Growing a team on the beach

From process analysis in rather mundane surroundings to team building exercise at the beach; sometimes a Women on Wings team gets to do it all in one go. Expert Joost Theunis and sr. business consultant at Women on Wings Supriya Kapoor spent three days in Mithapur, Gujarat, to work with Okhai’s team.

Okhai; a Tata initiative for rural artisans
Mithapur is on the extreme tip of the lower jaw of the state of Gujarat. The town is essentially a colony supported by Tata Chemicals Ltd., one of the flagship companies of the Tata Group. A department within Tata Chemicals takes care of Mithapur’s administration and is responsible for developing and maintaining the township. Okhai, Women on Wings business partner since November 2016, was set up by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD). With the support of TCSRD, self-help groups (SHGs) have been formed in the villages of Okhamandal, the region where Mithapur is situated. The women of these SHGs groups are trained in the processes of modern handicraft production. The women can work at their pace and in their homes while managing their household. Special training is provided on an ongoing basis to keep the women in touch with the latest trends, colors and fashions.

Artisans use skills to become self-confident
As a brand, Okhai constitutes ladies’ wear, men’s wear, home décor products and accessories. Okhai products use mirror work, patchwork and embroidery created as a vibrant expression of the rural way of life with its rituals and legends. Okhai’s mission is to encourage women from less privileged backgrounds to acquire new skills; to give them self-confidence and self-esteem; and to enable them to carry this newly discovered skill and confidence into the wider world. Okhai understands the rich culture and traditions that these rural communities are steeped in and translates this heritage into products by pairing traditional art with contemporary designs and modern processes.

Creating space to open up
To ensure these processes keep in sync with Okhai’s growth, process and production expert Joost Theunis spent three days with Okhai’s team to analyze its processes and define improvements. While doing that, it was felt the team could benefit from a team building exercise, taking them out of the office to create an open space for openness. The Mithapur beach, provided the right atmosphere to bring out the best of the team.