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Kauna - the Golden Straw

The Straw:

Straw, locally known as kouna, has been used for generations by habitants of eastern India for local utility purposes.

India has always been known for the most sustainable practices of reusing, and rightly so! From our grandmothers reusing scrap cloths as dusters to our homes reusing plastic containers as planter pots! We truly never throw away any item as long as it serves some purpose.

The application and subsequent commercialization of kouna straw in the same Indian ethos of reusing.

Kouna or Kauna is a technically a notorious perennial aquatic herb that grows in the low lying paddy fields. Although eco-friendly, it is a huge nuisance to the farmers. It hampers growth of their paddy and is essentially the worse type of water reed.

The Story:

Realising this deterrent as a means of creating rural employment, especially for the women in the community, farmers started actively harvesting this reed to make functional pieces of home décor.

Historically, straw objects were basic in design, with a touch of some colour when they were meant for gifting purposes. The local communities used to traditionally weave the stem of this plant into beautiful seating and yoga mats.

Progressively, with the introduction of tools and training provided to these women by designing institutions, these artisans have come a long way from the traditional designs and products. They are now highly efficient at making even the most complex designs of women’s fashion handbags apart home organization products.

It would interest you to know that in many parts of India, the kouna stem is also relished as a food delicacy! 

The Present:

Realizing the commercial power of the golden straw, cultivation of this plant became a conscious activity for the local communities. As it demands less investment than paddy it was preferred as it also brings a larger revenue. Another riveting factor was the fact then when treated right, it could be stored for decades in open sunlight without the straw losing its value. The farmers would process the straw in abundance and store them to be taken out as and when required to fulfil orders.

The Benefits:

We are particularly fond of this golden grass because it can be woven into possibly any product for home organization. From storage baskets, planter pots, tissue boxes to wine bottle holders. And not just home products, our expert women weavers have also managed to develop fantastic pieces of women’s fashion bags! It’s non-toxic and 100% biodegradable qualities allow you to simply discard your straw product naturally at the end of its life.

The straw is also very famous locally for its medicinal value and is used as an herb to treat chronic fever. Besides, sleeping on kauna mats relieves one of back pains.

The Sustainability Factor:

Weaving of kauna requires no direct electricity! Each pieces is 100% handwoven by skilled women artisans while sitting on the ground and using small hand-held tools such as knives. When you observe an artisan painstakingly weaving a product, you understand why handmade is better. These women work with bended backs and cramped hands to perfectly finish each piece of natural product to shipped to homes & families worldwide.

Kauna Home Products:

There are many ways having a kauna product around your homes uplifts the mood of your abode. The undyed golden straw fits perfectly into any type of home – from modern to country style. Its aesthetic appeal lies in the fact that although handwoven, you will seldom see any deformity on the product. Lately, couples have also been using kauna mats as the preferred seating for their mandap (the hindu equivalent of a wedding altar).

Millennials and Gen-Z identify these type of products with a bohemian or boho look. They are very fond of having a minimalist & sustainable interior styling for which kauna become their preferred choice of fibre. With the golden straw, you get the most of both worlds – a handcrafted bohemian piece of functional décor!

They also make great choices for housewarming gifts & wedding gifts for new couples!

Click here to see our Saanjh Natural Fibre Home Collection!

Kauna Fashion Products:

With the vibe & trend for boho chic look in fashion, a lot of girls & women are picking natural fibre straw handbags! A perfect sustainable fashion choice, we have also seen these bags being increasingly preferred as gifts for women.  

We especially see a rise in their demand for mother’s day gifts. A lot of sustainable brides are buying straw handbags & vanity cases as bridemaid gifts while announcing their bridesmaids and many expecting mothers are placing bulk orders for kauna bags for baby shower giveaways!

You can find branded basket bags such as -- handbags, evening bags, beach bags, totebags, sling bags & even potli bags in our fashion bag collection!

We want our customers & brand lovers to be able to make the switch from unsustainable materials such as leather handbags without compromising on design & style.

Hence, along with our master artisans and students of designing, we have designed women’s handbags with the inclusion of plant-based leather with kauna to bring you a completely unique & sustainable style for every occasion & gifting! 

Click here to see our Saanjh Sustainable Fashion Accessories Collection!

The Conclusion:

India handicrafts are generally associated with show-pieces or very costly luxury items. While that may be true before and to some extent even today, however this perception is changing fast with introduction & popularization of India natural fibre products globally! We believe our kauna products have also been a pioneer in changing of this age-old perception.

India is a treasure trove of sustainable living products. From khadi to bamboo, you name it and we have it. Which is why we believe that India has the potential to become the epi-centre of designer yet affordable eco-friendly products! Saanjh is proud to bring each of these sustainable fibers right to your doorstep!

Saanjh is also a proud Indian brand to have associated with multiple artisanal communities in India who live and breathe kauna to make exclusive designs for your home & fashion. Our mission is to provide sustainable livelihood to rural artisanal communities through kauna craft.

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