Sustainable Living Brands Helping Keep the Artisans their Legacy & Livelihood Alive

By   Akanksha Dixit and  Ajay Arjit Singh
Qumad Banarasi Dupatta

India as a country is well known for her rich cultural history & art, a history that has become extremely relevant today, and one that can be noutured to flourish in years to come. And at Craft Maestros, we believe in curating products that exemplify authenticity, trust and providing the best of quality. 
With the onset of the pandemic, one of the biggest setbacks has been on the lifelines of the karigars. At Craft Maestros, the aim is making Indian heritage arts & crafts more accessible for the consumers and sustainable for the artisans for whom these are a way of life and livelihood, handed down across generations.We are at a stage where so many rare craft traditions are slowly disappearing, and future generations might not get a chance to experience them, given the challenges of marketing, supplying, pricing etc. that’s keeping the artisans from practicing their craft in a manner which is rewarding enough for them and their next generations

Vishnu Viraat Roop Decorative Brass Conch
Regina Maroon Earings

At Craft Maestros, we are working towards making Indian handicrafts be more integrated with the mainstream, so that they stay alive and thrive. We are integrating symbiotic fair trade practices and tech-enable functionalities to eliminate a lot of the challenges faced by the artisans, therefore helping them focus on the process of creating, without them worrying about seasonality, consumer outreach etc. While we ensure a consistent inflow of business for the craftsmen and women, we also share product and market inputs with them to keep them in sync with the times. At a macro level, we are fostering a community of master artisans who have us to lean back on. All of the above measures are geared towards a future-forward approach to handicrafts as an industry, where we don’t have to worry about reviving crafts because we are conserving them now. Having said that, we are curating with a keen eye to detail and bringing to fore a lot of not so commonplace crafts so that you will find Ajrakh, Shibori alongside Aari, Tarakashi, bone inlay work, jaali work on wood, gemstone carving among others – making sure we expand our range tapping into the untapped potential of our ethnic crafts, from across India, and helping their grassroots creators connect with national and international consumers. We pride ourselves on our commitment to nurturing regional crafts and artisans thereby staying vocal for local and doing our bit for an atmanirbhar Bharat. We believe handicrafts have the potential to play an important role in our long term economic revival, and also in strengthening the local artisan communities once they find the right framework, like ours, which supports them and helps get the right reward for their skills. Our aim is to ensure that the age-old traditions and craftwork don’t die out with the fast pace changing world, and people are able to enjoy the happiness which emerges when one receives a piece of work which has been so carefully crafted. Handicraft objects are slowly regaining its popularity and we at Craft Maestros, ensure that each piece is unique and has been made slowly and with utmost patience by our artisans as different to mass-produced artwork which unfortunately is of not the best quality. 

Anaisha Chanderi Saree

We try and ensure that the hard work of the artisans are always highlighted and reflected in each and every product which we sell at Crafts Maestros. Hence, we provide detailed attention even to the packaging of the products which are to be received by our beloved customers. Each item bought from Craft Maestros will include a certificate of authenticity with the master artisan’s name and introduction, the craft technique deployed, and the year in which he/she has won the award for his/her craft. The reason we have added this to our product packaging is to make its sterling quality, it’s genuine value as an artisanal product sourced from a national/ ship guru/ padma shree or other awarded craftsman/women stand out, while also acquainting the consumer, holding the product, with its provenance, and connecting him/her, in that instant, with its creator. 

Pheonix amber relief work (wall art)

Handicrafts entail a labour intensive process with the result being a unique piece of artistic value, so it’s not just any other product. A way to highlight this is to make sure the consumer interacts, even if for a moment, with not just what has been bought, but also with the human angle imbued in it – and the authenticity certificate is one way to ensure this. As for our community of master artisans, they are happy to have their name and their craft get due recognition, which so often is ignored but in the case of each Craft Maestros product where it is built into the brand, in spirit and in letter. 

About the Authors

Akanksha Dixit

With a sound experience of 15 years in the apparel industry that spanned sourcing, merchandising and quality, her unrivalled aesthetic sense and understanding of a product in all its dimensions, made her an undisputed authority among her peers. Following the perfect union of her head and heart, she looks forward to bringing a paradigm shift in Indian Handicrafts. Having worked as the Business Head of a leading sourcing industry in India, she carries with her the ability, skill, experience and wisdom to bring to the Master Craftsmen the platform and pedestal they rightly deserve.

Ajay Arjit Singh

A professional for over two decades, he stands tall in experience and expertise. With many ‘firsts’ and awards to his name, he gained the reputation of ‘the business multiplier’.  Straight to the point, Ajay has an unforgiving eye for detail. A liberal of thoughts and a repertoire of great ideas, he has an ability to chisel coarse ideas to perfection. Ajay is an avid reader who dwells in cozy corners of philosophy, poetry and literature. Fathered by a writer and painter, he has witnessed rich culture and traditions thriving at home. He believes that art is the vehicle of meditation and those who create it are carriers of divine forces. And for someone who considers it sacred, Craft Maestros is Ajay’s way of taking a holy dip in the glorious river of art and craft. Ajay has also been part of FICCI Webinar as a key speaker, talking about Recrafting and Tailoring artisanal practices for a New Digital Economy. 

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