Here goes. 20 hours after I left my home, I arrived at ‘Humen town’ in the city of ‘Dongguan’. The population of Dongguan, while small for China, is bigger than the state of Israel. Setting my expectations accordingly high, I wanted to get back with 100 samples from the new batch and approve the manufacturing, finish Tempdrop’s packaging, source armband materials and add a second color as well. All in 5 days.I was picked up by a lovely local couple named Yuan and Michelle, who work at the office of our partnered manufacturer in China, and live next door, and I mean that literally. Only in China!
I ended up relying on Yuan and Michelle for everything! It was my first business trip to China, and it brings out your most basic, modern-day survival skills: ‘The Great Firewall’ of China blocks all of Google’s services: email, maps, search. I was helpless but, thankfully, Yuan had arranged everything, from Didi drivers (it’s the Chinese Uber) to meetings with packaging manufacturers to taking pictures and being great company, all while translating everything!
Monday morning we went to the plastics factory to find out that they had only started making all the requested changes a day before and that the test batch would only be ready that evening. At 23:40 I received pictures from the manufacturer suggesting that there would be some problems. I visited the factory 5 times during my stay, on 2 occasions only leaving after 22:00. The end result was that the plastics didn’t meet my expectations and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to send any of the 100 samples I got.