Page 1



PROJECT SWAMIKA Diploma Project Documentation

Sushmita Rachel Charlu In collaboration with Mugdha Gosavi and the Impact edge Lab



CONTENTS 1. About Swamika 2.Goals of the Project 3. The Golden Circle 4. Producer Companies 5. Creative Cultural Manufacturing 6.Quadruple Bottom Line 7. Stakeholder Map 8. Community 9. Theory of Change 10. Customer Segments 11. The Gap and the Idea 12. Brand Building 13. Products 14. Methods 15. Retailers 16. Prototypes 17. Insights 18. Tools and Techniques 19. Business Strategy 20. Cost Structure 21. Adding Value 22. Learnings 23. Thanknowlegements 24. Resources

6 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 22 24 32 33 41 46 51 53 66 68 69 79 87 90 91 92


SANKUL Sankul foundation is a Delhi-based non-profit organization dedicated to the comprehensive eradication of poverty by mobilizing women in rural India.


I mpact enterprises aim to profitably maximize impact, in order to tackle serious social problems. Many of the big issues faced by society can be tackled through well designed, market oriented businesses. Impact Edge Lab prepares potential entrepreneurs to do just this, in the livelihoods space, through a mix of projects, challenges, boot camps and incubation with hands on mentoring. It aims at co-creating solutions for sustainable businesses using the convergence of business strategy, design thinking, technology and capital.


ABOUT SWAMIKA Swamika is a small village in the Hathin Block of Palwal district, Haryana. Despite its proximity to Delhi and The National Capital Region, it is victim to poverty. It lacks infrastructure, opportunity and basic facilities such as water and sanitation. Sankul, an NGO dedicated to eradicating poverty is working to create dignified livelihoods for the women in the region.

The women are involved in farm labor on an irregular basis, but they would be grateful for a regular source of income. Self-Help Groups have been recently formed and initiated into regular savings, inter-loaning and repayment cycles. They have also been linked with banks.

The women of Swamika come from a tradition of home-made crafts such as Coiled Basketry, Rug (durry) Weaving and Knitting. There is an opportunity to have them make natural fiber products for the urban Indian market, as well as the export market using moonj grass, rags and other locally available materials.

Though they have never sold their handmade products in the past, in this day and age when the market for craft and Natural Fiber is on the upswing, this could well be their solution to eradicating Poverty.


I believe that underdevelopment and environmental issues are correlated and that they can be solved most effectively when confronted together. I believe that designers have a role to play in facilitating this. Our Client, Sankul, is a Delhi based NGO dedicated to the comprehensive eradication of poverty. Sankul believes in doing this by empowering women and mobilizing them through self-help groups


• • • •


To identify the potential in crafts as a channel to eradicate poverty. To create dignified livelihood opportunities for local crafts people to offer their skills to contemporary and international markets. To Empower women to be strong business people with a reliable support system. To Create awareness to fill in the gaps which are due to lack of education and exposure.

THE GOLDEN CIRCLE These three concentric circles from the inside out, represent Why, How and What we aimed to achieve through this project. According to Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why it is most important to identify one’s reason doing something, or the Why. This is then followed by the How and finally the What, or the final product.

Sankul, my teammate Mugdha, and I collectively believe that creating a sustainable livelihood opportunity will bring about socio-cultural, environmental and economic changes that are beneficial to Swamika. We decided to do this is by creating capabilities in the women to excel at this opportunity. The opportunity is a social enterprise which designs and manufactured creative and contemporary products using traditional craft techniques. The enterprise has been named Tarita Producer Company Limited, Tarita being the Sanskrit word for “Female Leader”.



The concept of producer companies was introduced in 2002 by incorporating a new Part IXA into the Companies Act with the intention of incorporating the unique elements of cooperatives into the regulatory framework of a limited company. The companies are termed as limited and the liability of the members are limited to the amount, if any, unpaid on the shares. On registration, the producer company becomes like a private limited company with the difference that the members have to necessarily be `primary producers.’ Any ten or more individuals, each of them being a producer, can get a producer company incorporated under the Act.The maximum number of members can also exceed 50. Members’ equity cannot be publicly traded but only transferred. In this case, the producer company will be formed by grouping a number of Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG) in Swamika.Though it will be owned by the artisan women, they will gradually be able to afford a professional management team to run it.

