In January 2011, a small group of women in Ponnani, Kerala, were facing a difficult future with no work, but with help from Kerala Crafts, have set up a small shop named 'SHE'S', and workshop to sell women’s clothing, together with a stitching facility. The woman who runs the shop was anxious about the future for her and her family, as her husband had been diagnosed with a serious illness and was unable to work.
Ponnani is not in a tourist area of Kerala, and so there is very little work other than agriculture and fishing. Ponnani is an ancient port and coastal town and as such has contributed to the trade and economy of Malabar from very early times. The port was used as a hub for trading with Arabs and Europeans in the age of British rule.
So a group of skilled women got together and started this enterprising initiative. When not selling or stitching for local customers, the ladies make fair trade knickers and baby products for Kerala Crafts. Kerala Crafts can provide a channel for marketing the products which encourages the women to feel empowered by the demand for their goods in the UK. There has been a good ‘marriage’ between traditional Indian craftsmanship using styles that are marketable in the UK.
'....this is like an assured source of income for us. Even sometimes the local stitchings become really low we can still do the knicker order and make up the money to run our family', says Jalaja.
Buying a pair of Malabar Memsahib knickers or PJ's from Kerala Crafts, will directly help to improve the lives of the women and give them hope for the future and for their families.
Most of our products are limited editions, as we only buy relatively small amounts of fabric, so that we can ring the changes frequently. This offers you a unique pair of knickers!
Ladies stitching @ Ponnani