Isolde has been given a small (vintage) table loom to sample with and it is very amusing for the other workers to watch her weave and she always has a little group of visitors! After desiging a warp she would sign language it to the weave master and two hours later it would be ready to thread up, this is a two people prosses here which really speeds the whole thing up. The yarn store was a very large pile of bags filled with hanks and it was impressive to me a man dive in and come out with the right yarn! Two of her samples have been made into full sample size (100cm by 120cm).
The beading team has been expanded for a few days for Josie to get sampling. The skills of the workers are very impressive and we have a collection small samples out in no time. Many of the beaders work on a freelance basis with Cosmique bringing them in when required-and they are all men! With beading and embroidery work particularly it is a question of balancing time and cost of production with wholesale price as they are labour intensive and costly processes.
On the embroidery front there are several sample Irish (satin stitch) machinists and one Cornelli (chain stitch) guy, all of whom are incredibly fast and accurate, Josie felt very inadequate! We found that both the machinists and beaders needed very detailed instructions when carrying out samples, to begin with there was alot of crossed communications and we realised that every step needed discussion. Which is difficult with a language barrier of course.
Cosmique Global exhibits at the Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair held twice yearly in Greater Noida, about an hours travel from central Delhi and we were there to help set up the showroom. There was a large range of samples and it took the best part of 24 hours to get it ready, arranging and rearranging displays and collections. For us it was really the first time that we could clearly see the entire range together.
The fair itself is enormous, with exhibitors from all over India with goods ranging from lights to Christmas decorations, necklaces to earthenware. It seems that chances are anything Indian in British shops comes from one of these hundreds of producers. Although visitor numbers were reportedly down (there's that recession word again) it seemed fairly busy with Western buyers, both wholesalers and retailers. The fair and exhibition centre were standard trade fair set up and it was probably the most western-looking place we had seen in the trip.
Buyers came from a variety of backgrounds and were able to purchase from the current collection or negotiate with Cosmique for more tailor made items. A steady flow of buyers passed through the stand but Sandeep told us it would be another month or so before orders were confirmed and they know how successful it had been.
A few days later and whilst at the cinema Isolde started feeling very achey, at first we attributed it to the length of these Bollywood blockbusters ( a staggering three hours!) but next day she came down with a fever and we knew something was up. Five days later she was diagnosed with dengue fever which lasted another five days and resulted in a hospital stay, not quite the Delhi experience we had hoped for! Josie continued alone at the factor for another week. When Isolde was dishcharged she was not feeling able to go back to the factory and needed to rest. As our time in Delhi was nearly finished we decided, along with Cosmique, to leave a week earlier than originally planned.
We want to thank Sandeep, Sonali and our dear friend Mr Lal for all their help and kindness during our time at Cosmique. It was an invaluable experience in so many ways, an insight to a new country, culture and market area. The staff were wonderfully friendly and accommodating and we felt very well looked after. It was an incredible opportunity to have a fairly free reign on design along with a highly skilled sampling team to carry it out. Our style and market experience is very different to Cosmique's and it was good for us to experience something new whilst galvanising our future plans.
After this little taste of India we were eager to get out on the road and see what else we could discover...