Business of Handcrafted Sustainable Luxury

Conference on Guiding the Future of the Indian Handicraft Sector

When and where?

Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

20 February 2020

0900 — 1700

The conference is open for all. Registration is mandatory

Supporting Partners

About Business of Handcrafted Sustainable Luxury

The Conference aims to initiate discussions on an interdisciplinary platform to share perspectives and practice-led experiences on the challenges and possibilities of positioning Indian artisanal skills in the handcrafted sustainable luxury market.

The discussions will delve into issues and concerns related to the conducive business environment, models, and policies for both artisans and handicraft entrepreneurs in India.

20 February 2020



0900 - 1700

The world is steadily moving towards sustainability. In a globalized and conscious world, the true luxury of the future will be handcrafted indigenous crafts, re-interpreted through design.

The theme ‘Business of Handcrafted Sustainable Luxury’ envisions to explore the need for businesses to move towards a more sustainable world and understand the required crucial synergy between craftsmanship and contemporary design. The Conference will explore how India, the most hand-skilled country in the world, can regain stewardship for handicrafts in the sustainable luxury market.

At the end of the deliberations at the Conference, we aim to publish a White Paper that can show a way forward to the sector. This will be made in association with ISB and inputs from session speakers and moderators.


Business of Handcrafted Sustainable Luxury

Ravi Capoor

Anjana Somany

Ritu Sethi

Anchal Jain

Sreya Mozumdar

Dr. Sheetal Jain

Rajiv Arora

Ayush Kasliwal

Gaurang Shah

Amrita Guha

Bishakha Shome

Archana Garodia Gupta

Manish Saksena

Mayura Balasubramanian

Jaya Jaitly

Siva Devireddy

Meena Appnender

Siju Shamji Vishram

Honoured Guests

Keynote Speaker (Through Video Conferencing)

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

Amitabh Kant is presently CEO of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). He is a member of the Indian Administrative Service. He has authored ‘Branding India-An Incredible Story’, ‘Incredible India 2.0-Synergies for Growth & Governance’ and has edited ‘The Path Ahead- Transformative Ideas for India’. He has been a key driver of the ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Incredible India’ and ‘God’s Own Country’ initiatives that positioned India and Kerala State as leading manufacturing and tourism destinations.

Guest of Hounour

Rajeev Sethi, Founder & Chairman, The Asian Heritage Foundation

Rajeev Sethi is South Asia's leading designer and is noted internationally for his innovative contribution to preserving and celebrating the subcontinent's rich cultural heritage. For more than forty years, through his work in design and architecture, performances and festivals, exhibitions and publications, policy and program, he has identified ways to bring contemporary relevance to traditional skills of vulnerable artisan communities and creative professionals.

Special Guest

Sangita Jindal, Chairperson JSW Foundation

Sangita Jindal, as Chairperson JSW Foundation, strategizes and oversees social development projects within the Group. Their programmes span across a wide range of interventions with a focus on the holistic development of the girl child. Skill development, and empowerment of woman across India is done through health, education and livelihood oriented programmes. The Foundation also works with the Government to devise strategies to eliminate malnutrition in India.

Topics of Discussion

Panel Discussion I

Positioning Indian Artisanship as Handmade Sustainable Luxury: A Way Forward

10:30AM - 11:30AM


Ritu Sethi, Founder, Craft Revival Trust

In a time of rapid globalisation, many countries have begun to recognise that nurturing creative economies offers sustainable growth and prosperity, especially to developing nations that are looking to create new competitive advantages. The handicrafts sector, is an important segment of the Indian creative economy with a potential for sustaining not only the existing set of artisans but also the increasing number of new entrants in the field craft.

Factors or trends driving the market growth for handicrafts, is the shift from traditional to contemporary design, proliferation of various e-commerce channels, the growing travel and tourism industry and shift of consumer behaviour towards perceiving craft as sustainable luxury. The Global handicrafts market, was worth around US$ 580 billion in 2018, and expected to reach a value of US$ 1100 billion by 2024 as suggested by experts. With a meagre 2% share in the global handicrafts market, India has a tremendous scope for growth in this sector; it definitely has the means to tap into the sector’s potential for development, which is vast and waiting to be unlocked. This session will explore craft and artisanship in the shifting landscape of the sustainable luxury market and its untapped potential to contribute in the creative economy.


