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Helping indigenous artisans and weavers – The story of apparel brand, Kala Mandir

On this particular page, customers and weavers can communicate directly by placing their prime collection of sarees in Bandhani, Paithani, Patola, Kota, and many more at discounted prices.

artisans, weavers, Prasad Chalavadi, Kalamandir, saree
Going online was the ideal approach as it would help reach customers even in hectic times with strict lockdowns in place.

This pandemic brought drastic changes in people’s lives. But the real brunt was faced by those who lost their jobs and livelihood in such troubling times. But some brands took it upon themselves to help their workforce. Kala Mandir, headquartered out of Hyderabad, for example, optimised its entire business model to help weavers and artisans.

The brand’s primary motive was to generate employment for its weavers and artisans who were jobless during the pandemic. Going online was the ideal approach as it would help reach customers even in hectic times with strict lockdowns in place. This in turn would generate employment opportunities for the weavers and artisans who had no end-market for their produce.

According to Prasad Chalavadi, Founder, Chairman & MD, Kalamandir, “The year 2020 turned the world around. Many businesses collapsed. Countless showrooms of various trades shut down. Thousands became jobless. And all this happened in the blink of an eye.”

“Kalamandir, even after being an offline-first brand, optimised its entire supply chain and worked on its technology from scratch. Right from building an online platform, to setting up an in-house customer service team, to building dedicated online resources assisting customers with the shopping experience – Kalamandir evolved overnight to cater online customers,” he said.

 Prasad Chalavadi, Founder, Chairman & MD, Kalamandir

Prasad continued, “Since the arrival of the digital revolution, we’ve kept our focus on bringing our businesses on the online platform too, through e-Commerce sites. And so, we started with an online ecommerce portal for Brand Mandir much before the pandemic era. As lockdowns became a part of our normal and people feared venturing out from their homes even after the lockdowns were lifted, the online portal did wonders in business. Don’t be surprised if we clocked a  week’s sales of normal days in one day via online channels, during the pandemic season. Everything was deftly handled by our technical team and back-end support.”

Just as traditional shopping, it simplified the process of online shopping by providing video-based selling. They conduct Facebook and Instagram lives and post YouTube videos of their new collection on a daily basis where viewers can virtually experience their apparels. One can also fringe benefits like styling tips, and draping techniques by watching their online videos. In a nutshell, Brand Mandir is gaining a lot of online momentum through their innovative ideas.

In order to drive first-time shoppers, and also bring their offline shoppers online, it initiated a scheme named “Deal of the Day”. On this particular page, customers and weavers can communicate directly by placing their prime collection of sarees in Bandhani, Paithani, Patola, Kota, and many more at discounted prices. Every day, 5 unique sarees are launched on the site with a margin-less price i.e., at weavers’ selling price. Such schemes have helped the brand surge its order volume throughout South India. Kalamandir Foundation, the CSR initiative of the brand, also partnered with multiple NGOs and public welfare initiatives, supporting the marginalized community. 

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