This is video from a visit to the Ko Lanka weaving factory near Kandy. It’s a very cool space, all old-school machinery and spinning things and bright colors. I visited there with BizPact because Ko Lanka is one Sri Lankan business looking to expand. Specifically, they’re looking for investment to set up their own dyeing plant. Of all the places we visited it was one of the more developed businesses, already exporting silk garments and selling handlooms here and abroad. There are, I would say, a lot of people involved in the garment industry in Sri Lanka. There are industrial plants making underwear (and millions of dollars) but also smaller operations making outer clothes, and money. More importantly, they create jobs.
I’d never been to a weaving factory before. It’s a lovely, clicking place. The women there (and the employees seem to all be women) are working very hard and I suppose the fun wears off, but they’re making beautiful stuff with elegant machines. There’s the yarn for one thing, which needs to be dyed and wound and knots gotten out. Then it’s strung onto looms and woven, with a lot of tricep action. What comes out is beautiful cloth which make nice aunty shirts (sorry) and sarongs and things. There are larger operations like Ko Lanka (and Barefoot) but we also visited a small annex operation (called Stitches) that still managed to supply places in Colombo. These are not huge operations, but they produce quality stuff and they can be (and are) profitable.
Ko Lanka is run by a Mr. Balanathan and was founded by his late wife. They’ve been in business since 1989 producing silk and other textiles. They sell stuff at LePoz, right next to Barefoot on Galle Road. I must say that some of the stuff in the front looks the same, which is strange because the product lines (especially in regards to silk) are actually different. The company is running and profitable but they see demand with the end of the war and they want to expand. Specifically, they want to dye their own yarn instead of importing it. With their own plant they can produce better stuff and save money and increase revenue.
The fixed cost for scaling up their operations is estimated at Rs. 21,700,000 (about $200,000). This includes a dyeing plant, new handlooms and a new retail outlet in the east. What they’re looking for is an investor or partner that wants in. Personally, I think it’s one of the more established businesses I saw, and it’s also really cool. It creates jobs and makes beautiful stuff, as well as making money. There is some limited info about the business proposal on the BizPact site as well as a contact form if you or anyone you know is interested in that bit.
Regardless, it makes for some interesting photos and video and is cool to see. The video above is set to ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba (Beloved, Beloved)’ by Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhosle. The photos below are set to whatever you want.