The Motherhouse Story Part 6: The Pain Involved In Factory Creation

The Growth Of The Company's Workshop (Which Seemed To Be Going Smoothly)

The sample room and in-house workshop continued to grow smoothly until a major incident occured. The local director, Atif, who had been leading Motherhouse's production in Bangladesh, had resigned due to family reasons. He had understood Motherhouse's philosophy and had worked hard to build relationships between the sample room, and local factories. It was a big blow to the brand, which had finally found some semblance of its own process with regards to manufacturing. 

What was even more devastating was that the team had to vacate the sample room as it was a rented space in another design centre, and was rented with Alif's help. With Alif's leave from the company, the landlord ordered the Motherhouse team to go.

Eriko received a great shock. The manufacturing process that she had painstakingly built, had gone back to square one. The 10 sample room team members who were unable to continue production might end up feeling lost. Faced with such an obstacle, Eriko inevitably had flashbacks to her previous painful experiences in Bangladesh. 

However, during times of need, Motherhouse always found its saviours. This time around, help came in the form of 2 managers, Moin and Mamun, who would go on to create the production system that has made Motherhouse what it is today.

As the brand expanded production not only in its own workshop, but also in a contract factory, the team was already looking for new management candidates, even before Alif resigned. Eriko interviewed many candidates, and among them were Moin and Mamun, the 2 people who had the strongest sympathy for the brand's philosophy.

When Motherhouse lost the sample room, Moin and Mamun had not yet joined the company. Moin was working in human resources for Wal-Mart in Bangladesh while Mamun was working as a manager in a bag factory that was expanding rapidly. 

"We lost our own production base. I honestly don't know what will happen to this company, can you help us?"

Eriko and Daisuke, who were running around trying to find a solution to their problem, pleaded with Moin and Mamun. Motherhouse was still a tiny brand, and its survival was at stake. In contrast, both Moin and Mamun were in places with promising futures. It was an absurd request no matter how you looked at it. However, both of them responded to the plea earnestly. 

"Let's look for a factory now. I've decided to join this company," said Moin. "I will find a place for you, I promise," Mamun stated.

Eriko, Daisuke and the rest of the team members were all very excited upon hearing the news. The courage that those words gave them was immeasurable. The very next day, the search for a new production base for Motherhouse began. 

I Was Lost, And In Pain

Even though the team members who worked with us before still remained, there was nothing Eriko and her team could do as they had no place to produce. If the situation dragged on any longer, people would definitely start quitting. Finding a new factory was essentially a race against time.

Eriko rode on the back of Moin's motorcycle and looked at all the places that had "Rent" signs labelled on them, while Mamun and her talked to an owner of a factory that Mamun knew, to negotiate with him if there was any way they could rent the space. All 3 of them ran all over Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in search for the new factory. 

Eventually, a friend of Mamun, who owned a shoe factory, agreed to lend the team a table for Motherhouse's production. It wasn't the cleanest or nicest environment, but it had already been a week since they lost their production base and they had no choice but to accept the help given to them.

"We can't make good products here."

As the team continued with production in the limited space, the staff became increasingly dissatisfied. Naturally, Eriko felt the same. Good manufacturing starts with a good environment. The production environment they were currently working in was a far cry from the values that Motherhouse held close to heart. It was clear that such an environment was not sustainable in the long run. It was around 2 weeks since the team started production in the new space and they were all reaching their limits. Then, good news arrived.


Continue on to Part 7.  

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