Well, this trip to India is over...but it's been a great one. In fact, one of the best so far in terms of productivity. It helps so much to have Abbas helping out in India. Before Abbas = me trying to explain a 30-point quality control checklist to a group of artisans using hand gestures, facial expressions and photos. Not sure how I was able to get this far without him.
The weather on this trip was absolutely amazing. Anyone considering a trip to India should do it during December/January. The weather makes the trip so much easier. Because of the cool-ish weather, I was able to spend full days working at the cooperative's office in the village...not easy to do in June when it's blazing hot and humid beyond belief. I was also able to take some pretty pleasant strolls around Mumbai and Bangalore and take in the scenery.
I met the artisans that hand-block print the mohinders paisley featured on the interior of the mohinders shoe bags. Amazing operation. Beautiful working environment about 2 hours drive outside of Kolkata in the middle of potato fields. The work site also has a water recycling system where they filter all the water used for dying textiles so it can be used to water the nearby fields.
I was also much more adventurous eating on this trip. I had chaat from a street vendor in Mumbai. Was delicious, but I had a pretty nerve racking 2 hours after eating. I figure if I survive 2 hours, then I'm probably not going to get sick. I made it! I also ate a full chicken lunch at one of the artisan's houses in the village. Yeah, I realize I'm a bit too paranoid about eating in India. It's just the result of getting so miserably sick on my first trip.
Finally, I learned some interesting things about myself on the trip. I've often thought that entrepreneurs need to have a massive dose of hunger to make their businesses work. Before this trip, I had identified 2 types of hunger: 1) Hunger for money and 2) Hunger for power. I'm not sure whether I have a strong amount of either, so I began searching for what type of hunger drives me. First, I think I have a hunger to create, to put things out into the world. And, second, as more people become involved in mohinders, I've noticed that I have a hunger to make money for these stakeholders. Are these types of hunger enough to drive a business to success? I think so!
A few quick photos of the village...