Sunday, April 25, 2010

Heed the Call


India has one of the most overt religious cultures in the world. Sacred cows roam the street, women are adorned with bindis between their eyes, at the beginning of every spring each street is littered with color to mark the holiday Holi, incredible mosques make up some of India's most spiritual places. All of these things are commonplace here; religion is expressed and tolerated openly despite what people may view as a troubled history. Every evening I hear the call to prayer and am transfixed by the way it wanes sadly among busy streets. Understanding is paramount in India and regardless of outside perceptions there is unity and togetherness in this identity. There is much wisdom in this old culture and I am humbled by its everyday lessons.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Certified Organic

Yesterday, we went to three organic farms in Old Faridabad, about an hour outside of Delhi. It was super exciting to see the organic movement beginning to reach India. The foundation we work with, Concern India, has been supporting this project for less than a year. In that short time they have been able to create a network of 100 farmers in five villages. In addition they are also providing sales and marketing support, ultimately creating the market and distribution for these Certified Organics in the Delhi area. I see so many similarities between these pioneers of agriculture and the more established organic producers in VT and around the US. Best of Luck!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Wild Wild East


Please don't be alarmed by the burning mound of trash, at least 50% seems to be contained by the dumpster. Much like when the pioneers went West it is impossible to know what you will see around the next Delhi street corner. What a model of controlled chaos.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Tablecloth Fabricated

This is a project I just finished for the April Cornell website. They asked me to show a tablecloth being made. Immersed in the world of manufacturing, I have learned that if you want to know everything it will take years in the business. That said, from my experience you are not going to learn without being hands on with the process. For this video I spent a half hour in the sampling room with our linens team and a tailor. I took photos, video, asked question and intently watched the whole process. This is how I saw it; it is way more interactive then photo's and text.
video

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to Basics

Education for everyone isn't a worldwide standard. In fact, most countries would have to say otherwise. In India, education costs some families more than they can afford, this is where NGO's have devoted much of their efforts. Kids from migrant families and children of slum residents benefit from the organizations that provide informal education. This method of learning has produced tremendous success for kids who would otherwise be illiterate, for kids who would be void of skills many of us consider basic necessities. The greatest part about visiting these projects is personal motivation! To see how hungry these kids are for intellectual nourishment is inspirational. It begs the questions; what more can I learn? what else can I know about? From my own selfish perspective...I love that this is part of what we do.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Free Food is Free Food

Yesterday we held a Food Distribution outside our office in Okhla. The event was funded, organized and managed by CO employees. When we began serving, It was a mad house. Girls and guys on either side, crammed into packed lanes of young & old waiting for their plate. All told we easily served three hundred people over the span of an hour and 1/2. Some of the little ones even managed to make it thru more than a few times. For $500 dollars it is amazing how many people we were able to feed, even we ate the food. A true example of how a little goes a long way. The picture's tell the rest...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Market Research

Production is cool. I'll just start with that. To see a product being sampled and to watch it enter and pass through production is a trip. What you hold in your hands in the store, what you wear daily, what you sleep on, all of these things were, presumably, produced abroad. And here we are, in the thick of the manufacturing process where most people hold unfounded perceptions. We make clothes in India, we do not support child labor or sweatshops, we do support the livelihood of over 350 Indians, and we believe in how we run our international business. Whether you believe this or not, I am here, and I will be one to attest to the important and essential function we provide, as employer and shoulder to lean on, as a foundation for professional and personal respect, and as a business that strives to increase its global social impact. So here's your chance, connect with us, connect with India, connect with a product's origin, connect with the people we employ, connect with the organizations we support, for one reason...its something we're damn proud of. Interested?? Comments welcome...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Four Deep in a Lorry...

Four deep in a truck riding to Delhi returning from a fair in Chandigarh. Two Americans, two Indians, one small cab holding us all. We bumped and bounced along bumbling with a basic determination that only an Indian can drive with. Exchanging songs and shoulders to sleep on we slowly made our way home, to stinky Delhi. In the end we endured, endearing ourselves to each other and exiting the path well traveled. Thanks for the ride fellas, it was one that will remain unforgettable.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holy Holi!