Ravi Capoor, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles

Meena Appnender, Hon. Secretary, Craft Council Telangana

Anchal Jain, Co-Chair at Creative & Cultural Businesses Programme, IIMA

Sreya Mozumdar, Executive Director, AIACA

Siju Shamji Vishram, Master Weaver, Bhujodi

Anita Dongre In Conversation with Anjana Somany

Anita Dongre, Chief Creative Officer, House of Anita dongre

Anita Dongre is a trailblazer, and has been at the forefront of Indian fashion for over twenty years, having created one of the most successful fashion houses in India. Apart from the 2,700 livelihoods that her label House of Anita Dongre supports, she impacts thousands of rural artisans in the villages through her ‘Anita Dongre Grassroots’ initiative. The label also boasts of a multi-dimensional portfolio with brands such as AND, Global Desi and Bridal Couture. A connoisseur of craftsmanship, Anita Dongre’s designs showcase Indian aesthetics for the global woman of today, keeping comfort at its core.

Interactive Session

Artisan Sharing: Challenges and Strengths

12:00PM - 01:00PM


Anjana Somany, Director, Craft Stories Under the Mango Tree

Only when the artisan is able to work in a struggle free atmosphere with lucrative prospects, will he make it his main means of livelihood. The session will address artisans main strengths that make their craft practice special and explore challenges faced by them to take their skill further. The sharing will be broadly about the how each has understood the urgent need to adopt sustainable practices, market perception of craft being mediocre resulting in low appreciation of hand skills, need for design intervention with changing demands, and difficulties in the procurement of raw material etcs. We will draw from their own stories of the models that have been successful and what they have done to successfully face challenges. Hopefully the sharing will help throw up constructive ideas.


Dr. Ismail Mohmed Khatri- Master Artisan, Ajrakh Craft, Ajrakhpur

Bikash Mohapatra, Ikat Artisan, Odisha

S. Chinnayachari , Master Craftsperson, Etikoppaka Toys

Panel Discussion II

Craftsmanship redefining future of Sustainable Luxury in India

12:00PM - 01:00PM


Dr Sheetal Jain: Founder, Luxe Analytics

Luxury has been an ever-evolving notion, however, the last few years have changed the way in which we perceive and value luxury. Today, luxury serves a global audience, not just the elitist world of title and wealth. Significant shifts in consumer demand, towards value-centred products, services and experiences which meet emotional – as well as functional – needs are presenting a radical shift in how we define luxury. As markets evolve in response to consumer trends and a changing economy, there is a need to understand how these values – and their associated behaviours – are shifting and settling into new patterns of consumption relevant to contemporary craft.

At present, we are at an inflection point, where artisanship is being reinterpreted and revalued through partnership of tradition and contemporary design. Artisans and designers in the country are collaborating design and craft in a way which values and honours the tradition and history of the craft, the heritage context and the communities involved while simultaneously creating cutting edge, sophisticated designs. This discussion focuses upon the crucial nexus between artisanship and contemporary design which are injecting new verve into the sustainable luxury sector.


Ayush Kasliwal, Founder AKFD Studio

Rajiv Arora, Founder Amrapali Jewels

Gaurang Shah, Indian Textiles Revivalist and Fashion Designer

Anjalee Wakankar, Co-Founder & Head of Business, KAARU

Amrita Guha, Co-Founder, Untitled Design Consultants

Fireside Chat

Role of Design & Management Education for Craft Economy

02:00PM - 03:00PM


Bishakha Shome, CEO, Craft Stories Under the Mango Tree

Education in the field of craft and culture is gaining recognition globally as an important driver of sustainable development in the creative economy. In India, over centuries, craft knowledge has been handed down from one generation to the other. In order to ascertain handicrafts as a significant contributor to the cultural and creative economy, it is imperative to align traditional knowledge, design thinking and management education.

