Some new designs are made of wood-free paper that contains recycled cotton strips and hosiery.
Suppliers of paper crafts and stationery in India are underscoring environmental protection in their designs.
Being handmade, wood-free paper naturally has inconsistencies in weight, thickness, texture and pattern. And because it is incompatible with some new printing techniques, the material is suitable for craft gifts.
A number of manufacturers, meanwhile, also utilize discarded cotton strips from garment factories, resultantly helping fabric specialists in their waste management.
At Ideas Afresh, models come in wood-free paper that contains hosiery. The company product range includes photo albums and frames, envelopes, gift and wine bags, and boxes.
Companies are banking on their strength in craftsmanship as a differentiator against overseas counterparts that utilize automated equipment for large-volume production.
In fact, suppliers carry out nearly all procedures manually, including pulp making and finishing. Only a few manufacturers in the mostly small and family-run industry have invested in machinery.
To boost export sales and stay abreast of the latest trends, some makers participate in international trade shows such as Paper World in Germany. Others are turning to the domestic market to prop up overall revenue.
Spurring 'green' sales
As part of efforts to promote environment-friendly designs, India suppliers are posting on their company websites the ecological benefits of patronizing wood-free paper crafts and stationery.
According to Shoma Kapoor, a partner at Karakhil Creations, one of the industry challenges is the lack of awareness among some buyers about the value of handmade releases.
Companies are emphasizing the aesthetic appeal of their designs as well.
Karakhil Creations paper notebooks, for instance, are covered with aged embroidered fabric. The Delhi-based maker also offers photo albums and boxes with pressed flowers accents and embossed surface details, as well as writing pads, and jute and cotton bags.
Foil, flock, offset and digital prints, and laser and cutwork patterns embellish some of Le Papier latest models. The supplier releases gift boxes and bags, photo frames, desktop organizers, and a variety of silk, bond, metallic and nonwoven sheets. Each month, it releases eight to 10 new designs.
Mumbai-based Le Papier is one of the few companies in India that can produce paper in-house and as such is not facing problems regarding materials procurement.
The cost of raw materials went up last year due to the economic recession and resource shortage. During winter, particularly, supply becomes low since paper used for the line is mostly sun-dried. Many companies source from specialists in Jaipur.
Consequently, prices of India-made crafts and stationery have risen by 5 percent in the past few months.This article "Paper crafts: Eco-friendly models lead R&D trends" is originally posted in Global Sources.
Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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