Ancient Wisdom
 

Hello ,

Greetings from Yiwu, China

I just arrived in China, last week I was telling you about Independence Day in Indonesia and some complications we are having with our warehouse in Ubud, Bali.
You can read about it here.
Since then I have taken the evening Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpa, spent the night in the cosy Sama Sama air-side hotel with a room overlooking the runway, and then jetted out early on the flight to Hangzhou which is about two hours drive from Yiwu.

China is even hotter than Bali right now, it's baking hot, impossible to stay outside for long, so the streets are weirdly empty. One thing I know about Yiwu is, is that the weather is weird.. temperatures can change dramatically by 10 or 15 degrees in a day, going from hot to cold or visa-versa is quite common. Blue skies are more common now, but a think industrial smog is not nice and can happen anytime.

Heavens I sound like a typical English-person rattling on about the weather.. sorry.

Regular readers will know that we have a warehouse and dedicated buying office in Yiwu, it is after all gift-ware central city in China, and home to thousands of small family businesses producing artisan products. In Yiwu is the worlds biggest wholesale market, it's open all year (apart from a few days at CNY) and around 90,000 (I'm not exaggerating) display their wares. Shortly it is the Autumn fair at the NEC in Birmingham.. where 1400 exhibitors are there for 4 or 5 days.. compared to 90,000 for 355 days.. wow but this is China - things are on a different scale right.

There is another big fair in China, you will have heard of it: The Canton Fair - also twice a year and a big undertaking. It's geared to the western market, and many importers you will see at Birmingham are regulars there, and deal with the huge factories that developed in the cities near Hong Kong: Guangzhou and Shenzhen - the other end of developed China to Yiwu, and the other end of the scale when it comes to faceless factories.
In the last 30 days I have been in India, Nepal and Indonesia - finding artisan, eco-friendly and family produced products that our customers look for. Yiwu is the place in China to find this kind of thing, and that's what I tell people when the ask why don't we source from the Canton fair. Yes I know you can make a lot of money buying the mass produced, yes I know there is a market for this, at AW we just never had an appetite for that.

But, let me be absolutely honest with you, there is another reason, at AW we have always been contrary - preferring to not follow the crowd, always looking for alternative ways of doing things. We were the first gift-ware company to sell Jute bags direct from India in 2002, we were the first to just do on-line ordering and employ no salespeople (passing on that commission in deals and discounts to our regular customers) in 2000, we were the first to discount aromatherapy oils in 1995, we were the first open a depot in Indonesia.. I could go on.
One thing we have never done is exhibit at the trade shows, maybe simply because that's what everyone else does, or (I argue) because we have grown every year without needing to.
So, sorry you won't find Ancient Wisdom at the NEC next week, but... but..

OK, you know we have been developing this iconic British Brand with help of a talented Lakeland designer; Agnes & Cat.. it's posh I guess, but not stuck up. Andy the designer, just goes on (and on) about us being represented at the main trade fairs, and customers keep asking (and asking), maybe this type of retailer expects it.. so, under sever pressure we relented and agreed to exhibit the Agnes & Cat brand. If you are there, feel free to drop by and say hello, Tomas - marketing exec will be there along with Andy and the team the that run Agnes & Cat. It's certainly lovely stuff, and perfect for Christmas, so feel free to drop by, if you want to be annoying ask them who Agnes is? and wheres the bloody Cat? haha. Tell them David sent you and you might just get better deal.

Meanwhile I will be doing what I love best.. seeking out the best of Yiwu products for you..

Take care, hope you have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, if you are trading - enjoy, if you are holidaying - enjoy!

I just realised.. no BH in China.. oh well gotta dash..

Take care
David

freedel-Recovered

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