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The faces of the modern entrepreneur

The new limited collection INNEHÅLLSRIK is created by female social entrepreneurs in India, in collaboration with IKEA. It’s one example of the beneficial change artisanal handcrafts combined with fair employment is making to the lives of women and their communities…

Three women smiling.
Three women smiling.
Two women working at a sewing machine.

Celebrating the handmade

In 2013, IKEA began forming long-term partnerships with social enterprises through the IKEA Social Entrepreneurs initiative. Its purpose is to be an accelerator and enabler for women’s empowerment and for marginalised people to move from dependency to independency. So far, the number of IKEA social-enterprise partners has grown from four to 17, including two in India – Rangsutra and Industree. Dr Dipti, Ph.d, program manager at Rangsutra, explains: ‘Our whole mission here is to enable women to empower themselves and the future of their daughters, by taking the power into their own hands.’

A woman weaving fabric handles into a basket.
Blue yarn in a woven basket with blue handles.
A stack of blue-and-white striped storage boxes.
A group of women smiling and working with fabric.

Co-creating change

By working with social entrepreneurs, IKEA creates jobs for talented women in parts of the world where it’s needed the most. The initiative empowers women to make a better everyday life for themselves and their communities, as they invest their income in education for their children, better food, lifestyle improvements and savings. It creates not only jobs, but also self-confidence, pride, economic empowerment, positivity and change. ‘My works allows me to stand on my own two feet with confidence and dignity,’ says Saroj, a craft manager at Rangsutra.

Patterned blue cushions on a blue sofa.
Hands outstretched on a piece of blue fabric.
A blue throw draped on a blue rug.
A portrait of Dr Dipti surrounded by craftswomen.

Traditional meets modern

‘The creativity in these collaborations lies a lot in the social enterprises – using traditional handicraft and making them more modern and commercial,’ says the initiative’s partner development leader Ann-Sofie Gunnarsson. INNEHÅLLSRIK is the seventh IKEA collection co-created with female Indian artisans. Product developer Stina Engler and designer Sarah Fager collaborated with the artisans. They wanted the collection to showcase traditional handcraft and embrace India’s centuries-old weaving tradition, so it includes banana-fibre baskets, handwoven blankets and cushion covers. ‘Every piece is unique,’ says Ann-Sofie. ‘It’s important to tell the story behind the products – the techniques and how important it is for rural women to get an income and fair working conditions. This gives them added value.’

I like to think of a craftsperson as someone who makes things with her hands, her head and her heart, and I think you see that in what they create

Dr Dipti, Ph.d, program manager, Rangsutra

    Learn handcrafts from artisans

    IKEA wants to revive the dying art of handcraft. Together with female Indian artisans, IKEA has developed a series of tutorials to spread the benefit of disappearing crafts, while sharing the stories of the women who keep them alive. In this video, Rekha, an artisan from Rangsutra, introduces us to patchwork by making a blanket for her one-year-old son. The full series will be released on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018.

    The INNEHÅLLSRIK collection is available in 120 stores globally, from March 2018