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Job work or Marketing: Dilemma of Bagh Printers*

ET Cases - GSMC, 7 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Mayank Saxena, Principal, Indore Institute of Management & Research, (Dr. Anurupa B. Singh, Asst. Professor, Pushyamitra Joshi, Research Scholar) - Amity University

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Job work or Marketing: Dilemma of Bagh Printers


Bagh is a small tribal village of Kukshi tehsil in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh in India. It is almost 150 kilometers away from Indore city which is known as the industrial capital of the state. The village was named Bagh after a famous temple in the village called “Maa Bagheshwari”. . This place is also famous for its 6th century Budhhist caves “Bagh Caves” which are known for its rock painting. These attractions made Bagh a famous tourist destination but due to insufficient infrastructure and inadequate public transport system it has been neglected since last 10 years.

Bagh is also known for world famous hand blocks printing art known as “Bagh Print”. Some 5-6 years ago there were more than 35 master craftsmen and more than 750 artisans were working in this business. Craftsmen sold 70% of their produce in Bhopal market and 30% to the rest of the world. But there are not more than 15 master craftsmen and around 300 artisans earning their livelihood from business of hand block printing.................

Job Work – Process

For the craftsmen involved, job work meant providing production facility to intermediaries and charging the labor cost involved in it. Middlemen would know the market, the customers and would have all the resources but would not have the required skills to produce. On the other hand craftsmen have skills but lacks in resources and market..........

Bagh Print – Marketing

Master craftsmen, involved in the production and marketing of hand block print fabrics, adopted an entrepreneurial marketing strategy to sell their products in the market.

These micro level entrepreneurs mainly produced dress material, ladies garments (unstitched suits and Sarees), bed sheets and pillow covers to sell it to retail customers through their factory outlet, craft melas (Fairs) and exhibitions and also to supply it to big retailers in major cities within India............

Export of Handprinted Fabrics

India’s contribution to the export of handicrafts is less than 2% in the world market but still it is providing livelihood to many in India. USA, UK, UAE, Germany, Australia, Netherland, Canada and Latin America are the major importers of Indian handcrafts all over the world. For hand printed textiles category, countries like USA, Germany, UAE, UK and France are the major importers in terms of revenue generation and percentage-wise contribution for the year 2012-13 and 2013-14 (Exhibit IV)..........

Bagh Printers’ Dilemma

Rural handicraft sector is mainly an unorganized industry and comes under the unregulated market4. There were total 34 craftsmen working in Bagh independently, following different quality standards, raw materials and pricing strategy. For instance, Bagh printed cotton fabric can be available from INR45 per meter to INR100 per meter which would vary in quality standards............

Assignment Questions

I. What should Mr. Ankit do in this situation?
II. .............


Exhibit I: Pricing Details of Job Work

Exhibit II: Pricing Details of Craftsmen cum Entrepreneurs

Exhibit III: Market-wise Sales Share (in %)

Exhibit IV: Exports of “Hand Printed Textiles”(In INR crores)

Exhibit V: Break-up of Job Work and Entrepreneurship in 2005

Exhibit VI: Break-up of Job Work and Entrepreneurship in 2012

Teaching Note Preview

Job work or Marketing: Dilemma of Bagh Printers



From the year 2005 to 2011 craft of hand block printing in Bagh village, situated in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh was flourishing at a very fast growth rate. The  demand for hand block printed textiles increased manifold but at the same time few of the craftsmen stopped craft of hand block printing. Total 34 craftsmen were involved in the craft of hand Bagh block printing in the village till 2008.

During summer of the year 2012, Mr. Ankit a second generation craftsman living in Bagh village involved in the craft of hand block printing of textiles shut down his  production unit. He learnt this art from his father and followed the same working pattern in selling the Bagh printed textiles. He got job orders from various retailers and wholesalers of Bhopal and Indore. He never expanded his business beyond the horizon of Madhya Pradesh state. Like Mr. Ankit there were 25 master craftsmen involved in the work of job order at a minimal percentage of margins.

On the other hand there were few master craftsmen cum entrepreneurs who were involved in the direct marketing of their hand block printed textiles. These master craftsmen developed sustainable marketing links in the metro cities and tier II cities to expand their business. They also participated in exhibitions both in India and abroad to promote their work. These marketing tactics helped them to not only expand their business but also helped to sustain profitability in long term.

With the shutdown of 18 production units involved in the craft of hand block printing including his own, Mr. Ankit felt that the business of hand block printing on textiles was no more profitable. Prime reason he found behind shutdown of his work along with his fellow craftsmen was the price war among them. On the other hand it was surprising for them to see few master craftsmen cum entrepreneurs involved in marketing growing despite of selling their products at high cost and margin too...........................

Pedagogical Objectives

The purpose of this case study is to discuss the various issues of Bagh printers. It is related to marketing done in unorganized sector, especially by rural handicraft enterprises. Village industries are generally considered as unorganized businesses. This case study aims to help the students understand the various problems faced by micro enterprises related to market development, pricing and need for entrepreneurial marketing solutions. It also helps students to learn and suggest the various options available with craftsmen to protect their business of hand block printing textiles through:

  • • Significance and role of entrepreneurial marketing for micro entrepreneurs
  • • New market development


Teaching Plan

This case study aims to help the students/participants to understand the concepts of entrepreneurial marketing at the graduate level and short term level entrepreneurship and rural marketing courses. It further highlights the importance of market development for the micro and small businesses specially unorganized businesses. It also emphasizes the need for cooperative structure for the craftsmen to regulate their marketing activities particularly pricing issues...............

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Product code: MKTG-2-0049, MKTG-2-0049A


In India most of the rural businesses are unorganized and handicraft is one such businesses. Bagh is a tribal village of Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh famous for its craft of hand block print done on textile popularly known as Bagh print. Craftsmen involved in the production of hand block print in Bagh village are known as Bagh printers. Craft of Bagh print flourished from 2005 to 2011, when there were more than 34 craftsmen who were involved in the work of hand block printing on textiles. These craftsmen were involved in their business at a very micro level and most of them dependent upon job work surviving with low profit margin and on the other hand there were few craftsmen involved in entrepreneurial marketing thereby earning high profit margin.

Now the dilemma present for craftsmen involved in job work was whether to continue with it to sustain their position or should strive for marketing to grow from present level? This case study helps the participants understand the concept of entrepreneurial marketing and new market development which are important for craftsmen specifically and micro and small entrepreneurs in broad perspective.

Pedagogical Objectives

Objectives of the case is to make management graduate level and executive management certificate course students aware about the role and importance of entrepreneurial marketing and new market development for micro and small enterprises.

Case Positioning and Setting

The case can be used in MBA/PGDBM, Executive MBA, Management Development Programs and Executive Workshops in the area of Marketing – Entrepreneurial Marketing & New Market Development.

* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

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