CULTURAL CREATIVE MANUFACTURING This producer company falls within the bracket of a Cultural Creative Manufacturing Industry, as it involves contemporizing traditional craft using creative methods to produce at a larger, more profitable scale. There are a few notable features of such a business. 1. Low on Capital : The cost required to start such a business is relatively low. 2. Energy-Frugal: Since most operations are manual, heavy machinery is not required, decreasing power consumption. Raw materials too, are locally sourced, saving on fuel and transport cost. 3. Frequent Design Refreshment : The small-run production allows for design alterations at more regular intervals than a traditional manufacturing industry which requires expensive equipment. 10

4. Environmentally Sustainable: The small set-up allows more opportunities for eco-friendly practices. The raw materials and processes are not harmful to people and their surroundings. 5. Relatively High on Human Capital: People and communities are the key resources in such a business, which is able to provide employment to a greater number of people.


Sustainability is an important factor to consider while designing anything. While designing a social enterprise, sustainability must be assessed at four different levels. This is also known as the Quadruple Bottom Line.

The enterprise needs to be economically viable without which it cannot be sustained. the various activities and resources required must be designed to make a profit. It is important to take into account the social impact created by the business. This includes human rights, ethics, and equality. Natural resources must be efficiently used, preferably in closed-loop cycles. A cradle-to-cradle design approach will ensure environmental safety and sustainability. The fourth bottom-line is the cultural aspect that needs to be taken into account while working with communities. The business must be culturally acceptable to the community.


STAKEHOLDER MAP Before we began our field research, we used the information we had to map out the various people who would be involved in the women’s enterprise.




During the First field visit, two villages in Hathin Block, namely, Bhanguri and Swamika were studied. Of the two, Swamika was more poverty ridden, with less employment opportunity and education, but with greater concentration of craft capability. Hence we have chose to design the first Impact enterprise for Swamika.


Mugdha went on the first field visit alone. To aid her in research, I designed this map, which while covering all the critical questions would allow an easy jump from one topic to the other, so that no detail would be missed.



Location: 19 km from Palwal district place; 3.6 km from Hathin village; 7 km from Bhanguri Households- 300 Population: approximately 1500

Self-Help Groups (SHG) • • • •

No of SHGs:18 (200 women connected); Group consists of women who live near each other Each group has a president and a treasurer, selected by group members. Monthly contribution Rs. 100 per member. Weekly meetings held in a member’s house. Topics discussed are weather, savings

Income: • •

Most families don’t have a source of income like farms or buffalos Men go for labor work to neighboring villages to farms

Water Problem • •

High salt content in ground water. Women have to walk for 30-40 minutes to collect drinking water.

A woman fetches water from the neighboring village

A typical entry in the self-help group log 15

Electricity: •

Majority of houses have a few electrical connections but irregular power supply

Sanitation: • •

The village is veined with open drains. Most houses do not have toilets.

Education: • •

Most women have never been to school. Young girls are not allowed to leave the village, even to pursue studies.

Attitude of men-folk:

• •

Spend most of their time in recreation, except for occasional farm labor. Expect women to do all the work, be it in the home or in the fields.

Occupation: • •

Women are looking for a regular source of income. They are willing to work at least 6 hours.

Aspirations: • •


Wish to own buffalos and farmland. Hope to travel outside their village someday.

Open Drainage System

Household duties of women


There are a wide variety of crafts practiced in Swamika. The women often make these for their own homes, or to give away as gifts during festivals. The ability to craft a durry is often a criterion for selection of a bride. Though the skill is spectacular, the crafts have not evolved much in terms of form and motifs.

Moonj coiled Baskets (Buiyan)

Wheat straw fruit bowl

Moonj coiled seating

Durry made with rags

Flowers made out of yarn

Mooda made from Moonj

Knit table decoration

Circular rug using rags

Phulkari & Ari embroidery



Saccharum munja

Parts Used: culm (flowering stem) is used for wrapping. The feathery inflorescence is removed from within the culm and wrapped and stored in an 8-shape to keep it pliable. Harvest: Collected in early October after the first rains

Other Information: Prevents Soil Erosion and fixes nutrition.


Saccharum spontaneum Parts used: stems and leaves as the core coil material. Harvest: Collected year round

Other Information: It is an invasive weed found in bajra which sucks out nutrition from the soil.


Desmostachya bippinata Parts used: stems and leaves as the core coil material. Harvest: Collected year round

Other Information: It is a Weed found in Wheat crop. Locally used to cure dysentery. 18



A set of images with similar existing products were shown to the women. The purpose was to depict the context of the products’ use. The upscale urban spaces in which the products are set presents them as classy and exclusive, but at the same time functional.


BEHAVIOUR CHANGE We identified that working out of a centralized work-place, as compared to working from home, would be more ideal for this business. Here are a few reasons: 1. Family members see work as important, since dedicated time is spent on it, bringing steady income. 2. Going to a workplace gives women a sense of pride and dignity of belonging to the Producer Company. 3. Assembly lines and equipment can be used to increase efficiency of processes.

These were some of the women we interacted with during the field visit and identified personality traits in them, which helped us better understand the psychology of the women in the village.

