Destination: India



Before the summer of 2018, the traveling to India had never been at the top of my list. I'm more of a Western Europe/National Parks kind of girl. But my favorite books are travel memoirs (a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post) and I believe the secret to life and art is pushing beyond your comfort zone.

So when Missy (my business partner in a new brand called June Clever) suggested we travel to India to her manufacturer and proof the new designs ourselves, I felt compelled to go. I knew that I'd need this kind of nudge to actually visit a country that was so unknown to me.

When I first walked into the screen-printing workshop, I was hit by a wave of euphoria. Here were the designs I drew on my couch back home screen printed in real color. Textiles are my MOST FAVORITE medium, and I've never gotten to experience the process on such a large level before. 

{Color swatches made on fabric and the paint swatches I sent to match }

Missy and I had a blast, I learned a ton, and we met some incredible people. There's something to be said for traveling with someone braver and more extroverted than yourself. Missy makes everything--even Dehli belly--more fun. There were lots of laughs involving the "Indian toilet" situation, let's just leave it at that.

{Missy and I enjoying one of MANY cups of chai tea, and a typical toilet }

After that trip, I found myself reading everything I could about India and its culture. It's an enormous and complex country with ancient history. It seems impenetrable to a westerner like myself. But I'm forever intrigued, and forever curious.

{ Souvenir market at a hill station that we visited } 

Now that I had been to India, a new world of options opened up for products. I launched a new brand in March of 2019 – Hemlock Goods – because I now knew how to do that! Every experience teaches you something you need to know to move down the road.

{ Me looking at the little details of the Hemlock Goods bandanas and approving colors. } 

 

{ Talking with the boss about the products } 

So all of these trips and experiences finally lead us to...



This summer, Haley and Kate (1canoe2 artists) and I were brainstorming new products for our January release...we wanted to make things for a completely different part of our customers' lives. When Kate suggested backpacks and bandanas, I was thrilled! Then I realized the scope that a collection of this kind would take on.

{ Approving the colors for the Mint Meadow bandana } 

We designed patterns, I sewed samples as did Colleen, our orders manager (no job too weird around the canoe!) and we tweaked the function of all of the pieces. And I realized that there were so many details to be figured out, I would need to go to India to be able to communicate the minutiae with the makers.

Back to India, then! And this time with a LOT of items on the agenda to approve and improve upon.  

I personally visited the places where the fabric is woven, washed, printed, sewn, packaged and where they print the packaging.

I'm a bit of a photography enthusiast, so I took photos of their warm faces and even took my Fuji Instax camera and gave them the photos---that was AMAZING. It's hard to explain "it will show up in just a minute!" without a common language.



There were some details that I added at the time...like the little pull tab at the ends of the zippers so it's easy to zip...that would have been hard to communicate via email and mailed samples.

But the most important thing to me is that I was there and could witness the process, observe the working conditions, and show my appreciation to all of the workers who made our new Carryall Collection a reality. 

I'm so proud of how it has turned out, as well as being proud that we're contributing to the lives of the people who make our products. Now the only question is: what should we make next?

Beth
1canoe2 founder & owner


TRAVEL MEMOIR FAVORITES:

 A Year in the World by Frances Mayes

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

All Over the Map by Laura Fraser

This is How I Save My Life by Amy Scher

This is What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

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