I always read any comments our lovely customers write on their orders. This is a fantastic source of information and tips on how to improve our business.
I noticed in the last few days a few comments about how our company trades ethically.
This is true, but it is not particularly due to altruism. In our business it happens to be necessary to have and keep skilled workers at each stage of production. Skill takes time to accumulate. If you are always changing staff , which happens quickly if they can find a better deal elsewhere then you lose this skill.
In this little bit of the free market all the incentives are in the right place. The farmers have to treat the goats well to get the best wool. Stressed or ill goats make low quality and low quantity of cashmere wool. The people who sort the fibres do an incredibly skilled job.
The staff in Kathmandu who actually make the pashminas and clothes nearly all have skilled jobs. Knitting, weaving, dyeing, quality controlling. Also these people have to be trusted to handle and not waste high value materials. The guy in charge of the factory is also a very nice person. Maybe that's why our staff have never taken part in the regular general strikes organised by communists in Kathmandu.
There is currently no import duty when importing things from Nepal to the UK, as opposed to between 6 and 12% from countries such as India and China. If this was to change it would cause a huge problem in Nepal. A lot of their industries have suffered from all the general strikes and the natural disasters a few years ago.
When we have been in Kathmandu, we have implemented rubbish sorting only to see the rubbish be collected and all mixed together, so that's a waste of time.. but it does get sorted at the other end by extremely poor rubbish scavengers!