What a good time, what a holiday, what an experience! I may now be nursing the better part of my consumption for this ruckus festival of color, but damn was it worth it! Bringing in the summer with water balloons, friends and strangers, music, and the famous bags of powdered dyes should be a global must. So grateful to have had such a great Indian experience for this day and so appreciative to be spending it with good friends and good people. Looking for plans next March 1st? Holi in India. I just hope I'm invited back!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Holi 2010!


Holi, marks the first day of spring...celebrated by bright colors, music and dancing. Below is a link to the full photo album...Don't miss these!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Natural Order

It’s a funny thing being in a foreign place, the natural instinct is to draw comparisons to that which is familiar. One thing that always crosses my mind is transportation, how we get from A to B? From and American perspective, both public and private transportation is far more controlled than the rest of the world. Stay on your side of the line..in your lane, don’t speed, use your signals. Everyone in the world has somewhere to go but we all get there in very different ways. On the ride to and from work it is not out of the ordinary to come across a bicycle with a flatbed carrying a top-heavy load nearly three times the height of the bike. A personal favorite is observing the creativity of scooter and rickshaw drivers. The way in which they so calmly hop over a median into on coming traffic for a quick u-turn. Also the food vendor who was just ahead of us in the middle lane flipping the food as he drove, walked I mean. Throw incessant honking in the mix, the occasional against traffic scooter sprint, busses unloading in the middle of the road and cow crossings. All this and I still feel not the slightest bit of angst in a car or rickshaw. It is as if an unwritten rule exists. The bigger vehicle always has the right of way. It’s logical, the smaller you are the more likely of receiving the brunt of any accident. At the risk of bodily harm you simply concede to the larger waiting out a transport lesser to yours.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

METROpolitan


The above photo, New Delhi Metro under construction. Everyday we pass under the Metro line, fascinating to see the progress on a daily basis. We are hoping that before too long it might be possible to take the train from New Friends(home) to the center of Delhi. On our route to work alone, there are a number of significant building projects underway. Much in preparation for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi next year, the city is in a state of evolution. Having only been here for just over a month and seen so much development seems to be a sign of things to come. What will look like in 10 years? One can only imagine…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Higher and higher and higher...


Did the little engine who could realize that it was getting close to the top of the hill? Did it only know after the crest, when its own momentum carried it, that it was in the clear? As far as I know there are pretty few places where there is just one hill to get over, did the engine accomplish the hill only to find a mountain range looming in the distance? Maybe the point seems arbitrary to some, but I like to think about the analogies of this poor little train. I like to think this train had some grit, an old paint job maybe, in need of some repairs probably, and most definitely some serious toughness. Just a thought that was spinning around...There are certainly ongoing challenges facing all of us, will you be the badass little engine or something else?Hhmm...keep the wheels turning...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shoes


To be respected is a privilege, it must be earned, it has to be appreciated, and mostly it must be reciprocated. Humility is a quality of respect that often goes underlooked. On Saturday when one of the participants touched my shoe in a show of respect I was confused. Being unsure about the meaning of the gesture was part of the source of my confusion, but moreover I was bewildered as to why someone would admire another who has done relatively little. The real triumph, in my opinion, are the success stories that come from these kids who, as adolescents, have already seen the despair of crime, poverty, and most likely death. From my uncertainty I have come to believe that as someone fortunate enough to be in India it is an obligation to perform in the community as an advocate for better standards and better lives. Be an ambassador in your own neighborhood and instigate the change for dreams to be achieved.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Day to Remember


Yesterday was by and large the best day of our India endeavor yet. NO computers, NO work talk, instead focused our energy on not only a great cause but also letting ourselves be kids for a day. In support of Concern India Foundation who organizes Sports Day; April, Kelly, 10 Cornell Overseas employees and myself volunteered. Sponsoring 2 of the 17 schools present I am proud to say our group had the strongest representation of any corporate sponsor and were hands down the most enthusiastic.

On a personal note the time spent with the kids from Sia Kripa and Navjyoti India Foundation was both inspirational and humbling. These children many of whom are first generation learners possess the quality of innocence, which with out encouragement could easily be mislead down a destructive path. In a perfect world we could reach every kid who is in need of positive reinforcement. Truly not being possible, we should focus on creating a culture of hope. Teach others that positively impacting one child’s life will hopefully translate to them doing the same for the next child. As I begin my life long pursuit in helping the disadvantaged this Sports Day will not be forgotten.

