Dilip Barooah at his office-cum-showroom in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

 

Guwahati, Jan. 21: A Guwahati-based manufacturer of Assam silk is eyeing creation of at least 50,000 jobs in rural Northeast in the next five years.

Fabric Plus, a textile firm having 500 employees and 46,000 people indirectly associated with it, intends to create the jobs by associating with communities in the region and promoting Assam silk among them.

“We are promoting eri silk in Mizoram and Nagaland where we provide not just mentoring on entrepreneurship but also supply equipment. In Nagaland, we have associated with three groups. Besides, we are also doing the same in Meghalaya, Manipur and Sikkim. In Arunachal Pradesh, we have tied up with the sericulture department to revive old designs,” DilipBarooah, managing director of Fabric Plus Pvt. Ltd, told The Telegraph today.

The business model of the textile firm is rooted to tradition and creation of livelihoods by harnessing culture and technology. “We sustain our model on five Fs – farm, fibre, fabric, fashion and foreign. Then again technology induction among the weavers is a priority,” Barooah said.

“We are looking at creation of one lakh jobs by 2019. Women empowerment is a priority area, which we are working on in association with the Netherlands-based Women on Wings. Fifty-five per cent of our direct employees are women,” he said.

The firm started operations from Mumbai in 2003 and shifted its base to Guwahati in 2006, with a factory each at Amingaon set up in 2007 on the outskirts of the city and Chaygaon commissioned in 2009, about 46km from here. Fabric Plus also has an office in Calcutta.

The firm today shifted to a new office-cum-showroom in the Jonali area here.

“Currently, we are a Rs 23-crore turnover firm and export to as many as 23 countries, including China. But our focus is on the domestic market, which comprises about 80 per cent of our supply,” the textile technocrat said.

The company’s average sales have grown by 900 per cent over the past 11 years. Currently, it has 16 retail outlets across the region. “We are also working on a franchise model of operation,” Barooah said.

Since last year, the firm has switched focus to high-end brands, considering its demand overseas. “As it is Fabric Plus is an established brand by now. Now we look to appeal to both global and domestic markets with high-end brands such as Ereena, an eri silk brand launched last year,” he said.

The firm plans to come out with another high-end brand, Yes-North-East, shortly. “This brand (Yes-North-East) is about uniting a workforce comprising communities of the region. It is about diverse textiles, handlooms, cane and bamboo and organic food of all the northeastern states,” Barooah said.

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