has also become an important ‘thread in my life’.

Annet van den Hoek
Expert at Women on Wings

@pic: Annet with Ami and Shrujan’s team