First Update from Thailand!
I arrived in Bangkok late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, around 2am to the Lub d hostel. Wide awake I worked out my itinerary with our ground operator for the week. The agenda included seeking out Thai owned factory brokers from which our women handicraft group in Khao Lak could start to source their materials from. The idea is to cut their costs of materials so more money is going to the community and paid out as wages. This was a harder task than we had planned. We did a lot of research before the trip seeking out different manufacturing sites and trying to setup appointments via email-not one was answered. I then explained to my ground operator what it was I was searching for and why, and we did find a few gems. My driver called his mother, a seamstress, and asked her where she goes to buy fabric. And so we headed to China Town, a bustling area filled with amazing street vendors. We waited for over 30 minutes for shish kabobs, but it was well worth it- people from all over Asia were waiting for this treat as well. And, we did find some fabrics. I cut samples for our group to show them the styling I was thinking about -stripes, polka dots, deep crimson blue silks, etc for the new products I will be designing with them in a week. There is still so much work to do when I get to Khao Lak, mainly explaining production time lines, costing, freight forwarding and filling out export forms. Then we will move onto to creating samples of the new wallets and purses we plan to show for the fall season. It is an exciting time for the group and for TVE to continue this wholesale line!
A great observation here from Bangkok is the number of foreign tourists roaming the streets-Dutch, German, Spanish, Americans, Canadians etc. Here in Siam Square it is incredibly easy to move around via sky-train, bus, taxi, tuk tuk or to simply walk. You have access to international cuisine, ridiculous malls, very friendly locals and some of the most amazing street food I have ever had! It feels a little like being in New York City.
It is Tuesday, and I will be checking into the Centara Hotel to meet up with the other members of the New York buying team to take our first pre-tour focusing on massage and aromatherapy! This should be nice and relaxing! The rest of the week I will be meeting with hotel operators to continue to create the best experience for our travelers and hand pick the hotels and activities we will do this December!
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Keep in touch for the next adventure….