A calm personality with a very humble approach towards business development Mr. RaviKiran- The founder of Metaphor Racha connected with The Global Hues for an interview.
As C. S. Lewis once said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Mr. RaviKiran’s personality describes this well. A man who believes in the power of craftsmanship, team spirit, and environment-friendly approaches. For 20 years he has been working in the textile industry with a clear indication of how to make use of Ambara Charaka spun, which is locally produced within Karnataka. He brings people and some utilitarian products from the local markets.
Mr. RaviKiran is an electronics graduate who also studied fashion designing, and is now working on his own textile firm “Metaphor Racha”. He has traveled a lot conducting various lectures about his industry. He believes in engaging with consumers in a way that they understand what happens in the room.
‘Many People think that handlooms are just about weavers because visually, it is very easy to photograph. But they aren’t aware that one meter of Khadi fabric requires some 18 pairs of hands. Without this the other 16 people, the weavers, cannot do anything.’ said RaviKiran. He covers certain topics in his blog such as What is the true cost of actually making a fabric? What are living wages? Is there any other meaning for the word sustainability?
Metaphor Racha is already producing handwoven products using greener approaches and the leftovers. The idea of sustainability and waste does not start with the fabric. The main purpose is to utilize the yarn in full capacity at every step. Nothing is a waste, they utilize diminished fabric and make it usable again.
‘After Every step, you understand the wastage and that’s how you come up with ideas. Recycling is always costlier than buying a fresh fabric. In Rs. 250 you can buy fabric but if you have to recycle an old fabric, it will normally cost you more. Recycling itself is a very labor-intensive job that is why most of the companies find it easy to throw the leftover fabric. It is imperative to educate consumers that environment-friendly products actually cost more.’ explained RaviKiran.
Vocal for Local in the true sense
Ravikiran has a very out of the box view about “Make in India”. He believes in ‘Handmade In India’ instead. Making something by hand brings a change. The core philosophy of Metaphor Racha is to make sure that the women in the rural villages are empowered financially. They get proper living wages, health and hygiene practices. RaviKiran believes that ‘The fabric happens to be just a byproduct for us. Textile is not as important as the people behind it.’
A great leader puts their workers forward and themself in the background. RaviKiran is a perfect picture of this. He dedicates all the credit of his company’s success to his craftsmen. Metaphor Racha is generating employment for locals by the art of hand-making. Local for them in the true sense is culture-based and not geography-based.
Challenges faced by the company
Metaphor Racha faces one challenge on a daily basis- The higher costs of handmade products as compared to mill made fabric. Therefore, they strive to talk to the consumers and tell them what it actually takes to make a handmade fabric. Some people question him about the relevance of the Khadi fabric in modern India where everything is changing dynamically. But Mr. RaviKiran is very confident about Khadi’s importance in a world which is moving towards greener practices.
He made a powerful statement “Khadi is a fabric which I find very futuristic. It is not a fabric from the past. It does not require any energy. Khadi is a fabric that can be made in any house easily. The future will be Khadi. It cannot be anything else.”
Producing handloom products for the entire population of India is a herculean task. Therefore, the mill-made fabric is also needed but the amount of usage should be shifted more towards Handwoven products. ‘When you are eating your lunch in Thali, the amount of pickle in your Thali should be equal to mill made fabric whereas the rest of the food should be handmade. That is how you work,’ said RaviKiran.
Goals for Future
A company grows bigger with each passing year. Metaphor Racha is already exporting globally. The future plans of the company involve going small now. In the coming months, the company is planning to remove all the tags from the garments they produce.
Another initiative towards greener India. Cotton is a handloom fabric, a very atrocious product. RaviKiran spent time with a cotton farmer for 2 years to learn about it better. Colorful cotton can be grown in the field itself. India has had a history of having 12 colors.
Naturally, cotton is grown in brown, not white. This gave them an idea to launch a new brand. RaviKiran said ‘One more company which will be launched in probably next week sometime. It is called Kandu which means ‘grown’. Brown cotton is rain-fed cotton, with no chemicals on it and there is no requirement of any dye. This fabric does not require any water or energy, just simple textile. This new fabric will be the future of the company.
Words of Wisdom
- Ask questions: Don’t hesitate. Ask a lot of questions. However naive the question might sound.
- Work Slow: Understanding and learning take their own time. It’s a very organic approach. There is something called human abilities and a scale for understanding. Understand what goes slow.
Quote that motivates RaviKiran
Every person is a window to a different world. That is why it is important that we actually spend time with people. Because there will be something phenomenal if we do.