‘Vikram, Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally.
I am a textile technologist by training and started my career (1985) with documenting the traditional textile art (block prints) of India. I continued working with craft community by working with Export Company as printing manager and rose to the position of Junior Director of the company in Ten years. In 1995 I resigned from this company and started my own printing company ( Rangotri ) with two employees.
Imagine that you met someone in an elevator and was asked to explain Rangotri in 30 seconds or less… Can you give us a 2 sentence ‘elevator pitch’ about your business and what you do?
Rangotri as the name Suggests is spring / fountain of colours. The company focuses and brighten up the home by creating home textiles. The company believes in reviving the craft as slowly this art is getting lost because of mechanical printing technology.The Company pays attention for sustainable practices and thus created a collective initiative ‘Jaipur bloc’ where social and environmental issues are addressed.
Elevator Pitch –Sustainable textiles by the people for the people
How did you get started in this business?
In 1995 I felt the need of custom printed textiles, especially for the up market fashion clothing. I set up a wood block printing workshop to produce textiles for Fashion designers. During the course of the interaction with fashion designer (although clothing) I started working on up market textiles (home furnishings) and created the first collection of my own in the year 2000.
Can you describe your customers / what type of customers does Rangotri have?
Most of the customers I have had grown with us and thus we share a good understanding of each others strengths and weakness. *We work on both* and continue like a partner. The customers we have, pitch our products as special ‘hand crafted’ textiles and most of them have their own retail outlets which gives both of us the customer feedback to improve on next collections. Most of the customers visit our workshops and interact with craftsman to make them proud of their hand skills .
What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?
Key of success is largely can be seen as
- Personal attention to human resources which is my responsibility.
- Innovation- working with students, interns as they are more energetic and full of ideas.
- Publicity through word of month; Like my existing customers help me meeting with their other friends (not competitors). Personally I visit textile schools and technical institution to talk about the traditional technologies and craft – creating awareness.
- Taking fellow exporters to take joint responsibilities in saving environment and the craft (www. jaipurbloc.com ) as Managing Director.
- Take equal responsibility in sharing the losses (if any) with customers due to our mistakes .
Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?
All the above started statements and constantly trying to improve the systems.
What kind of technology advances do you see that will likely affect this sector over the coming few years?
The technological advancement of internet online buying is somehow losing the charm of personal touch to buy things for home .In our case, it would certainly affect the craftsman – consumer relationship where the customer feels connected to the product, seeing all the inputs.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?
We are constantly working on improving the handling of textiles (specially the fastness parameters) of our products, in years to come we would like to work more on handcrafted technical textiles; for example- fire-water resistant textiles. As we are working with hand block printers we cannot increase the man power as we require skilled craftsman to perform the job so our focus will be to do more value addition rather than volume increasing.