Connecting NER – a passion to connect NorthEast India to the World

by Team Conscious Carma

“Connecting NER is an ode to handicrafts, especially of the north-east of India. We are trying to take our audience through what our region is all about. Along with that, Connecting NER is also on its way to be part of a movement, started by our predecessors, wherein an artisanal item, untouched by machines, gets its deserved value”, says Aayushi Patwari, founder Connecting NER

Hailing from Guwahati, Assam, Aayushi started Connecting NER as a passion project.

“At first it was just plain old research about what people knew about northeast India, its product, crafts etc. There was not much available from and on our region. We learnt how not many enterprises and entrepreneurs from the NE have gained limelight for what they do, and while there are quite a few sellers from our region across the internet, not many talk about the origin of goods made using cane, rattan, bamboo, kauna, meteka, longpi. We started Connecting NER in order to correct that while also giving the artisans here another platform to work with and secure their livelihoods by doing so”, adds Aayushi.

Though, not been formally trained as a designer, creation was a part of a desire with respect to my career trajectory but until CNER I never imagined how it would come to life. With CNER I get to learn from master artisans every day as to what is possible to make along with many technical aspects of the raw material while working out details for custom products and so on. What I have learnt is that sky is the limit when it comes to handmade goods but it needs to be coupled with time and patience to get the ultimate result. Investment is huge too while prototyping but the return with respect to creativity and product created is massive on its own.

Products at Connecting NER

Connecting NER offers a broad range of artisanal goods made using generations-old skills and environment-friendly raw materials such as bamboo, cane. The product range also includes other traditional crafts such as bell-metal, a skill particular to Assam; Longpi pottery and jewellery from the villages of Manipur. 

The product range includes home decor and utility items such as trays, baskets planters in rattan, cane, bamboo, water hyacinth or locally known as water reed. It also includes lifestyle products, such as bags and organisers, made using kauna grass from Manipur.  

The price of the products cost anywhere between INR500 to INR5000. 

Struggles & achievements For a completely new brand with limited connects, it has been tough to form a customer base given the low advertisement budgets and so on. But the backbone of the brand has been their B2B clientele because of they are able to stabilize the prices owing to the large quantities they order. 

Communication with artisans and visits to clusters also get limited as they are all stationed very far away and given the pandemic we try and work out as much as possible via video and it’s very heartening to see artisans adopt technology on such a fast scale. 

The market is yet to understand the value of handmade goods and the time it takes to make these items with finesse. Depending on time and skill, a handmade product looks no lesser than a factory produced good. 

Vision & Mission

We hope to see customers tend more warmly to handmade goods made in the Far East regions of India. 

And we are now going to be working with young designers who want to experiment with these new raw materials.

Availability: www.connectingner.com

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