We know what quality we want, if things are not up to standard how can we expect people to buy it, we know we pay a good rate for that quality to be given to us and we work hard to ensure people have decent samples and guides to know what is expected.
Some of the explanation was difficult at first because it was in my head, I had to explain it to Praveen who is not a stitcher and then he had to find the Hindi or Marwari [local dialect he can have a rough go at] to pass it onto the Ladies. When we started, Praveen being a good Indian boy [he loves it when I call him a boy and hates it when I admire the silky grey colour growing in his hair] was very shy talking to all these ladies. One simply does not strike up a conversation with village ladies.
Well now he has got over that[ and the ladies to a great extent], we can all have a good laugh and joke and enjoy a cup when we have finished work.
Back to work- with some Ladies it has gone well from the start, in the phot above Nawal, who is on the far right has listened and done her very best from the start. Always she shows great care and attention- we feel 100% confident with her.
Middle- seated in rosy pink is Prem- she is one of the first ladies who walked miles to our house and invited us to her village....for some reason we agreed to go......her work was absolute rubbish at first, we said strictly one more chance and next job was half way there....but really she had not taken the time to be serious about it....so we said that is it - No more work.....that lady is nothing if not insistant....while we were still talking she unpicked stitches, corrected them and had one piece that was excellent.....and soon sorted out the rest. Ever since then her work is excellent, unbelievably good considering how bad the first stuff was.
Next to Prem on the left in light pink is Saroj....her work is just Ok, don't feel confident next bit will be....and last job we gave her was awful Now all the other ladies had the same instructions and turned in good work how can she say she didn't know? They all sit together and stitch and I know now Prem and Nawal have been trying to encourage good work because they know we can;t afford to drive all that way for only one or 2 stitchers....
It feels hard but having seen efforts that can be made, and watching faces and body language for attitude we are at the spot where we have to be very strict. and sometimes take people off our Stitchers list.
I know they need the work but if they don't know they need to amke the effort we are not a team.
To ensure Ladies know stitch density [number of rows and size of stitch] we have now drawn up little guides I can print off and we can refer to as a reference.
Stitch density has a big impact on cost of garment becasue obviously more stitches take more time and thread and embody a higher price.
In the orginial group of stitchers we were stitching scarves for a client, finally got them all going in the right direction, with good, relaible quality and then one of the ladies started to widen the gap between rows, only a few millimetres perhaps but the look changed and when I worked it out across the width she saved herslf considerable time in the work....from one week as we understanding what was happening to the next a few of her family memebers followed suit.....when they arrived for the next Friday meeting I pointed out what I had seen......and so interesting to watch faces. The first one Raj, was the instigator and looked blankly ' am not going to admit knowing anything'....hmmmm? a few of her followers looked nervous and the one lady who had not followed suit Hemma at first looked at her "I told you so"....and then quickly went blank.
No one is stupid when things change there are always reasons....not everyone is true to their word either....some like Hamma, Nawal and Prem I know now I can rely on, others it is always going to be a system of checking and watching and being strict. That is OK to a point, if it gets too hard we will not offer those concerned more work.....but it does keep you on your toes.
Lucky Praveen and I have each other and work together....sometimes it is easy to soften and feel sorry for some one....but we let one person hand in less than their best effort and all goes to pot.....so we support each other in keeping to standars [ and yes we kick each other in the bum from time to time if we are too soft]
Hard work some days......the psychological side to it all I was not expecting....some of this has been major game playing.
Still people are people the world over.
Mostly we are very pleased with developing our ideas and designs, interacting with the wonderful women we have come to meet and seeing how even this small amount of income is appreciated and used.....and trying to set up more continuous work for them.....
Marketing, the thing we have to learn more about, getting our stuff out there!
ohh to have a challenge :)