I arrived in Semarang on the middle, north shore of Java. I have been waiting to get to this part of the world for a very long time, and I was extremely excited to meet up with a group of guys that where here for work. Dustin and his company POW make snowboard / ski gloves and dabble in golf gloves. The factory is near the city of Semarang and I was here to meet up with the crew for a factory visit.
I have heard mixed things about Java. One take on the island says that it is mostly Muslim and can be dangerous. I think this as a skewed western view, but I went into the trip cautious. I was glad that I was traveling with a guy that has been to this part of the world many times and knew his way around the area and the culture very well. Java ended up as one of the most enjoyable places and people I have met on my journey. Most everyone we met was friendly and the island itself is amazingly beautiful and lush.
I landed at about 7:30 and caught a cab to the hotel that Dustin lined up. I missed the crew by about 10 minutes for dinner, and ended up waiting for them in the lobby for an hour or so while they finished eating with the factory owner.
This was the first time I met Dustin, after numerous phone calls and countless emails. We have talked about me becoming a consultant on the production side of the biz for a while, and this was a first step to setting an agreement up.
I was also meeting up with a great old friend, John Kaiser who I worked with almost ten years back at Windell’s Snowboard Camp. He has been working for POW gloves the past few years and has been my connection to the company.
The next morning we headed to the factory. I have been to a few footwear factories, supplier factories like a leather tannery, mold shops, and textile mills. This glove factory was really impressive. The amount of pattern pieces and steps it takes to assemble a glove is mind twisting. Just look at all the sewing stations! Oh and dad, I got to see golf gloves being made. The good ones are made from goat skin, which may be the softest material I have ever touched.
Any one that has ever been on a product development trip knows this room, this look, and the humidity that sticks to everything.
After the glove factory we drove about 4 hours into the heart of the island to meet up with Dustin’s brother who runs a wood mill and plywood substitute manufacturing. This was a pretty cool place to see. The company grows the trees, which are like Balsa trees and the wood is very light. This area has the most fertile soil in the world and a tree can grow to 90 feet in 7 years and can be harvested at that point. The wood is milled, glued into sheets and is sold as coring for cabinets or surfaced with hardwood veneer and sold as furniture grade “plywood”.
The next day we headed to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
After an epic day at Borobudur we headed back to Dustin’s brothers house and hung out for a few hours. In the morning we got a round in at a beautiful course near Borobudur and along the volcano that is the main geographical feature in the area. Unfortunately it was cloudy and we couldn’t see the mountain. It also down poured on us halfway through the round.
Back to Bali for a wedding!