Photo provided by Prerna and Shriti
Ankit Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Kaarigar Mandi (Shoegaro Fashions Pvt Ltd), supports the marginalized footwear-artisans in India. He persevered to work with footwear-artisans who were struggling to make ends meet, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation of artisans deteriorated further due to increased inequality at the grassroots level. Ankit knew that the only way to support them was to re-connect them to the market and provide them with dignified work, as it was before the pandemic.
Ankit's efforts to rebuild the market-linkages for the footwear-artisans brought work from small retailers and wholesalers. Despite facing many failed attempts in convincing big brands in the industry, he finally found a prestigious footwear brand that would be willing to place orders with Kaarigar Mandi. This was a significant achievement for Ankit as getting a renowned brand as a client was difficult, especially for a for-profit social-enterprise. With this order, Ankit was finally able to get some much-needed capital for his business.
However, the advance payment that this client made was not enough to cover the capital expenditure required for such a large-scale order. Ankit was in a difficult position where he could not lose a big client as it was crucial for his rebuilding efforts, nor could he propose to take this order to the footwear artisans who were already facing the challenges of inequity and poverty post the pandemic.
Photo shared by Ankit Kumar along with the community