Saree is unquestionably an Indian attire, but most of the sarees available in Indian markets are woven in large mills using foreign originated fabric techniques. The trend of using chemically created fabric has overshadowed the handloom produce by artisans across India in the past few decades, causing a real threat to the livelihood of millions of handloom weavers in India. Fortunately, a few good people have taken steps to extend a new identity to handloom fabric and sustain the livelihood of many Indian artisans. The duo of Bhagalpur boy Shashank Pandey and housewife turned mompreneur Bhavana Mishra is one of those who are working to uplift the face of Indian Handloom – upgrade the lives of artisans across India.
Shashank was born in Bhagalpur, also known as the silk capital of India, in a family of small textile traders. His childhood exposure to the business of textile gave him an early understanding of the trade and struggles involved. Post graduating, he decided to continue with the same family business but with a new approach. He soon realized that he needs to move to a different city to work on his idea. Delhi was the best choice being the national capital and largest city of India that also has a startup ecosystem – Shashank moved to Delhi in 2015.
In Delhi, Shashank got in touch with many people from the garment industry startups that helped him grasp the operational model of startups. It was his experience with the startup ecosystem that made him realize that a co-founder will help him shape the business idea. He started looking out for a co-founder and connected with Ms. Bhavna Mishra – a mother and a fashion designer. Bhavna’s husband AP Mishra being an IIT- IIM alumni, mentored the duo for their venture.
The duo of Shashank and Bhavana registered their company and started trade with their brand named ‘Bhasha Bharat,’ which means ‘the language India,’ and small capital of Rs 1.5 lac introduced by Bhavana. Their partnership worked superbly due to their joint vision of bringing business for the production of handloom artisans across India. Though in their early stage, ‘Bhasha Bharat’ has already started attracting regular customers. The duo is showcasing its products online and in exhibitions across various cities. They have also partnered with the Officers Wives Association of Defence Forces Offline Store to find regular buyers for their products.
Unlike many other famous handloom brands, ‘Bhasha Bharat’ is focussed on offering budget handloom sarees that start from a basic price tag of Rs 1800. To make sure that their startup grosses a good volume, Bhasha Bharat has ensured that a large part of their stock is sarees made up of Linen Fabric. The fabric is of exceptional quality and brings value for money for the consumers in comparison with the expensive silk sarees.
The key goal of any startup is to address a problem and ‘Bhasha Bharat’ aims to solve a key problem India is facing for a few decades by organizing the craft industry. The generation-old handloom business lost its glare due to the inability to market their world-class produce amidst the huge competition brought by large corporates. In such a scenario, startups like ‘Bhasha Bharat’ will play a pivotal role in bringing back the Indian handloom industry to glory.
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