Dhanesh Weaving is the go-to company for sourcing fabrics made from sustainable, high value, natural and manmade fibres. It is among the few textile companies in the country that has identified sustainability as its long term objective and vision. In an exclusive interview with Reena Mital, Sanjeev Bhartia, Marketing Director, Dhanesh Weaving Pvt. Ltd., talks about how the pandemic has brought in over US$ 100 million export business for the company, and DWPL’s interesting plans for a sustainable, circular textile economy in India.
Dhanesh Weaving is into some very innovative textiles. What made you opt for these products?
Dhanesh Weaving has been a family-run business for three generations, it’s a very innovative and progressive company in India. We produce the finest quality fabrics in various compositions and constructions. We have the facility to produce fabrics from sustainable fibres like organic cotton, bamboo, Modal, hemp and hemp blends.
Our in-house production facility has a slew of rapiers and projectile weaving machines that deliver impressive volumes as well as impeccable quality of fabric. In addition, our machines are equipped with 22 shafts Staubli dobby and come with electronic double beam attachment.
When I joined the company few years back as a marketing director, we took a conscious decision to have a new Sustainable Division. It is like a shop-in-shop. We source most of our fibre and yarn requirements from India. Some special yarns and fibres are imported from France, Belgium and UK.
Tell us about Dhanesh Weaving’s collaboration with UK’s Le Metier?
Le Metier management team has been leading the field in textile innovation since 1971 and they produce contemporary and high fashion, quality textiles for major high street brands in the UK, Europe and for USA. We have a strong manufacturing base, hence collaboration with Le Metier was a natural progression.
Up until a few months ago, most of our exports were through Le Metier, UK. We started working on hemp and hemp based products few years ago. With our innovative products, we have penetrated into all the six continents and also in 21 US states.
How has the current pandemic impacted your business?
Keeping in mind the extraordinary situation due to the pandemic, we have forayed into anti-viral and anti-microbial products using Swiss technology; viz medical gowns, medical coats, face masks. All these are made of hemp fabric. Our customers just loved these, we are inundated with orders. We are negotiating orders of US$ 100 million for these medical apparel made from hemp fibre. This will certainly catapult us amongst the top textile companies of India.
Otherwise, it’s the same story for us too – our factory was completely closed for a few months; there are cancelled orders and various other issues. We are working at 20% of our capacity now. Everything is still uncertain. Fortunately our export business is looking up.
Dhanesh Weaving has made remarkable progress in the last two years. Can you elaborate on your journey?
We started the Sustainable Division a few years back. It was kind of a challenge for me to make this division successful. We started with our Iron Zero (wrinkle-free) cotton from the UK. All leading stores in India lapped it up because of its high quality and soft and silky finish.
After that we introduced this wonderful fibre called hemp. Let me elaborate some of the amazing properties of hemp.
- Hemp is naturally anti-microbial and UV rays resistant.
- Hemp retains colour better than any other fabric.
- It saves water! Hemp uses only 1/20th the amount of water as regular cotton to grow and process.
- Hemp uses almost no water to grow and can usually be rain-fed.
- Unlike other natural fibres like cotton, which deplete the soil of nutrients, hemp can be grown consecutively for over twenty years without the soil being affected.
- Hemp is deliciously soft on the skin, more and more with each wear.
As I mentioned earlier, we have now decided to offer all our hemp-based products with anti-viral and anti-microbial finish, with Swiss Technology (FDA approved). Hence, introducing hemp has completely changed the business scenario.
According to you, what prevents more textile companies from opting for these high value fibres?
My answer is very simple. Firstly, high cost of inputs. Secondly, most of the companies do not have the expertise and infrastructure to manufacture products as per international demand.
Tell us about your work in textile recycling and textile circular economy.
We are still in a very nascent stage. Due to the pandemic, there is a cash flow problem. So we plan to start a full-fledged recycle industry by July 2021. We have already made a project report.
We are looking for an investor. Our plan is to start a unit for manufacturing all kinds of recycled fibres, yarns and fabrics in linen, wool, silk. hemp, etc . Textile circular economy is the need of the hour.
What are the challenges towards establishing a textile circular economy?
There are a few companies in India working on it but in an unorganised manner. This is because of lack of awareness and a sizeable market to ensure viable production. I find that developed countries are far ahead than India in textile circularity, but overall, we still have a long way to go.
What is the vision of Dhanesh Weaving in the coming years?
We are strong advocates of sustainable and environment-friendly textile manufacturing and products. We have big plans for establishing a circular textile economy.
Our focus on sustainability has already started paying rich dividends. We hope to achieve bigger export turnover compared to domestic turnover in the year 2021-2022, with much better top line and bottom line.