My father visited K.V. Kuppum a couple of weeks ago, he says it was a very rewarding trip. After a bit of difficulty in finding it he was greeted by the manager and cashier with open arms. And whilst my father went around the factory with the manager the cashier made a tasty lunch.
Of the many things he said, what most hit home to me as a manager of one of the Bishopston Trading shops is that there are 200 dedicated workers solely dependant upon our efforts to sell their goods. It is great there are no middle men but if sales fall then people are laid off and there is no social security in India.
This has not happened yet and there has been a steady increase in the workforce. What is so great, is working for a small company and knowing the beginning and the end of the garments are just that, the beginning and the end, with no unknown outsourcing in between.
Having worked at Marks and Spencer where the chain from the cotton grower to us as sales assistants was so impersonal, my father bringing back pictures of his visit to KV Kuppum reminded me that we rely on the garment cutters and sewers to do a good job in making the clothes and they in turn rely on us to sell the clothes. We keep each other in work, it is as simple and as fragile as that. It is almost a personal relationship, and it makes me want to think of other ways to sell the garments and move ahead both for the people in India and for us.