In March when I visited India it was a real highlight to meet the people who manufacture my kimono robes and pillowcases under the Cathy Curates label. This was a new category that I'd introduced to my business during lockdown with a friend based in Jaipur so I hadn't had a chance until this year to meet the people who make it all happen.
My first stop on day one in Jaipur was to meet the team, which is quite small consisting of a small block printing factory and a team of cutters, makers and finishers.
Meeting the tailor Raj was integral to my visit, as previous to Cathy Pope Jewellery I had a busy dressmaking business. So talking the language of garment construction directly with the tailor was satisfying and it was also a great chance to communicate my standards. To be able to discuss finishing and details, cut, drape etc is valuable as you simply can't do this unless you are with the person in real life. Back in NZ I had been developing some new garments for summer 2023 and we had tried to create samples but I just wasn't happy with the process. The first thing we did was discuss these new designs and they got to work creating the revised samples.
I was taken on a tour of the building and met the cutters, sewers and quality control people. I was so impressed with how clean and organised everything was and was mesmerised by the colours and designs of the hand made block prints, even the smell of the paints on the fabric all bought back so many wonderful feelings of India - and I was there! Double bonus!
The next visit was to view the samples and there were some details I wasn't happy with such as the piping, overlocking colours needed to match the fabric and just a few construction and quality quirks that were important to me. The final factory visit was easier as all my requests had been met and the garments were perfect. It surprises me how much detail I'm so particular about. Getting things just right for my standards and my customers is vital. I'm always thinking about the finished product and how easy and hassle free it will be to sell. The art of detail thats important to my customers, the small things that make my products more premium. Durability, wearability, sustainability and trying to cover as many size options as possible are also on my mind. There's so much to consider and so many people are part of the process, so much time and so many resources involved. But the beauty of a small boutique business is that you can be hands on with the source and form a relationship with them. We don't manufacture in bulk quantities so we will never be able to match bargain prices you'll find in big chain stores. But we know that our products are great quality, we know who makes them, that they get treated and paid well. All these factors are so important to our values at Cathy Pope Jewellery.