Santaa: Skilled  

Rajan: Workoholic  


Memva/: Skep/cal  

Manju: Influencial  

Bhagva/: Experimental  

Pinky: Seeking  Independence  



The diagram below is known as the Diffusion of Innovation Curve and was first used by Everett Roberts, a Professor of Communications. It divides the different users of a particular product or service, depending on how quickly they buy into it. In any business it is important to identify your innovators, and come up with strategies to reach over to the Majorities, by using influencers or sneezers.





We placed the women of Swamika on the same Diffusion of Innovation curve, Identifying Bhagvati as a major Innovator, and Manju, who would play and important role as an influencer, in what is known as “crossing the chasm” between the early adopters and the early Majority.



This is a flowchart of positive changes we hope to see, a few years from starting the enterprise





Appreciates creativity and sees value in handcrafted products. Is concerned about his or her impact on the natural environment. Avoids using products that contain harmful materials. Desires to play a role in sustainable development.

CUSTOMER SEGMENTS We listed down all the types of people who we thought may want to buy our products. But of course, we had to decide who we really wanted to target. To start with, we assumed we would employ 40 women. We wanted them to earn at least Rs. 8000 per month, 1 Lakh a year. To earn this much they would have to produce goods which would sell for 3 times this amount.

Hence Each woman would need to produce goods Rs.3 lakh worth of goods a year. and the producer company as a whole, Rs.120 lakh per year A retailer in India triples the price. So total goods to be produced in a year should have an MRP of Rs. 3.6 XÂ 107 We figured that the biggest segment was the home-maker segment. Some of the other segments could be a subset of this large one. The second biggest segment was the college girl segment.


MARKET SIZE CALCULATION We used the Piano Tuner Method. This involves a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on a series of estimations backed by some real numbers. Indian Households who will buy our home furnishings: Total no of households in India = 1.9 x 108 (census 2001: Percentage of Upper Middle class and Rich households = 3% ( bracket earns above 5,00,000 per annum) Total number of Households in the Upper Middle and Rich Bracket = 5.7 x 106 Price Range of our products = Rs. 300 - Rs. 6,000 (A greater number of products will be in the 300-1000 range. Hence we can take the average price of our products to be Rs. 900. Pricing allocated as per studies of the accessory sections in stores such as FabIndia, Mother Earth and Lifestyle) Assumption: Average life of our products = 5 years 1/5th of UM- R households will buy our products in year 1 = 1.1 x 106 Households Market Size in 2015 = 1.1 x 106 x 900 (Average Price of our products) = 990



CUSTOMER SEGMENTS Indian College Girls who will wear our accessories No of Students enrolled in college (after 12th) = 2,03,27,000 Assumption : Male: female urban enrollment ratio = 70:30 (The average ratio in professional colleges is 80:20. Arts college is typically 60:40) Therefore, Urban girls enrolled in college= 60,98,100 Price Range for our Accessories = Rs. 200 – Rs. 1500 (A greater number of products will be in the 200-600 range. Hence we can take the average price of our products to be Rs.400. Pricing allocated as per studies of the accessory sections in stores such as FabIndia, Mother Earth and Lifestyle) Percentage of urban girls going to private college = 60% No of urban girls in Private Colleges = 36, 58, 860 Market Size in 2015 = 36,58,860 x 400 (Average Price of our products) = 146





Location: Bangalore

Her mother looks after her children 4 and 8, while she is at work. Her husband is an engineer at an MNC. The family is well-off but they focus on saving as the children are young. Shops at: Home Stop, Fab India, Mother Earth, CKP exhibitions, buys organic toys for kids

“Our own home has too many toxic substances.” Pain Points: • As a working mother it is hard to keep tabs on her messy children. • Hand-crafted products that she has seen are more decorative than functional. Needs: • Less clutter and easy storage. • Objects that her children come in contact with must not contain toxic substances. Influencers: • Health and Interests of Children • Magazines: Good Housekeeping, Elle Decor India.




Location: Mumbai

He lives with his landscape architect wife and Daschund puppy. He works out of his small home-office. He spends most of his income on books and vintage home decorations. Shops at: Nature’s Basket, Fab India, Good Earth

“Those who enter my home need to experience comfort and positivity”

• • •

Pain Points: Unlike before, there aren’t many utilitarian products available he finds aesthetic. There is a lack of space in his small apartment.

