In early September the Primitives By Kathy product design team traveled across Asia for three weeks to explore new opportunities. The trip began in India then continued on to China. Over the course of a few weeks, the team learned more about manufacturing than they could have imagined and bonded closely.
More than a full day after departing the states, the travel weary team arrived in India. The team boarded a small tourist bus to embark on the first day of factory visits. The majority of the the time in India was spent learning about textile manufacturing to improve and expand Primitives By Kathy’s offerings in pillows, towels, throws, and other fabric goods. The team was surprised by the primitive and labor intensive manufacturing processes; cutting, printing, stitching, stuffing, and more are all done by hand. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was seeing hard-working factory employees dash from one piece of fabric to another carrying a large metal screen, carefully applying just the right amount of ink with the perfect amount of pressure to each one to create beautiful hand–made tapestries. Aside from the surprising amount of labor required in each step, the sheer amount of steps involved in the creation of a piece equally amazed the team.
Visiting the factory that manufacturers Primitives By Kathy’s LOL line provided the team with a unique opportunity to follow one LOL towel from start to finish, viewing every step from the raw organic cotton to the finished packaged towel. After an entire week in India the team had gained a wealth of knowledge and a new appreciation for textiles. Everyone unanimously agreed that they would never be able to look at a pillow or tea towel the same way again!
After a long week in India (filled with more than enough curry), the team was ready for China. After experiencing small basement sized showrooms in India, the team was amazed at the China showrooms that were the size of football fields standing three stories tall. These giant factories had the capability to produce seemingly anything, and in fact, one of the factories visited had over 40,000 unique active products!
Every evening the hosts in China were anxious to share their food and culture with the team. In fact, the most memorable moments in China did not come from the factories, but rather from these experiences. Many of the dinners the team enjoyed were at traditional Chinese restaurants where they ate “family style” with large lazy Susan’s in the middle of the table. The team loved trying all the new foods, but lost their adventurous spirit when the hosts could not produce a translation for the dish!
In just three weeks the product development team traveled across two countries, logged untold hours, visited dozens of factories, tried new foods, and made new friends. It was a long trip that left the team exhausted, but excited to help Primitives By Kathy stay on the cutting edge of design to offer customers the products and styling they have come to expect.