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Parul Bajoria

Artisan Organization: Parul Bajoria

Country: India

"My name is Parul Bajoria and I'm a fashion designer from West Bengal — the land of Tagore — known for its traditions and culture.

"After I finished a design course in Delhi, I got married and moved back to West Bengal, which is rich in handicrafts and handwoven textiles. I was always fascinated by India's rich tradition of handlooms and decided to focus on these beautiful textiles to create my designs. I worked on this during my free time and, when my children were older, I set up my own design workshop in 2013.

"I've always wanted to help rural artisans, who have struggled to sell their creations and were often swindled by middle men. These artisans weren't adapting to modern trends and I thought that working with them would be a perfect way to help and also promote our textile heritage. In this way, more artisans could make a living.

"In rural India, it was difficult for housewives to work, especially if they need to meet people and travel. But today, the Internet is bringing the world into our homes.

"We design and choose the colors of our fabric for the weavers to create. Currently, I am working with baluchari silk brocade, woven by hand on jacquard looms. It is distinguished by its vibrant Indian colors and mythological designs.

"It feels great to do something on my own. My workshop gives my life purpose, financial independence and provides an outlet for my creativity.

"My husband has been a huge part of my work. When I meet with new artisans, he is by my side. He helps me seek out new artisans and is always there to explore new craft art forms.

"My goal is to help revive dying crafts, generate jobs for artisans and maintain a sustainable venture."

Parul Bajoria received the FOSMI Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur award from the hands of the late president of India. She was one of the top 40 contestants on the entrepreneurial reality show "Egiye Bangla.""