Visiting Factories in Kolkata

Sujal Basu, Mr Jaipuria Sr and Rajat Jaipuria at Rajlakshmi Kolkata

Sujal Basu, Mr Jaipuria Sr and Rajat Jaipuria at Rajlakshmi Kolkata

Last week, Matt Cooper of The Fableists visited a couple of factories in India where we are making some of our clothes. Here is the story of his visit.

The first factory and business that we met with, Rajlakshmi, is run by Rajat Jaipuria, who took the business over from his father. It is a very different business today than it was then, but the family has been running this factory since the 1930’s. We heard about Rajlaksmi through a conversation with Chetna Organic, a collective of organic cotton farmers, who have 15% ownership of the factory.

Rajat got into the organic world about 15 years ago and has never looked back. They are producing really nice garments at the factory, with great attention to detail and some great staff, who I really enjoyed spending time with. I saw every part of the factory and even had the pleasure of eating a fantastic lunch (three quarters subsidised by the owners) with the team. I would be more than happy to eat there every day – the food was amazing!

The business has grown from a team of 3 people to about 1000 over the last 15 years (spread across 3 buildings) and the staff who started with Rajat are still there, which was great to see. I spent most of my time there with my production contact, Sajal Basu and with the lovely Ann Reloux and Rajat who owns the business. I came away super impressed with their knowledge, their huge passion for Organic and ethical trading and just, well, what nice people they were! You will be hearing from them and reading more about them here soon.

At Work in Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, Kolkata

At Work in Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, Kolkata

I also visited a dying plant whilst with the guys and was equally blown away by that. It burns no carbon, but runs on rice husk, which was amazing to see first-hand. All the water they use through the dying process is cleaned and re-used after going through many filters.

So, we came away dead pleased from our first trip, fully understanding where the cotton comes from, how it reaches Rajlakshmi and the processes it goes through before it reaches you. Put basically, the cotton appears from a collection of farms (through Chetna) with a fair-trade stamp and the process covered is all GOTS compliant, and these guys are passionate about what they are doing.

We will continue to make sure that we report back to you (our future customers) on the people and companies we work with. We think you need to know every little part of the process.

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