Our team travels to Asia several times a year to find new product ideas, visit the factories manufacturing our products and build relationships. I’ve heard about these trips and seen tons of pictures but finally got the chance to experience it firsthand. It was quite a trip!
Our overseas travel was a breeze with a some wine and movies. We flew business class so we had beds that lay flat. My favorite part of that leg of the trip was that I recommended the movie ‘Lion’ to Kris Talley and told him it wasn’t sad (I honestly don’t remember it being that sad). Two hours into the flight he is tearing up as I am sitting next to him watching a lighthearted Jennifer Lawrence movie. He wasn’t that happy with me to say the least.
Hong Kong was amazing and about as close to New York City as any other city I have ever visited. We had a tour guide who showed us some really cool areas of the city, one of the most memorable being the fish market. The fish market was, well, a fish market. I think most of us were ready to throw up as we left. It was something you should see but move quickly and no need to see it again. The dinner the first night there was incredible. Wonderful food, great views and even better fellowship with the guys. It was the start of a great trip.
We left Hong Kong and took a 3 hour boat ride to Shunde to visit our manufacturing facilities, fabric markets and meet the people that make our products. One of our factory owners, Martin, met us at the end of the boat ride with open arms and smiles. Martin was Logo’s first supplier and has been a partner with us for over 20 years. Everyone was very eager and excited to work with us which made us all feel very welcome. Being in sales I usually spend a lot of time hosting my customers to dinners, ball games and other special events. It was nice to be on the receiving end of some amazing hospitality.
One thing I noticed very quickly is the driving in China. The optimal seat in any car was the back seat as more than a couple times I seriously thought we were going to go off the road or hit another car head on. The words “free for all’ come to mind. It was best to not look forward and just enjoy the countryside on the sides of the road. I live in New York and see crazy driving every day, but nothing like this.
China was a real eye opener as we toured some factories and the world-famous trade show, Canton Fair. It was great to see our products being made at all stages, from raw materials to the final product. The Canton Fair was pretty much a small city of everything that has ever been manufactured. I learned a lot for sure and saw some cool new ideas we are hoping to bring to market.
I managed to eat three meals a day with no real issues. Breakfast is like here in the U.S.—eggs, bacon, that sort of thing. Lunch was usually sandwiches, and I went to McDonalds whenever I saw one. Dinner was always my concern because if it doesn’t look good or smell good I’m not going to eat it. To my surprise I ate almost everything that was ordered and it was amazing. Martin invited us to his house for a home cooked meal by his wife. She made dumplings for our team.Their hospitality was like no other.
The biggest surprise for me was coming home and adjusting. New York time was a lot tougher than I thought. It took me about 10 days to start feeling somewhat normal and 13 days to feel back to normal. I couldn’t sleep or eat right for a while, and my girlfriend caught me sleepwalking one night.
As amazing as the culture, sights, products, food and the people were there is one thing that I enjoyed the most. That is the 3 guys I spent this trip with – Matt, Kris and Dave. There is a reason factories stay with us for 20 years and people are anxious to work with Logo and it all starts with these three guys. I am truly blessed to not only work alongside them but to call them good friends.
All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime and I am very grateful to have been included in the trip. If you get the chance to go I highly recommend it. And if you get a chance to go with these guys, don’t say no.
-Jason Potts, VP of Business Development