The report documents a consultancy undertaken for Traidcraft, UK focused on one of their long-standing suppliers St. Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra (SMSK), Ahmedabad in the provision of training in design innovation, to both consolidate and sustain their existing creative practice in embroidered products and to support and facilitate the progressive development of design expertise at SMSK. Traidcraft is the UK’s leading Fairtrade organisation and has had a valued relationship with SMSK that stretches back over thirty years and accounts for 11% of SMSK turnover. A lack design and product innovation expertise and products that are not responsive to rapidly-changing market trends places ‘remote’ suppliers like SMSK at a disadvantage in the volatile conditions of today’s globalised market. In examining the needs of SMSK, the project served to illuminate the challenges of co-collaboration between designer, supplier and a Fair Trade organization, exploring particular characteristics of their market that distinguish it from the mainstream commercial marketplace and issues in respect of consumer perceptions of ‘value for money’ in the purchase of a handcrafted product. The intervention focused on developing the design skills of SMSK’s in-house self taught ‘designer’, facilitating his understanding of design methods as a means to evolve, innovate and enhance the product range, creating new styles and ‘added value’ without losing the key characteristics of fine embroidery skills and attention to quality control reflected in SMSK’s products. The advisory report frames the staged objectives informed by evaluation of existing skills-base, products and market penetration, examining the project methodology and activities undertaken to realize the objectives of project, namely to encourage strengthening and capacity-building of design expertise within the supplier group and puts forward recommendations for further interventions within the supplier group and the transferability of the pilot model to other groups within Traidcraft’s supplier network.
|Place of Publication
|Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
|Number of pages
|Accepted/In press - 14 Mar 2011