burberry Awe your guests with juteW

Awe your guests with jute

Wondering what to gift your guests t burberry his Navarathri season? You could then drop in at the exhibition organised by the South India Jute Association (SIJA) in Adyar to pick up products that are “attractive, durable, ethnic, eco friendly and versatile,” which are made of jute. Well, if you thought jute was only for movers and packers, think again. The colourful exhibits ranging from office bags, stationery, shopping bags, wallets, wall hangings, durries, jewellery, footwear and garments are sure to surprise you.

The exhibition is making its fou burberry rth annual foray in the city with around 21 stalls. Prices of the products range between 20 and 1,000. “The exhibition has been partly sponsored by the National Jute Board and partly by the entrepreneurs,” R P Srinivasan, coordinator, SIJA, told City Express.

SIJA took off four years ago, after entr burberry epreneurs in the South realised the potential of the “beautiful, golden fibre,” Srinivasan said. “After getting the raw material from West Bengal, we started manufacturing contemporary, value added jute products.”

Realising the need for support in procuring raw materials, manufacturing and marketing, entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala came together and formed SIJA. Today, the association has around 52 members. Workshops are held under schemes sponsored by the Union Ministry of Textiles, where the entrepreneurs are given training in burberry design development and skills augmentation. A leading player in the field, Srinivasan runs his own unit at Kilpauk.

Women too are making a big impact in the industry. SIJA president and entrepreneur Janaki Ananth has been crafting jute bags since 1985. One of her customers is Poompuhar, run by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation. Last month, she won the Priyadarshini Award for ‘outstanding entrepreneur’ from the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.

“We want to motivate self help groups from rural and urban areas to manufacture jute products by promoting awareness and giving them training,” she said.

For budding craftswomen, help is at hand in the form of Marketing Organisation of Women Entrepreneurs (MOOWES), a voluntary non profit organisation, set up in 1990.

“There are about 40 50 active members in MOOWES. Most of them are home makers,” Janaki Ananth said. “Many of them have diversified into manufacturing jute products after realising its potential and we conduct periodic exhibitions to showcase their products.”

For instance, A Mahalakshmi’s unit at Ekkatuthangal employs six persons and her unit specialises in making wall hangings, mirrors, table tops and letter and magazine holders. With turn over of around 12 lakh per year, she also exports her products to Mauritius.

Running a larger unit in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, is D Nagendran, a member of the National Jute Board. His unit specialises in manufacture of yoga mats and kalamkari printed durries, which are sold in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Varanasi.

Sujatha Jaishanker, a former teacher and story teller, who was among the first visitors to the exhibition, claimed she was “pretty stunned” at the collection this year. Her son was soon getting married and she was scouting for gifts for the wedding guests.

Pointing at her bag, Sujatha Jaishanker said she started buying jute products after she decided to turn eco friendly two years ago. And the jute items suited her ethnic tastes too. “Compared to last year, there is a lot of variety. I am overwhelmed by the finish, finesse and the vibrant colours of the products.”

Promise of support and assistance for the entrepreneurs came from the State Minister for Handlooms and Textiles Dr S Sundararaj, State Textiles Secretary G Santhanam and Market Promotion Officer of National Jute Board T Ayyappan.

The exhibition is open from October 4 to 11 at Vijayaraja Thirumana Mandapam, First Avenue Road, Shastri Nagar, Adyar.