Many age-old industries in Mysore – particularly handicrafts – are suffering due to the pandemic.
Tourists are no longer thronging the Sayajji-Rao Road during Dasara looking for souvenirs. There is no more JSS Urban Haat or Sahara Arts and Crafts shopping exhibitions. The global supply-chains have been disrupted, so handicraft exports have suffered.
A big question for management students:
How can traditional industries – which have been thriving for centuries – adapt, update, and improve their marketing, sales, and production methods?
Some thoughts from MYRA:
Budding entrepreneurs can start thinking about Geographical Indication (GI) tags – which are signs used on high-quality and reputable products that have a specific geographic origin. It gives the product a marketing boost, offers trade protections, and prevents counterfeiting – which is currently a big problem in India.
Examples of Indian industries with a GI tag include Lucknow Chikan Embroidery, Kanchipuram Sarees, Kohlapuri Chappals, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Warli Paintings, Madhubani Paintings, Bastar Dokhra, Darjeeling Tea, and Dharwad Peda.
Examples of Mysore-region industries with a GI tag include Mysore Silk, Mysore Agarbathi, Coorg Oranges, Channapatna Toys, Mysore Rosewood Inlay, Mysore Sandalwood Oil, Mysore Sandal Soap, Mysore Jasmine, Nanjanagud Bananas, Coorg Green Cardamom, Ganjifa Cards of Mysore, Mysore Traditional Paintings, and Mysore Betel Leaf.
Entrepreneurs who help traditional craftsmen, farmers, and artisans will not only help preserve cultural assets – but will also generate wealth for themselves and goodwill in their local communities. One very good example of a social-entrepreneurship activity is Trishika Kumari Wadiyar’s 2021 launch of The Little Bunting – an eco-friendly children’s boutique.