Reflections on our Journey: How we began, where we’ve been and where we hope to go...

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Over the last few months I have been forced to spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to explain exactly what Victoria Road does and where we are going. As I sat face to face with potential investors and design partners, I found myself struggling a bit to verbalize what seems like such a simple concept inside my head.

I began this journey five years ago without a clue as to what I was getting myself into. As is the case with most well-intentioned projects, my first goal was to help people – create opportunities, change the narrative, provide market access to artisans in emerging markets. Perhaps five years ago when this all began that was a novel idea but now when I read those words on the paper its seems very cliché. I try not to get hung up on all the money that I have spent on “mistakes” and the boxes and boxes of unsellable product runs (now sitting in the basement of my in-laws’ house) that were the result of learning on the fly. Instead, I have to focus on where we are today and where we want to take the company.

Perhaps five years ago when this all began that was a novel idea but now when I read those words on the paper its seems very cliché.


In my conversations with new designers and small businesses over the past five years, they all describe the same challenges when it comes to scaling their businesses – lack of access to capital, difficulties in sourcing consistent materials at reasonable price points, challenges related to small production runs, consistency and quality control issues and access to the global marketplace. These challenges are especially difficult to overcome for designers that are working directly with artisans to incorporate handwork into their designs.

It occurred to me that if these companies were able to outsource some of these headaches, they would have more time to focus on their designs and expanding their businesses. So we decided to build a supply chain network to provide solutions to these challenges. It turns out that in Pakistan there is an amazing amount of under-utilized capacity in the textile and garment manufacturing sectors if you know where to look and who to talk to. After many, many conversations with people that just didn’t understand our vision, I finally found a local partner that gets it and has the skill set to deliver. Mohtshim Jawaid has hit the ground running and he’s proven himself so dedicated to Victoria Road’s mission that we’ve made him our new Director of Logistics. Over the past several months, he’s been tirelessly developing our logistics capacity and supply chain network of mills, workshops, co-ops and factories, so that we can put our solutions into action.

One of the most encouraging observations I have made is the increased awareness among the facility owners that, while price is an important factor, the consumer also cares about the treatment of the workers making their product and the impact the process has on the environment.


Throughout this process, I have spent a lot of time in different textile mills and garment production facilities in Pakistan. The conditions and treatment of workers varies pretty significantly so it is important to me that our network only include facilities willing to adhere to our standards. One of the most encouraging observations I have made is the increased awareness among the facility owners that, while price is an important factor, the consumer also cares about the treatment of the workers making their product and the impact the process has on the environment.

So now that we have a solution for some of the production challenges, we are over-the-top excited to test it in a small pilot run later this summer…and we can’t wait to share the details with you, our friends and family.

By Shannon Grewer for Victoria Road

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