Shop to contribute: Namma Angadi 20194 min read
MANIPAL: Namma Angadi, a three-day fest, was hosted by the students of School of Communication (SOC) in its premises from March 8-10. During the three days, the college campus was bustling with the energy of enthusiastic shoppers keen on buying indigenous products.
The idea of the event was initiated 16 years ago as a social cause by the students of SOC who collaborated with The Concerned for Working Children (CWC) and Namma Bhoomi. The intent behind it was to help the local artisans and their children by providing them with a marketing platform to sell their products and gain more fund for their campus, Namma Bhoomi, based in Kundapur. Namma Bhoomi houses more than 200 children of local artisans, who are vocationally trained post grade seven to earn their own livelihood.
It was organised by final-year Masters in Media and Communication students who began their preparation for the event in January. The students interacted with the artisans and told them about particular styles and patterns that would attract their target audience in Manipal and Udupi. Since the products are handmade and the tailors involved work and study at the same time, a lot of time and effort went into producing bulk units. On the other hand, the students of SOC are responsible for marketing them really well so that all the colleges and locals are aware of it, as said by Project Manager and student Priyanka Rao.
The event was inaugurated by Hephsiba Rani, the Deputy Commissioner of Udupi in the presence of Damodar Acharya, Executive Director of CWC. The exhibit cum sale showcased vibrant handloom, handicrafts, and organic eco-friendly products that attracted customers not only from neighbouring towns, but from places as far as Bangalore too.
Talking about the event, Shivanan Shetty, co-ordinator of Namma Bhoomi said that Namma Angadi as an event proved to be a major marketing platform for local artisans, which was their major bone of contention. Additionally, it helped improve sales as well as provided recognition of rural products among people.
“Manipal has a global approach since people from different regions come here. Every year we get feedback from people which we incorporate in our work. This way we get the opportunity to improve our designs. Because of this our customer base has expanded and lots of people now come to Namma Bhoomi to buy these products,” he added. This has resulted in the generation of employment opportunities thus improving the rural economy.
Over the years Namma Angadi has established itself as a brand among the local crowd due to which most of them attend the event as it happens. Being its speciality, terracotta and indigo products attract families and students every year to pick up new designs. Regular customers are inspired to come to this event not only because of its products, but also because of the cause for which Namma Angadi works.
“All the products are handmade by local artisans. Unlike the mass-produced material present in big shops, you can see the work done by them. Also, it is for a social cause; a lot of the people who come here do not mind spending. Moreover, for families, the distance between SOC and Udupi is just 3 kilometres but Udupi to Kundapur takes about an hour. So it’s easier for them to pick up clothes from here once a year than going to Kundapur,” added Priyanka Rao.
While most of the customers were of the opinion that the products sold were of good quality and reasonable prices, some customers like Smita Shriyan of Manipal Technology Ltd felt a little different, saying, “The quality of clothes, I feel, is average and the prices are a little high.”
From the budget of Rs 1,20,000, the main area of expenditure was in promotional materials used to attract different crowds. In order to appeal to customers beyond Manipal, five empowered women who happen to be local influencers in a group called Power were roped in.
For the first time, the event saw the use of MIC Greens. It was used to set-up food stalls so that people could sample food products before buying them. This year, the clothing collections were suited for people of all ages. It included more options in terms of sizes and designs for men. There were also separate rooms for every category of the items sold.
With a footfall of around 2,000 people, the event fared better than last year in terms of sales. The first day witnessed around 350 people coming in, after which the crowd increased despite Revels, Manipal Institute of Technology’s (MIT) annual cultural and sports fest taking place simultaneously, along with a temple function in the nearby town of Udupi.
Featured Image Courtesy: Annwesha Shyam
Edited by: Karthika Venugopal