The days seem to be stretching out beyond the hours of the sun.
Tomorrow, Project 2 is due and both of our groups must prepare a presentation of the interviews we have conducted so far. The Oscar’s Junction group has finished their interviews and space analyses since yesterday and are planning for a full day of work at the villa. Start time – 9:30 am. Our Tara Trust group still has several interviews up ahead and today we are preparing to meet two different hotel owners.
At the moment, I still have blanks in my mind about the direction of our project. Having had meetings with the group of women working for Tara Trust on Monday and a meeting with a Park Hyatt employee on Tuesday, the interview notes that we have gathered thus far still feel disconnected. However, things started coming together after a meeting with an inspiring woman, both stylistically and project-wise. After breakfast (with scrambled eggs and omelets!), Sarah, T’mika, Melih, Liza, Megan and I piled into a car while Raksha sped along side on her motor bike. At 10:30 am, we arrived at a quaint looking boutique hotel, the Vivenda Dos Palhacos. We were first greeted by two dogs, long and floppy looking beagles.
Then walked out Charlotte, a nicely put together British woman, dressed in various shades of pink. Her greeting was immediately warm and inviting, which we soon saw reflected in her hotel. Walking to a table outside, we began to see into her curious boutique hotel. It was very different from the Hyatt property that we toured yesterday. Rather than striving for convenience, comfort and a more universal idea of luxury, Charlotte aims to intrigue her guests and allow for a charming and unique stay. I particularly enjoyed her active role in her guests stay. She makes it a point to initiate conversation and relationship between guests. The best part is that there are so often connections between her guests. People realize that they’ve gone to the same school in elementary or that they live on the same street back home. The coincidences of this world are endless.
Sitting around the table in the courtyard, we were served fresh water lime sodas as Sarah introduced the project to Charlotte. She was excited, motivated and gave a lot of input. The session passed by with ideas and examples of materials, marketing and typical Goan styles thrown around.
Silk scarves, playing cards, a match box, books and another NGO product example were all passed around for us to take a gander. It was a big moment of brainstorming and expanding on the ideas we already had for Hyatt. After this, we toured the space.
Each room was completely unique and the décor was gathered as an eclectic grouping of items from all around India. The architecture and interior decorations become a combination of local Indian, Portuguese and Western style. From a charming and intimate pool to humorous framed images, Charlotte managed to piece together a hotel like no other.
The space was so nice that Melih had an impromptu photo shoot!
Ninoshka and Silke, working with us from Tara Trust shared some of the past items made by the women of the Zari community. When looking at the tote bags, paper baskets and notebooks Charlotte did not hold back on her criticism. She explained that products needed more character, more of a story towards the wonderful initiative and people behind them. Why would I buy this generic tote bag over any other? I don’t know who made it. Be brave and people will love it. Be adventurous. Her words stood strongly in the space between us. It was refreshing and a necessary thought to add to our further exploration of materials, products and branding.
We eventually said our goodbyes and returned to the hotel.
The next few hours were filled with lunch and more process work. The Oscar’s junction group has been making good strides towards product and material analysis. Testing bags on motorcycles and testing fabrics thresholds with soda bottles, books and pillows. A limited summary of their process from what I know so far, it’ll be probably be best to have our presentations tomorrow.
Around 5pm, Manish, the owner of the hotel we are staying at, became available for an interview. Manish sat down with us in his restaurant and was very open about his business ideologies. He not only shared information about hotel management, but also showed excited interest in the Tara Trust initiative and the women’s products. Another potential client! Things are moving! The foggy front end that Sarah warned us about is lifting!
We toured different rooms and spaces around the property as Manish continued to spew information and insights. But even more than this, he led us to another person of interest. It turns out that there is a business owner that sells local artisan works online, and she is staying in the villa right next to ours. A funny continuation of coincidences… We now have another interview to set up and further considerations to make with Tara Trust’s trajectory.
Finally, the sun set and we made our way back to the villa to catch dinner. It had been a long day at this point, but the night was not over yet. DJ Terry Tunes is playing by the poolside tonight and we get to have dinner at the restaurant!
A moment in the strobe lights of fame for both Melih and Megan.
Let alone dancing to a couple tunes sung by Terry before finally heading back home.
A blurry capturing of Raksha and Megan’s salsa skills. The dancing never stops.
Project 2 is still due tomorrow morning and we know that it’s going to be a long night. While finalizing our presentations and interview summaries, some trail in and out of sleep and others stay awake with the motivation of late night, left over pasta.
One by one we close our laptops and head to bed. 3:30 am marks my threshold for the evening. Goodnight and see you all bright and early.