Soolkaama partners with organisations based in the handloom and handicraft sector to build capacity in the following areas :
- GI related analysis of craft
- Communication skills
- Craft documentation techniques
- Content strategy
- Brand marketing strategy
- Image and film editing
- Craft research methodology
- Commercial photography
Samaj Pragati Sahayog, Bagli, MP
Kumbaya is a textile based social venture run by women from one of the most remote, marginalised and economically deprived regions of India. The uniqueness of the venture is the creation of a new craft based skill and employment opportunity in a predominantly agrarian region. Kumbaya has been teaching and employing women to sew fabrics.
Although this region had no cultural history per-se about the craft they were engaged in, the team failed to capitalise on the general heritage of the region and the artistic history of the people who are producing the crafts. As one of the main goals of this venture is empowerment of women and the disabled, most of the stories about brand Kumbaya are around these aspects of their work. While it is important to highlight these stories, it is equally important to present the people as a proud people. The pride lies in history of the people.
During our workshops, the participants shared a number of unique stories about their lives. References to local customs and traditions led to unearthing a treasure trove of information that the in-house media team was excited to explore further. The workshop helped the team value research and documentation. It taught them to visualise the use of local content to generate a unique talking point about their brand.
Soolkaama visited Kadam India’s UP craft center at Hardoi. The task here was to work with the on-ground team to iron out operational challenges. The team is scattered over several craft clusters located in remote regions around the city of Hardoi, UP. Team members do not have the bandwidth to coordinate their work regularly. The miscommunication arising out of it was leading to unnecessary team fatigue and frustration. Soolkaama worked along with Salmaan, the project coordinator, to set up a communication process. We work on standardising communication parameters.
Soolkaama also documented work being done by Kadam in as many as eight craft clusters to produce imagery and short video clips that the non-profit could use for relevant fund raising activities.
The Handloom School
WomenWeave Charitable Trust, Maheshwar, MP
The Handloom School, is a unique, forward-looking, experimental project of WomenWeave Charitable Trust which offers a six-month fully-residential entrepreneurship development course for young weavers from different handloom clusters of India. It is aimed at creating ambassadors of Indian handloom who can carry the age-old craft forward.
Soolkaama conducted a collaborative workshop with the students. The workshop taught the participants principles of branding and marketing.
Apart from understanding core concepts for of developing a story, we went on to learn photo and video editing using a smartphone. Instead of relying on computers which can be expensive and difficult to maintain in remote rural towns, Soolkaama is interested in harnessing the power of the ubiquitous mobile phone. People are already comfortable using a smartphone. A mobile phone is largely considered to be a technically familiar device and there is little resistance to learning new software applications on them. We used a cheap video editing software to create short films that the students shot and edited on the phone itself. The films were about their brand and their life as weavers. Original content produced by adhering to some simple visual art principles has been proved to be engaging with audiences.