Soft, reasonably priced and on-line: How Elampillai’s saris grew to become successful on social media

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The saris produced by this energy loom weaving hub close to Salem have discovered followers in all places, due to social media

Deep down the winding highway that leads away from the Salem/Sankagiri freeway, the surroundings is breathtaking, with mountains and temples framing paddy and sugarcane fields. Despite the agrarian setting, the fields are empty, apart from a number of, the place girls are planting paddy saplings in plots flooded with ankle-deep water.

We are going to Elampillai, which appears to be gaining reputation on social media for its saris. Soon sufficient, textile showroom billboards pave the best way into this nondescript city that manufactures saris on the market in India and overseas.

“There are over 20,000 power looms in Elampillai. Besides 10,000 workers manning the looms, there are at least 20,000 more engaged in ancillary industries such as zari manufacture and computer-aided designing, many of them from other States,” says Ok M Siddharaman, proprietor of the family-run Sri Balaji Silks.

Siddharaman is a veteran within the sari commerce, having began out as a handloom weaver together with his father 40 years in the past. “By the 1970s, the power loom had taken over the textile industry in a big way here. Most of the companies are small scale industries, with around 10-15 looms per firm. Those who have over 200 power looms cannot take care of them alone, because of the shortage of labour,” says Siddharaman, whose two sons handle 60 energy looms between them.

Weaving a livelihood

  • In the bylanes of Elampillai, we communicate to Babu, an influence loom operator with Sri Balaji Silks for the previous seven years. His presence, like that of his different male colleagues on the unit explains why the fields within the neighborhood are empty. “Like me, most of the men in my generation in Elampillai have opted to work in the power loom factories because it gives a steady income. We can earn ₹20,000 per month in this job. There’s no real future in agriculture for me,” he says.
  • A employee is predicted to watch two energy looms in a day. “It takes around six hours for us to produce a sari (of 6.3 metres). Though it is a mechanised job, the operator has to watch out for broken threads and other mistakes, so he has to be in front of the loom when it is on. An experienced worker can produce up to 10-15 saris in a week,” says Babu, whose unit is open from 6 am to six pm.
  • One assumes the employees would get to purchase among the saris straight from the loom. “Of course not!” laughs Babu. “The designs we manufacture are exclusive and will be held as reserve stock for three months. So we just head to the downtown stores to buy saris in Elampillai.”

“In recent years, due to over production, Elampillai’s manufacturers have had to undersell their products so that they can pay staff salaries every Friday. So a sari that costs ₹700 to make, is usually sold for ₹500 to ₹600 by Thursday,” he says.

By mid-day, the primary road of Elampillai, crowded with clothes shops, is open for enterprise. Unlike the showy interiors favoured by outlets in huge cities, this city believes in additional utilitarian iron shelving for its stunning items.

Men with bundles of yarn and warp rollers coated with newspaper sheets, steer their overloaded two-wheelers on the highway exterior, as prospects float into the outlets with a flurry of calls for. Women emerge with white cotton sacks stuffed with saris, wanting enthusiastic about their purchases.

“From 2 pm onwards, this street will be as busy as Mount Road in Chennai,” smiles Siddharaman.

Elampillai saris are available a wide range of kinds and colors, however most of them are soft-textured and have a jacquard self-design that improves their drape significantly.

This yr, Kota cotton and art-silk (an reasonably priced artificial various to the actual factor), are doing nicely, says Siddharaman.

“We have saris in the price range of ₹400 to ₹1,700. With the lockdown easing since September, we were lucky to fulfill some Deepavali orders just in time,” he says.

As we communicate, a household clinches a five-sari deal for ₹2,500. The invoice, Siddharaman admits, might be a lot increased within the huge model shops of Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Madurai and Bengaluru, the place he provides his merchandise.

“Unlike Mysuru or Kancheepuram, Elampillai’s saris are not known by their place of origin. But weavers like me can recognise an Elampillai sari simply from the way it falls on the wearer,” he says.

Babu working an influence loom on the workshop of Sri Balaji Silks, in Elampillai. Photo: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU
 

Working social media

The lack of a definite id has really labored in Elampillai’s favour, particularly throughout lockdown as connoisseurs started in search of made in India materials. Social media has performed an necessary position in popularising the saris, particularly since producers like R Gowrishankar of RGS Tex, ship orders to any a part of India.

“Despite the lockdown, we had a good response for our Deepavali orders. We supply stock for mostly big retailers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, but there were a lot of queries from women entrepreneurs who resell our saris from their homes,” says Gowrishankar, whose firm is predicated in Thappakuttai village, between Edappadi and Salem.

The lockdown has accelerated the necessity for digital banking and contactless funds, which has aided merchants with a social media presence. Google searches for Elampillai saris will invariably lead folks to not simply native producers but additionally trend vlogs focussed on the saris.

“I started our Facebook page titled Elampillai Saris five years ago, but it has come into its own only during the lockdown. We post pictures or short videos about our new products, and customers get in touch almost immediately, from far-flung cities,” says Gowrishankar. He provides, “In a way, not being overexposed through traditional advertising is good, because Elampillai saris have been able to retain their uniqueness in the market.”

Elampillai saris are known for their soft texture. Photo: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU

Elampillai saris are recognized for his or her tender texture. Photo: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU
 



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