Needs: • Storage and Neatness is of utmost importance as his clients meet him at home. • Though his apartment is small he wants to make it homely Influencers: • Environmental Consciousness • Aesthetic sensibilities of wife




Location: Delhi

She believes that dressing fashionably is an important part of college, and follows the latest fashion pages on Facebook. She describes her style as Bohemian and believes that there are no boundaries between Indian and western fashion. Shops at: Zara, Vero Moda, Accessorize, Fab India

“I always wear what is in fashion, but also project my personality through it” Pain Points: • Not much experimentation is done with accessories in the local market, making them very generic and commonplace. • Unique accessories found on online portals are often quite tacky in real-life. Needs: • Better access to unique products that look well-finished and classy. • Would like to be assured that she is not being environmentally irresponsible in the name of consumerism Influencers: • Eco Fashion magazines such as Ecouterre. • Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities




Location: Chennai

Her profession dictates that she dress conservatively. Long hours of work can get mundane later in the day. She just got her first pay-check, but knows that she has to save to pay off the loan she took for her education. Shops at: Commercial Street, Westside, Craft Melas.

“Wearing a handcrafted product in a corporate atmosphere is refreshing.” • • •

Pain Points: Sometimes fooled into buying products that look and feel like natural fiber, but aren’t really. Regrets this later. Doesn’t always have time to go to melas due to busy schedule.

Needs: • Better access to aesthetic products that are both unique and distinguished. • Would like to be environmentally responsible and not consumeristic. Influencers: • Role models in the workplace • pinterest and other DIY blogs • Value for money


THE GAP From our Market research and Customer interviews, we realized that Functional and unique hand-crafted products are increasingly gaining significance as a form of self-expression in the digital age. but Locally crafted natural fiber products, that are both Aesthetic as well as Practical are not widely available in the Indian Market. This gap can be filled with good design.

THE IDEA Design a range of

products using existing techniques and materials used in Coiled Basketry.

Experimenting with

tools and processes that can increase efficiency of creating these products.

Business Implementation


Brand Identity for the groups and craft to bring value.




VALUE PROPOSTION Customers are given a chance to play an active role in sustainable development by assuring them that all raw material is responsibly sourced and that their purchase brings profit to the craft community.

The Brand aims at combining traditional craft with great design to create contemporary products.


Products that are as functional as they are decorative made using earth-friendly materials.


The brand positions itself as one that is fashionable declaring itself the



BRAND VALUES We started out by identifying the core values of the to-be brand. These same values would be consistently reflected in the products created and in all other activities of the brand.

Externally Demanded Aesthetic Sturdiness Unique Child friendly Comfortable Functional Stylish Prestigious Durable Low maintenance Attention to details

Internally Generated

Environmentally Conscious Attention to details Re-contextualizing Craft Pride Warmth Sustainable Income Progress of villages Unity and trust among SHG women Women Empowerment New and growing Wide customer coverage

Traditionally Imbibed

Country of Agriculture Patriotism Progress (chakra) Not wasting anything Celebrating every season


Some of these values which stood out more, pertaining to this brand, were high-lighted and used to form what is known as the Brand essence.

“Celebrating Lifestyle With Craft� 35

BRAND NAME This Task was a particularly challenging one as the name had to be in tune with the brand essence. It had to sound female, as it is a brand owned by a women’s enterprise. It had to sound pleasant and easy to pronounce and remember. The biggest challenge though was availability for copyright. We initially came up with the following names:


Eco roots ghasroot ghasloom grassroots Greencoil greenweave Hariyaali Haridurry Shasya Grassala

Women’s groups Samooh (group) Samooh-kala Eki rooh (spirit) ukti (expression)


Aranya (sanskrit: meaning forest) hari-tokri hariyan-we Tangri (tributary) Nilgaai (state animal)

After much searching we settled on the name:


Hindi: Grass, Harvest festival, merit Sanskrit: Crop, Desired



Valaya (coil) Vayi (Femle weaver) Gartika (workshop) Prazna (Basketry) Vanirak

LOGO AND BRAND IDENTITY Being a first-time logo designer, I started out by looking for symbols that could represent Sasyah. I found swings and kites to be the perfect symbol, as they are both very iconic during any of the harvest festivals of Haryana. The kite was hand-drawn and coloured to give it a grass-like texture. The form was inspired by Phulkari embroidery, also done in Haryana.

The biggest challenge was because the kite is a flying object, it cannot be statically placed along with the other letters. Adding a string to the letters made it look quite tacky.



I finally decided to use an enclosing element, with the kite string taking it’s form.













Mugdha took up the task of designing a range of fashion Accessories of young women. 45


Spiral Coiling is the most rudimentary technique in Moonj Basketry. Bill and Mani of Industree Crafts Foundation gave us a demonstration on how this is done. Damp Strips of Moonj are simultaneously wrapped around bundles of Kaans or Daab as they are being coiled. This spiral forms the base on which vertical coiling is done to achieve a three dimensional form.



