We love our blockprint, and our block print lady Nandu, and have been developing a range of block print fabrics under our Pukka Components label...great idea and easy you would think....well this is India, things don't always go to plan.
We started out with some lovely poplin I found in a local shop- they said if they ran out of a colour they could re-order in just a few days....when I went to re-order a colour it did not turn up for a few weeks- I had explained we were devleoping a business, would be a regular customer, it was worth their while to chase it for me etc, etc,etc....so being clever we discovered the name of the mill.
Rang the mill and said we would like to order 300-400 m monthly [nothing wrong with a little hopeful exageration] - well they don't deal direct, there are 2 distributers who cover our area- here is their phone numbers.
One never picks up the phone, I have checked it is the right number, the other answers and promises to send a sample card via courier tomorrow. Do you know tomorrow never comes. We would have asked 6 times in the last 2 months and still nothing. Praveen is rather proud of himeself -saying he has aplied Australian squeaky wheel techiniques and still no result!
What to do?
Yesterday an English woman turned up - Gillian Travis apart from the fun of meeting her, I could hear myself talking again of what we want to acheive with our business.
1. a fair income for us [India is a barter society...so some people do gouge prices] we want to be fair with the people who work for us and fair with the people who buy from us, so we have a formula to cost what we sell....it makes us feel comfortable in prices we offer. Yes this was a very new idea to Praveen at first, but an incident the other day when some visitors were saying they would happily pay twice what we were asking confirmed for him he was happy with our system. He said he could see he could have inflated the price but it felt good to him to say "This is a fair price for what we have made"
2. fairly paid income for those who work with us. ..and we do sometimes act as an impromtu bank helping out with no interest short term loans for emergecies, a bit of health care etc
3.we want to create as much work as we can for people in our local community
4. we love the work of the hand and the story of the work- who made it, how was it made, does it have a positive impact on their life having this work?
We are so pleased to know the guy who spins and weaves our cotton fabrics, the guy who dyes it for us, the woman who block prints it, the ladies who stitch it and our little group of dedicated tailors here at our workshop who carefully finish it all off into well made and carefully items; all made with love, care and laughter along the way.
Anyway Gillian was here yesterday- much chatting, lovely meeting a kindred spirit, day dreams starting....how does Budapest to Bucharest sound? A bit mysterious - I am going to leave that story there for the minute and go back to where I started.
Oh and Gillian was accompanying her daughter and 2 mates on 2 weeks of the Indian part of their around the world trip- all 3 girls work in the fashion industry in London so where great for a huge chat yesterday evening.
My mind was bursting most happily by the time I went to sleep.
Why oh why has it been so hard....perhaps because we were a little off direction??
happy, happy thoughts....I finally feel a real buzz for where we can go with these babies- yippee.
I love having visiotrs- thank you all :)