New Delhi , Dec 9 : Meghalaya is well known for its arts, crafts, textiles and agri-produces. However, the State’s artisans and farmers have not been able to command a premium price for their products due the lack of an overarching marketing platform that can provide design inputs, quality control and market connect that can elevate the State’s products into a niche consumer segment willing to pay top-price for quality and genuineness.
The Meghalayan Age Store, that was inaugurated on Thursday Dec 9 , is poised to be this overarching platform that will enable the artisans and farmers of the State to reach-out to the upper echelons of patrons in India and abroad. The store hosts a wide range of curated products, ranging from Larnai pottery to Ryndia silk.
Additionally, the store also markets indigenous agri-products of Meghalaya such as Lakadong Turmeric, Wild Forest Honey and Sohiong Jam.
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Textiles and Commerce & Industries, inaugurated the Store in the presence of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
CM Conrad K. Sangma stated that “Meghalaya is home to some of the best artisans and farmers in the country; however, unfortunately they have not been able to get the real worth of their efforts and ingenuity, and that the Meghalayan Age Store is a step taken by the Government towards enabling artisans and farmers of the State to attain a higher value and appreciation for their products. He also stated that the Store will be a platform for the people of Meghalaya to showcase their products and talent at the Nation’s capital, to a niche consumer segment willing to pay a premium price”.
Ms. R. V. Suchiang , the Chief Secretary stated “The Meghalayan Age brand is an opportunity for the State’s artisans and farmers to sell their products under a unified umbrella, and that all of the products that are being sold in the store are curated and quality controlled to ensure that it suits to the taste of a premium clientele; for this, she said that artisans and farmers were given the necessary guidance and design inputs through the Ateliers Meghalaya Program. She also thanked the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, Government of India for providing a space in the Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhavan at Cannaught place, a location that attracts localities and international tourists alike, for setting-up the Meghalayan Age Store”.
The Meghalayan Age Store is located within the Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhavan at Baba Kharak Singh Road, Connaught Place, New Delhi. Apart from being a marketing platform for the State’s products, the Store also acts as a gateway for tourists who are wanting to visit the State, by enticing them with a showcase of the State’s culture and its tranquil nature.
For sourcing the arts, crafts and textiles for the Store, the Meghalayan Age Ltd., the State-owned company owning and operating the store, through its ‘Ateliers Meghalaya Program’ provided a grant of Rs. 5 Lakhs each to select 22 master-artisans/curators to work with individual artisans across product segments to develop and aggregate marketable products that can be pitched to a premium market segment. At every stage of production of these products, artisans were handheld by the master-artisans/curators selected through the Ateliers Meghalaya Program to ensure quality and adhere to design aesthetics suited to a premium clientele.
Dr. D. Vijay Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of the Meghalayan Age Ltd. who is also the Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya for Tourism and Agriculture Departments when enquired about the reason for the choice of the name of the brand stated that “it is a reference to the geological time period that we are in, and that this era was coined after the name of the State due to the discovery of a stalagmite in the Mawmluh Cave situated in Meghalaya which led to the addition of ‘Meghalayan Age’ to the geological timescale of the planet”.
Talking of the Store, Dr. D. Vijay Kumar stated that “the Meghalayan Age Store at Delhi is a showcase of the State’s rich heritage, its arts, crafts, culture, music, literature and food; and that it is also a welcoming call to tourists from across the globe to visit Meghalaya and experience its rich cultural heritage and serene nature.
He also stated that each of the products placed at the Store tells a story of the place, the people who made it and their traditions; through which tourists will be enticed to visit Meghalaya”. He went on to say that “agriculture, tourism, crafts and culture are all facets that are intertwined in the story of the people of Meghalaya and are essentially inseparable from each other; and therefore, each product is a treasure that can only be fully relished when the customer visits the region where the product was made in. While asked about the future expansion plans of the Store, he replied that an online version of the store is also being prepped to be launched in the next 2-3 months, and future expansion of the store to other major cities in India is also being planned”.
The architecture of the Store embodies the rich cultural heritage of the 3 major tribes of Meghalaya, the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo, in a modern architectural esthetic; a true depiction of the State’s connect to its roots.
The Meghalayan Age Store is part of the State Government’s initiative to enhance the value for the produces of the State, and to ensure that artisans and farmers get their fair share of the enhanced value. Meghalaya Age Ltd., is also working on an online version of the store, this expected to be launched within the next 2-3 months. Future expansion of the Store to other majors cities in India is also in the pipeline.