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SEWA-competing in the Chikankari market

Jagriti Mishra (Department of Fashion Management, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar, India)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 18 June 2016


Subject area

This case is about SEWA – the Chikankari concept of Runa Banerjee, which started with the objectives of skill development, training and improving the livelihood conditions of Chikankari artisans by encouraging self-sustenance through employment opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures. In recent years, SEWA has been working for export and domestic orders and has been retailing through exhibitions and its only outlet in Hazratganj, Lucknow. The company over the years due to its social initiatives and good quality Chikankari work has become a known brand name but is also facing stiff competition from the organized market, various other retailers and substitute products. The case discusses the competitive and the market forces with respect to the brand.

Study level/applicability

The case has been designed for the students of business administration who have completed their basic module on marketing. The students need to have understood the concept of marketing mix, competition, segmentation, targeting and the basics of marketing strategy to ensure effective learning.

Case overview

The case discusses the competitive and market analysis for Lucknow-based firm SEWA in focus. SEWA started as a firm indulged in social upliftment of Chikankari workers which was achieved through trainings in skill upgradation, design and technical development, entrepreneurship development and linkages for social security. The various types of competition, such as direct competition from local retailers, secondary competition from unorganized markets of Chauk and Nazirabad and indirect competition from substitute products, have been studied and analysed. The problem of similar brand names adopted by various Chikankari retailers selling similar products has been highlighted as a major threat in the case. SEWA has adopted the strategy of product innovation to attain competitive advantage. SEWA has developed various traditional and contemporary designs which have fared well in the market.

Expected learning outcomes

Familiarizing management students with the concept of competitive analysis with the case of SEWA, Lucknow., and acquainting students with the basic understanding of market forces and competition with a firm supporting a traditional art form in focus, are the expected learning outcomes.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.

Subject code

CSS 8: Marketing.



The study is an outcome of research conducted at SEWA, Lucknow, for a period of 15 days in June, 2013, in an industry attachment programme. The author is grateful to the support of Padma Shree Runa Banerjee for her support. The author is also thankful to Mr Ayaz Ansari. Acknowledgements are due to the support of artisans and sales executives at SEWA Lucknow.


Mishra, J. (2016), "SEWA-competing in the Chikankari market", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 6 No. 2.



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