1. V&M is a family run Company which was set up in 1995 and has been manufacturing fine leather goods (office accessories, bags and home accessories)
2. The Company was started with two employees to execute an order for 500 bags received from Germany by a friend who exported cotton garments. The experience encouraged the formalization of the Company. Since then it has exported leather goods to USA, UK, Spain, Germany, France, Russia, Australia, Japan and Singapore. In the process the Company now provides employment to over 250 employees and has a pool of versatile manpower trained, like its founders, by their own experience within the Company. V&M is ethically compliant to the standards of SEDEX, UK which carries out annual audits of the Company products
3. The Company manufactures a wide range of leather goods which cover most leather items except garments and shoes. The approach has been to do creative rather than mass manufacture work and it is with that in view that we have trained our workers to be versatile rather than narrow specialists.Our workers have stayed along with us. Over the years we have developed more experience than would otherwise have been possible. This has been achieved without compromising on quality with the result that we have had remarkable continuity of work with our buyers all these years.
4. While leather goodsmanufacture has been our main field of activity we have welcomed work in other mediums when our buyers have so demanded. In fact our product that made it to the Vogue ‘must have’ category was a textile and natural fiber bag made to meet the requirement of our German buyer who designed the item.
5. From some of our buyers we receive design spec sheets, while some come and design with us.
6. Yet other buyers select from products created by our own design team. One of our strengths is that we can find sampling and production solutions to most designs sent to us. We also have a strong design and sampling team that constantly produces new products many of which have found their way to our existing buyers .
7. Our main buyers are Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Habitat, Hallmark, Chicos, TESCO and The Conran Shop. We have also worked with buyers in Germany, Spain, Israel and Lebanon.
8. All our work, except for some very highly specialized processes, is done in-house and we have endeavored to develop our machinery base accordingly.
9. Our relations with our suppliers are excellent and we have built long term relationships with them. Due to this our suppliers are willing to exper iment along with us and in fact enjoy doing the different kind of leathers we require particularly making our occasional small quantities.
Perspective & Future
10. The underlying approach has been to blend the uniqueness of traditional Indian handicrafts with the quality and consistency afforded by modern machinery. India is a land that still has a huge uneducated and poor population. Since this likely to change only over a period it is essential that Indian industry find ways to tap the latent potential of its intelligent and hardworking poor and speed up their betterment. V&M’s machinery is a judicious mix of machines selected from Italy, USA, Japan and China. Our R&D too is guided by the need for blending craftsmanship with machines. Moreover even our unlettered workers are given an opportunity to learn handling modern machines. This also enables job security and instills great pride in their work
11. We have made it a practice to plough back most of the profits into making ours a stronger Company so that there is all round stability and our workers get more secure employment. By 2004 we had created a 19000 sq ft facility at the Industrial Model Township at Manesar.
12. At Manesar we continuously added new machines from Italy, the US, Japan, the Czech Republic and China to improve our quality and range. This was done in a way so as to produce consistently good quality while keeping the essential uniqueness that is the strength of Indian handicrafts.
Plans for the Immediate Future
Now, seeing a rising demand for their products and driven by the need to provide employment to more people who, due to the ill fortune of lacking both funds and education, would be doomed inexorably to a bottomless pit of poverty, the owners decided in favour of expansion rather than a pleasant retirement.
The Question was How ?
Should it be more of the same where uneducated migrant labor comes from hundreds of miles away just to sustain their poverty stricken families left behind insecure and unprotected, while the workers themselves also lack empowerment and are only able to send a small proportion of their incomes to their families?
Go to the villages, train the villagers and employ them there, so they walk or, at most, cycle to work, and then go back home to nurture and sustain their families with all their earnings. It would mean, of course, that there would be a rise in the empowerment of the workers at the expense of a lowering of empowerment of the employers. Despite all conventional wisdom to the contrary, V&M chose to go to the villages and are now in the process of setting up their next unit 100 kilometers into the interior where the villagers continue to be quite unaffected by the huge material progress in India’s cities.
It was decided to take the harder second option. We are certain that this will produce excellent results and call upon you to join in this effort.
V & M
Plot 47, Sector 5, IMT Manesar,
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