SUMAN Warli are an aboriginal people residing mainly in the western part of India; Warlis decorate their dwellings and surroundings with their distinctive style of paintings.
Suman Sonthalia of Akruti Arts Creations is a designer who has combined various folk art forms, such as, Warli and Dokra, with wood and pottery to create popular products. Suman started with just two artisans and a dream. In 2006 she began to work with Asha Handicrafts and her turn over reached USD 10,000.
Today , Suman supports 30 artisans of whom 4 are on salary while the others work on piece rates. She also employs 15 girls of whom 5 work from their home. As the work continued Suman adopted other styles and crafts such as Madhubhani paintings and Kalamkari in addition to her trademark Warli style. This has lead to a seven fold increase of Suman’s business with Asha Handicrafts in just a span of four years.
Besides getting regular work she is also happy with Asha Handicrafts for other benefits which she received through Fair trade such as training through workshops, product development, business counseling and advance payment against all the orders.
Suman has good entrepreneur skills which have helped her to not only develop products that are decorative but also utilitarian and serving the needs of the consumers. Her goal is to keep these crafts alive through constant innovation and employing crafts in creating utility items.
Through Asha handicrafts, Suman has not only been empowered for fair trade and business entrepreneurship but also seeks to follow example of Asha Handicrafts in supporting socially and economically underprivileged women, by giving them work, advance payments and educational assistance for her artisan’s children.