In October 2018 I had the amazing opportunity to travel to India for work – a trip which I extended with an additional two weeks of holiday as well (and I am just now writing about it). I received the challenging and exciting task to move the spotlight of product manufacturing from China to India. The jury is still pending on my success. Will get back to this in 6 to 12 months. To be honest – it was tough at first. What did I know about manufacturing in India? Not a lot of good things. The dialogue within the company was not an entirely positive one, and this was spilling into how and where sales were directing their orders. India has incredible untapped potential, even though it’s the world’s ninth largest economy.
First (alongside my very talented marketing team) we decided to create an entirely new collection of items, modelling it to the trends we knew consumers would follow for 2019. The keywords for this collection were: competitive prices, trendy, commercial. Next, I made a plan for what I wanted to get out of this trip: a better understanding of manufacturing in India, the culture and the challenges they face.
Soon after I found myself on a plane to Delhi, butterflies in my stomach and stars in my eyes. I have to say, first impression straight off the plane was not a good one. The hotel I was staying at mixed up the dates and did not send a car to pick me up. Spent about 1h at the airport making intense eye-contact with every single person holding a name card, in hopes it was for me. After a brief panic attack (all alone, couldn’t reach anyone, roaming costs were closing in to a small fortune) I decided to f**k it and get on an airport cab by myself. Almost an hour later reached the hotel and I could finally breathe again.
And here is where an amazing experience starts – I was accompanied throughout this trip by our Managing Director in India, Tanyaa and I couldn’t be more grateful for her patience and knowledge. Together we visited various factories, I learned about glass manufacturing (both high-end and low-end), metal manufacturing (all hand-made processes) and most importantly where to get the best Indian food.
Below some pictures from the factories and first impressions. There are many sides of India, there’s incredible poverty and injustice, but I just want to be clear that (for now), I choose to share the best side of it. I think in general we need to focus more on the good, the positive, the sunny side of life.