Kabul day 4: Out of our comfort zone

Today we finally leave our comfort zone of taxi, hotel and factory: together with the product manager we go to the Kabul Bazar to buy fabric, thread and beads. What a relief to walk around in the streets, even though we did ask Oxfam for permission. Walking to the market is a speedy process navigating in crowds of people. I am amazed by the amount of goods being sold. Sometimes it’s even unclear what it is: a sheep…or something that used to be one?

Running around we try to see everything, via small alleys we finally end up in a little shop where we take off our shoes of to balance between hundreds of little bags with beads. We force ourselves to buy only 6 bags: white, grey, two shades of pink, aqua, purple and ..well ok, seven bags…neon green. At our return the ladies of the threads gather around us and are very enthusiastic to talk to us. We try to explain that we don’t understand and finally we hear from the product manager that they are complimenting us with the way we look: veiled en very Afghan!

In the meanwhile we are a little worried, although the things that are being made look great, it does go very slow, slow, slow. But, the fact that our co-design process works comforts us.

Our co-design process is working very well. This provides a lot of confidence and trust. The head of embroidery, Safi, is the king of embroidery stitches. He designs the stitch combinations together with the embroiderers and seamstresses. The creative design input is absolutely working out to be fifty fifty. This is of course something we’re very happy about.

To work a little faster, we do try to push a little. We very directly ask what people are doing at the moment and why. We find out that less people are working on the collection than we thought. We check our designs and try to think how we can work different, faster, simpler so we can optimize the talents we have. And then, at the end of the day, things are get going. The first machine embroidered birds are ready and one bird is even above our expectations.

We finish the day with doubt: is the factory open or closed tomorrow? Tonight on the news Afghanistan will hear the following day is a national public holiday or not. To be honest, we hope not. We want to continue. Continue with the great talents, the great thread and beads.


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