Crafting change for rural artisans in India

Women on Wings’ business partner GoCoop, India’s first online social marketplace, believes that technology can drive social change. Its dream is to enable a sustainable livelihood for artisans in the handloom sector through a simple, transparent, online marketplace platform.

Major role for rural women in handloom
The handloom sector is the second largest employment provider in India, next to agriculture, with close to 3 million households engaged in weaving and allied activities. Almost 90 per cent are rural households. Women play a major role in handloom weaving. Handlooms are unique to Indian culture, spelling ethnicity, simplicity, yet underlining a fashion statement.

Artisans benefit from social marketplace
GoCoop’s platform facilitates artisans, of wovens like garments, sarees, home furnishings and accessories, to come online easily and supports them in selling their handmade products to buyers directly. This direct access to buyers helps artisans discover the end pricing and also helps them in realizing greater value for their products. Most artisans working through the GoCoop marketplace have realized a 15-30% higher value for their products as compared to the local channels. The money goes directly to them, leaving out the middle men.

Real difference comes with a human touch
To support GoCoop in its growth, a Women on Wings team, comprising expert Claudia Busch and joint MD Ronald van het Hof, recently worked three days in Hyderabad with the team of GoCoop. Day one focused specifically on the branding of The GoodLoom, GoCoop’s exclusive new range of handmade garments. The next two days, the teams worked on identifying gaps in the value chains of the B2B and B2C business verticals. In an interactive workshop, the GoCoop team, comprising 25 members – designers, category managers, sales – and field teams – worked on defining solutions for bridging these gaps. All with ultimately one aim; crafting sustainable change for rural artisans.