Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) – an organization of over 1.5 million poor women workers from informal economy, has been working with these poor women workers, majority of whom belong to the rural parts of India, organizing them to achieve full-employment through struggle and development.
With Gandhian philosophy of Self-reliance at its core, SEWA organizes women into their own collectives / cooperatives / federations / microenterprises through its cooperative movement – thus helping women become self-reliant and improve their bargaining power. It then focuses on skill building and capacity building of these women’s own tiny and micro-enterprises to help them scale-up and enter the mainstream.
On these lines, SEWA has organised over 15000 poor artisans into their own for-profit company, SEWA Trade Facilitation Center - where these women use their traditional embroidery skills to create garments for national and international designers and fashion houses. SEWA provided these women workers with skill and capacity building trainings in modern designs, market trends and concepts, managerial skills, ERP etc.
In the year 2007, SEWA helped the artisans of STFC launch their own brand “Hansiba” – a brand with far higher value due to the fact that it is a brand solely owned and managed by the artisans themselves, to promote and create a market for their traditional skills in the urban market. All the products under this brand are hand embroidered and hand crafted, 65% of all sales go directly to the artisans, and the artisans themselves are the shareholders and suppliers of the Company. In essence, the brand Hansiba is a fusion of the traditional and the contemporary – a medium where the rural and the urban join hands to capture the imagination of the world.
The reality is that unlike large global brands and global supply chains who allocate about 20% of their sales budget for marketing & advertising, informal sector workers microenterprises can hardly afford to allocate capital in advertising, branding and marketing. On the other hand, retail marketing and sales is also very difficult as they cannot afford to have shops in every major city. Hence the important question is how to
increase the market share for such brands owned by small and marginal workers from informal sector.
As a solution to this question, SEWA piloted with social media marketing and digital advertising by creating Hansiba's facebook page and website. However, the owners and managers of Hansiba and STFC are poor illiterate / semi-literate women artisans who hardly have any skills or technical knowledge about maintaining / updating the website.
Therefore to boost the sales and marketing of STFC, through this project, SEWA is seeking technical expertise and assistance for redesigning and updating the website of Hansiba.