Sorting Out the Struggles: Understanding the Challenges of procurement process for Handloom Start-ups.


Starting a handloom business is a dream for a lot of people. They are excited about making handmade products and adding to the tradition of crafted textiles. However, the first steps in this business journey can be tricky because there are often misunderstandings and problems, especially when it comes to getting the materials needed. Let’s take a closer look at the challenges and common mistakes in the process of getting the materials for a handloom business.

Starting a handloom business is like turning a dream into reality for many people. They are passionate about creating unique handmade products and contributing to the long history of crafted textiles. However, the beginning of this entrepreneurial journey can be difficult due to misunderstandings and common mistakes, especially in the process of obtaining the necessary materials. Let’s explore the challenges and pitfalls that often arise during the procurement process for a handloom business.

The Illusion of Contacts: A Common Stumbling Block:

Most startups think that making connections with expert weavers or groups is the key to getting materials smoothly. But for many startups, this idea causes problems. Because they can’t afford a skilled purchasing team, the founders have to do the work themselves.

At the beginning, business owners often trust people on social media who claim to be skilled weavers. Unfortunately, this often leads to disappointment, with many startups being tricked by false promises and wrong information. After facing this tough reality, these entrepreneurs start looking for real weavers, starting a difficult journey to find good handloom suppliers.

Finding Your Way Through the Handloom Buying Process: Difficulties and Mistakes

As the startups progress in their journey, they face new challenges. They start reaching out to different sources to find real weavers or groups, but there’s a problem – these sources are run by people who have their own motives, and sometimes, they are motivated by greed. This puts startups in a difficult situation, dealing with dishonest middlemen or realizing that the prices they negotiated are too high for their budget.

Another complication arises when startups gets real weavers from the financial struggles of them. Majority of artisans don’t have enough money to invest in making their own products. Even if a weaver can invest and make products, the options are still limited. Retail buyers who want to buy directly from weavers commit same mistake. One also can see that some who claim to be expert weavers with a wide variety of products are actually wholesalers in disguise.

The Deeper Issue: Lack of Fundamental Knowledge

However, at the heart of these challenges lies a deeper issue – the lack of fundamental knowledge about handloom textiles among startups. Despite the educational background of founders, whether in textile and fashion or not, there is a consistent gap in understanding the basics. Surprisingly, Indian design schools contribute to this knowledge deficit, they only  produce graduates equipped for roles in export houses or corporate merchandising teams. Teachers and institutes lack the emphasis on imparting knowledge about the intricacies of Indian handloom.

For founders without a textile or fashion background, the reliance on random blogs and YouTube videos becomes a default strategy to bridge the informational gap. However, these sources, be they design schools or online content, fall short of providing the comprehensive knowledge necessary for launching a successful handloom business. This knowledge is not only crucial for navigating the intricacies of the procurement journey but also empowers founders to deploy looms and create customized products, ensuring long-term sustainability.

Addressing the Knowledge Gap: A Call to Action for Founders

So, the pressing question arises: How can founders attain the necessary knowledge to overcome these challenges?

Regardless of the academic background they possess, individuals starting their own businesses (startup founders) should focus on acquiring knowledge about fundamental textile theories. This is particularly crucial because even graduates from design schools in India may not be well-versed in these essential concepts. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in Indian handloom, it becomes imperative for startup founders to engage in an in-depth study of a handloom cluster. This exploration involves delving into the various processes, techniques, and nuances associated with handloom production.

Conducting this study independently allows founders to immerse themselves in the practical aspects of handloom operations and comprehend the challenges faced by artisans. However, an alternative and potentially more beneficial approach is seeking guidance from a mentor with expertise in the field. Collaborating with a mentor not only provides valuable insights but also offers a more structured learning experience. The mentor can share their knowledge, guide the founders in navigating complexities, and help them make informed decisions in the realm of Indian handloom. This mentorship can significantly enhance the founders’ understanding and proficiency in managing the intricacies of the handloom industry, contributing to the success of their startup endeavors.

Conclusion: Finding the Way for Successful Handloom Businesses

In summary, starting a handloom business begins with the desire to create something special and genuine. However, to succeed in getting the materials needed, founders need to learn about handloom textiles. This means going beyond their education and not relying on misleading information. Only then can they avoid common mistakes and build a strong and lasting handloom business.

By dealing with misunderstandings about contacts, overcoming challenges in getting materials, and addressing the lack of knowledge, handloom startups can create a bright future. They contribute to preserving and advancing India’s rich handloom tradition. The journey might be complex, but by committing to understanding the craft, entrepreneurs can turn challenges into opportunities and create a success story that lasts.

Scroll to Top