Handlooms are symbols of the country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. They are an important source of livelihood for many in rural and semi-rural parts of the country. Empowering the country’s artists is a unique platform called iTokri.
What is iTokri?
iTokri is an online shop for crafts, handlooms, fabrics, jewellery, paintings and other artworks and is India’s only crafts and looms retailer with a 100% inventory of handmade artisan products. From Punjab’s phulkari dupattas and Gujarat’s bandhani sarees to Andhra’s handwoven ikat fabrics and Odisha’s pattachitra paintings. It sources products including jewelry, clothing materials and household items from nearly 10,000 artisans across India, making it the largest curated portal for arts and crafts products with over 100,000 listings.
The brand’s founders, Jia and Nitin Pamnani, believe in relieving artisans of the burden of selling, allowing them to focus on what they do best – their craft, while ensuring that the artisan, through the sale of Products are given due credit for their craft under the creator/craftsman’s name on the platform. For over a decade, iTokri has worked tirelessly to save the highly fragmented, non-standard craft and handloom industry from declining under the pressure of fast fashion by building a community of artisans from across India. The brand strives to become a sustainable lifestyle brand by bringing the essence of India back to its people. It believes in celebrating creativity and conversation from village, small town, subway online, giving space, light and love to the emerging and ancient vibrant creative spirit of India.
Speaking exclusively about the origins of the brand, iTokri co-founder Nitin Pamnani said: “Coming to Delhi from Gwalior to pursue documentary making was something special didn’t give me enough fulfillment and satisfaction. So in 2010 I decided to move to Gwalior with my family and finally start my own business. In our early years we noticed that e-commerce was steadily gaining momentum and that definitely clicked for us. Coincidentally, we knew numerous people who dealt in handmade goods and through them we came into contact with many artisans and founded our brand – iTokri.
Our brand obviously wasn’t built in a day. Initially we started with 10 employees and now the organization has grown to a huge network of 150 craftsmen and 200 team members (mostly women and only 10 men). The organization encourages and encourages the creativity of its artisans, supports them financially and promotes their work abroad. Numerous artists have been able to secure stable jobs thanks to our platform and that is the greatest success for us“.
Jia Pamnani, co-founder of iTokri said: “Our interest in handwork was the first step that allowed us to start our business. We both knew our interests and wanted to promote organic/real facility of handloom products. So we wanted to connect with a community that can be a part of this journey and is willing to help us keep our crafting culture from fading. With the support of our family and friends, we have been able to build a community of artisans and launch an online e-commerce platform in Tier 2 cities where few brands have ventured into online business. This encouraged us even more, which also successfully led to iTokri, launched in 2012!
iTokri’s mission has always been to preserve artisanal products and make them available to patrons who appreciate the beauty of arts and crafts. The most important The aim of this platform is to create seamless and efficient art for customers who value craftsmanship. The reach of the platform is cross-border, products and their packaging are sustainable and environmentally friendly and the organization has direct employment evidence. From home decor, sarees, textiles, dupattas, stoles and non-textiles to items like wood/metal jewelry, paintings and home decor, iTokri has it all and has distinguished itself as a one-stop platform for its customers across the globe. iTokri has become a platform for returning customers to experience the warmth of personal letters, crafts and goods. It’s a place where they can call home and to me that’s the greatest achievement we could have achieved!”
Additionally, as a fair trade organization, iTokri ensures product authenticity and a price guarantee on all their products. A handwritten note on a piece of recycled paper and a handmade piece of jewelery come with every order, neatly packaged in eco-friendly packaging from Gwalior’s iTokri, making it one of the most popular e-commerce portals for a discerning household global audience looking for Indian handicrafts and hand-woven products inspire.
Employing more than 200 women directly and another 1000 indirectly, the organization is a beacon for gender equality and women’s empowerment. More than 95% of your employees are women who come from financially disadvantaged social classes. Over the decade, the brand has been built on the foundation of transparency, authenticity, love and commitment, becoming the voice of the handloom and craft community, offering its customers an unparalleled shopping experience.
In the 10 year journey, the platform has given artisans and weavers a place to call home! In all these years, the craftsmen have received direct support to maintain their livelihood in the form of their salary. Even in uncertain times during the pandemic, they were paid on time and there was a proud addition of 150 new artisans to our community.
zero waste company
iTokri is a zero waste company. It uses recyclable packaging made from old newspapers and boxes made from recycled paper pulp. Not only has this helped the brand save money, but it has also helped the brand to be more eco-friendly. Thus, the idea of sustainability not only helps tradespeople, but also customers to maintain the health of the environment.