Supplier Visit: Daya's trip to India and China

  • Daya Singh
  • 11th December 2017

In November our Managing Director Daya visited China and India to see our partner factories and further fortify our supplier relationships. We caught up with our jet lagged director and asked him some questions. 

A worker in India cuts fabric

What was the purpose of the trip?

Firstly, to carry out factory visits plus meet and greet our suppliers face to face. Working at BIDBI for over four years has helped to build relations but I wanted to cement these relationships and work a lot closer with our suppliers which will help aid BIDBI in providing better customer service.

Plus, having a greater understanding of how cotton, from seed, is processed into the final tote bag. The idea behind this is to help BIDBI improve our quality level by understanding the processes at every stage of manufacture.

Finally, to gauge the current state of the market and lookout for new ideas to see how we can offer a better product range of “true eco-friendly bags” at BIDBI.

How will this trip improve the service we provide to our clients?

The overall outcome will be that BIDBI will offer better cotton bags; better fabric quality and more well produced bags.

Plus, we will be looking to expanding our product range into other biodegradable substrates which can be printed at our eco-friendly factory here in Sheffield.

What was your favourite part of the trip?

After a short but exhausting trip within China, waking-up in India to a feast of a breakfast; let me explain, being a vegetarian in China limits your choice of food options and then to see so much food which I could eat, was definitely a treat for the eyes, mouth and more importantly the stomach 😊

Why is it important to visit the factories regularly?

Factory visits are essential; 

1. They help to understand how your counterparts work (the methods of manufacture).  

2. To overcome reoccurring problems, you need to get to root cause before understanding what the issue is and how best to resolve the matter.

3. Carry our research and development work with factory partners which leads to BIDBI offering better quality products.

4. Improve overall relations with both companies…. makes conducting business less formal & it’s always good to put a face to a name!

A large screen printing machine

Are tote bags popular over there?

Yes, in both Chinese and Indian domestic markets the plastic bag has been banned and you can see more and more people walking around carrying them.

However, its despairing to see so many discarded plastic bags at roadside or in landfill sites.

Did you get any inspiration for new products whilst you were over there?

Yes, this was one of main reasons for travelling overseas. 

… unfortunately, at this stage I have remain tight lipped about the new products which BIDBI is looking to launch for AW18/19. 

What separates the factories we use from the ones that have no credentials?

Factories who don’t have accreditations generally look to produce goods by using cheaper labour and this unfortunately means, more often than not, children and adults working in horrid conditions and substandard material used in order for products to be made cheaper.

BIDBI has a very strong ethical working policy which both Marc and myself are committed too. For this reason, we look only to work with Fair Trade Certified factories; this means our bags are produced at a premium. However, BIDBI guarantees our organic cotton products encourage better sustainable farming and by using Fairtrade Certified weaving mills, dyes house and factories, we can ensure child labour rules are not breached and social compliance regulations are adhered too.

The main plus points for our partner factories are they are all Fairtrade Certified. I have made it very clear to our BIDBI team we will be working more closely with the Fairtrade Foundation and Soil Associations in UK. BIDBI has also applied for Confidence in Textiles accreditations. BIDBI has an ethical ethos which will not be broken!

a sewing machine

What was your favourite food in India and China?

It has to be a Masala Dosa stuffed with a spiced potatoes/onion/green chilies filling, served with coconut chutney and sambar.

Here’s a link if you feel the need to cook; http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/masala-dosa-recipe-how-to-make-masala-dosa-recipe/

…this is a light snack and sets you up for the day 😊

Was it all business or did you get a chance to see the sights?

Unfortunately no sightseeing for me, this was purely a business trip; pretty much working/travelling from morning to evening on a daily basis.

Daya with our India Suppliers.