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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Taking our Time

Taking our Time

Now that I’m back from China, I need to focus on a new plan.  I do think that part of my problem has been that I have been trying to do too much at one time.  I have had the jeans factory working on the children’s jeans, the youth size jeans and remaking the men’s jeans.  I’ve had the shirt factory working on the children’s, the youth’s and the adults shirts all at the same time.  I think I have been handling this all wrong.

Sample of children's shirt
So this is my new plan.  We are only going to focus on the children’s for now.  The children’s jeans are the least complicated and so are the children’s tees.   So we will first get the patterns correct for only the children’s sizes.  Once the patterns are correct for the children’s jeans and tees and we’re sure the fit is good, then and only then will I start production.  For the little children, we only have four style jeans:  we have two girl’s styles and two boy’s styles.  One style  has  a full elastic waistband and the other style  has an adjustable waistband.   For the T-shirts, we are preparing the short-sleeved shirts for now and Jillian and Cara are busy creating new graphics for them.

The youth sizes will be much more difficult.  We must make more styles just like the adult sizes.  For the youth girls we are designing a full elastic waistband but for the youth boys, we will offer both a full elastic waistband with a mock zipper and a partial elastic waistband with a working zipper.  We will also have “Dip Down” styles for both girls and boys as well.   So the youth sizes are much more difficult and complicated. 

For the youth size T-shirts we will offer six sizes and two styles for both boys and girls.    For the girls and boys sizes there will be a regular fit around the waist for the first three sizes and the next three sizes up we will offer a full-figure style so they are not so tight around the middle.  We have found this to be necessary for a better fit. 

Because of the fuller tummy on many people with Down syndrome, we have found that these adjustments are necessary; so all the adult shirts will be redesigned as well.  Since we need short sleeve shirts anyway, we decided this was a good time to redesign the adult tees.  We already have full-figured shirts for the adult ladies, but we did not give the men the full-figure design in the bigger sizes.  So we are redesigning the men’s tees because we feel it’s necessary for a better fit. 

So once the youth size jeans and tees are completed and we are sure the fit is good, we will begin production on those.  Then, finally, we will begin to remake the men’s jeans.  Our ladies jeans have been a great fit, but the men’s jeans had too many problems.  It was a tough decision not to sell the men’s jeans, but I knew I had to correct the problems we had with them.  So that will be our last pattern to remake.  We also decided to offer a full elastic waistband for the men’s jeans with a mock zipper as well as the partial elastic waistband with a working zipper.  We had too many mother’s tell us their son cannot work a zipper, so that is something we had to take into consideration.  We need both styles to accommodate these issues.

So as it stands as of the end of June, 2011, we will still have nothing in production.  My nerves are at their very end.  But I must keep going, in spite of the struggles.  We’re so close, yet so far!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

China 2011, Day 8 Coming Home!

Monday, May 17, 2011

I’m up very early this morning.  I get ready for the day and finish the rest of my packing.  I packed very light so I didn’t have that much to drag around with me on the long trip here.  I check to make sure I have enough of the proper Chinese and Hong Kong money to get me to the airport. 

By 8:30 AM Yuan arrives, but his friend is not with him.  Apparently, he was in a small car accident last night (oh, big surprise there) so we’ll have to take a taxi after all.  The taxis are readily available at the hotel, so we catch one immediately.  We have a long drive ahead and I pray the traffic is friendly.  As we get close to Guangzhou, we hit a traffic nightmare.  It’s bumper to bumper all the way (and I mean…bumper to bumper!).  I’m getting nervous now, because I can’t be late or I’ll miss my train.  The taxi driver takes a few side roads and we finally arrive at the train station just a little behind schedule. 

It’s no problem at all, we have about 30 minutes to spare.  I’m so relieved; the ride was a little unnerving.  I purchase my train ticket and there is actually a Starbucks in the train station so we step inside to wait. I’m amazed that the man behind the counter actually spoke English.  I order a chocolate muffin and Yuan orders a muffin too.  He’s never had one so I enjoyed watching him eat it.  He doesn’t eat sweets like this and he really enjoyed it.  I hope I didn’t create a monster.  But I don’t think he would ever survive on American food; I think he would become very ill.  His eating habits are nothing like ours.  

Well, with my train ticket in hand, we follow the signs to where I must say goodbye.  I feel sad now to leave but I will return again in October.  So I’m off to catch my train. The return train is ultramodern; it’s actually two stories high.  The ride is a comfortable two hours and I try to relax. 

We arrive in Hong Kong, and I have to go through customs again.  The line is very long and I know I have to catch a taxi and get to the airport.  I feel like a seasoned travel by this time though and I know right were to go.  I know exactly how much money I need and I’m not nervous at all.  I get in the taxi line and the taxi I get into is driven by a very old man.  He attempts to speak a little English but I barely understood him.  I tell him I need to get to the airport quickly and off we go.

OMG, this guy is really bad!  Either he is playing me for a long ride or he’s really stupid.  We drive around God knows where trying to get to the terminal.  He finally stops and asks some other taxi driver because, by now, we’re completely lost.  I have no idea how he could have missed the terminal.  We circle the airport several times and finally get to one of the two terminals.  Hong Kong airport is gigantic and I need to get to Air Canada.  He has no idea where Air Canada is and I’m so upset I tell him to drop me anywhere.  I walk into the terminal and can’t find any signs for Air Canada.  I stop at an information desk and the woman tells me I have to go to Terminal 2 and I’m in Terminal 1.  I start to panic now!  I’m not sure how far this is and I’m afraid I’m going to miss my plane. 

