Ok M Siddharaman – The Hindu

The saris produced by this energy loom weaving hub close to Salem have discovered followers all over the place, due to social media


Deep down the winding street that leads away from the Salem/Sankagiri freeway, the surroundings is breathtaking, with mountains and temples framing paddy and sugarcane fields. Regardless of the agrarian setting, the fields are empty, aside from a number of, the place ladies are planting paddy saplings in plots flooded with ankle-deep water.

We’re going to Elampillai, which appears to be gaining reputation on social media for its saris. Quickly sufficient, textile showroom billboards pave the best way into this nondescript city that manufactures saris on the market in India and overseas.

“There are over 20,000 energy looms in Elampillai. In addition to 10,000 employees manning the looms, there are a minimum of 20,000 extra engaged in ancillary industries resembling zari manufacture and computer-aided designing, a lot of them from different States,” says Ok M Siddharaman, proprietor of the family-run Sri Balaji Silks.

Siddharaman is a veteran within the sari commerce, having began out as a handloom weaver together with his father 40 years in the past. “By the 1970s, the ability loom had taken over the textile business in an enormous manner right here. A lot of the firms are small scale industries, with round 10-15 looms per agency. Those that have over 200 energy looms can not maintain them alone, due to the scarcity of labour,” says Siddharaman, whose two sons handle 60 energy looms between them.

Weaving a livelihood

  • Within the bylanes of Elampillai, we communicate to Babu, an influence loom operator with Sri Balaji Silks for the previous seven years. His presence, like that of his different male colleagues on the unit explains why the fields within the neighborhood are empty. “Like me, many of the males in my technology in Elampillai have opted to work within the energy loom factories as a result of it provides a gradual earnings. We will earn ₹20,000 per thirty days on this job. There’s no actual future in agriculture for me,” he says.
  • A employee is predicted to observe two energy looms in a day. “It takes round six hours for us to provide a sari (of 6.three metres). Although it’s a mechanised job, the operator has to be careful for damaged threads and different errors, so he must be in entrance of the loom when it’s on. An skilled employee can produce as much as 10-15 saris in every week,” says Babu, whose unit is open from 6 am to six pm.
  • One assumes the employees would get to purchase a number of the saris straight from the loom. “In fact not!” laughs Babu. “The designs we manufacture are unique and might be held as reserve inventory for 3 months. So we simply head to the downtown shops to purchase saris in Elampillai.”

“Lately, resulting from over manufacturing, Elampillai’s producers have needed to undersell their merchandise in order that they will pay employees salaries each Friday. So a sari that prices ₹700 to make, is normally offered for ₹500 to ₹600 by Thursday,” he says.

By mid-day, the principle avenue of Elampillai, crowded with clothes shops, is open for enterprise. In contrast to the showy interiors favoured by outlets in massive cities, this city believes in additional utilitarian iron shelving for its lovely items.

Males with bundles of yarn and warp rollers lined with newspaper sheets, steer their overloaded two-wheelers on the street outdoors, as clients float into the outlets with a flurry of calls for. Girls emerge with white cotton sacks stuffed with saris, trying enthusiastic about their purchases.

“From 2 pm onwards, this avenue might be as busy as Mount Highway in Chennai,” smiles Siddharaman.

Elampillai saris are available a wide range of types and hues, however most of them are soft-textured and have a jacquard self-design that improves their drape significantly.

This 12 months, Kota cotton and art-silk (an inexpensive artificial various to the actual factor), are doing properly, says Siddharaman.

“Now we have saris within the value vary of ₹400 to ₹1,700. With the lockdown easing since September, we had been fortunate to satisfy some Deepavali orders simply in time,” he says.

As we communicate, a household clinches a five-sari deal for ₹2,500. The invoice, Siddharaman admits, might be a lot increased within the massive model shops of Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Madurai and Bengaluru, the place he provides his merchandise.

“In contrast to Mysuru or Kancheepuram, Elampillai’s saris aren’t identified by their homeland. However weavers like me can recognise an Elampillai sari merely from the best way it falls on the wearer,” he says.

Babu operating a power loom at the workshop of Sri Balaji Silks, in Elampillai. Photo: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU

Babu working an influence loom on the workshop of Sri Balaji Silks, in Elampillai. Photograph: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU

Working social media

The shortage of a definite identification has truly labored in Elampillai’s favour, particularly throughout lockdown as connoisseurs started on the lookout for made in India materials. Social media has performed an necessary position in popularising the saris, particularly since producers like R Gowrishankar of RGS Tex, ship orders to any a part of India.

“Regardless of the lockdown, we had an excellent response for our Deepavali orders. We provide inventory for largely massive retailers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, however there have been lots of queries from ladies entrepreneurs who resell our saris from their houses,” says Gowrishankar, whose firm relies in Thappakuttai village, between Edappadi and Salem.

The lockdown has accelerated the necessity for digital banking and contactless funds, which has aided merchants with a social media presence. Google searches for Elampillai saris will invariably lead folks to not simply native producers but additionally trend vlogs focussed on the saris.

“I began our Fb web page titled Elampillai Saris 5 years in the past, but it surely has come into its personal solely through the lockdown. We submit photos or brief movies about our new merchandise, and clients get in contact virtually instantly, from far-flung cities,” says Gowrishankar. He provides, “In a manner, not being overexposed via conventional promoting is nice, as a result of Elampillai saris have been in a position to retain their uniqueness available in the market.”

Elampillai saris are known for their soft texture. Photo: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU

Elampillai saris are identified for his or her delicate texture. Photograph: Nahla Nainar/THE HINDU

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