In Swamika, the women dye Moonj using local fabric dyes available in the market. These dyes however are toxic and not food safe. Traditional natural dying did not work on the smooth surface of moonj. Food coloring however had successful results.

I dyed the moonj by boiling it in colour solution and using salt to transfer the dye onto the fibres. Vinegar was used to fix the colour. The colour tends to fade if dried in sunlight, but stays once dry. Turn to the last page to see some real Swatch samples dyed using this process! Food colouring, though synthetic, is non-toxic. However in our quest to become 100% natural, we wish to partner with an expert such as Aura Herbal Wear, Ahmedabad, to work out an innovative method of using herbal dyes instead.



Motifs derived from traditional basketry and Phulkari embroidery



Motifs can also be used to cut down the labour time, while creating something more valuable in the eyes of the end customer. These are some explorations that I did keeping this outcome in mind.



Rope Making

Decorative ropes are made by twisting two strips of wet moonj with each other. Larger load-bearing rope is made by splicing the moonj into tiny fibres.


RETAILERS Some of the retailers we approached were Mother Earth, Fabindia, LIfestyle Home Center and Nature’s Basket (for gift hampers). We got a letter of Interest from Mother Earth.



This order gave us an idea about how much the retailer would pay for a product and sell it in the Retail Outlets. Typically, the End Selling price is three times the price the retailer would buy from Tarita Producer Company. 52




“What is this training? Its a waste of time. We won’t succeed.”


“Na! I’m not correcting this. I just want to finish. I have work in the field.”



“This moonj is dry. We need Barua Moonj. What we find fresh in the fields.”


“This is the work of Samooh. See what great things we are making!”


“We’ll get paid? Okay, why not start off? I have brought Barua I can work with.”


“Give me something else to do! Come back with more work for us!”


I observed that the coiling technique made baskets capable of bearing a good load. I thought this property could be applied to creating simple but modular forms that would act as aesthetic storage in any room.


None of the Swamika women wanted to take up this task. Then a woman named Kranti came along. I first made a life-size paper mock-up to explain the size, proportion and use of the product to Kranti. Making this took a lot of time and strength as the coils were very thick.




Firstly, the shape was wonky, the coils being unevenly thick. It was also apparent that structure was not strong enough to hold itself in shape. Speaking to my facilitators, I concluded that it would work with a concealed steel wire support. This would also double as a mould on which the artisan could create the coiling.


MODULAR SHELVES Improvements Function

It was also suggested that the shelf be made wall-mountable. From the retailer’s perspective, it could come in a set of two cubes and one rectangle. One interesting idea was to have provisions for hanging only in three corners, which would suggest that it could be hung in two different ways.

Unit Cost

The cost of making this product was greater than the price the retailer was willing to buy it for. This posed a serious issue. The strategy to overcome this is to modify the design in such a way that it would bring down the labour, while adding aesthetic value. This can be done by using motifs that require less number of wraps around the individual coils.


FLOOR LAMP The process I followed while designing floor lamps was slightly different. I started with sketching out various forms which could be created by coiling. There were endless possibilities.



The next step was to figure out how to let light out through the opaque coils. I ideated different types of patterns with negative space or jaalis to achieve this.

Initial Idea

I decided to go with a simple form of a cylindrical floor lamp with cross-shaped spaces to let out the light. I realised later, that this was too time consuming and labour intensive.


FLOOR LAMP Execution: A rather reluctant Memvaty Chachi constructed the prototype. She found it daunting because it was a tall structure, which she had never made before. She created simple zig-zag jaalis.


While this looks great as a decorative piece, it does not actually perform its intended function of ambient lighting, as the negative spaces are too large, letting too much light out at certain places. This can be fixed by using a fabric as a diffuser on the inside of the lamp. Adding a diffuser also makes it a perfect night lamp. The coils are also wrapped completely. This need not be the case, as it is not a load-bearing structure, and exposed coiling is quite feasible. Mixing material, possibly using an iron frame is yet another option.


VASE Initial Idea

This product was meant to be more decorative than functional. It cannot contain water, and hence, cannot hold fresh flowers, but there is an option to conceal a glass container inside. The shock absorbing properties of the coiling will prevent the glass from breaking, in case it were to topple.


The entire vase was painstakingly crafted by Rajan and is certainly a unique work of art. But, just like everything else, several things went wrong. The main issue was, she did not understand how to achieve the form, despite having a scaled down mock-up for reference.

She started creating a motif but made too many in the same row, not realising that the form was tapering. Hence it was left incomplete.


The form should be created having a wireframe for reference. Motif cut-outs can be used to determine how the motif will fit onto a specific design.


