CFM meets the challenges of ever-changing fashion
Community Friendly Movement, CFM, was conceived to spark innovation within traditional handcraft communities in India, as well as providing employment opportunities and improving the lives of skilled artisans.
Since its inception, CFM has helped more than 10 handcrafts communities to become commercially viable by helping them create a manufacturing base, discovering new markets, and aiding with design and product development.
In 2007, CFM, originally a not-for-profit enterprise needed to change its status to a Private Limited Company due to the government’s restrictions on commercial transaction for NGOs. During that first year, it made $100,000. A year later, CFM increased its earnings by 300 percent, and added more handcraft communities with a total of 650 active artisan members in such areas as block printing, bone and wood carving, glass bead making, embroidery, quilting and more.
Although many of the artisans who are part of CFM come with traditional skill sets, the organization helps members design products that appeal to contemporary consumer tastes in their specified markets. “In some cases we were able to create high demand for the products and need more artisans to help out. In these circumstances we have trained women to get on the job training in self-help group settings so that the community could increase its production capacity,” said Nidhi Grover, CFM designer.
CFM is a big believer in creating a working environment the provides incentives to maintain quality and delivery. The Artisan Welfare Fund provides a number of services to its artisan member including a nursery, after school programs for their children, and financial bonuses. Currently, the company is exploring extending health insurance and micro finance programs to their communities who work with them.
However, CFM has faced a series of challenges. The leading one is the ever-changing fashion industry. “Our biggest challenge is to be innovative and develop a new range of products ever so often and the disappointment is that fashion keeps changing and sometimes it is not always possible to keep the artisans engaged at all times,” said Grover.
The good news is that after 10 years of being in business, CFM will be attending NY NOW's Artisan Resource from August 20-23 at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center. The company will be exhibiting a new collection of jewelry designed by CFM’s designers and handcrafted by their artisan members. “The designs reflect our interpretation of what the consumers in the USA consider not only fashionable but also distinctive. The products are a combination of many skills such as casting, etching, hammering, bead making, metal working, wood carving, bone and horn cutting,” said Grover.
CFM designs can be found in the following shop and collections:
- Noonday Collections;
- Ten Thousand Villages;
- Global Girlfriend;
- Jubilee Traders; and
- Change Maker.
For more information, visit www.http://whycfm.org.