Ancient Wisdom
 

Hello ,

Greetings from Kathmandu.

Last week I was telling you about Yiwu in China the amazing market city and why you will (and won't) find us at the NEC trade show you can read it here.
Surprisingly, following a series of unexpected happenings, I find myself back in Kathmandu, barely a month from my last visit.
It's so easy to get to from China it explains why the biggest number of visitors to Nepal are by far the Chinese. In the wholesale handicraft district, lots of Chinese exporters have opened offices and all the business people can manage to speak Chinese.
Maybe it is the Buddhist influence or I suspect the sheer authenticity of the Nepal products that appeals to the Chinese traders, but for sure they really love the products and buy big, I found myself fighting for attention with groups of excitable Chinese business guys.
When I say business guys, it brings to mind suited gents, but these were cool thirty-somethings, hipsters (boys and girls) with tattoo's and slightly bohemian clothes. Not your average Chinese business person. And so enthusiastic about the products. I might be wrong, but I guess these stuff gets sold as if it comes from Tibet, the same way that Indian products get sold as Morrocan in Spain.

I'm following up on two large orders we already have in progress, and see what else I can find. And word has gotten around, there is a steady queue of really interesting people coming to see me.
Our adopted shipping agent is a lovely gentleman and he has kindly opened his office for me to use to meet people.
Today I met a lovely Japanese lady that runs a children's orphanage in Kathmandu valley and uses the ladies of her village to make Japan style Nepali Incense. Gently spoken with hesitant but perfect English she told me she came to Nepal fifteen years ago and never left. She loves the place and the people and made a life in a rural village. We swooped notes on supporting orphanages, I told her about the Children's home in Kolkata we adopted a few years ago.

The other person I met was an extremely educated Nepali guy, who studied chemical engineering at university and decided to design and build mobile distillation units that could turn the high altitude crops to very pure essential oils. He showed me pictures of a tractor pulling several carriages each with the equipment to do the various processes involved in steam distillation. A kind of mobile production line train. He told me he would take it off road and sometimes travel two days along remote tracks to a highland village where the locals would have been collecting Himalayan Juniper or Spikenard or surprisingly Chamomile flowers. By bringing his distillation train to the villages he is able to carefully control the imputed crop, enable a useful cash crop for the locals and produce awesome aromatics. I have a good nose, (even if I say so myself), and I sniffed his samples and they were all pretty damn amazing. "Wait a minute" I said.. "Chamomile is British - that's our blinking essential oil!" - He explained that Nepal Chamomile is very different - a thin dark green oil, I rubbed a bit on the back of my hand and took a whiff. Closed my eyes - yes that's nice, the same distinctive comforting Chamomile fragrance, but somehow much cleaner and more fresh, I could almost hear the prayer flags flapping on the mountain shrine.
We got on well, he told me I was the first buyer he had met in Kathmandu that actually knew what he was talking about when in came to aromatherapy oils. I love to sell his product, but firstly it would be expensive and secondly, his production is limited and he already has European and American buyers who take most of his production. He is checking what availability they have.
I would love to sell this stuff, not just for the social good it does but because of the love and passion for the product, and the shear excellence of it. It's artisan aromatherapy. I'm thinking we could do a special range of Nepali Essential Oils. Let me know what you think? Could you sell these?
Bear in mind they would be more expensive, but honestly so lovely :)

It's almost September.. the big trade show is upon us. Are you going?
Ancient Wisdom is not (as always exhibiting) but Agnes & Cat our eclectic British Brand is.. so pop along and see us if you can.

Take care,

More news next week.

David

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