CASSEROLE Initial Idea:

Moonj grass baskets have a heat retaining property. This could be used as an aesthetic dining-ware. The design consists of a traditional round basket with a lid. The lid has a knob, also made by coiling. A removable steel container which rests snugly inside the basket can be removed when requires cleaning.


The basket and lid were made by two different women, Rajni and Santaa, who were both given accurate measurements. This was done with a divide-and-conquer strategy in mind.


Making the rim of the basket narrower, or the rim of the lid longer, would ensure a more snug fit. 62


Initial Idea

Creating patterns in the form through gaps in the coil was a technique I was very keen to explore. I picked the simple form of a fruit bowl to apply it.


Bhagvati took on the challenge on making this bowl. Gaps were created by coiling and reversing the coil at each end.


The biggest issue was the failure of the bowl to retail its shape, as the coils were left open on both ends. Keeping some of the coils closed would create both support and interesting patterns. 63




• • • • •


The finest craftsmanship is reserved only for gift baskets made for family members. Traditionally, baskets are short and cylindrical (known as buiyan) The women had inhibitions about trying new forms. The more skilled women didn’t want to attempt anything new. They took pride only in their expertise at Buiyan. They were not willing to fix mistakes. They were unable believe that new products they create will be marketable.


Technical Difficulties

• • • • •

Needles leave blisters on fingers and break easily. The women use umbrella spokes which aren’t as sharp and hence requires more effort to work with. Joints of hands start hurting after working with cold water for a long time. Coils and wraps are not consistent. This affects creation of form. Motifs get messed up when form is not straightforward. The women currently don’t have a good sense of proportion while creating form.


TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES To increase efficiency

Templates and turntables:

Together, these solve the issues of shape consistency and ease of making. The table provides a support for the product, and eliminates the strain of having to hold the product. The changeable wire template acts as a shape guide and reference, ensuring consistency of form.

Ergonomic Thimbles:

Wearing thimbles made of rubber or similar materials will prevent blisters, improve grip and allow reduce the strain on fingers while pushing and pulling needles through the coils.





IMPLEMENTATION IN PHASES This is a systematic plan which will guide the enterprise from start, to becoming an established leader in coiled handmade products with introductions of new products and skills at each phase. Phases include a 3-5 day training Period.


March 2015- June 2015 Materials Available: Moonj, rags, fabric, yarn Skills Required: Splicing, Coiling: circle, oval, rectangle, triangle; wrapping, dying using food coloring/ natural dyes, Basic Stitching, Rope making, Braiding and knotting, Jewelry findings (hooks, jump rings etc) integration. Welding can be outsourced (to Mamta’s husband) Products: Living room: Durries with simple patterns, potpourri bowls, Vase holders, Wall Decorations, Clocks, Cube shelf Dining: Coasters, placemats, trays, napkin rings, tablemats Roti/basket, Fruit bowl Bedroom: Corner box, Hangers Study/studio: Dustbin, general storage boxes Accessories: Earrings, Necklace, belt (without buckle), anklet, bracelet, broach, sunglass cord, braided headband, juda hair pin Gift hampers (traditional Buiyan)



July 2015- October 2015 Materials Available: Wheat straw, Moonj Rope, rags, fabric Additional Skills Required: Fabric cutting, lining and stitching using machinery, buttons, buttonholes and zippers, coiling with gaps, flat weaving of ropes, color coordination, motif generation Living room: Floor Lamp   Dining: Fruit bowls with gap-coiling   Bedroom: Laundry Basket, Jewelry Box   Accessories: Laptop sleeve, ipad cover, sling bag, Belt (with Buckle), sunglass case


November 2015-February 2015 Materials Available: Moonj Barua, Dried Moonj, rags, fabric, yarn, Cotton rope Additional Skills Required: Advanced tailoring, die cutting, basic carpentry, Zigzag stitching Accessories: Clutch purse, backpack, flip flops, hair Band,   Living room: Photo frames, coffee table, moodas, foldable boxes   Children’s Home décor



While researching about Moonj, we discovered that Kaans (Saccharum spontaneum) could be used to make paper. Since Kaans is an invasive grass that plagues food crops, it could be put to better use through craft. Paper making is, however not an indigenous skill to the women of Swamika. Hence for now it is merely an idea that could be taken up in a few years time, as a part of Tarita, or as a separate enterprise altogether. Tarita could then use this paper to make its tags, labels and packaging.

Straw paper notebooks from Natural Notebook Company, West Sussex.


FUTURE POSSIBILITIES WEAVING Mugdha did a few experiments by weaving moonj and Kaans ropes with cotton yarn. This opened up new possibilities for creating surfaces. Setting up a weaving unit would take investment and skill training. Moreover a new range of products that celebrate Moonj and Kaans through this form need to be designed.

