Hilli Valli in Mumbai brings new hope for state artisans

STAFF REPORTER

IMPHAL, 15th Nov: Weavers and artisans of the state now have a platform to promote and sell their products to customers from across the country as well as foreign countries in the form of Hilli Valli boutique in Mumbai’s posh Bandra. Opened with a meagre investment by Khoi Thoudam and Joy Nongthombam, the boutique has been able to attract customers from different parts of the world. With its growing popularity, the boutique has handloom and handicrafts products of the state with price ranging from Rs 40 to Rs 20,000. As demands of customers are growing up, artisans in the state, who are supplying to the boutique, are also getting increased income gradually. Popular products sold in the shop include silk saree, earthen pot of Longpi Khullen, reed products among others. At present, 40 weavers, 15 reed artisans and seven potters of Longpi Khullen are supplying products to the outlet. With increasing demands, it has also started expanding its suppliers recently. Speaking to The People’s Chronicle, co-founder Khoi Thoudam informed that the boutique was opened with the objective to promote handloom and handicraft products of the state to the outside world and at the same time provide income generation opportunities for the weavers and artisans. They will always strive to maintain originality of the state’s products while roping in more suppliers directly. Quality products with beautiful designs are easy to sell at high price here, he said. Contending that people in the metro cities are somewhat wary of buying products from big malls, he said that customers are now looking out for unique products, which are not available in those malls. As several states have now banned plastic products, many are turning their attention towards household products made of reeds and it has become more of a fashion to use such natural and eco-friendly products, he said, while adding that earthen pots of Longpi Khullen are popular among rich families for using as decorative items.
Recently, Hilli Valli participated in Mumbai’s biggest art festival ‘Kala Goda Art Festival and was successful in attracting big crowds. Presently, the boutique is working in association with Mumbai based art expo Paramparik, Delhi based Daskar, Bengaluru based Crafts Council of India and Chennai based Hastakar.
Mumbai’s Worli based Kavya Creation has put up a large demand for reed products recently. As a result, they are now engaging the reed artisans to make reed baskets for supplying to the agency. Besides, they are supplying earthen pots of Longpi Khullen to a US firm now, he confided.
Hoping that their venture could help thousands of weavers and artisans of the state, Khoi also stressed the need for special initiative from the state government for improving the handloom and handicraft sector of the state.


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