We are constantly working on improving and developing our products. All brands do. We are fortunate that we are still a small business, which means our batches hold a low volume, allowing us to have more flexibility and to make rather quick changes to the products on a continuous basis.
We spent a week with our new manufacturers in India in October and we want to give you a little better insight of how the production takes place. And show you how the facilities look like. It was by far one of the best trips of our life, and looking back we feel very privileged and grateful.
Well folks - In the picture below you see four aces plus a joker! Our joker is the lovely man in pink shirt to the left. Aka our Indian father. He is a Sourcing Agent and knows everyone you need to know - or not know - in the Indian textile and supplier world. He has been doing this for 20 years, we have worked together for a year. To be quite honest he was sent from heaven. He takes incredibly well care of both us and KAOS along with the rest of his team. His wife is the boss in the company he operates so no wonder they have a good system in place :-)
The couple in the middle owns one of the factories we produce at. The coolest thing about this couple is not that they produce for some of the world's biggest brands. The coolest is their story and how they got to where they are today. It started 20 years ago with four hands and a burning will. Today, they own this factory with 200 employees and have an additional factory of 700 m2 under construction. The new factory will make it even easier for employees to go to work because it is located in an area closer to where many of the employees live.
At the factory they have everything we need within a distance of 3 different floors. Including a separate Research & Development crew with designers who are proactive in terms of solutions and materials, its very good to have them in our team. As a bonus it feels great knowing the factory have won the "National Award" 3 years in a row, meaning the work conditions are superb. In addition to all other certifications, everything in order.
It is important to have a solid factory. Knowledge transfer and smooth collaboration are crucial when living so far away since we can't sit around the table at any time. Our manufacturers are by far competent, it's quite amazing to walk around between all machines and employees and understand in detail how everyting works. They put a lot of pride in the work done, with good reason. There are tools for everything and every single one is managed by hand. The making of a Ransel involves quite a few people and everyone has their unique task executing the one and same backpack.
This is actually the very reason why India is preferable as a manufacturing country: manual labor. First of all, it's cool to help employ so many people jand see that the facilities are superb. But unlike mechanical work, we have the opportunity to produce small batches so we can test different colors, materials and solutions. In China, by comparison, there are way too high minimum requirements and low flexibility because everything is done by machines.
There are mostly men working at the factory, women work very limited as they are the ones who take care of the children. Did you know that children start kindergarten as late as when they are 3 years old? My goodness, that's heck of a long time to stay home with children, said two working mommas from KAOS :-P
The basement of the factory was like a candy store! It was heaven to us. Here we could find all sorts of bits and pieces and textiles waiting for production. Boy, if we were inspired! There were so many delicious colours and beautiful materials. We immediately got some ideas, and we guarantee you there will be some exciting news next year :-P