Yesterday was one of the more interesting factory visits of my life. Brian the US designer, Jacky the manager of the sales team, and a few other employees were heading out to Huizhou to visit a factory that produced stone/slate tabletops for some of our tabletop firepits. We weren't really given any information about the factory beforehand, and apparently no one from our company had ever visited this factory before. About an hour outside of Shenzhen, still around 20km from proper Huizhou, we pulled off the highway and through some dusty, winding sidestreets until we arrived at an impasse. We didn't know where we were going, per se. We called the factory owner, who came with his little 2-door Lexus from the mid-1990's, to meet us at our location. We followed him for about 3 minutes until we pulled up to the factory. He emerged from the car, a fairly stocky Chinese man in his late 30's, one of the thousands of entrepreneurs who had come to Guangdong province for a chance to prove their mettle in the free-market experience of modern China.
|This was the factory...Notice the very house-like nature of it|
"Ah, factory very large", I muttered sarcastically in Chinese to our driver.
From what we could see on the outside, this factory literally was a 3-story rickety old house, complete with clotheslines hanging from the 2nd and 3rd floor balconies. Upon walking into the factory "office", it became increasingly apparent that this was, indeed, some guy's house. What made this so apparent, you ask?
Well, one of the rooms adjoining the office was a kitchen. And even more interestingly, another of the rooms adjoining the office was a bedroom....
So we were in some guy's house.
"Can we see the production area?", Jacky asked, which I was quite interested to hear the answer to.
|This was where they got their supplies from...unclear whether|
it was just a pile of stone that they'd found, or if they ordered it
|All things considered, they do make bloody nice products|
Meantime, the next week should be good, I've been hanging out a fair bit with designer Brian, and it's been really nice having a fellow US citizen here to talk to while at the office. Very nice to be able to chat about the olympics, US politics, how much we both miss food in the US, and the like. Makes work more enjoyable. Apart from that, not much else going on, will try to post another blog tomorrow about some of the huge factories we visited in Foshan this past weekend. I've recently been inspired by the writing of a friend of mine who is turning his former HK blog into a book, and consequently will be trying to write more consistently for the time being...we'll see how long that lasts.