Exhibition Showcase Talks To Mahavir Sharma, Chairman – Carpet Export Promotion Council

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Q. What is your role in CEPC?

A. I am leading an organization in eighteen member board and I decide along with my board on various promotions, participations and exhibitions, and help the government with the policies that are helpful for the industry. I work closely with my friends in industry, our supplying partners and the government.

 

Q. What is the significance of this sector in India’s economy?

A. In India’s economy, the hand-made carpets have a very miniscule role in the GDP, it is less than 1%, with exports worth of $1.6 billion per annum. But the actual impact that we create is in rural employment generation, which are mostly women, who get opportunities sitting at home while simultaneously also occupied in farming, agriculture activities, etc. The impact on 2 million plus rural employment that we are able to generate is the real value we are creating.

Q. CEPC organizes two exhibitions every year, one in Varanasi and one in Delhi, can you share with us why you chose these two cities?

A. Varanasi, Mirzapur and Badoi areas are regions where carpet production started. It is where 60% of the production happens and it is also a place where small and micro manufacturers exist in good numbers. It’s truly the heart of Indian handmade carpet. So having an exhibition there is very symbolic. New Delhi is our capital and centrally located to get to Jaipur, Panipat, Agra and Srinagar which are other half of the carpet sector. So, it becomes obviously the second choice.

Q. What are the challenges that this industry is encountering?

A. Industry is facing multiple challenges, loosing weavers, because world economy is not good enough to give us prices. Hence, we are not able to do enough for our weavers. So, downsizing economy and weavers not getting enough wages is one challenge. Second challenge is that with improving technology machine made carpets are coming out as good looking, and the value in terms of perception of consumer is more or less is the same, which is why they are buying cheaper machine made carpets. And thirdly I think the world economy, you know US having embargos, US having trade war with China, turmoil on the Brexit, terrorism etc. is creating the lower growth rate in the developed world. Carpets are luxury items and not the necessity.

QWhat are the other global events for this sector?

A. There are multiple exhibitions across the world, one in Germany, 3-4 in China, two in Russia, then there are smaller design exhibitions in Germany and UK. In U.S.A, there are 4-5 exhibitions.

Q. Can you share with us some major achievements in your professional journey?

A. I have diversified my business, rather than vertical growth of business in one sector, I have diversified in multiple sister sectors with horizontal growth and increased my base products and production, helping grow the markets we serve.

Q. What are latest trends?

A. In term of carpets, the latest trends are colours, designs and products, even the materials that we used, different permutation and combination are being experimented with.

Q. What is your view about machine-made carpets taking place of hand-made carpet?

A. Despite the fact that machine made sector is trying to take our place, the handmade sector has a variety of over 100 products to offer. Moreover life span of the hand made products is far more as compared to the machine made carpets. We can do customization in shape, size, colour and materials which is not so easy in the mechanised carpet. We can do one rug or ten rugs, but the machine made has to be in bulk. So we have many advantages, it’s just simple marketing and putting our pricing and products at right level will help handmade improve and beat machine made sector in the future.

Q. Do you have any plans to organize more shows in a year or any consolidation in future?A. See, things always change, as of now we will continue with the two shows but in future, consolidation is the name of the game because of the exhibitors get tired with too many shows across the world, buyers get tired, they get split between choices. We will figure it out, but the next two years it will remain same. May be after 3-4 years we might have some consolidation.

Some Rapid Fire Questions

Q. Year in which you started your career?

A. 1987

Q. Your favourite quotation?

A. Life is a journey full of thorns and roses, you have to deal with both

Q. Whose is your inspiration in life?

A. My Mother

Q. Your favourite hobby?

A. I love to read

Q. Your favourite holiday destination?

A. I prefer mountains

Q. Your favourite cuisine?

A. Italian

Q. Any feedback for Exhibition Showcase?

A. I think that you are doing a great job for the industry – National and Global, putting them all in the same platform, helping raise awareness. The benchmarks that you have created in your Exhibition Excellence Awards are also very good, your advisory board, your future looking technology of videos and social media news. I think you have filled a critical gap. I wish you all the best.

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