by Katrina Bryant
At Purnaa, we source both locally and internationally to ensure we deliver the best and most cost effective material inputs for our customers’ designs. Today, we take a quick peek into this challenging but rewarding work. (Meet the Sourcing Team: Bikash, Nikesh, and Hannah)
Being based in Nepal, we get to navigate around the country’s many obstacles and overcome them in uniquely creative ways. Fortunately, we have a dedicated and competent team.
Purnaa Sourcing Manager, Nikesh, spends his days zipping around Kathmandu on his motorbike to locate and purchase the many different fabrics and components needed for production. Business is very relational in Nepal. Transactions are not made in haste and partnerships are formed over time and frequent cups of chia (local tea). Nikesh is very much the face of Purnaa, visiting local suppliers, markets and weavers on a daily basis, haggling for the best prices, and searching for the best quality materials.
Using local market suppliers supports the local economy. We especially love when we get to use the beautiful, traditional, hand-woven Nepali fabric, ‘dhaka’. However, many of the materials we need are imported to the local markets from India and China and stock is not well-maintained locally. This can make it difficult to find large quantities, especially if a lot of time has passed between a customer’s sampling and production stages.
We are delighted to have Sustainability Fellow, Hannah Badminton of Wales, heading up our international side of sourcing. She frequently communicates with mills and suppliers in China and India as Nepal cannot manufacture many of the materials that we require. International sourcing requires a lot of fabric knowledge and endless emails, through which we try to ensure that the suppliers we use have the correct certifications and adhere to their local labor laws.
With dedicated research and perseverance, Hannah has helped to find innovative material alternatives to offer our customers. There are new options constantly evolving in the global market. Some of the ones we have found interesting and inspiring recently include:
– pineapple leather
– bamboo silk
– water-free dyeing processes
– soya bean and banana fabric as cotton alternatives
– chromium-free tanned leather
Purnaa’s long term goals include improving our use of sustainable materials and we will continue to offer unique and innovative options to our clients for their production needs.
Our shipping manager, Bikash, oversees all of the imports and exports at Purnaa. The paperwork required in Nepal can be quadruple the amount needed in the US for simple banking and shipping processes. We are lucky to have a dedicated member of staff who coordinates effectively to ensure shipments are on time!
Our wonderful customers are equally dedicated to ethical fashion and are open to suggestions, making it possible for us to experiment with new and exciting materials.