By this time, I’m running with my luggage in tow (good thing I packed light).  At last I see a sign for Terminal 2.  I asked a policeman where I can find Air Canada and he directs me to the 7th floor.  Holy Cow, this place is so big!  I get to the 7th floor and I must have made a wrong turn somewhere.  I’m now surrounded by restaurants.  I’m starting to sweat by this time, I’m so afraid I’m going to miss my plane.  AT LAST, I find the Air Canada booths and step right up to the counter.  Phew, there’s no problem, I have time.  A woman checks me in and I get my boarding pass.  Now I have to pass through customs again but it goes very quickly.  By the time I get to the gate, I only have a few minutes before the plane starts boarding.  I can’t believe it!  I made it.  Once on board, I can finally settle in and relax.

I’m exhausted.  I slept almost the entire flight home.  I woke up to eat and maybe watched part of a movie.  I had plans to work on my blog, but never even opened my laptop.  After a perfect 15 hour flight, I arrive in Toronto.  I had to pass through customs again and then I took the wrong exit.  Oh dear, I have to go back through security again.  But I have some time before the plane takes off for Cleveland, so I’m not worried at all.   I finally get to the gate which must have been a mile walk and sit down to wait. 

I think now it’s time to board but we’re informed that the flight will be about an hour late.  Great!  I think I’m never going to get home.  Then we’re told after that there’s another 30 minute delay.   But, I enjoyed the wait because I was sitting next to a young man who was from China but was now living in Canada.  He was actually heading for Cleveland Heights to visit with some of his friends.  We had a great talk and I learned a lot of interesting facts about some of the habits of the Chinese that Yuan never shared with me.  Such interesting people!

Well, we finally board our little propeller plane and head for Cleveland.  It’s actually a very smooth ride and we arrive in no time, about 45 minutes but it’s now after 12:30 AM.  I have no luggage to pick up so I hop on the Park ‘N Fly bus back to my car and can’t wait to get home.  I call my husband and mother and let them know I’m on my way home but I’m sure they rolled over and went back to sleep.   I also Skype my friend back in China and let him know I’m home safe and sound.

The good news is, I’m wide awake and not too sleepy to drive home.  When I do get home, there is no way I can sleep, I’m still on China time and I’ve been sleeping most of the day.  So I stay up the rest of the night and play with my cat.  I’m so happy to see her and she’s really happy to see me.  I had no idea I would miss her so much.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

China 2011 Day 7

Sunday, May 16, 2011

Well, sadly, it’s my last day here but I’m starting to get homesick, so the timing is just right.  Since Jacky couldn’t make it yesterday, our plans are to visit his new office facility today.  I’ve definitely decided not venture out on my own today for breakfast, so I nibble on some fruit that we got at the market yesterday.  I’m sticking with the grapes; they are a familiar food from home.  I know Yuan will probably not arrive until around 11:00 AM so I get ready for the day and do a little packing.  I’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning, so it gives me something to do.

Yuan arrives right about 11:00 AM and we sit and chat for a while.  He peals some strange looking fruit that he bought and it actually tastes very good.  So different are these flavors, I’m amazed.  Then he breaks open this strange looking purple fruit.  Inside there are about six small pieces of the oddest substance…feels like eyeballs L, but they were delicious.  But noontime comes and he’s ready for some lunch.  We venture back out into the streets to find a restaurant we haven’t tried yet.  It’s easy to find a restaurant here as there are restaurants everywhere.  We walk a few blocks and find one that serves a different type menu.  Each menu is completely different, so he always has to explain what to eat.   But, as usually, I’m very surprised how delicious and different the food is.  After a very tasty lunch, we head back to the hotel to wait for Jacky.  It’s not long before the phone rings.  He says he’ll pick us up in about 20 minutes. 

We sit in the lobby and wait for Jacky and I watch the people as they walk by me and stare.  So after a painful 20 minutes or so, Jacky and his partner arrive.  We hop in his car and I say a short prayer as we head into the traffic.  His new office is about 15 minutes away and in strange neighborhood.  Not sure if it’s business or residential; I just can’t tell.

He opens a large garage door to enter and I’m not sure what to expect.  Again we head up a flight of stairs to the next floor and I’m blown away.  This place is absolutely lovely.  He just moved in within the last three days and he has done a great job.  It’s clean with lots of space and very organized.  He has a small display of mannequins that show off some of his past work.  There are four desks with phones and computers and a beautiful tea server (very traditional here in China).

So we sit down and his partner serves tea, but I don’t like tea so I feel bad that I refused.  Who doesn’t like tea?  But we talk for a while about our plans and he explains every detail about how he handles the business of manufacturing.  Step by step he explains how he thoroughly prepares an order.  I’m just amazed how professional he is.  I am happy to be working with him on our clothing line.  I’m sure he’ll do a fine job for us.  Before we leave, we take a few photos and a short while later; we’re headed back to the hotel.  He drops Yuan and me off and says goodbye until the next time we talk.

Well, you guessed it, it’s dinner time.  This will be Yuan and I’s last dinner together.  So we head out to our favorite restaurant for a quiet dinner.  It’s been a busy week and I’m really tired.  I have to be on the road headed for the train station in Guangzhou by 8:30 AM at the latest.  Yuan says his friend will be taking me back to the train station so I’m glad we don’t need a taxi.  He walks me back to my hotel and says goodnight.  He’ll go back to his office to work and I know he will stay well into the night as that is his habit to do so.   Let’s hope I can sleep tonight; the long journey home is heavy on my mind!