UP's Ankita Jaiswal Bridges Global Markets With Local Craftsmanship

Meet Ankita Jaiswal, Uttar Pradesh-based designer, hotelier and philanthropist. Speaking to SheThePeople, she shared that local artistry is something we must preserve and why giving due to traditional craftsmanship is crucial to her work as an entrepreneur.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
ankita jaiswal brio art house and cafe

Ankita Jaiswal

Nestled within the vibrant tapestry of our community lies a hidden treasure trove of artisanal talents waiting to be unearthed. Enterprising and impassioned, Ankita Jaiswal from Uttar Pradesh has embarked on a mission to illuminate these often-overlooked craftsmen, weaving their stories into the fabric of our collective narrative. She is a sustainable designer, philanthropist, and the entrepreneur behind Brio Art House and Cafe. Jaiswal's advocacy for traditional craftsmanship recently earned her an invitation from the President of India to be a speaker at the National Tribal Festival. Noting her push for sustainable tourism, Jaiswal also holds the position of Chairperson, Sustainable Tourism and Craft Committee of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of North India.


In a conversation with SheThePeople, Jaiswal passionately spoke about sustainable art, responsible tourism, and the need to support local craftsmanship. She also touched upon her personal journey as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, detailing how she strikes a balance between her different professions and interests. Here is an excerpt from the interview. 

Inputs From Ankita Jaiswal

How did your love for art and culture begin? 

I believe that art cannot be taught; it comes from within. The way one perceives life is an art in itself, originating from a unique perspective and internal understanding. I feel that as an artist, I am sensitive to the world around us, whether it's our environment, relationships, or nature. Having the ability to sense things deeply, sometimes beyond words. When I express these feelings through sketches, paintings, or photography, designing it feels like a heartfelt expression of my love for art and culture, which I believe originated from the environment of my childhood, the richness of my city and the people around me.

How did you think of blending art with hospitality?

When I was appointed as the Chairperson of the Art/Craft Committee at UPHRA (Uttar Pradesh Hotel and Restaurant Association) in 2016, I recognised the vast potential within the hospitality sector. I believe that enhancing the décor of walls, tables, and rooms in the best possible way could be a significant avenue to promote our local crafts and uplift artisans. I initiated the creation of the first sustainable art gallery in 2017. Also, coming from a hospitality background. I have always seen a blend.


How does your brand attempt to make a mark in the eco-tourism sector?

One does not need to actively seek recognition when genuinely working towards a sustainable goal; recognition naturally follows over time. Brio is more than just a brand to me; it's akin to a nurtured child that has helped me flourish as a person and artist. Brio is synonymous with life, evolving from an art expression in 2011 into a fully-fledged brand by 2017, committed to sustainable art. It has supported over 4000 artisans, focusing on sustainable practices, especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors, reflecting my role as chairperson for sustainable tourism. From its inception, Brio has steadfastly held sustainability and the upliftment of artisans at its core.

Why do you find it important to work with local artisans?

To me, the importance of working with local artisans is undeniable, especially when considering the local social development of our country. Our respected local artisans are the foundation of our crafts and arts. They possess the unique ability to beautifully depict the history, mythology, and significance of a place in a sustainable manner. This not only serves to beautify and attract tourism but is also perfectly suited for eco-tourism and educational purposes. Engaging with local artisans is essential for the betterment of our state, country, and the world, as it preserves our rich cultural heritage and promotes sustainable development.

Furthermore, collaborating with local artisans helps in preserving traditional skills and knowledge, ensuring they are not lost to future generations. It also provides a platform for artisans to innovate and adapt their crafts to contemporary contexts, thus keeping their art relevant and alive. Working closely with these artisans also allows for the exchange of ideas, fostering creativity and cultural exchange. This collaboration is a powerful tool for creating a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future.

Why are aggregators like your brand necessary for local artisans and vendors to reach customers? Why do you think customers are not reaching out to them directly?


As an aggregator, we play a pivotal role for local artisans and vendors, providing essential support to bridge the gap between their traditional skills and the global market. We offer artisans access to a much broader customer base beyond their local reach, along with marketing and promotional expertise to showcase their crafts effectively. Brio also ensures quality control and consistency in products, which is vital for customer trust and brand reputation.

Handling logistical challenges, such as inventory management and shipping, is another key area where we support artisans, allowing them to concentrate on their craft. Moreover, by providing a steady platform for sales, we offer artisans a more stable income, which is often hard to achieve through local or irregular sales. Additionally, our focus on sustainable practices guides artisans towards eco-friendly production methods, aligning with global sustainability trends of the modern marketplace.

Customers often hesitate to reach out directly to local artisans due to various factors. Primarily, there's a lack of awareness about these artisans and their unique crafts. Without sufficient marketing and exposure, these skilled individuals remain undiscovered. Additionally, the convenience that aggregators offer is unmatched; navigating to individual artisans can be inconvenient and time-consuming for customers. 

Trust and quality assurance are also major concerns; customers tend to rely on established brands or platforms that guarantee quality and provide dependable customer service, something individual artisans might struggle to establish on their own. The logistical challenges involved in direct purchases, such as shipping and handling, can be daunting for both customers and artisans. Moreover, in today's digital age, many artisans lack a robust online presence or e-commerce capabilities, which limits their reach. Aggregators like Brio bridge these gaps effectively, connecting artisans with a broader customer base while ensuring a smooth, trustworthy, and convenient shopping experience.

What has your entrepreneurial journey been like? What kind of challenges did you face when you first started and what are the challenges that you face now?

My entrepreneurial journey has been a thrilling, multifaceted adventure. Launching a venture in the realms of art and sustainability, particularly around 2015, posed its unique set of challenges. Back then, merely explaining the significance of these concepts to people was a task in itself. However, the unwavering belief in my craft and a profound love for nature, handmade items, and all things healthy fueled my perseverance. 


Despite the progress, the challenges I face today, particularly regarding sustainability, are surprisingly similar. 50 percent of the struggle remains, as the understanding of its importance for something as fundamental as our ability to breathe still eludes many. True development and progress lie in valuing our artisans and farmers' produce, embracing the principle that less is indeed more.

Since you don so many hats-- entrepreneur, hotelier, artist, philanthropist-- how do you make personal time for yourself and what are some activities you like to do for self-care?

As Ankita, juggling roles as an entrepreneur, hotelier, artist, and philanthropist, I find my passion deeply intertwined with my work, making every moment fulfilling. I don't typically seek out "time off" since my work is what I love doing. However, understanding the importance of self-care and rejuvenation, I prioritize meditation, yoga, and exercise to maintain my physical and mental well-being. Being mindful and present in every activity, whether work-related or personal, is my way of ensuring I remain balanced and centred amidst my bustling life.

What is your advice to aspiring artists when it comes to staying true to their work and believing in their pace, at a time of social media competition and quest for overnight success?

To all aspiring artists, grappling with genuine success is a journey, not a sprint. True accomplishment stems from unwavering belief in yourself and your talents, coupled with relentless dedication to your work. In an age dominated by social media, it might seem challenging to keep up with the rapid pace of creativity. However, it's essential to understand that making a lasting impact and achieving your best is only possible through consistent effort and dedication. Sometimes, you must allow time for the fruits of your labour to manifest, but rest assured, they will. Patience and self-belief are your greatest allies. Stay true to your path, and the recognition you seek will follow.


women entrepreneurs Ankita Jaiswal local artisans sustainability