Hello! Finally I’ve managed to get myself a blog so lets get started….

The first thing that springs to mind to tell you about is my recent visit to India. What a whirl wind trip it was. In one week I managed to visit Calcutta, Delhi and Jaipur – escorted by a fantastic travel companion – Dawn. The trip came just before Diwali, one of India’s main fesitvals and everywhere looked so magical and festive, particularly Jaipur. We set up office in the back of our ‘tourist car’ as hours and hours were spent trying to cross from one side of Delhi to the other – I think Dawn was rather taken with my new little pink lap top, I liked her i-mac too! The journey to Jaipur was a complete adventure as we hurtled along at 100 km per hour in our ‘tourist car’ and every so often swerving to miss sleeping cows in the middle of the highway, camels with pink pom poms on their noses and huge holes in the middle of the road! Oh my, we were so pleased to get back to the Neemrana Fort Palace in time for the Gala Dinner that night – in one piece, it really was a miracle.

The aim of the trip was to catch up with Piccalilly’s producers and work on some fabulous new samples for next years ranges. This began in Calcutta where I spent the first few days of my trip working on new organic cotton ranges with Amit, Amrit, Megnad and team. I was also very excited to see the new factory, which was a building site when I last visited in January of this year. It was also great to get a full update on the CHETNA project – this is the organic cotton programme where all our cotton is sourced. Exciting times are ahead as the project is set to double its output in the next year and it also now includes a ‘cotton in conversion’ supply. I was also really excited to hear about future plans to introduce a track and trace system for the organic cotton, which would enable every garment produced to have information identifying the exact cotton farm source. In a market where the supply of organic cotton is growing rapidly the credability of the supply chain and traceability of where the organic cotton is coming from will prove to be very important. This was backed up by several meetings I had in Delhi with ‘organic cotton suppliers’ who didn’t seem to have any command of their supply chain of organic cotton, which was really rather worrying.

Anyway, great developments and exciting times are ahead. I’m now back in the Yorkshire Dales spinning from all the meetings and samplings that were going on in India last week and looking forward now to my next visit and hopefully another stay at the utterly gorgeous Neemrana Fort Palace!