The recently concluded 42nd India Handicraft and Gift Fair (IHGF) Autumn 2016, organized by EPCH (Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts), was a perfect platform to see new developments of various Indian home furnishing exporters. Most of the exhibitors were happy with the buyers’ footfall and the further order bookings. More focus on product development, exploring newer markets and improvements on required fronts – be it manufacturing – upgradations are the basics. But the only possible solutions to survive in the current difficult market conditions, was acknowledge by all the exporters. Apparel Online talked to exhibitors about their initiatives which are leading them to further growth.
The success of a fair is measured by the satisfaction of the exhibitors in achieving their desired goal, and at a sourcing fair, good buyers’ visitation and actual order booking is a big plus. The IHGF scored high on this front as many exhibitors shared that they could meet buyers from across the world and few of the participants even got orders on the spot while for some it was opportunity to explore newer markets. AVS International, Delhi got PO (purchase order) from buyers from Spain and France. “Buyers were quite impressed with our products and found them unique as all of our products are with some print messages, which makes them stand-out despite being simple or basic kind of products,” informed Vivek Sheel, Export Manager of the company. Basically a weaving company AVS International is comparatively new in finished products, it uses screen and block prints to make its products unique. In some of the products, the company had used print with stone wash which gave faded effect. Vivek further added that he is very much aware that his products are very plain, so he is doing research and understanding buyers’ demand, especially in value addition to produce more interesting products.
The fair also witnessed participation from many exporters who are purely into apparels even though the fair is dedicated to handicrafts, home furnishing and accessories. Interestingly these apparel exporters were also happy as they got some good buyers, as well as some references from them.
As far as exploration of newer markets is concerned, most of the exporters are still focusing on the traditional markets like US and Europe rather than smaller and undiscovered countries. Also noticed was that players preferred to move from one traditional market to another. Exporting mainly to the US market Elite Home Décor, Noida is now exploring Europe and the fair proved fruitful for it as Avanish Kumar Gautam, Director of the company met some European buyers here. “We came across some new clients of Europe. As of now we have just 5 per cent share in European market and we want to increase it despite the current difficult condition of this market. For this we are also using trends which are more preferred in Europe like acid and enzyme wash.” He further added that the US market is going strong and there is no impact of election on buying. Doing medium to high-end products, the company does a lot of manipulation with fabric, using a lot of textured fabric, cotton with shaneel/linen and many other such varieties within these blends. “Combination of yellow and grey, indigo colours are in nowadays, while we do have evergreen colours like golden and silver this time too,” Avanish added.
Already exporting to non-traditional markets like China, Amazinghind International, Delhi is looking at further opportunities to explore new markets including India… Recently the company has sampled for few top Indian brands and is expecting good orders from this segment. Shrayansh Rajvanshi, Co-Founder of the company informed, “We are exporting to China some niche products which are handmade and that too in Kashmir, majorly using chainstitch technique. Though China is witnessing good demand of these products but for further growth working in the domestic market is a good option.” To improve its products the company has introduced latex backing in its floor covering which firmly holds the lose yarn on back side and gives stiffness to enhance the life of embroidery and remove the skid problem. The products have a subtle look as the company majorly uses pastel shades. He shared that there were buyers in the fair from the US, Europe, China and Singapore.
Companies which have niche products or are highly focused on product development are satisfied, as despite slowdown, their product’s exclusivity keeps them preferred by the buyers. Junaid R. Nanda, MD, Kashmir Export House, Delhi shared, “Our products have a clear and strong feel of inspiration from Kashmir as well as Delhi and Agra. We have used the same technique this time which was being used for Maharaja’s products. We tried to evolve the technique to modern day adaptation. Basically it is called zardozi but we took at it a step ahead as we mixed zardozi with the technique of Kashmir shawl making. We used imported silk from China and velvet from France and did a lot of intricate needle work. Lot of yarn which is being used by us is being imported from Italy. The company also offers products of linen in rugged look with very clean embroidery.”
The fair was inaugurated by Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani, while Ajay Tamta, Union Minister of State for Textiles; Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Culture; and Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Textiles also visited the event. There were few thought-provoking learning session in which experts like Mercedez Gonzalez, Founder, Global Purchasing Companies, US; Samir Dutt of Forensics Gurgu; Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister of State for Finance; Economist Bajrang Lal Gupta; PJ Aranador, Filipino International Lifestyle Designer; Rajeev Tyagi, Senior VP, Arielle Sourcing; Vinay Bhartia, Sr. VP, Strategic Partnership, Alibaba Group and many more speakers shared their views on various current issues.
The company works one season ahead and as of now its sampling for S/S 2017 is completed and orders are being solicited with lead time of 120 to 160 days. Also working with brands like Versace, Armani and Ralph Lauren, Junaid says about the fair, “Buyers looking for very high-end-products do visit EPCH’s fair and I am very happy with the turnout.”
A buyer delegation from Japan specially visited the fair which was reason for happiness for the companies working with the country. Karur Export Company, doing 90 per cent of its business with Japan was happy to meet few new buyers. Shibu Mathew, Partner of the company informed, “Two Japanese buyers assured us that they will visit our factory which is very positive sign for us as when Japanese buyers visit any factory, there are fair chances to get orders from them.” The company got good response for its products especially for cushions which were a mix of polyester, shaneel and cotton; using these 3 fabrics as a value addition tool.