Mastering the India Trade Show

The trade show is a business necessity for a company like Found Object, and the dynamic trio – Jude, Salvo and Leslie – frequently traverse the globe in search of fresh product and new supply sources.

A recent trip by Jude and Leslie to Greater Noida, a booming industrial town two hours south of Delhi, India, was special in that significant progress was made on the buying front.

In the early days of Found Object, visits to major shows posed certain difficulties: meeting reliable suppliers, fulfilling minimums, selecting product that would sell, as well as making new, trustworthy contacts. This time around Jude and Leslie knew exactly whom to see, thanks to countless visits in the past by Salvo to secure suppliers and resources. They reconnected with trusted sources and were able to purchase goods in bulk due to the business’ increased distribution network.

The Chaos that is India

Still, India is always a jolt to the system no matter how often one visits. Upon arrival there is a palpable culture shock and a blow to all five senses at once. Drivers generally don’t speak a word of English and maneuver like madmen, expertly avoiding every possible form of movable life – cows, dogs, goats, chickens, countless kids – not to mention bicycles, cars, trucks, buses, carriages, and rickshaws that jostle for space on any given street.  As one passes by, there is a sense of an invasion of privacy, as the daily routine is witnessed firsthand – families eating, children playing, others bathing, styling hair, shaving – living life right out on the streets.

Developing New Product Lines

This particular visit consisted of three days of intense product development – meeting with suppliers at the show, selecting and creating new items – as well as two days visiting potential new suppliers in Delhi and Jaipur.

Jude and Leslie worked diligently, putting together new lines of product for Found Object. Their choices promise a whole host of creative ideas for the year ahead.

Scarves have been very popular selling items.  Previously, product had been sourced in wool, but they’ve added beautiful new pieces in silks and cottons to the collection. Blankets also sell well. Mohair product in multiple color blends were selected as well as pricier items made from lamb’s wool.

Other purchases consisted of napkin rings in carved wood, resin, bone and shell; wooden bowls, cake stands and serving trays; blue and white ceramic mugs, plates, teacups and saucers; linen napkins, table runners and kitchen towels; decorative accessories, such as tassels in cotton, jute and silk to hang on door knobs or tie back curtains; drawer knobs made of glass, metal, ceramic and wood, and men’s bags in burlap and jute to add to the popular leather collection.

A special favorite find was paper product, namely origami birds, as well as beautiful handmade designs that Jude and Leslie plan to transform into a holiday paper collection – wrapping paper, colorful twine and special scissors.

Also new to the collection will be intricately wood-carved wall art that ranges in size from 6 to 36 inches.

Last but not least were the trove of gems selected for three new jewelry lines: Bridal, consisting of pearls, gold, white quartz, hand-cut crystal, white topaz and Indian diamonds; Spring/Summer, which will include a variety of blue and green stones, golden rutile and chalcedony; and Fall/Winter, featuring darker beads, such as ruby, amethyst, tourmaline, prenite and labradorite.

The Chaos Comes to an End

By the end of five lengthy days, the mayhem had turned into a certain kind of normalcy, at least as normal as can be expected in India.  And Jude and Leslie had amassed a trove of treasures for Found Object.

The show closed with ceremonies in full pomp and swing.

For their sendoff, Jude and Leslie were donned with a couple of ornamental pieces – a “small” diamond necklace and a trinket in Maharajah style, both of which unfortunately will not make it into the Found Object collection.

As they departed for home with their bags full of samples, notes and purchase orders, they kissed India a sweet goodbye for now. They both know many more visits lie ahead to this wonderfully, chaotic land.

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The Art of Kantha Embroidery

Of all the exotic textiles that emerge from Asia, possibly the most exciting and intricate are those that incorporate Kantha embroidery – the decorative running stitch motifs used by the rural women in Bangladesh and West BengalIndia. The variety of products they create – quilts, bags, scarves and shawls – are nothing short of spectacular.

Like many things “made in India,” work is typically initiated as a social project to earn extra money. Women from the local communities gather together while the men are out working.

The process begins as two pieces of fabric, generally vintage silk or cotton saris, are intricately sewn together by hand. The particular motif used depends on tradition that is passed down from mother to daughter over the generations.

Since each product is intended for someone in particular, the recipient gets to infuse his or her mark by choosing the fabric for the top layer. Other distinguishing details, such as beads, sequins, initials and special knots interwoven into the fabric, are often evident and further add to the personalized touch of the finished piece.

As one can imagine, the process is arduous and time-consuming. However, each resulting creation is not just exquisite, but completely unique.

Found Object has been collecting Kantha pieces over the course of many years. The latest finds are a result of a recent trip to India. With the assistance of Kishur, a local connection, Jude and Salvo were able to pick up a wonderful selection of pillows, bags and scarves – all available for purchase.

Our upcoming sales:

May 29 Kantha Weekender Totes US sale on fab.com

June 10 Kantha Scarves US sale on foundary.com