Let me be rather informal and tell this unusual story like I'd usually tell it to my new friends.
It all literally began with one thought, one burning question:
“Where have all those craftsman gone; who used to visit Mumbai with their bags filled with leather craft?”
Growing up in the Mumbai, surrounded by family in footwear business, there used to be many craftsmen who sold their handcrafted leather goods to the shops in the cities and returned to their little native places for making new craft. It all seemed so regular and simple.
I still remember how each craftsman was different. I remember how each of them had their own distinct style of talking, dealing goods, and communicating with shopkeepers. They had as unique an accent in their speech as the style of their craft. By any of these two factors, we could easily tell which area of Maharashtra they're visiting from. They represented the culture of their region through their craft because as it is with language, so it is with crafts they made, they hold a residue of craftsman's personal expression and culture that craftsman belongs to. As a result, each craft, intentionally or not, was reflecting many things, it was no more just some thing, it had character which was fantastic!
How suiting as well, when the beauty of Indian culture lies in it’s diverse nature, where each mile changes some aspect of culture like taste of food, mix of spices, and of course accent in the language. We can imagine how this local craftsman's seemingly humble craft embodies the diversity at large. It is a living encyclopedia of those local cultures. All thanks to the craftsmen who can think and evolve, who express the culture that nurtured them, in their craft for the world to see and adore.
Imagine, if today, that same original ethnic craft were to be available for all. From the hands and hearts of craftsmen to the world.
Imagine how much it would help to the Indian Society cumulatively …
Imagine how many different versions and designs will be added to our understanding of the Indian culture.
Imagine how many craftsmen will be documented and credited with their craft rather than suffering in anonymity and disappearing with their craft in the unknown, over time.
Imagine how many craftsmen will benefit from sustainable livelihood as their craft is presented to the world with due credit.
That is when the IDEA of Vhaan began to form …