I was 27 years old and 7,500 miles from home. I was hot and exhausted from being on a ten city, 1,500 mile whirlwind sourcing trip through China. It wasn't my first time sourcing sporting equipment there, but I would have never guessed in a million years what would happen after visiting the last factory on my itinerary.
This time I decided to be a bit more adventurous and opted to stay in the factory's living quarters instead of the five star mega hotel thirty minutes away. An experience I will forever be thankful for. A big part of business is the ability to form lasting relationships. I thought this would be one way to do that.
I spent the day in the factory sourcing an assortment of canvas and leather for a new line of travel goods. For the line we were looking to use a heavy canvas as the main material, along with leather trims, bottoms and handles. I was happy and excited to show those in Minnesota what I had I found.
The more I saw during the factory the more intrigued I became. Out of sheer curiosity I had asked to see a hide’s cattle brand, since I had never seen one. The factory boss told me that he kept it in a climate controlled room and wasn't able to show me until later in the evening when the temperature cooled down. It's hot and humid in southern China, so I didn't argue.
I asked him what happens to the branded part of the hide and he told me that particular part of the hide is discarded as waste. I could not get over why this part of the hide would not be used? To me the brand is the most unique part of the hide.
I can't explain where my fascination with scars comes from, but I can tell you with certainty the story of every scar on my body, how I got it and when. They are tied to specific moments of time in my life that are "branded" into me. To me scars are beautiful and tell a story. I felt a strong to connection to the scars on the hides and felt an idea begin to form. I imagined the story I could tell incorporating the natural and man made marks on a cows hide.