IKEA has launched a new range of products created by women’s co-operatives in rural India.
The furniture, appliances and home accessories retailer is working in partnership with social enterprises Rangsutra and Industree PT, which support the use handicraft businesses to reduce poverty and empower women by making them more financially independent and increasing their skill base.
There are 30 products available in the limited edition STADIGT collection, which include hand-embroidered cushion covers and throws, and a large reversible shoulder bag. There are also handwoven pouffes, cushions, storage boxes and baskets in natural banana fibre.
STADIGT, which means ‘steadily’ or ‘consistently’ in Swedish, is the third limited edition collection IKEA has co-created with social entrepreneurs in India. All profits from the sale of the collection go towards IKEA’s long-term partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world to support economic, environmental and social development.
“The new STADIGT range is one of many collections we will be producing with social entrepreneurs,” said an IKEA spokeswoman. “We will be launching approximately three collections per year – two from our partners in India and one from our partner in Thailand.
“We have a long term partnership with the social entrepreneurs. The goal is that they develop their skills and be self-reliant. To support this, we contribute with knowledge in business development and provide a global marketplace.”
Many women in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka, where Rangsutra and Industree PT operate, are employed in vulnerable jobs which lack the protection of labour laws. Rangustra and Industree PT were both founded in the mid-1990s in response to this, by women who aimed to enable rural artisans to sell their products to a wider market.
Today Rangsutra works with 3,500 artisans living in remote regions of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, with around 600 women working with IKEA productions through small production co-operatives.
“Rangsutra is basically an attempt to generate sustainable livelihoods for rural artisans, building upon traditional skills they already had,” said Sumita Ghose, founder and managing director.
“Some of the main issues that face women in rural India are access to an education, good healthcare, very basic needs like clean drinking water and of course livelihoods. Regular work […] gives them an opportunity to get out of their homes. Having income has given them more of a say in what the family decides.”
The STADIGT range is available in IKEA Lakeside, Southampton, Dublin and Glasgow, as well as stores in Sweden, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Due to their limited nature, these products won’t be available online. The next collection will be released in June.