Azin Tailors is a solo venture led by a mother who cares for her two-year-old child. She operates her business from her rented apartment due to the high cost of hiring external space. Her income barely covers the monthly rent of Nu 10,000.

Azin excels in her craft, garnering praise for her affordable and dependable service. A businessman in the capital has recognised the value in her work, finding it both cost-effective and trustworthy. This symbiotic relationship benefits both parties: Azin receives orders to stitch a variety of items like bedsheets, curtains, sofa covers, and tablecloths, while the businessman, in turn, supplies these products to hotels and businesses across the capital city.

Azin’s partnership with the businessman proves fortunate, as he prioritises more than just profits, recognising the value of her home-based stitching. While it might seem cheaper to outsource the business across the border to Jaigaon, Azin offers more than just tailoring services. She goes above and beyond, working tirelessly overnight to fulfill demand, actively listening to her partner’s feedback, and ensuring her partner faces no difficulties

This small business holds significant potential to impact the livelihoods of thousands of individuals. Despite possessing the capability, small businesses often encounter limited opportunities. There’s a prevailing belief that outsourcing across borders is more cost-effective, disregarding considerations of quality and post-sales support.

The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) plan to initiate local manufacturing of school uniforms is commendable. Currently, Indian tailors in Dadgari, Mela Bazar, or Jaigaon dominate this market, causing a substantial flow of revenue out of Bhutan. Bhutanese tailors witness this outflow with envy as millions worth of business cross the border. These Indian suppliers capitalize on the demand, offering uniforms in exchange for a commission ranging from 5 to 10 percent.

While students may not voice concerns directly, parents frequently express dissatisfaction with mass-produced ghos, kiras, and tegos, which often lack comfort, especially during the eight-month school year. BCCI could facilitate the involvement of Bhutanese weavers, manufacturers, and tailors in producing high-quality, comfortable school uniforms. This initiative would bring benefits to students, parents, and local businesses alike.

Despite various initiatives aimed at training thousands of unemployed individuals in tailoring, many of these skilled tailors find themselves without sufficient business opportunities. Moreover, there is a prevalent issue of poor-quality, mass-produced school uniforms, which leaves both consumers dissatisfied and the textile industry struggling. The local textile industry faces challenges in producing affordable textiles suitable for school uniforms. Even if they manage to produce such textiles, the costs of production and maintaining quality make them expensive options for consumers.

One viable approach is to explore the potential of replacing the low-quality garments produced by mills, which prioritise quantity over quality. While it may be challenging to entirely replace the dependence on mass-produced textiles from Indian mills, addressing the stitching issue is crucial. Many say that stitching quality is a significant concern even with the current supply chain.

BCCI’s tax break offer on the import of raw materials, along with financial incentives and the provision of necessary machinery, presents a promising solution. By facilitating access to essential resources, this initiative could empower local tailors to craft higher-quality ghos and kiras for the numerous students in need. With increased business opportunities for tailors, there’s potential for a positive impact on the local economy.

Moreover, by regulating both the cost and quality, authorities can ensure that the interests of both producers and consumers are protected, fostering a sustainable and mutually beneficial environment.