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Innovation is the need of the hour for Jaipur’s traditional blue pottery industry to survive

posted on 31st December 2018
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Ramnarayan (RN) Blue Art Potteries

Founded in 1980

Founders: Ramnarayan Prajapat and Vimal Prajapat

Turnover: Rs 1 crore

A 100-year-old craft form from Rajasthan, Blue pottery is labour intensive and uses traditional methods for the production of pottery. The name ‘blue pottery’ comes from the eye-catching blue dye used to color the pottery.

Ramnarayan (RN) Blue Art Potteries was started in 1980 by Ramnarayan Prajapat. It has provided employment opportunities to the local rural population who mostly belong to the SC/ST category. The company also works for the social welfare of Kotjewar village near Jaipur.

The handicrafts sector occupies an important place in the Rajasthan economy as it contributes significantly to employment generation and export earnings. The economic importance of the sector also lies in its high employment potential, low capital investment, high-value addition, and continuously increasing demand both in the domestic and overseas markets.

The sectors provide employment to more than a lakh craft persons mostly from rural areas.

A major cluster, Gramin Blue Art Pottery Samiti Kotjewar near Jaipur is actively involved in this craft. These clusters are subdivided into 11 other individual units which employ about 250 artisans.

Excerpts from interaction with 18-year-old Vimal Prajapat, who is taking his father's business forward.

SMBStory: How are you differentiating from the competition?

Vimal Prajapat: There are 250 artisans associated with the Jaipur blue art pottery Samiti who are producing the craft working from their homes. It is not industrial production, yet we have a big stock for retailers. We also provide export services to any corner of the world.

We are using traditional methods for grinding of raw material, preparation of colour, and fabrication of the articles of blue art pottery. Though we use traditional designs for the products, we are also innovating in terms of modern utility products.


SMBS: What has been the impact of your work on the customers and society?

VP: We have provided employment opportunities to the local population belonging to the SC/ST segment. Some of our craftspersons have attained international level popularity too.

SMBS: What are the challenges in terms of sustaining and growing the business?

VP: We need the government to promote our products in the national and international markets. We also have a challenge in terms of training, and it will help us if the government can organise design seminars and workshops. We need to innovate if we have to succeed in today’s competitive market.

SMBS: What is the top leadership lesson that you have learned over the years that you live by?

VP: To always be ready to learn something new from every opportunity.

SMBS: What are the biggest learnings from your business journey?

VP: My biggest lessons in this business is that always work for the satisfaction of the customer and conduct new experiments in design and production. We have innovated our designs to suit the modern needs of the customer. For example, we also make door knobs, beads, candle stand, lanterns, coasters, perfume bottles, and other useful items.

The craft has undergone changes in the composition of raw materials. Initially, the glaze coating used to have lead in its composition. Today, we use the lead-free glaze for coating the blue pottery items.

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(This story is published in partnership with the MSME Ministry to showcase success stories of SMEs)

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