Dick and I started our inaugural/solo buying trip (without brother Paul and sister-in-law Eve) mid January in Bali, Indonesia. It always feels good to be back in the beautiful tropics of Indonesia. Your senses are warmly reawakened by the sights, sounds, and smells of South-East Asia.
After our first mango shake and a short sleep, we were on our way with our good friend Dharma to meet up with our producers and place our orders for the Third World Bazaar 2005. We are always blown away by the huge range of product that is produced on this island; incredible craftsmanship and very good quality. Every year they come up with new designs in the fashion, home décor, furniture and accessories areas. We are constantly amazed at how they achieve this.
Most of our producers (which numbered 65 this year) operate their business from a small workshop which is often attached to the front or back, of their home. These are definitely family run businesses, often with the extended family involved in the production from start to finish. We are very fortunate to having positive business relationships with our suppliers which has been established over the 24 years of operation of The East Asia Company.
What’s new for 2005??? The teak root furniture is amazing. We could not resist the tables, chairs and more of the beautiful bowls that were so popular last year. People asked for coffee style tables and we were able to source some great tables. We expanded our furniture line after hearing your feedback. We have a tent totally devoted to furniture this year to accommodate our stock.
Table lamps were also widely available and we found some great funky lamps with interesting fabrics and vibrant colours. The ceramics are always changing and impressive; and once again we could not resist what they are making out of coconut wood, mango wood and native woods; both in the sculptures and home décor line.
So yes, we found lots and lots of great things to purchase for the Bazaar this year. In fact so much that we had to go to a second container just days into our buying trip. We have variety and we have items that often have cultural significance to them making these items even more meaningful, educational and fun for gift buying.
Unfortunately, our scheduled return-trip to the island of Lombok was cancelled last minute due to an incident I had with a motorcycle (which was traveling the wrong way on a one way street and managed to knock me into another world for a short period of time). So instead of venturing off to Lombok to discover more of the artisans there I ended up taking it easy, nursing a head injury. All was well in the end and I was well taken care of by the medial people in the town of Ubud.
Bali has certainly changed a great deal over the years and on the surface you would think not for the better (with all the uncontrolled building and busyness of the urban areas) but we still feel the magic that it holds in its history, culture and everyday life. Their crafts are a reflection of their local culture, but we are also impressed by their openness to the global market, and ability to blend local traditions with other styles of home furnishings and accessories. It truly is a blending of talents. The Balinese are honest people to deal with and that’s why we like basing our business on their products. They provide so much variety in so many areas, excellent craftsmanship and affordable prices. We hope to support our producers through our orders over the years to come, enabling us to pass on their work to you.
We hope you can visit us at Third World Bazaar this year and see for yourself the many wonderful items we have brought over for you from the island country of Indonesia.