Despite the fact that Asha, aged 75, had been knitting sweaters, mufflers, scarfs, and other items for the past 50 years, she was doubtful of her abilities. In a world full of machine-made mass-produced things, she didn’t think people would buy the fading craft of hand-knitted objects.
That was three years ago, and the business now receives at least 100 orders every month. Not only that, but she has responsibly employed 16 individuals, half of whom are senior citizens like Asha.
“Although the venture began in 2017, it only gained traction following the nationwide shutdown. At this age, I had no idea that my pastime would turn into a full-fledged business, let alone during such an extraordinary period. Kritika is the driving force behind the resurgence of knitted clothing in fashion,” Asha explains.
Kritika founded the company after discovering the therapeutic benefits of knitting a few years ago. This was at the same time that the 28-year-old was going through a hard spell, and she learned knitting from Asha as a way to cope.
“One of my favourite childhood memories is of my naani crocheting colourful threads into sweaters to keep me warm. I didn’t have a specific objective in mind when I started knitting, but somewhere along the way of casting stitches and tussling needles, I realised that, like me, there must be numerous people who prefer their grandmother’s hand-crafted winter gear. That’s how WLFG came to be,” says Kritika
The duo has been focusing on emotional marketing methods since the beginning. On their social media pages, each product is meticulously advertised by detailing the process.
They started with 1-2 customers, and Asha had to adjust her daily routine within a month to keep up with the increased demand. However, Kritika quickly found work, and Asha relocated to the United States for a time. As a result, they only took a few orders and things fell to the wayside.
But fate had other ideas. In March of this year, Kritika’s employment contract expired, and Asha returned to India.
The couple were able to aggressively rebuild their business as a result of this. To expand their company, they enlisted the help of two additional older adults from their social circle. Within a month, the team had grown to include women from low-income homes.
“We chose the elderly for their remarkable knitting skills as well as to acknowledge their labour-intensive and time-consuming effort. Meanwhile, we’ve been training women from low-income backgrounds for a long before recruiting them full-time,” Kritika explains.
WLFG is the ideal venue for 62-year-old Rekha Gupta to show off her knitting and crocheting skills. She has knitted baby sets, socks, and other items for her children and relatives in the past, just like Asha.
The couple were able to aggressively rebuild their business as a result of this.
By hiring a male crochet maker, the organisation is likewise defying gender preconceptions too. He works as a dentist and learned the expertise from his grandmother.
The majority of the crew works from home, and all of the raw materials are brought right to their door. This not only saves them time on their travel, but also allows the elderly and professionals to work at their own pace.
In addition to expanding their crew, the company launched additional goods such as fingerless gloves, long scarves with tassels, bohemian bralettes, crochet hairbands, and phone covers.
Kritika explains that each product is meticulously detailed. “Our main USP is to manufacture high-quality products.” We reply with a piece.
(Geetha Chandrasekaran is the founder of Powerful Teachers, an organisation
that works for the elderly)