Handloom has been the core business of India since the pre-British era and is still one of the most flourishing businesses in the country and legacy businesses like Ratanshi Kheraj Sarees are keeping alive the tradition.
In the bustling landscape of the handloom industry, where tradition meets modernity, few brands stand the test of time like Ratanshi Kheraj Sarees. Established over 130 years ago during the British Raj era, Ratanshi Kheraj has carved a niche for itself by preserving the rich heritage of handloom textiles.
The story of Ratanshi Kheraj traces back to a time when businesses didn't bear generic names but were instead synonymous with the names or surnames of their owners. Inspired by the flourishing cottage industry and the absence of textile mills, the ancestors of Ratanshi Kheraj decided to enter the handloom business. As landlords during that era, they recognized the potential to contribute to an industry that was deeply rooted in tradition.
The idea behind starting Ratanshi Kheraj was not merely driven by commercial motives but by a genuine passion for preserving the art of handloom weaving,” says Bhavesh, MD of Ratanshi Kheraj Sarees and the fifth generation of the business. Despite the changing times of the market, Ratanshi Kheraj has remained steadfast in its commitment to maintaining the tradition of pure hand-woven fabrics made from natural fibers.
What has kept this years-long business still alive in this digital era is its dedication to family involvement in every aspect of the business. From sourcing raw materials to designing and selling, every activity is carried out by family members who treat the business with the utmost care and attention, ensuring that the legacy of Ratanshi Kheraj lives on.
In a world where modernization often overshadows tradition, Ratanshi has found a delicate balance between the two. While embracing modern design trends, the brand stays true to its roots, ensuring that each saree exudes authenticity and timeless elegance.
The journey of Ratanshi Kheraj has not been without its challenges. Adapting to changing market dynamics and evolving consumer preferences has been a constant endeavor. “However, by staying true to our core values and embracing innovation where necessary, we have overcome these challenges and emerged stronger than ever,” emphasizes the MD.
Despite the shift in technology and the changes in the industry, at the heart of Ratanshi are the traditional handloom techniques passed down through generations. The store still uses the Indian way of sitting on a gadda (mattress) and takiya (pillow), providing a homely vibe to their customers because buying a saree is an experience and not just shopping. Skilled artisans meticulously craft each saree, weaving intricate designs that showcase centuries-old craftsmanship. The process of making a Banarasi saree, for example, involves sourcing raw materials, sketching designs, and weaving, resulting in a masterpiece that is both timeless and exquisite. “To add context to this, one saree takes almost 2 to 3 months to be made, with everything from sourcing the raw materials from different states of India, preparing the looms and yarns, printing the right designs that keep the traditional approach in place while embracing modernity, and finally selling the product to the customer."
Looking towards the future, Ratanshi Kheraj aims to expand its reach while staying true to its heritage. The brand serves as a beacon of inspiration for the younger generation, reminding them of the importance of preserving tradition while embracing innovation. Bhavesh shares a piece of advice for today’s generation who want to take up any business: “Lessons from the legacy of Ratanshi Kheraj include the significance of maintaining core values, adapting to change without compromising tradition, and the art of balancing modernity with tradition in a rapidly evolving world.