The Possibilities Continue : Indian Train travel and visit to a Lingerie Manufacturer

If you google “Indian Train”, you will see pictures of people jam packed like cattle or standing on top of the cars of the train. So far I have YET to see this in my experience, but our Indian counterparts have attested to this. Apparently some people even stand sleeping up in the bathrooms. Our last experience on an Indian train was on an 8 hour overnight AC 3 tier. That meant that there were 6 bunks, 3 on each side of a compartment; top, middle and bottom. I slept on the top and Elton in the middle. The poor guy is 6′ 2 and barely fit. The other bunks were filled with total strangers. One night I think a policeman slept across from me…I felt somewhat safe. Being the paranoid American, I strapped my bag across my body and prayed that I wouldn’t have to knock someone out in the middle of the night while protecting my goods. It was a good memory for the books.

This time around, I think that I knew what to expect for Indian train travel. It was only a 3 hour train ride to Kochin and we had the “luxury” of sitting in the 2nd class AC train. We got to see lush tropical scenery since we rode close to the coastline of the state of Kerala. Rice patties whizzed by, alongside of quick glimpses of fishing villages. It was truly idyllic.

Our purpose in Kochin was to visit Blossom, a lingerie manufacturer for the local market. We were picked up by Shaji, one of the partners of the company. We were immediately welcomed by his warmth. He and his partner Abey, acquired the company 15 years ago and was able to turn it around to a fully profitable company. They now have over 100 different styles and employ over 100 women in their 3 factories.

We were graciously given flowers and had an opportunity to give a few words of encouragement to his workers. His principles and ethics as a successful Indian business man were encouraging to see. Since bribes and corruption are the norm in this country, it’s hard to stay grounded and true. He has been able to operate a successful business based on integrity, love and trust in a world of greed and deceit.

As we connect and network with people, we often like to hear their life stories. Shaji shared with us a miraculous occurrence of how his 3 year old son was in a bad accident where his two fingers were severed. The doctors tried to reattach them but was not successful. He said that there was no blood supply flowing and the fingers were turning black. All he knew to do was to pray. Then miraculously before his eyes he saw the blood come back and turn from black, to white to pink. I met his son Smith, and saw the scars from the accident to prove it. His two fingers are fully functional and he’s a fine and happy boy.

We feel honored to meet Shaji and his Blossom family. Their willingness to share resources and learnings from their experience is invaluable to our next steps.




Why Organic?

Before I started this business I thought that buying organic was just for luxury, but the more I delve into the textiles and clothing industries I am beginning to understand the benefits of it.

1.) Benefits Us: no pesticides used = no pesticides in our water, air, land system, less cancer, less birth defects, asthma etc

2.) Benefits Others: did you know that cotton uses 16% of the world’s pesticides and it only covers 2% of our land? Farmers that grow cotton are often in rural and undereducated areas and don’t have the proper equipment to protect themselves during the dispersal of pesticides. 1 out of 10 pesticide applications in India result in some type of health related symptoms to the chemicals.

3.) Benefits our Earth: because of the chemicals that are used for non-organics, the wastewater runs into our oceans which depletes the water of oxygen, therefore killing our lovely fishes, sea turtles and dolphins, therefore disrupting our whole ecosystem.

So in light of going organic, I thought that I’d share with you my favorite products:

1.) Deep Steep Honey Lavendar Bubble Bath: I have the most sensitive and dry skin on earth! But I love my bubble baths after a long hard day. It was hard for me to find something that wouldn’t strip away my own natural oils and I found this at Whole Foods. First ingredient : Aloe. So essentially you’re soaking your poor parched body in a vat of moisturizing heaven.

2.) Coyuchi Bedding: I actually found their jersey sheets at their Point Reyes Outlet! We sleep in them every night and they’ve been washed a gazillion times and have still retained it’s softness. What’s great about Coyuchi is that they’re part of the Chetna Project which helps empower organic farmers to become sustainable.

3.) REN Global Protection Day Cream: again my Sahara dry skin has tried everything under the sun and I’ve found this awesome line. The story is, the founder’s wife was suffering from extremely sensitive skin, so they went on the hunt to make a line of synthetic, BPA, fragrance, petrol free “holy grail” of skin care. My skin glows when I use this stuff.

4.) Chinti and Parker: organic fashion is really picking up and I really love this line from the UK. I have yet to purchase something but this dress would be it! I love their philosophy: they’re against Fast Fashion” (aka Forever 21, H&M, etc.). They believe that garments are meant to bolster your existing warddrobe and stand the test of time. I’ve recently joined this camp. Sad, yes, but the sacrifice is worth it to me.

5.) Rudi’s Gluten-free Organic Bread: I’ve tried all the GF breads out there and this one is the closest to the real deal. It’s fluffy and airy and doesn’t weigh like a ton of bricks! Now I’m gonna go make me a sandwich…

So what are your favorite organic products?