The story of Kutch artisan-entrepreneur Pabiben and her signature ‘Pabi Bag'

In conversation with Artisans’ founder Radhi Parekh, Pabiben shares her life story and the inspiring journey to becoming one of the very few self-sustaining women artisan/entrepreneurs in India. This video is in English and Kutchi/Gujarati.

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Pabiben’s is the story of a traditional artisan’s ability to adapt to change, through continual innovation.

Until 1995, Dhebaria Rabari women embroidered for themselves and their families. However, twenty years ago the elders of this nomadic tribe banned the practice, as the time-consuming work on their wedding trousseau led to delayed marriages. Undeterred, the women turned to machine appliqué with trims and ribbons, towards a new aesthetic, which referenced the past. This new art is called ‘Hari Jari’.

Pabiben created her first prototype ‘Pabi-Bag’ at an NGO in Kutch. The bag became an instant hit. A decade later, she founded, with her husband. Today, Pabiben is the first woman craft-entrepreneur of Gujarat and a role model for future generations of women artisans.

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