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Participants at a recent product development workshop
Participants at a recent product development workshop

Bhutanese textiles to hit the European market soon 

Phub Dem

A third generation weaver, Wangchuk Lhamo has never been this happy to be part of the family’s handiwork tradition.

The 30-year-old had inherited the trade from her mother like her maternal ancestors before her. Besides weaving, Wangchuk Lhamo grows her own natural fabric dyes.

She will be travelling to Paris for an exhibition with six other handicraft entrepreneurs in January next year.

Experts from the International Trade Center are training the local producers on how to display and sell their products. Twenty-two direct beneficiaries of the project took part in workshops on product development, brand identification, home textile products, and export-quality management.

The exhibition is an EU-Bhutan Trade Support project, she said that  she will be displaying her products in Paris Trade fair in January next year. “For the first time, my products are going to be displayed in the international market. I am excited,” said the owner of Colours of Bhutan.

Bhutan has never exported the traditional handicraft textile in bulk and with a brand, the sale was mostly individual and small scale, said Wangchuk Lhamo. “The exhibition in Paris will be a collection of Bhutanese textiles.”

She will carry products-mainly hand-woven scarf and pillow case that were earlier sold exclusively within Bhutan.

Manager of Cluster and Craft Market Division of Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC), Karma Choden said that the beneficiaries would be sent to trade fair in Paris next year in two batches.

The project is targeting two trade fairs, collective collection, and individual display. Collective collection will be displayed in Paris and the individual display will be exhibited in beneficiaries’ choice of place in the US, UK or Japan.

For lack of perfect tailoring, Karma Choden said the collective collection was focused on home accessories and decors. The beneficiaries are from the private sector, CSOs and other institutions.

Karma Choden said that after the exhibition the participants have to help 200 more from the local handicraft. She said that they should impart the skills to their working group.

The project emphasises training local handicraft owners on improved business skills, knowledge on market requirements, export quality management, and best practices in sustainable production.

This, according to the participants will help address some challenges faced by Bhutanese artisans.

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