Seven Senses

Seven Senses: Weaving the change, by hand

NetherlandsIndia
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Seven Senses creates unique 100% organic fabrics through a distinctive manufacturing process that enhances product quality, contributes to the sustainable development of rural areas in India whilst preserving and reviving the country's traditional skills

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the 800 million people living in rural India can be provided with the skills to be fully productive and contribute to the economic growth of their nation in a sustainable manner?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The population of rural India is about 12% of the world population, bigger than the size of Europe. Inadequate opportunities for employment beyond agriculture and lack of employability have resulted in over-dependence on agriculture which is not able to support the rising aspirations of the vast majority living in rural India. People living in the rural areas have to struggle to earn wages or are often forced to migrate to urban areas.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Seven Senses nurtures and invests in both people and the environment by producing premium quality fabrics hand spun, hand woven and naturally dyed in India, only using 100% organic khadi cotton. We were able to turn the Seven Senses into a reality thanks to our partnership with KDB Samiti, an official Indian non­government association working in Bihar. We work with underprivileged artisans and support them in Bihar and Bengal. Thanks to this collaboration we are reviving, preserving and sharing India’s craft traditions with the world, with a positive and sustainable impact on our natural environment. We are contributing to the development of remote Indian rural areas by bringing work to the local residents, investing in their education and helping them increase their standard of living.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In the village of Sultan gunj, 35 km from the town of Banghalur, Manish & Benita’s family has a strip of land where they practise agriculture. After a failed crop in late 2014, they faced serious struggles since that was the only resource the whole family was relying upon. In November, Benita was approached by one of the master spinners in the village and decided to be trained as a new spinner. She was given the tools and the raw materials and is now able to produce fine quality yarn that is currently used to make our Seven senses denim collection. She is now able to give her family the extra support needed and she’s teaching her daughters too.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In the villages, Khadi is a supplementary work which helps people to earn extra. In India almost all the villages were engaged in Khadi production earlier. However, with the advent of fast fashion as well as power loom and not so good support from Government, the demand dropped. We have tried to revive it 1st by taking Khadi as community development rather than just work for the people and 2ndly by trying to keep artisans engaged regularly. We’re currently working in 4 villages in the region of Bihar and Bengal. So far we trained 15 weavers+spinners that are now independent and we’re training 15 new ones, plus 2 natural dyers. Some of the workers are fixed and some rotate.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our goal is to achieve 1000 mt of orders for the next season which will allow us to have more artisans involved. We would like reach the number of 100 workers trained by January 2016. Our office in Patna will become also a research centre, allowing us to work on new developments and we will recruit: 2 weavers/ 2 dyers/ 4 ladies for warp preparation/ 2­4 tailors for specialized sampling, 1 botanist for veg color researches, 2 merchandisers and 4 ladies for spinning yarns on charkha wheel. We would like to spread the model to other region by the 2020.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We’re working to promote our finished fabrics to our network of fashion brands & designers. Our initial budget will guarantee what’s needed to produce our sampling meters that will be ready by January 2016. Production ­ with 50% of the total amount of the order to be paid upfront we’ll be able to put the fabrics into production. Another root to get financial return will be selling the yarn via a free but well established online platform.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The Indian government establish a statutory body called The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) but is deeply missing the design and research part into the programme which would enable the products to be appealing to other markets.
Team

Founding Story

Amit Anurag the co­founder of the project started working with Khadi since 2007 and realised over the years that there was a need for khadi fabrics to be more contemporary, create demand and make a real impact in rural communities. His business intuition was coupled with his natural desire to experiment. He identified denim as the right product to start with: a product with continuous demand that could guarantee sales stability. When he shared the intuition with Andriana Landegent, long time client and friend, she immediately wanted to support him by offering to promote the fabrics to an international market.

Team

Amsterdam: Andriana ­ Co­founder, the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the project forward. Mamo ­ Production, the hero that turns design ideas into products. Hanna&Eva ­ Trainee and Textile graduates, the perfect duo translates extraordinary research on new developments in technical specs. India: Amit ­ Co­founder, the genius behind the fabrics. UK: Marzia ­ UK Representative, she catches market opportunities & turns them into sales. Jackie ­ Consultant, the inspiring guidance who helps reach the next level.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer, Designer, Factory Owner, Researcher, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Designers, Farmer or Farmer Associations, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.).

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Organizing, Training.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

Community development, Education, Economic development, Environment, Fair Trade, Labor, Rural development, Sustainable development.

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

We do it everyday by working with the artisans by sharing how important it is to work towards a sustainable development

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We never look for one­off order but for long term relationships, so that we’re able to offer continuous workflow to our artisans