How a Maharashtra based company leveraging the loom weavers across the country?
“A little bit of good can turn into a whole lot of good when fueled by the commitment of a social entrepreneur.” Not all businesses work only for money, some work with their own principles and values and tend to make the world a better place to live in. So is the Maharashtra-based company, Loomfolks. Back in 2019, the founding members of Loomfolks traveled length and breadth in India through Walajpet, Kanchipuram, Kuthampully – Thichur, Yeola – Maharashtra, Uppada – Village – Andhra Pradesh, Bhagalpur-Bihar, and West Bengal. After the entire expedition, they found one common problem among all the weavers of India. Though these weavers were highly talented and hardworking yet they did not have the platform to sell their products. Via each loom, they used to weave close to 20 sarees but couldn’t sell them which led to their impoverishment. Handloom, being an important part of Indian culture was somewhere lingering in solitude where there was no one to address its problems. Hence Loomfolks decided to make the move. They started meeting the weavers of Bengal and Maharashtra with an aim to understand their problems and address them with a platform. Their only vision was that they wanted to create a business that has a strong social purpose behind it.
But as we know, whenever someone tries to walk upon the path of integrity and social inclusion, they come across a lot of adversities. None of the members had a lot of knowledge about this sector hence they had to go through a very natural process of understanding the sector and the weavers. Moreover, it was important to instill trust among the weavers which required a lot of effort and weren’t an overnight process. Gradually when the weavers fell into place, the next major task was to gather the customers. They started off with the website and the promotions but eCommerce has never been easy, it’s a tough nut to crack as the customers are highly skeptical, especially with prepaid orders. But with a passionate mindset, the entire team of Loomfolks managed to build that repo amongst the customers as well. Learning through the journey and never giving up has been their success mantra even till today. When they started pulling it off well, then came another setback, the pandemic. It gave them a major unplanned dip and they started figuring out newer ways to boost their sales.
Loomfolks has always kept in mind to keep the entire process very easy for the weavers to understand but along with that they wanted to make the customer journey unique and have an edge over the competitors. Initially, when they started reaching out to the customers or received the inbound queries, they noticed a common question among all the customers, that if they could see the product video. Here’s where Loomfolks realized that merely texts and images were not enough to reach a wider sect and leverage the handloom industry. Videos would play a major role here. And hence Loomfolks got their competitive advantage. They started researching around live video commerce where weaves could directly connect to the customers through live videos and they came across Baaz. Live video, being a new idea, Loomfolks was a little hesitant to adopt but they started doing test sessions with Baaz and received a good response. Through the entire process, they came up with many customizations which could make the journey easy for the weavers and experiential for the customers. Baaz catered to almost all of them and the live video shopping integration with the website was finally completed. But to bring up the weavers in front of the camera was in itself a major challenge. But amongst them a lady came up and took the entire leadership, she got herself trained with the entire live commerce process and found it to be easier and life-changing as she gained that confidence to directly interact with the customers and face the camera without hesitation. This is the impact that Baaz and live video commerce created upon the weavers of Loomfolks.
Starting off with a small number of people, today Loomfolks is home to 15 artisans family spread across 20 villages in Bengal, Bihar, Maharastra, Kanchipuram, Madhya Pradesh, Kuthampully, Uppada out of which 100 are women. Along with empowering the weavers and artisans from various villages spread across the country, it has played a major role in leveraging the handloom industry and providing people with the best handcrafted sarees. The major reason for its success has been the five principles that it relies upon Quality First, Integrity, Innovation, Sustainability, and Social Inclusion. It has been successful in binding the fraternity of fashion with the threads of style, professionalism, and authenticity.