When we talk about Jaipur home furnishing, the first thing that comes to the mind is handcrafted techniques and rightly so. Jaipur has and will always have its core competence in techniques like handprints, hand screen, patchwork and block printing, adored and appreciated by the buyers across the globe. Though as the times change and mechanization becomes a necessity, which is welcomed by the manufacturers, retaining the handwork value.
Technology – Need of the Hour
Jaipur is evolving itself as it moves towards mechanization with exporters installing new technology for value addition. The machines being installed are flat bed printing machines, digital printing machines and screen printing machines. Moreover, according to Sumiran Kandira, Director, Bairaj Enterprises, “Soon machines which offer tie&dye technique will also enter the Jaipur home textile market.”
While Tejinder Sodhi of Suprint Textiles avers, “Jaipurites have lagged behind when it comes to technological advancement. But now as the buyers demand higher quantities along with higher quality, changes have started coming in. We recently installed a flat bed machine for quilting.”
The driving factors behind technological advancement is rising quantities, accuracy and efficiency of the machines that help in meeting timely deliveries, besides the increasing cost of labour as also shortage of manpower.
Moreover, Shailesh, Partner, Miyanbazaz Exports who recently installed the high-end single needle double head quilting machine says, “As the technology advances, Jaipur will now have to follow a two-way approach; firstly, to keep producing handcrafted home furnishing goods for which it is known worldwide and secondly, to slowly and gradually imbibe the technological advancement by putting up machines so that new techniques can be developed and a more accurate and standard product is produced.”
Digital Printing becomes the Next Big Thing
Printing has always been a USP for Jaipur home furnishing. The hand blocks have dominated printing in Jaipur for centuries. Taking a step forward, companies are now looking at new options in printing and in the process digital printing, has become the most upcoming and promising technique that the home furnishing exporters in Jaipur are adopting.
The first one to foray into digital printing in Jaipur is Ratan Textiles, which installed the Mimaki’s digital printing machine two years back. Talking about Digital Printing, Sunit Jain, CEO, Ratan Textiles, avers “If I talk about digital as a whole, the world capacity is not even 2% as compared to the total demand. However, the demand for digital printing products is growing day by day, making it the most sought-after technique in home furnishing as well as apparels, as it is all about creativity and uniqueness that buyers constantly looks for, in everything they purchase. In fact, most of my buyers have already started experimenting with these prints, though right now the price of the final product in digital print is 5 times more than a Jaipur’s handcrafted home furnishing product.”
The players in Jaipur are upbeat of the potential growth in business that digital printing can bring in. “There is certainly a market for digital products, as buyers who are buying something which is very Jaipuri, also expect us to offer new innovative designs to them. They are looking for more fusion in products; and digital printing is filling the gap… Like if the curtains are really simple they will ask for highly value-added cushion, a value addition which only digital printing can give in a modern application,” says Shailesh. Miyanbazaz plans to install a digital printing machine as soon as it goes into production of digital printed products.
As of now the company is in sampling phase of these products and is getting the printing outsourced.
Adding to the list, even Bairaj Enterprises, a Jaipur-based home furnishing exporter plans to install Mimaki’s digital printing machines, which will cost Rs. 25-30 lakh per machine. “The investment is worth it as buyers are now actively seeking the technique and are also willing to pay a price,” says Kandira.
Digital printing is being adopted widely by the exporters as it offers flexibility of printing, while also saving on water and labour, besides being very eco-friendly. Further, the sampling of handcrafted products is very time-consuming as compared to digital printing sampling, which is much faster and also nearly eliminates rejections as it offers accuracy, timely delivery and quality output. Even though the price of ink as well as machine is a constraint, they are positive that with the rising demand globally, the input cost will come down and so also the price of products. However, not everyone is as yet ready to invest in the technology. “Digital printing will not happen in bulk until the cost of ink comes to Rs. 30-35/sq. metres.” says Tejinder Sodhi.
Emerging Markets for Jaipur Home Furnishing
Latin America has lately surfaced as one of the emerging markets for Jaipur home furnishing. Both Miyanbazaz Exports as well as Ratan Textiles are positive about the business in Latin America. While Ratan Textiles has been working with Latin market from past 3 years, Miyanbazaz Exports has recently entered the Latin American market. “Latin America is a huge market, in fact bigger than US. At present I have started targeting 6 countries – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Brazil,” informs Shailesh. “It is a niche market which is yet to be captured exhaustively,” adds Jain. The design sense of Latin Americans is somewhat similar to the US, which makes it a more relatable market for the exporters sourcing to the US.
At present the only setback the exporters are facing while targeting Latin America is the high duties being imposed by the Governments there which are nearing 100%, making the product expensive, as compared to 18% in the US. The second most sought-after market is that of the Middle East, as people there are financially very strong and are ready to pay a higher price for good quality goods.
It’s a well known fact that the textile industry of India has lately, in past one year, undergone a chain of problems like lower volumes, labour crisis, unavailability of cotton yarn and fabric and now the fluctuation in currency exchange rate of dollar and pound. These are also the same basic problems which are plaguing the Jaipur industry.
“It has been a whole bad season, firstly no volumes, then came volumes but there was no labour; when labour and quantity came, fabric became unavailable. During the crisis I had to raise my FOBs by nearly 30%,” avers Shailesh.
“I feel the labour problem will increase with the days, all thanks to the social schemes started by the Government. We exporters are really bleeding due to all of these problems.” adds Sunit.
Specific to Jaipur, the only real bottleneck according to Tejinder Sodhi is the lack of R&D in handcrafted home furnishing products that exporters are offering. He further unveils, “Right now there is a need of a Government-recognized fashion institution like NIFT that can generate fresh and young minds who can do great R&D on the home furnishing products.”