The word ‘Tisser’ means to ‘weave.’ A word holding immense value given that India is one of the only countries in the world to preserve its style of fashion handwriting still. Moreover, the Indian handloom and crafts industries, built and developed by their rural artisans, still provide a livelihood for many, with 60% of global looming artisans present in India. Evidenced by its success, Tisser India aims to generate support to provide sustainable livelihoods, income- opportunities, and access to professional rural craftspersons in India. Through its professional training, innovative models, and technological solutions, Tisser has forged a diverse market for both the modern consumer and the rural artisan. Tisser has a network of more than 10,000 artisans, groups, and SHGsacross South Asia. Working in more than 200 art forms, Tisser generates livelihoods for 100+ rural clusters in 18 states of India with more than 1,0000 products made using traditional and cultural art forms.

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T I S S E R A R T I S A N S T R U S T
Tisser India works as a not-for-profit organisation : The Tisser Artisan Trust (NGO)

The Tisser Artisans Trust works towards empowering women artisans across India. Through its outreach program, Tisseraims builds fruitful partnerships and undertake a variety of projects to uplift and support women artisans at the grassroots level. While providing them with industry exposure, its activities also ensure that the artisans are connected to bigger and more inclusive value chains:

  • Established 2016 : Tisser Artisans
  • TrustSupporting livelihoods of 10,000+ artisans
  • Intensive work in over 100 clusters

360Degrees Change Model

India has a wide repertoire of handlooms and weaving cultures. Tisser’s unique model focusing on a 360-degree change ensures all facets of Indian Handloom production and traditional weaving are enhanced and expanded. 6 key factors, all playing an essential role are looked at in this model

  1. CONSUMER AWARENESS: Artisan stories, training programs, and environment. 
  2. END-TO-END CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT: Creating artisan groups, skills training, marketing, and continuous handholding for all artisan clusters.
  3. REGIONAL HUBS FOR OUTREACH: Regional hubs in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Bihar for extensive outreach to work directly with artisans.
  4. DESIGN INTERVENTION: Dedicated team of designers works on incorporating traditional art forms into utilitarian. 
  5. TECH INNOVATIONS AND PLATFORM APPROACH: Depicting artisan’s contribution and profit from a product, provide transparency, traceability, auditability, immutability, and security.
  6. PRODUCT DIVERSIFICATION: Expansion of artisan’s product portfolio, cataloging, and marketing of all products on various platforms.

Addressing the problem

At the artisan level, markets were informal and disorganized. With limited design skills and poor finishing artisans were excluded from the value chain and exploited by middlemen at the market level. With limited enterprise capacity, artisans were forced to borrow credit and were unable to stick to timelines. Even for consumers there existed a risk of counterfeit products being sold which could be machine-made.

The Tisser Solution

Tisser’s solution included both mobilization of artisans empowering local supply as well as creating demand by getting rid of middlemen and creating a seamless value chain for consumers to buy into. Networking with regional artisans and groups to create producer enterprises across South Asia through its GRAM project is one example of how Tisser aims to empower artisans and producer enterprise groups to be partners in the value chain. By harnessing the transformative power of rural clusters, Tisser ensures every artisan gets social incubation support for the creation of sustainable and scalable livelihood generation. Through its professional support, artisans can curate innovative and unique products and be upskilled in both design and product diversification. Tisser also strengthened the handicraft/handloom value chain through its ICT innovations (Digital Interventions) in the form of its web portal and mobile application which give consumers direct access to eco-friendly, sustainable, and professionally designed products.

Enterprise development 

Developing key enterprises in Clusters – an important aspect of Tisser’s operations – is essential for developing partnerships and ensuring livelihood generation is possible for artisans across larger catchment areas.

Enabling end-to-end enterprise development and joint brand creation in stitching centres is part of the cluster development approach at Tisser. Its partnership mode focusing on shared responsibility and revenue ensures sustainability and scalability.

Each stitching centre is brought on as a value chain partner with empowered capabilities. These long-term partnerships, ranging from a period of 1-3 years, empower centres to not just produce high-quality products, based on market research, but also fulfil orders for other clients also with mutual consultations. The centres essentially focus on upskilling, production, and cost management.

Key – Value  Chain  Interventions

T h e  V a l u e  c h a i n  i n t e r v e n t i o n s  m a d e by T i s s e r a i m to i m p r o v e t h e      fun c t io n in g o f  h a n d loo m v a lu e c h a in s a n d  o r   t h e p a r t ic ip a t io n o f    a r t is a n s w it h in t h e s e    v a lu e    c h a i n s    by e n h a n c i n g or f o r g i n g v e r t i c a l c o n n e c t i o n s in t h e s e c h a i n s (in p r o d u ct i o n , p r o c e s s i n g , or t r a d e f u n c t i o n s ) 

Market-Led Support:
  1. PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS: High-End Cataloguing, Designing, and Printing support for Marketing purposes.
  2. INDUCTION INTO ONLINE MARKET CHANNELS AND DIGITAL SUPPORT: Inducting Artisans into online channels through Tisser’s Web Portal and Mobile Application.
  3. SALES AND MARKETING SUPPORT WITH A NO-FEE MEMBERSHIP PLAN: Without any membership fees charged, artisan products valued ₹ 10,000 are taken assignments and once sold through tisser’s huge marketing network, members are

  4. PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPORT: Professional photography support to create a market-oriented brand focusing on a creative, simple, interactive, and direct way for consumers to access artisan products.

HOLISTIC MARKETING THROUGH TISSER PARTNERSHIPS: A holistic marketing approach for artisan product catalogs focusing on artisan and cluster development through Tisser’s institutional partnership support.

Cluster-Led Support:
  1. End-to-End Cluster Development Through Partnerships CSR partnerships enable end-to-end cluster development and inclusion of artisans in the value chain.
  2. Focus on Women’s Empowerment and Inclusivity An organization for women, by women, focusing on involving local teams comprising rural woman artisans – building enterprises for increased inclusivity.
  3. ICT Intervention – Modernizing Cluster Development Mobile Applications, and QR Codes to help data tracking of products. Saving Time and Cost while modernizing rural clusters.
  4. Professional Guidance Creation of sustainable institutions at the artisan’s end for the growth of women entrepreneurs. Through professional guidance.
  5. Offline Event to Upskills Artisans Enabling Sustainable and Scalable institutions within rural clusters through offline activities that focus on upskilling rural artisans and producer organizations.