I am increasingly more confident that high quality products can be manufactured throughout India and not just in Rajasthan.  The day after I visited the Furniture Fair in Bangalore, I went to Kynkyny Gallery, initially to see paintings, but found myself pleasantly intrigued by the furniture also on display. I was told that all pieces were made in Bangalore.

I decided to go back and meet the owners Vivek and Namrata Radhakrishnan. While Namrata oversees the artistic exhibitions, Vivek is in charge of the design and production of the furniture. Vivek and Namrata set up their company in Bangalore after leaving New York 7 years ago.

Bangalore was then the city of all things happening in India; a perfect opportunity for a new brand of furniture to exist in an art gallery.

Vivek explained that there are several challenges in providing products of quality to a market; first in finding people able to produce them and then identifying people who appreciate and buy them.

Rather than setting up a workshop around a design, Vivek’s furniture is designed to best exploit the capacity of his production unit. The pieces are plain, simple and practical, detailed and finished to the highest standards.

There is a big divide between Indian manufacturers who cater for the western market and those who target the Indian market. Kynkyny’s ambition is to bridge that gap and bring Indian-made quality design to the Indian market. India is shifting from a culture of buying as cheap as possible to one which purchases the most expensive brands. This is somewhat  ironic as local brands that propose new products need to earn their seal of quality from overseas markets.  Vivek admits that the majority of his clientele comes from Bangalore’s large expat community. When his clients move on or back home they take their purchases with them.

Still, Vivek would not be here today if he did not firmly believe that his home country can produce anything to the highest standard.

In Vivek’s opinion most things, if not everything, can be manufactured in India. For him, it is a matter of requesting the highest quality and not fledging – I would add that you need to be very clear about what you expect. You can find a manufacturing outlet in India without an agent, but finding good intermediaries along the way is crucial.

The great news for European designers is that Vivek is a key person when it comes to prototype and scaling up production.

If you want to find out more about Kynkyny you can contact them through their website.
If you have questions about your product feasibility or about this post, please contact Marion.

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There are some very interesting companies showing at Tex Style India 2010. Definitely a key event for companies seeking production of home furnishing products. Besides the usual items found in the average Indian souvenir shop or Emporium, everything textile can be made in India especially in the Panipat District.

Natural, organic, synthetic and mixed fibres, traditional and modern processes are all here from yarn to the final packaged product.

Business attitudes are quite open-minded and meet generally accepted international standards.

  • Copyright is respected
  • Minimum orders can be catered for in some instances, ie: larger and more complex pieces can be manufactured in dozens
  • Lead time: up to 15 days for sampling, 60 days for a first order
  • A diverse technology; some companies can provide both hand and machine made pieces
  • Business models are transparent and include artisan workers’ co-operatives, engineer-led textile companies and family businesses, amongst others

I was very sensitive to the ability of these business owners to take the time to explain how their manufacturing company works, how they enjoy collaborating with smaller companies, their understanding of and supply to European design brands and that they can be wary of buying agents.

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I am wondering when handbags “made in India” will take over “made in Italy”. Yes, it’s not a myth. There are many large brands who manufacture in India but don’t publicise it. The quality is good. Many Indian companies are BSCI certified and are willing to open their doors to their clients. One company director told me that having this certification is the only way for a leather goods manufacturer to survive on the international market.

I’ve seen very modern looking bags with a great level of fine detailing. Many suppliers offer a wide array of technology to transform leather and source skins hailing from India to Brazil or Italy.

Interestingly many won’t supply to the Indian market directly, local taste is different. Ironically, the richest probably buy from European brands who discretly manufacture in India.

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I’m off to the region of leather work. I will also be looking at homeware, textiles and rugs.

www.leathergoodsfair.com
www.texstylesindia.com

I am both curious and excited to attend my first trade fair in India. After Kolkata, I am heading to New Delhi then Agra which, besides being the home of the Taj Mahal, is the centre of quality leather slippers and leather footware making.

real green fake grass

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The first thing I’m getting made in India is a rubber stamp showing my name and local mobile number to print on my existing business cards. Finding a place to get it made is easy; you just have to process a lot of makeshift signs that say, amongst other things, “rubber stamp”.

I go to the first one I find. It’s a tiny stand in an average building that houses many other small businesses. I explain what I want to the man there, show him my business card and indicate where and what I want the stamp to print. It’s a mere Rs150… I resist the Rs400 offer of a self inking stamp.

When I go back, it’s a different man. He seems to know what I’m there for and without uttering a word, simply demonstrates how my new stamp works. There are two spelling mistakes in my name.  Since I left my card with my name in print, there’s little to discuss and I’m promised it will be done the following day.

Back in the car my driver tells me: “Ma’am, in India, to get something made you need to come 2 or 3 times”.

When I finally pick up the stamp, the name is spelt right but the number has an extra digit, which was not there in the first place. This minor mistake is swiftly erased: the rubber stamp shop keeper takes it off with a knife and a smile. I also makes it easier to read.

The final mistake is mine. Since most of my business cards are coated the ink does not stay on. If you need something made make sure it’s a really good idea.

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