One of the first people I went to for the manufacturing overseas topic was bag designer Roanne Jacobson, who I knew had been inspired to start making her collections in Indonesia (Bali) when she was there on honeymoon and was very impressed by the workmanship she saw. Nothing like a busman's holiday. Her new husband was probably less than impressed but ten years on the partnership with the Indonesian manufacturers is strong and something Jacobson is very proud of.

Reading the stories of NZ businesses and their manufacturing partners - they really are pioneers in their fields, bravely just doing it when they really don't know how the relationship will work out. As Jacobson says she communicates in pidgin English and lots of drawings.

Paula Wallace, from Wallace Cotton says fortunately wherever you are from, everyone speaks the language of textiles, which is a good way of putting it.

Another company keen on good cotton, is Wellington designer label KowTow. Gosia Pi?tek has stuck to her guns and will only deal with fair trade manufacturers - she is happy because the staff have work conditions most Western workers take for granted.


Make no mistake, this is hard work. Jo Eddington, of Coastal Design Co, is, as we speak spending her nights talking to her manufacturers in Asia for this season's furniture collection.

Shoemaker, Rebecca Anderson, who speak to her factories in China up to ten times a day, says don't rush into an agreement with an overseas factory - it can take over a year to find the right contact.

And don't miss the expert commentary from Blunt Umbrella's Scott Kington who were lucky enough to discover a luxury umbrella factory in a province of China. They are also lucky enough to be able to afford a contracted on-site quality assurance person and they make lots of visits.

Next week: Many small businessses are extremely proud of their company culture and it's something they establish very early on. But what happens when your company gets bigger and the boss gets spread ever thinner. How do you protect and continue to nurture that small business culture?