RAG-RUG BACKPACKS I briefly explored the possibilities of designing reversible backpacks for children (and child-like adults) using rag-rugs as padding. Moonj craft incorporated in the form of zipper tags could add to the aesthetic. Though the village women are already skilled at making rag-rugs, they need to be trained in mechanised stitching, which would require greater investment. 74

FUTURE POSSIBILITIES CRAFT TOURISM Organizations such as Grassroutes, India, offer responsible rural tours, exploring tradition and craft. This is a potential revenue stream for Swamika, if its craft can capture the market.

FUEL My friend, Denise D’souza is working with a company named Ecoal, that makes eco-friendly coal out of agricultural waste. Production waste can go into this process, bringing in some extra revenue. The coal is created using a process known as torrefaction.



Hunting for the ideal place to set up in Swamika was a challenge. Even while starting out with less number of women, there were some basic considerations. 1. Central and accessible location 2. Two exits 3. Large Windows to let in natural light 4. Semi-open spaces for transitional activities 5. Storage Space

Option 1: Panchayat Property

• • •


3 rooms (21x12, 12x12, 8x8) and veranda. Half-constructed, no doors and no toilets. Surroundings are very dirty Free as long as the same sarpanch is in power

WORKPLACE Option 2: Rented Bungalow

• • •

Large Veranda with two rooms (21x 17 and shed) Toilet in the adjoining house. Clean and spacious. Rent of Rs. 1500 per month

Option 1 versus 2 While option 1 is not fully constructed and lacks facilities, 2 is almost work-place ready. But the opportunities that 1 provides for expansion and modification to fit the needs of Tarita is unbeatable. Moreover, its free, since its Panchayat property, saving on the monthly rental cost. However this clause is subject to whether or not the Sarpanch who has promised this stays in power in the following years.




Self-Help Groups in Swamika follow a Panchasutra or a five-fold creed for their functioning. This includes Regular Meetings, Regular Savings, Internal Loaning, Timely Repayment and Proper Log-book maintainance. We thought it would be an interesting idea to to create a Panchasutra for manufacturing.

• • •

• • •

• •

• •

• •


Time Management

Manage household tasks and come to work on time. Avoid idleness during work-time to increase productivity Deliver the orders on time

Careful Craftsmanship

Pay attention to details Aim for zero defects Make an effort to reduce wastage of resources


Follow regulations to prevent accidents Use hygienic methods of first-aid


Contribute in the form of thoughts and suggestions to create better products Participate actively in the process to explore new techniques.

Multiple skill set

Job interchangeability is offered to overcome monotonousness. Be ready to fill in other positions in the case of absenteeism.


The Central Equation is Profit = Price-Cost



Working Capital: Fixed Costs

Seed Capital Resource

Cost (INR)

1. Basic Tools 2. Rope Twister 3. Turn Tables 4. Lighting 5. Computer 6. Dongle 7. Training (72 hours)

5000 5000 6000 8,000 20,000 12,000 1,00,000



Working Capital: Variable Costs Resource

1. Raw Material Transport 2. Raw Material Labour 3. Raw Material 4. Bonuses 5.Seasonal Labour Total


Cost (INR) 1500 1000 200 40,000 5000



Cost (INR)

1. Workspace Rent 2. Storage Facility 3. Producer Salaries (6 hrs) 4. Other Salaries 5. Electricity 6. Water

1500 1000 2,58,750 87,000 500 50



Recurring Costs Resource

1. Maintainance 2. Installments (14% SI) 3. Internet subscription 4. Phase training Total

Cost (INR)

5000 2500 800 7000

15, 300



Avg size of one culm = 18” no of strips in one culm = 3 Dia of one coil = 1 cm Distance covered by one culm strip over one coil = 5” Weight of 20 culms = 50g weight of 1 culm = 2.5g Price of Munj 1000 g = 3 rs Price of 1 g = 0.003 price of 167.5 g = 0.502

Kaans or Daab

1 cm (diameter) of 100g kaans yields 109” Explained below are the calculations of material requirement for two products.


Moonj: length of one coil = 48” number of strips per coil required = 48/5= 9.6 number of coils in product = 18 Number of strips required for concealment of wire = (9.6 x 2) + 8 (hanging attachment) = 27.2 Number of strips required for one product = (9.6 x 18) + 27.2 = 200 Number of culms required = 200 / 3 = 67 (rounded off)



