As part of our Accelerator programme (applications for next year open now!) we provide a curated trip to Shenzhen for the entrepreneurs, this includes tours of factories relevant to their products and meetings with other manufacturing specialists.
There is a massive variation in the products being developed by this cohort, which has been reflected in the varied array of places visited this time round. Each day they’ve been doing something completely different, see below for some of their highlights!
Yaagni Patel of Y-Heels’ Monday in Shenzhen:
We arrived at Shenzhen railway station at 10am to get the train to Humen and then a taxi to Guangdong province. The first factory we visited was Dingfeng, it was in a small place surrounded by construction works and bamboo scaffolding. As we entered there were many different types of shoes being manufactured from knock off Alexander McQueen trainers to studded leather boots. At this factory they specialise in custom designs and small batches as the factory did not have many workers and a only one production line but it was incredibly insightful to see how the pattern of the material is cut and stitched together.
We then stopped off at McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat before being picked up by Kai Chuang shoe company. Here they make shoes designed for our favourite high street brands including river island, topshop and newlook. On the production line they were making red converse looking trainers and simple black leather smart mens shoes. Here we saw how a fast production line works from cutting the pattern to placing it around the last (foot mold) and applying the sole and uppers of the shoe. At this factory they do everything from the design to the packing of the final product.
My views on manufacturing in China has completely changed and it definitely has given me the confidence on the next steps
The last factory called Aimeicheng had a great selection of shoes to show us and are also in the process of manufacturing another type of adaptable heel designed for women to fold the heel in to drive more easily. They even showed us their mechanism and how they dealt with the movement in the sole of the shoe (which I don’t think they were allowed to do) but unfortunately we didn’t get to see their production line.
The whole day was very insightful and has definitely supported the design development of the product. My views on manufacturing in China has completely changed and it definitely has given me the confidence on the next steps.
Alex Strang of Moment Pebble’s diary from Wednesday in Shenzhen –
Dear CRL Diary,
Wednesday started off on shaky ground with the Moment Pebble team feeling the effects of a night out with Victor – that guy can party. Wow!
Despite a slightly later start, we managed to have an incredibly productive day. The day was split into 3 main sections:
1) Victor meeting: Fantastic meeting where he helped to solve a couple of key development unknowns we had. MomentPebble-Alex suffered some navigation issues using google maps (it lies to you) and saw a large part of Shezhen suburbia on foot.
Fantastic meeting where he helped to solve a couple of key development unknowns we had.
Victors office & lost Alex:
2) Moment Pebble board meeting: 116 floors up on the highest viewing platform in the world.
Just before the meeting Charlie scalded his internals with a spicy eating challenge. Who does that in China?!
3) Shopping! We finished the day off with a masterclass in negotiation from Charlie at a mega shopping mall in Luohu.
After a fair amount of back and forth, it tends to end something like this “Ok ok, give me your best best, best best, best price…”
A good day had by all.
Moment Pebble Team
Wednesday also saw CRL’s Alex Peet and Dorota Grabkowska of Fanatic House spend the day at a phone packaging factory.
The wonderful Nadiya Siddique of Stealthy headed to jewellery factories outside of the city centre on Wednesday. Incase you don’t follow her, you can do so at @stealthywoman, where she’s been posting a detailed breakdown of her day-to-day activity – we’re rooting for her to have her own YouTube channel!