Every year, about 350,000 metric tons (MT) of coir is produced around the globe. India and Sri Lanka account for 90% of the coir production. From India, Kerala handles 85% of India’s coir production.

The manufacturing of coir began during the post-Vedic period, as mentioned in the Ramayana. What once was distributed and exported via the traditional merchant, then transformed into a full-fledged industry with the influx of the Portuguese and other travellers from across the world. Colonialization ignited the establishment of coir factories, and laid the foundation of coir production, as it is today.

The first record of a coir industry, states the founding of one in the UK during the late 1840s. Captain Widely and his partners, Captain Logan and Mr, Thomas Treloar, established Treloar and Sons, popular carpet firms, in Ludgate Hill, England. He started the production of coir floor-coverings.

The first coir industry in India was set up in the Alleppey district of Kerala in the year 1859, by the Late Mr James Darragh. Darragh was an Irish American who inspired several other Indians by his venture. His coir manufacturing industry specialized in coir doormats, matting, and other such floor-coverings.

The abundance of coconut trees, and hence, coir in Kerala, made the state a popular hub for the establishment of more coir enterprises. The manufacture of Coir spread to the districts of Calicut, Kollam, and Cochin – which made it easier to export due to the presence of harbours and ports. During these initial years (1908-09), only 12,93,000 kgs of coir fibre were exported from the Travancore region, especially since the coir was mainly used to make floor-coverings.

By the year 1921, approximately 36 coir industries were founded in Alleppey. From them, 12 had employed more than 100 individuals each. Kollam had 21 coir industries in the same year (out of all 44 industries established). Coir factories made up almost half of the total factories present in the Travancore region by 1924. After the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act, many preferred to work in coir factories and coir manufacturing saw an extensive growth in production and exports, with exports doubling by 1931-32.  This led to a 40% increase in the number of workers, which in turn increased the exports once again, and by late 1938, export quantities reached a whopping 40,000 tonnes of coir.  The number of coir industries increased from 266 (1944) to 474 (1948). NC John & Sons were established in 1943, with coir as the first fibre used to create floor-coverings. Kerala accounted for 80% of the total cultivation, production, and commercial use of coconuts in India.

At present, Kerala exports coir products globally. The main importers are USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium. The coir industry has employed millions of people, empowering innumerable women in the process. The years of experience dealing with coir, developed by the sheer use of the skill and fibre for everyday life, make the expertise of Kerala’s craftsmen incomparable to any other around the world. Turning this raw and unruly fibre into beautiful, fine, and luxurious everyday products like brushes, ropes, twines, floor-coverings, mattresses, and more, is nothing but a simple task to them.

The eco-friendly, bio-degradable, and aesthetic nature of processed coir directly depends on its craftsmen’s skills. Hence, NC John never compromises on its coir craftsmen - we hire indigenously. We all know, the Golden Fibre gets its lustre from Kerala’s Coir Masters.