RAW MATERIAL PER PRODUCT 1. CUBE SHELF CONTINUED... weight of 1 culm = 2.5g weight of 67 culms = 2.5 x 67 = 167.5 g If we take the price of 1000 g = Rs 3 price of 1 g = 0.003 price of 167.5 g =167.5 x 0.003 = Rs. 0.50 = price of moonj in Cube Kaans: length of one coil = 122 cm no of coils = 18 total length = 122 x 18 = 2196 cm weight of 277 cm= 100g weight of 1 cm = 100 / 277 = 0.36 g weight of 2196 = 2196 x 0.36 = 792 g If we take the price of 1000 g = Rs 2.5 price of 1 g = 0.0025 price of 792g = 792 x 0.0025 = Rs.1.98 = price of kaans in Cube



RAW MATERIAL PER PRODUCT 2. SPIRAL CLOCK Total length of coiled surface: Length of 1st coil = a = 8 cm Length of 16th coil = l =100 cm Kaans Sn = n/2 [ 2a + (n-1)d ]

Tn = a + (n-1)d = l

= n/2 [ a + l] Sn = 16/2 [8 + 100] = 918 cm Backing = 4 coils of 1 cm each Diameter of Coils = 12 cm Length of each coil = 2 x 22/7 x 12/2 (circumference = 2piR) = 37.7 cm Total length of backing = 37.3 x 4 = 150.86 cm Total amount of Kaans required for Clock = 918 + 150.86 = 1069 cm Weight of Kaans required for Clock = 1069 x 0.36 = 385 g Price per g of kaans = 0.0025 Price of Kaans in clock = 385 x 0.0025 = Rs. 0.96



RAW MATERIAL PER PRODUCT 2. SPIRAL CLOCK CONTINUED... Moonj Total length of coils = 1069 cm no of strips in one culm = 3 Dia of one coil = 1 cm Distance covered by one culm strip over one coil = 5” = 12.7 cm No of strips required to cover 1069 cm = 84.17 No of culms = 84.17 / 3 = 28 Weight of 28 culms = 28 x 2.5 = 70g Cost of 1g of moonj = Rs.0.003 Cost of 70 g of moonj = Rs.0.21




A profit of 33% is currently possible. However, the net profit will be calculated, taing overheads into account.




A profit of 56% is currently possible. However, the net profit will be calculated, taing overheads into account.





This is a map of all the main processes that are involved in making and delivering a product. The green plus symbol shows where value being added at different points in the process, simultaneously saving resources.



LEARNINGS Community Working with new communities requires patience, trust and an exchange of understanding that gets built over time. Project Swamika gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with artisans from a different state (Haryana) and allowed for a cultural exchange.


Everything boils down to Price and Cost, and I learned about the multiple factors that affect these two aspects. Value addition was an interesting and challenging exercise. Striking an understanding with retailers and designing process to be more profitable was my biggest learning


This was a new and exciting skill I picked up through this project. I realised that Branding is an integral part of business design and the company’s brand essence can reflect on its decision making, functioning and product design.


Learning about the four building blocks of sustainability and applying them to a real situation widened by understanding of how sustainable design is beneficial and has deepened my existing interest in sustainable system design.


THANKNOWLEDGEMENTS My project guides, Jacob Mathew and Ritu Sonalika for constantly supporting me through this journey. Mrs. Renuka Kumar and Mr. Prashant Kumar of Sankul. Mr Naveen and Mr. Samai Singh of SPYM. Pandrang, Agnishikha, Naganandini, and Janak and Jaishri for your mentoring and constructive criticism. Bill and Mani of Industree Crafts for helping me with Prototyping. Disha, Adrita, Prateek, Sreeja, Rutuja, Kusha and Namrata for being my life-savers. Mugdha, Amrita, Rashmi, Roger, Amey, Shivam, Denise, Surabhi and Monica, it was great working in the same Project cluster! Foundy-Nitro: Debby, Gauri, Ines, Samar, Nishi and Ishaan. Mom, Dad and Jay for always encouraging me to follow my dreams.


GLOSSARY RESOURCES a) Research from the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) and Sankul (NGO) b) Information collected by SPYM (an NGO working in the region) c) Books: • A.Osterwalder and Y.Pigneur - Business Model Generation: • Paul Polak - Out of Poverty; The Business Solution to Poverty • • •

Craft Revival Trust - Designers meet Artisans: A Practical Guide Handmade in India: A Geographic Encyclopedia of India Handicrafts Seth Godin - The Purple Cow

d) e) f)

Video: Simon Sinek - How Great Leaders Inspire Action Interaction with experts: Entrepreneurs, environmental experts and Business experts Impact Edge Lab, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.

WEBSITES 1. Information about Raw Material: 2. Brand Name: 3. Dyeing: 4. About Producer Companies: 13. Mockups: 92

“It’s all about seeking the sweet spot between feasibility, desirability and viability” -Tom and David Kelley (Creative Confidence)


Project Swamika Documentation  

A documentation of my final Design Project in Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology

Project Swamika Documentation  

A documentation of my final Design Project in Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology