Feather Touch


Feather Touch


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Feather Touch

Supply chain

Trading Partner: Feather Touch, medium enterprise
Function: Producer
Structure: Own production plant, affiliated production groups
Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO


Kolkata to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)


Leather products, focus on ECOfriendly leather from vegetable tanning

Goat leather, vegetable tanning


Kolkata, in the state of West Bengal, India – distance to Europe: 7,300km

Founded in 2005


  • Nandeswar Prasad Chowdhury, former product development officer for EMA (Equitable Marketing Association; Kolkata´s first Fairtrade marketing organisation) found Feather Touch as a marketing organisation for different handicrafts from groups in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal
  • 2000: Death of founder; son Vivek Chowdhury (19 years at the time) takes over the family business
  • 2005: Feather Touch moves to an own production site in Kolkata and specialises in leather products
  • 2010: CONTIGO meets Feather Touch for the first time
  • 2013: Deepening of the cooperation between CONTIGO and Feather Touch; focus on own designs and high quality
  • 2015: Feather Touch specialises in high-quality products made of ECOfriendly cow-hide leather. Ranges with goat and buffalo leather are produced as well
  • 2016: Development of own ECOfriendly leather varieties in cooperation with an associated tannery
  • 2017: Start of an own, rented tannery
  • 2017: Relocation of production site to the southeast of Kolkata is targeted, plot of land and the building admission are already available
  • 2019: Tannery is relocated to another building in Bantala CLC
  • November 2019: Purchase of a new five stories building for packing and production, located in a nearby commercial area; the plans to move to Southeast are dropped

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2010

Structure of the company

Number of employees: 

  • Internal employees / at the central workshop: 40-45 employees
    • Thereof 20 employees with fixed salaries in these departments: administration, purchase, design & product development, sample making, cutting and quality control
    • 7 producer groups with 20-25 employees in total, paid by piece-wage, produce bags and wallets
  • External / decentralised producer groups:
    • 2 groups for production of wallets and small leather items
    • 1 group for shanti leather: owner Zameer Ahmed, cooperation with Feather Touch since 15 years
    • 1 group for spray painted leather goods
    • 6-10 people in each producer group

Work environment: 

Own production building: two former residential buildings, 3-storey

  • Ground floor: offices for accounting, administration, design and show room
  • Adjoining buildings at the same level: warehouse, workshop with special machines for embossing, skiving, clicking, as preparation for further worksteps
  • Upper floors: on each floor three rooms for several production groups (each 3-6 people), material storage
  • Attic storey: quality control and reparations
  • Technical equipment:
    • Light and bright rooms with day light
    • Ventilation/ air conditioner
    • Modern technical equipment and machines for cutting, embossing, skiving, clicking
    • On each floor bathroom facilities and inspected fire-extinguisher


New purchased building in Kolkata:
Five stories building and roof top. Removal of the production starts in November 2019. The take over from the former owner takes place in steps, as the previous tenants still continue work. The building disposes over generous working space, well set up office and show room facilities, a cafeteria, passenger lift and freight elevator. Two upper floors are already funished with tables for the packing department.


Organisation of work force:

  • Production groups with leader and team:
    • Team consists of handcrafters with different skills and experiences (un-skilled, semi-skilled and skilled) for simple glueing tasks up to complex works (cutting and sewing)
  • Production at the central workshop:
    • Entire bag production
    • Production of ECOfriendly leather ranges
  • Production at decentralised workshops:
    • Workers produce leather accessories in their own workshops in the surroundings of Kolkata
    • They receive prepared material packages, as well as advance payment for operating and labour costs


  • Exports (100%) to Austria, UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, Netherlands


  • To expand the work force to 250 crafters of the new bag and wallet production site within the next years
  • To upgrade an own tannery to procure high quality ecoleather
  • To increase the number of women in production. This will be in place as soon as the new premises is set up

Special features

  • Special focus on environental friendly production and ecofriendly leather processing
  • Outstanding knowledge and expertise in all fields of the leather production process from raw hide to ready made product


Why does CONTIGO work with Feather Touch: Feather Touch is an upcoming company with focus on continuous improvements of design, quality and working conditions.


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

Feather Touch8

Feather Touch complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Many different religions work together at Feather Touch.

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in the state of West Bengal: (INR = Indian rupee), for tannery and leather industry
    • Un-skilled : INR 8,005/ month
    • Semi-skilled: INR 8,806/ month
    • Skilled: INR 9,687/ month
  • Employees with fixed wages:
    • Wages in quality control and back work: INR 7,000 – 8,000 / month
    • Wages in production (semi skilled): INR 9,500 -12,000 / month
    • Wages of specialists: INR 13,500 – 22,000 / month
    • All above mentioned wages are minimum and increase depending on order situation (bonus, overtime)
    • Monthly remittanceto personal bank accounts
  • Staff in production groups (at the central workshop as well as at decentralised workshops) receive piece-rated wages:
    • Minimum wage: INR 8,000/ month
    • Team leader receives INR 15,000/ month
    • Income depends on order situation and attendance time of worker
    • Predominantely cash payment
  • Wages are 10% higher than paid for comparable jobs in the region
  • Salary increment every year (due to inflation)
  • Higher wages in case of overtime on Sundays and bank holidays
  • Bonus payment for salaried staff (1 monthly salary)
  • Bonus payment for group leaders and good performing staff in the production group  (50% of monthly salary)

Humane working conditions

Working hours: 

  • 8 hours/day (Saturday 10:30am-7:00pm)
  • 30 minutes break
  • 6 days/week

Social benefits:

For all salaried employees:

  • Paid festival holidays (17 days per year)
  • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness or accident (12 days)
  • Recreation holidays (4 days)
  • Payment of contributions to health insurance ESI (=Employee State Insurance): employer pays 3,75%, employee pays 0,75% of monthly wage
  • Payment of contributions to pension scheme PF (=Employees´ Provident Fund), employer and employee pay each 12 % of monthly wage (less “housing allowance”)
  • In case of need or family reasons: interest-free loans for all employees with individual refunding
  • In case of overtime: Feather Touch provides food and accomodation

Occupational safety:

  • All safety standards are met
    • Protective clothing is provided: breathing masks, protective glasses
    • First aid kit is available, a training for 2 first aid officers is carried out in December 2019
    • Fire license (with regular external controls, internal training)
    • Two emergency exits, external staircases


  • Payroll is available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



  • Personal visits in Kolkata (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: India 



Visiting Feather Touch in Kolkata (2018)


Visiting Feather Touch in Kolkata (2014)

2014_Feather Touch1 2014_Feather Touch2 2014_Feather Touch42014_Feather Touch52014_Feather Touch6 2014_Feather Touch8

Visiting Feather Touch in Kolkata (2013)

Visiting Feather Touch in Kolkata(2011)

Author: Janina Lange on 18. December 2019

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