Boosting rural India’s economy by creating a new generation of artisans
Jaipur Rugs, one of the largest manufacturers of hand-knotted carpets in India, is helping low-income people in the most economically disadvantaged regions of India gain access to local employment opportunities.
Jaipur produces the raw materials for its rugs and delivers them to artisans’ homes, oversees production via rigorous quality control processes, and collects, distributes and markets the finished products. The company now works with around with 28,000 weavers and 12,000 raw material producers, along with its 600 staff members. Annual revenues for Jaipur have topped $25 million. Now a major international brand, Jaipur’s rugs are sold around the world.
The steady growth of Jaipur Rugs and Jaipur Rugs Foundation has helped to transform villages that previously depended on low-paid seasonal labour into a profitable value chain of artisans. This in turn has enabled Jaipur to handle increasing demand from its customers. It has also eliminated middlemen, whose control over market access means that they can appropriate a large share of the profits from rug sales; Jaipur brings this share of the profits directly to artisans.
Weavers receive a minimum of US$70 per month (compared to $6 from seasonal work in agriculture). And while Jaipur Rugs provides artisans a fair price for their work JRF, connects them with literacy and financial inclusion, health care and artisan cards – enabling them to access additional services. This model also aims to harness grassroots potential to fulfil core functional roles within the supply chain – and cultivate future senior managers from among artisan families.
Online sales provide a major boost to the company’s global export market: Jaipur is now India’s largest hand-knotted rug manufacturer, having produced over 10 million square feet of carpet for customers in more than 40 countries. In August 2011, Jaipur joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to provide sustainable livelihoods for 6,000 underprivileged women and deliver skills training to 10,000 of the poorest people in rural India. Surpassing these goals by 2015, the company went on to provide management and leadership training to 1,700 women so that they could assume managerial positions with the company.
In 2016, Jaipur renewed its BCtA commitment, pledging to enhance the creative capacities of 15,000 artisans, provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to 9,000 marginalized women and lead a range of grassroots leadership programmes targeting 15,000 artisans in India’s carpet value chain – all by 2022.