An Amazing Return to India12/05/2022
I first visited India back in 1997 with my father (and Hali Founder) Ian, when I was just 10 years old. I have vibrant memories, loving every single moment. Especially playing cricket matches outside with our suppliers children while Dad was busy working.
Perhaps this was a catalyst for the journey that was to follow, as during my early 20s I returned twice to India as a backpacker on a shoestring budget; falling more in love with this incredible country with every passing moment as I survived on less than $15 per day. At an estimate, I’ve probably spent an entire 2 years of my life in this country.
It is thus no surprise that once I joined the family business, India already felt like a second home. I have now spent over a decade travelling to India around three times per year, now working with the sons and daughters of the men and women that my father has been working with for decades. The legacy of this is truly irreplaceable.
Having been unable to travel with the pandemic, you can only imagine how much I have been missing travelling to India to see our suppliers, many of whom are close friends, taste the food and of course, source beautiful handmade rugs for our customers. There’s only so much you can do remotely from the other side of the world but as you can appreciate, there is nothing like working face to face with the skilled artisans of this incredible country.
Each year we are proud to take members of our team to India to share the other side of the business. This in turn gives our staff a greater contextual depth and understanding of the enormous journey behind every beautiful HALI Handmade Rug. This time, I brought Chenny and Rick with me for their very first trip to India. To say that they were blown away would be an understatement!
We travelled together throughout Delhi where we visited the International Carpet Expo (ICE), the holy city of Varanasi where the famed Ganges River runs, Jaipur (the pink city) and Agra; home of the Taj Mahal. While at the ICE, we discovered an incredible new supplier who is producing the most stunning, muted transitional pieces we have ever seen that are being produced out of Agra. There are always new and exciting suppliers to discover at these fairs!
Outside of the major cities, we visited the rural villages where the majority of our rugs are made. The most prominent rural village where we spend a lot of time is Bhadohi - The Carpet City. Bhadohi is around two hours out of Varanasi… which could end up taking double that amount of time and some creative driving. It is always such a pleasure to share a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing with our team. Chenny and Rick were captivated by the process and just how many people are involved throughout the entire process
It’s always nice catching up with old friends (many of whom we have been doing business with for over 2 decades) and sharing good times over dinner and drinks which is always a reminder to me that good business is built wholeheartedly on strong relationships.
After an absence of over two years, not only was it great to spend time with our friends, but it is also little surprise that this may well have been our most successful trip in recent years. There is so much groundwork that goes into bringing a collection to life which involves countless hours of selections, fine tuning and finally production.
Stay tuned & watch this space! The new collections we have dropping over the next 12 months are going to be both inspirational and Industry Leading. As always, we have worked hard to ensure we can provide stunning rugs for every budget & across multiple styles.
I just can’t wait to share them all with you!
Dan SwartManaging Director