Not being able to reach ANYONE for two hours in the middle of a working day almost discouraged me from working with Portuguese suppliers. Where was everybody? I decided to check for myself and got on the plane to Porto.
I had appointments with around twenty different factories owners before selecting those we were going to work with. As I suspected those meetings were never set between 12.30 and 14:30. I'd have to drive back to my hotel where I’d wait impatiently thinking of how here in Norway we quickly eat a couple of knekkebrød, drink a glass of milk og vips back to work.
Until one day, when, after signing a contract for the Alabaster bed linen collection, I was invited to join the staff for lunch. Some workers and their bosses go to nice local restaurants but most of them actually drive home and sit down for a proper warm lunch every day with their families.
What happens during that break is that delicious, warm, nutritious home-made food is eaten by people who take time to deeply connect with each other.
Portugal, like other southern European countries, is very family-oriented. It may not be as efficient but people discuss in a pleasant context and it makes them happy. When times are tough, they help each other. Now isn’t that a small blessing?