After being in China for about 2 weeks, I have grown to love the place, especially the people that I work with. As I am writing this on my desk in the factory with three other staffs around me, my heart is warm and I feel so blessed to have them guide me through this experience. They have become like family to me! It is times like these where I truly appreciate being bilingual and be able to communicate so freely with them.
Manufacturing in China has been a stigma for sometime now. There were times where I resisted the idea because of it. The Made In China label, let’s be honest, is just not that attractive. This has got to be how media has portrayed it and many would warn you about the horrors of their experiences. Stories about factories cutting corners and producing subpar work can really make you lose faith.
Making the decision to go into China to source for a factory was not because I was looking for cheap production. Exceptional quality comes with a price, that’s just common sense. Production cost is rising and it will continue to do so here. It was because of the excellent supply chain that I knew they would be able to provide with the resources that they have. Therefore, it made sense to me.
My experience here has proven me right. I think the world is so accessible now that it would be narrow minded to just stereotype China as a land of fakes and crappy quality. Some of the locals that I have met here, the factory owners included, were educated overseas and have a very global mindset. Their command of English is so much better than most of the people I know too. With the talent and experience that the masters have here with knitwear production, it all comes down to how well you communicate your ideas to them.
When you open up your mind and respect everyone as an individual without judgment, I truly believe that it will bring out the best in them and you will have a great time working together no matter where you are. Having been to different parts of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Yunnan, Chengdu, Xi’an and now Dongguan, sure, there are some cultures that would shock you but I have also had my best experiences with humanity and awed by the greatest wonders of nature in China.
Words cannot express how valuable this production trip was. Being able to freely discuss ideas with the masters and seeing it materialize is priceless. As we go through trial and error with each sample swatch, we go back and forth to the machines to make changes. When we finally get the result we want, we all share the same smile and laugh together as if to say well done.
I am now in the process of refining the samples. It is taking longer than I expected because every change in a sample has to be well thought and meticulously calculated to make sure we get the right tension for the detail. After noting down the changes to be made for the samples and with a smile on my face as I end this post, I am ready to go home.
Location: Changping, Dongguan.