To see the full set of photo's, http://www.flickr.com/photos/choicevisuals/sets/72157623240141963/ They are AMAZING.

Bridge the Gap


Yesterday marked the first day we participated in a Concern India foundation event, namely, Sports Day. It was an incredible and unforgettably special experience. Three hundred and fifty children came together to compete, to play, and to have the time of their lives (I really don't think it was anything short of that). And ultimately, as participants, I am proud to say that we were taught lessons in mutuality, between us and those people in the most desperate situations. Thank you to the individuals who create connections between the seemingly unbridgable voids, you are truly champions of compassion and the human spirit. Much love.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Delhi: Week ONE


After a week of acclimating to my new surroundings, the distinct nature of its commotion has become rhythmical. The coexistence between people, animals and machine is an interaction that is constantly moving in every direction amplified by sound. They say NYC is "the city that never sleeps". I would like to think of Delhi as "the city that always speaks".

Here is a quick slide show of the sights and sounds of Delhi. Make sure your sound is on to enhance the experience.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Good Business is Good Faith


There are so many connections that happen in the everyday of business. You meet your customers, you talk to your suppliers, you drink with your coworkers, and you may even go on a date with a pretty client. The point is, that no matter what your position within a company or organization is, you are inextricably linked to the people you communicate with on a professional level. I don't think many people really leave their work at work, it's really just not possible when you spend so much time together. That said, at work I try to be the same man as at home. Truthfully, I hope to always strive towards being a better coworker for my colleagues, towards being a better shoulder for my friends, and most basically, a better human for my fellow man. Going forward, lets all be aware that our personal interests are our communal goals, and that we all share a common thread in the diverse garment that is our world. Much love, Much love everyone.

KC

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A product is born...


When you pick something up in a store its hard to grasp how much work may go into that individual piece, in our case from a clothing perspective. But being here and involving ourselves in the production process has given me some pretty great insight into how it takes an entire village (in the same way it takes a village to raise a child) to produce a perfect good. The goods come in as grey goods not dyed, not cut, not stitched, and not fabricated in any way. This is where quality begins; people checking for fabric defects, thread counts on a per inch basis, texture, and all the other elements that make goods high quality goods. The textiles then begin to chug through the production process, starting at printing, passing through fabrication and finishing, and finally ending in the packing department. We'll work toward documenting each phase, but here today we're looking at grey goods. So enjoy the start of the journey of one product! Next phase coming soon...

The Heartbeat of Cornell Overseas

CO's greatest strength lies within the heart and soul's of these individuals. Their dedication and enthusiasm towards producing what we hope will be considered the best product out of India is unparalleled. Kelly and I are truly fortunate to have their extensive knowledge in all aspects of garment manufacturing at our finger tips, literally.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kashmiri Silk Carpets in the Paharganj Market

This was a really authentic experience, we were given tea, talked about the processes in garment production, talked about Kashmir, and most importantly planted the seed for a relationship. These carpets are silk and done on a hand loom, some carpets taking as long as 3 or 4 years to make! I'm not an expert but I will say that I would take any one of these pieces over any mass produced good coming out of China. It is their family business, their livelihood, their craft, simply their heart and soul. I like the idea of being a customer of the heart, it lends itself to the human side of business.

KC

First Day On the Job!

video

The Green Chili Experience!

Before leaving I made a gentlemen's bet with Kelly that I would eat the hottest pepper we could find. Just so happened Shiv had some green chili's that Kelly scouted out in the kitchen.
video

Friday, January 29, 2010

Say Yes


Right around New Year's Gabe and I told ourselves this would be the year of saying YES. Twelve months ago I said yes to living in New York, six months ago I said yes to working on Wall Street 2, and finally three months ago Gabe and I said yes to living and working in India. All these experiences have helped beget the next step; so say YES, leap before you look and allow the world to consume you with its infinite opportunities and beauty. Much, much, love. Say YES.

Rollin' Our Sleeves UP!


With the understanding we know nothing, taking a hands on approach is crucial to our education. Perfecting the art of garment production is a long shot, however we feel that participation is a vital part of our ability to effect the overall process.

Breakfast of Champions...