Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pakistan Handmade - Day 4, Lahore

This is our final day in Lahore. I wasn't able to meet with AHAN, a nonprofit organization that was well represented in the Expo until today. The team of designers that serviced their booth were all incredibly well spoken and knowledgeable about the design, origin, and capabilities of the many groups represented in this coop. I had interest in several products but because the entire business seemed so together, I wasn't worried about contacting them once I returned to the States. I knew they would not only be accessible, but responsive as well.

Before leaving for their workshop/offices, I was greeted by Steve, the manger of the Pakistan projects. I lamented having to leave in the morning to make a flight when I really wanted to spend as much time as possible working with AHAN. Angling for a way to drive instead of fly, I conveyed my disappointment at having to cut business short.

And it worked! We were able to stay until almost noon, when our guard and driver insisted we leave to meet the others back at the hotel in order to start on our 4-1/2 hour journey back to Islamabad.

But once we arrived at the hotel the other two buyers were no where, literally, no where to be found. Later, it turns out, they had to turn their phones off and hand them in while they toured a museum. Disappointing, because I got very little time with the AHAN team and as it turned out, there were a lot of questions I needed to ask with the products present.

I did get several charming videos that I'll try to upload. Really get the most from verbal descriptions rather than written, particularly since I had little time to get full backgrounds on product and know so little about the culture and the people.

I was so happy to see some furniture too - a chair that can be re-assembled so as to save on shipping.

There was a complete store here. That's what I came away with. If every sector of Pakistan were represented, there would be enough to stock a store full of beautiful and meaningful and worthwhile items from clothes, to jewelry, to housewares, to decor...something I am not able to do with products from Botswana or Southern Africa. Which brings me back to the idea I'm formulating but I haven't vocalized yet.

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