National Institute of Design (NID) which was initiated with the mandate of providing world-class design education and to promote design awareness has been instrumental in creating a pedagogy which focuses on incorporating traditional craft awareness and offers learning for creating an Indian design vocabulary. The Artisan Design School created by Ms Judy Frater is the first ever program which focuses on a knowledge-based pedagogy as a result of which artisans of Kutch have successfully established themselves as innovative designers. Indian Institute of Crafts & Design (IICD) is one of the leading crafts and design colleges which is singularly focussed on the evolution of crafts and the artisans in the contemporary socio-economic context.

The fireside chat focuses on the future of craft education and pedagogy for positioning handicrafts in the sustainable luxury market. The chat will delve into the significance of design and management education for artisans and craft designers in context of globalized, collaborative production systems emerging as a trend in the creative sector.


Dr Toolika Gupta, Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design(IICD)

Nishit Sangomla, Director, Somaiya Kalavidya

Panel Discussion III

Innovative and Sustainable Business Models in Indian Handicrafts Sector

2:30PM - 3:30PM


Archana Garodia Gupta, Founder, Touchstone Gems & Jewellery

Apart from government-driven initiatives, there is a vibrant environment for craft-based organizations in the private sector space. Various craft enterprises across India use different for-profit and non-profit models to carry out innovative and sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the crafts sector. In any given industry, a dominant business model tends to emerge over time. In the handicrafts sector, new and existing companies are looking for ways to thrive in a competitive environment with innovative business models while respecting society and avoiding actions that harm the planet. Trends such as circular economy, fair trade, and sharing economy are some of the many emerging entrepreneurial approaches that address this issue. A critical need of the hour is to develop effective models of financial and administrative structures to facilitate ease of doing business and to create and support handicrafts-based business development and growth over the long term.


Lalita Krishnaswami, Board member of Gujarat State Women’s Co-operative Federation

Beenu Bawa, Brand Director, Good Earth

Sumita Ghose, Founder, Rangsutra

Anandhi Dasaraj, Project Lead-Jiyo, an Asian Heritage Foundation Initiative

Manish Saksena, Advisor-Aadyam Handwoven, an Aditya Birla Initiative

Panel Discussion IV

Handicrafts in Digital Era: Opportunities and Challenges


Mayura Balasubramanian, Founder, Craftizen

The digital world has the potential to re-energise handicrafts sector, providing branding opportunities for the sector as well as helping profile individual artisans whose markets were previously limited to their immediate neighbourhood. India retains priceless Intellectual Property and a large and distributed manufacturing base of traditional art and craft which has managed to survive through the ages. At present, evolving technologies like the internet, mobile, blockchain, IoT, AI and ML hold the key to unlocking this value and positioning India as the next crafting hub of the world for sustainable, high quality handcrafted products. In India, the number of start-ups has increased fast and more support has become available in all dimensions. This panel discussion invites successful e-marketing as well as information-sharing platforms to discuss their challenges and solutions of craft promotion.


Jaya Jaitly, Founder, Dastkari Haat Samiti

Siva Devireddy, Founder & CEO, GoCoop & Digital economy task force at United Nations ESCAP

Satish Upadhyay, Marketing Head, Amazon India Marketplace

Sahil Jain, Program Manager, Craft Catapult-Startup Oasis

Sujay Suresh, Founder Zwende

Meet the Organising Team

Business of Handcrafted Sustainable Luxury

Anjana Somany

Director, Mango Tree

Bishakha Shome

CEO, Mango Tree

Prof. DVR Seshadri

Indian school of Business (ISB)

Dibyendu Bose

ISB Admissions Director

Jayasudha Bandi

Senior Manager, Indian school of Business (ISB)

Minal Agarwal

Program Manager, Indian school of Business (ISB)

Aastha Sharma

Senior Manager, Indian school of Business (ISB)