India is home to rich culture and traditions. While globalisation has struck its chord in Indian market, long before, artisans have been one of the most affected. The tradition of wearing woven cloths or handmade jewellery has been declining, which has adversely affected our own weavers, artisans and handcraft industry in general. From being top in the market once, now they are struggling to stay in the market.
RUNWAY in Dimapur, Nagaland is reviving the age old tradition of hand-woven and handmade products. This startup by Ms. Nengneithem Hengna is a haven of traditional clothing, jewelleries and accessories.
“As a child I was always fascinated by my family’s collections of heirlooms and accessories and the weaves, every piece had a story to tell and held so much value. I was quit taken aback, when I realised our art of hand crafting was dying, especially loin-loom or strap-loom. Also we used our traditional jewellery only occasionally in festivals or cultural events.
So I wanted to merge our traditional jewellery with mainstream fashion. Drawing my inspiration from the love of handicrafts, and with the hope to revive the dying practice of traditional techniques of weaving and handmade accessories I found Runway. Runway Nagaland revives traditional handicrafts and also has now entered into the art of making handmade jewelleries and handloom accessories under the brand name GOULU (meaning-treasure) TRIBAL JEWELLERY & KINEP (meaning-hope) HANDLOOM”, declares Hengna.
It took her 2 years to set up her own studio and manufacturing unit. Her venture was self funded initially, while she approached Entrepreneur association Nagaland (EA) who gave her the funding for her extended brand.
Runway in its basic idea of reviving the traditional handlooms has proven to be a noble and good initiative and Hengna, a poud entrepreneur,” My faith in my myself and the sense that my work can and is empowering and enhancing the lives of low-income communities of the society has always drive me to do better and move forward and the love & Hope of the people I connect with gives me a feeling of satisfaction specially when I ‘am able to put a smile on the beautiful faces of our talented but uncelebrated artisans”. She adds,”family, relatives, friends has always being so helpful. I believe behind every successful stories there is support and scarifice of many people.”
They are a workforce of 14 employees. As Hengna elaborates,” We focus more on their attitude and passion to learn and create something new rather than their educational qualification and their personal background. In our team, at present, we have widows, single mothers, housewives, school dropouts, graduates with zeal to learn, with positive attitude towards life. We give them the platform. Our unit is like a canvas they come, and each day, we let them play with their creativity, we don’t cage them by a monotony structural work system.”
She adds, “And in these years we have founded 3 brands –
1) Goulu Tribal Jewellery which we launched with the first E-commerce company of Nagaland www.preciousmelove.com,
2) Kinep Handloom and
3) Assemble handmade contemporary jewellery(where we also give platform to our jewellery trainees & graduates). In Nagaland all our brands are available at Fusion Store, Dimapur.”
Always keep your HOPE shining, even at the darkest of times.