Pallavi Singh Keshri, 47, had come to Delhi in 2002 from Bihar. After a decade, she finally started her own venture and gradually began dealing in multiple products from «hand embroidery» to designing ceramic products. Fast forward to 2023, the Government of India, under its new One District One Product policy (ODOP), has identified Keshri›s business products as ODOP specific products. The Sunday Guardian talked to Keshri to know how ODOP works. Excepts:
Q: When did you start your business and what is it about?
A: I started my business 10 years back, around handmade products for decor, home, gifting and personal use. For that, we use various crafts from across India as we have a very rich culture. The idea is basically to use craft techniques from across India to create products.
Q: Does your product have any specific buyers? What is the target audience of your product?
A: Currently, our focus is on home products which includes a lot of decor and utility products. Moreover, our products are reasonably priced, though handicraft is generally considered expensive. However, it is targeted to the middle class and upper middle class.
Q: What is the scope of these products?
A: These are everyday use products. Sometimes we also do high-end products which are more for decorative purposes, and they are pretty expensive. But generally these products are used on a regular basis and we are providing high quality, long lasting, low maintenance products. The basis of all this handcraft can be differentiated in the way of their making. We use a printing technique which is handblock or we use paintings. We also use embroidery techniques or we do weaving, there are many ways. Whatever we do, we try to do it in such a way that it doesn’t become expensive, though we use handcraft. We use affordable patterns, levels of embroidery and other things that do not require heavy duty work.
Q: The Government of India has rolled out the ODOP policy. How do you see it and why did you adopt it?
A: It’s not for us to adopt the ODOP policy. It is for the government to identify ODOP companies or products. What happened to us is as we deal with so many art forms and craft forms from different parts of India, so several of our products in their category list have been identified by government agencies as ODOP specific products. The government has a list of ODOP products and our products matched that list.
Q: Are you the only one identified from one particular district?
A: No, there are several, we are not the only ones. We are one of the many who have been identified. The first product that got identified with us for ODOP was ceramics from Khurja Bulandshahr which is in Uttar Pradesh. Then the woodwork we use from Bijnor also fell inline. The difference is we have multiple products, most companies have single products only. We use a lot of these products and we get these products made in these different regions known for specific work. The government has identified districts and the specific products coming out from those have also been identified. These are part of the ODOP list. They have been looking for companies who have their own ceramics design like we have our own ceramics brand. It’s a third party production product. All our ceramics are produced from Bulandshahar after we design them. We sell it out in Delhi and out of the state as well. Plus, we have an online store as well as a small store in Dwarka where we sell the products.
Q: Can you tell us the difference ODOP made to your business?
A: See, one of the biggest differences it has made is that it has definitely increased the scope of my business. I have an extra marketing pitch added with a wider range of product agencies looking at us or buyer agencies wanting to buy our products, because we have been identified now. Even if one searches online, our products will be available on the website as they would show up as ODOP products. So the reach of producers and sellers to buyer agencies have increased, thereby making a huge difference.
Q: How do you see prospects of this new initiative? How significant do you think it is for the future?
A: I think if nothing else, it would definitely look at development within each district of our country, as India is huge and it is very diversified in many ways. So if you go down to development at the district level where everything gets done at a smaller scale and even when we are looking at micro level business, the ground work which the policy is planned to lay, will make a lot of difference. I think each district will have something very specific to focus on; I am sure it would result in a lot of revenue and development.