Bali factory tour


Monday was debt paying day, we owe Ronta Bungalows for a couple of weeks plus our motorcycle place. So on the way down Jalan Legian, Sean and I stopped at BNI bank to get into our safety deposit box. We arrived at 7.45am and were the first customers. To get into the box I simply add my name to the list of visitors that day and show my card. I have a key and the teller has the other key necessary, we go into the vault, both put in our keys, open the box and she leaves.

Our next appointment was with Armadi from Captain Haddock restaurant. She had arranged with her uncle Papang to show us around his clothing factory, as we are interested in making some shirts (members are always asking for BootsnAll shirts and since we’ve been here the locals want BaliBlog shirts).

Papang met us around the corner from Captain Haddocks in his SUV and drove us to Denpasar where the factory is located. This guy is a mover, in 1990 he started working in a factory himself and 2 years later started his own. We pulled up in an alleyway to a semi ramshackle joint and enter. The idea of a western factory is quite different in some parts of the world, this one being tucked away in a corner.

Walking through the factory we saw a couple of dozen smiling ladies operating sewing machines and working with fabric. Armadi told us Papang tries to keep his employees by paying over the odds wages and providing some kind of housing. Papang’s office was upstairs and we went up to discuss the process and timeline. Armadi has been super useful in arranging this, naturally she’ll get a slice, that’s the way it goes out here but it saved us a lot of time. Papang’s assistant brought us in a water each and showed us types of material. Our shirts made in the US use Beefy T, which might be a bit heavy for out here so we’re thinking of going with a lighter fabric.

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Papang then took us to three other places which specialise in embroidery, garment manufacture and silkscreening…great to work with someone who is connected. The second place was a larger factory which was not running right now but looked to have a large capacity if needed.

Papang was an expert at guiding the SUV through alleys and streets in Denpasar, cleverly avoiding scooters, pedestrians and trucks. There’s a streetsmart logic to driving over here that has nothing to do with the highway code. In fact, adherance to the rules could cause accidents.

We got dropped off at a corner close to Captain Haddocks and decided to eat a snack as we skipped breakfast. Armadi and Sean ordered some rice dish while I had a lemon / honey crepe. The waitresses were in good spirits – one did a pose like Armadi’s Balinese dancing. One young lady got her math skills made fun of when she miscalculated our bill a few thousand rupiah short.

Captain Haddocks sits on an alley corner and many scooters use this route. It’s really interesting to see who / what will be on the next one.