This 61-year-old entrepreneur is providing livelihood to tribal women in Jharkhand
Loophoop, a venture started by Kanchan Bhadani, provides employment opportunities to tribal women, who handcraft crochet toys.
Friday May 26, 2023,
4 min Read
Five days a week, tribal women from Jhumri Telaiya, a small town in Jharkhand, gather in a 1,500-sqft house to give life to yarn. They carefully select the yarn according to colour, texture, and thickness. Then they deftly loop it around their fingers to create droves of interlocking stitches, paying close attention to the minutest of details.
Finally, they weave the loose ends together to come up with crochet toys filled with soft fillings and immense love—creations that leave an indelible smile on the faces of children who play with them.
These women work for Loophoop, a venture started by Kanchan Bhadani, a 61-year-old woman from Jharkhand. Started in 2021, Loophoop provides employment opportunities to tribal women, who make handcrafted crochet toys.
Bhadani has a deep-rooted connection with Jhumri Telaiya. Her family owned mines in the region, and they are well known in the local community.
When the mica mining industry faced closure many years ago, it left numerous people in the region without employment. Without a source of livelihood, they struggled to make ends meet and sustain themselves.
Given the dire circumstances, Bhadani has become a beacon of hope for many women in the region.
“I had just one goal in my mind and that was to provide as much help as possible to these local women. Loophoop is not just a business venture but also my way of giving these women hope and opportunities,” Bhadani tells HerStory.
Turning a passion into a business
Bhadani, who was born and raised in the city of Kolkata, developed a deep love for the art of crocheting from a young age, as she saw her grandmother make crochet toys.
After her marriage in 1982, she shifted to Jhumri Telaiya in Jharkhand. She continued making different crochet products such as toys, table cloth, and other decorative items for her house. Occasionally, Bhadani also taught the craft to the women of her neighbourhood.
While she always wanted to help women in need and make a difference in their lives, Bhadani was swamped with household responsibilities. So her social endeavours took a backseat.
However, her dream to offer a helping hand to women who needed support did not diminish. Life came a full circle for her in 2021 when her children were settled and she was left with ample time to pursue her dream.
“Since I was immensely passionate about crocheting and many people appreciated the toys I used to design, I decided to do something along those lines,” says Bhadani.
She started reaching out to students in schools to spread the word about Loophoop and her training classes to their mothers.
Bhadani trains homemakers and women from the local tribal communities of Jhumri Telaiya in the craft of crocheting for free. It takes 10 to 15 days to learn the craft. With practice, the women are able to hone their skills.
So far, Bhadani has trained around 50 women, of which 25 are working with her in Loophoop.
“Initially, I give them dummy products for practice before the final designs,” says Bhadani.
Loophoop's products are made at two manufacturing centres in Jharkhand. Women who cannot devote too much time outside their homes take the materials from Loophoop and make toys at the comfort of their homes. The women usually earn Rs 4,000-5,000 a month, depending on the number of pieces they make.
Focus on quality and safety
Loophoop makes animal toys, dolls, figures of gods, and other customised products. The products are priced between Rs 450 and Rs 2,500, depending on the size and design, and are available through Loophoop’s Instagram page and website.
Loophoop has sold more than 3,000 products so far. It clocks sales of Rs 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh a month. The company’s raw materials and final products are lab tested and certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
Bhadani believes consistency is the key focus of Loophoop.
“We want to ensure that each toy we make is of high quality and has the same shape, size and features. We pay attention to every minute detail, so that we can make perfect products,” she says.
To ensure the toys are safe for children to use, Loophoop does not use plastic in any of the parts. Instead, thin threads are used to make the eyes and other parts of the toys.
With plans to venture into offline stores in the coming years, there is no question of retirement for Bhadani.
“There is no right age to follow your dreams. I always wanted to help women around me, and, through Loophoop, I am living my dream of supporting women and making them happy and content,” she says.
Edited by Swetha Kannan