Chinese "Bee Queen" Alia's entrepreneurial history

2020-06-03 08:49 | Readtime: 8min


   She is going to be China's "Bee Queen"

   27 years old, graduated from Cambridge University in 2006 with a major in economics. First engaged in the operation of sustainable development projects in Africa. In 2008, Shangri-La Farm was established in Yunnan to produce pure natural honey. Shangri-La Farm helps farmers install beehives and pack and sell honey. She firmly believes that "commerce is a powerful weapon to deal with poverty."

  Business Tips: Honey

  She likes honey, or making honey tea, or spreading honey on bread. Sometimes, she even scoops and eats directly with a spoon. The honey comes either from its own Shangri-La farm or from New Zealand and Iran.

   "Every day, I have to drink honey produced by competitors." Alia Malik said with a smile. She wore a blue jumpsuit and was clean and neat. Although she had long curly hair, she still felt cool. "I am interested in things that are good for the body. Honey is not only healthy, but also delicious."

   Hope to help women get rich

   Shangri-La Farm is a project of Aaliyah in China. Since last year, she has started to cooperate with local farmers to keep bees. When the spring flowers are blooming, she will go to Shangri-La and nearby places. She will go 3 to 5 times a year and stay for one month each time.

  Father is a Pakistani and mother is an American, doing sustainable development projects in Yunnan. In 2006, after graduating from Cambridge University with a master's degree in economics, Aaliyah first went to Africa to do a sustainable business project. After following her mother's trip to Yunnan, she fell in love with it.

   "That's a natural place, with mountains, water, and flowers." Aaliya feels that if honey is produced there, the brand is easier to promote. Before this, there were also local beekeepers at low altitudes, but not extensively.

   "They have doubts in their eyes and are very excited. Because they can make money." When they first introduced the beekeeping project to the farmers, the mountain people here were a bit hesitant, but not as closed as she had imagined before. "They watch TV and know that many people outside the mountain are making money. They are also eager to make money."

   Subsequently, her plan was answered, and government agencies and beekeeping experts joined her to introduce the knowledge of beekeeping to the local mountain people. "I don't know anything about technology myself. I have cooperated with local universities to solve technical problems." And her role is to bring together many resources.

   African work experience makes her more pragmatic plan. In 2008, she set up 20 beehives in a village. During the harvest season, she was very excited to see farmers producing honey from the materials they provided. "Before many middlemen, buying things in mountain villages has lowered prices. I hope to give farmers a good price and a fair deal."

   came to Yunnan, she called her entrepreneurship "the right place and the right people." The local government encourages the development of the economy without damaging the environment. "We need a company like ours to promote cooperation with local farmers."

   She especially hopes to help local women. Before she passed, local women would pick mushrooms to sell money, and now make honey, not only do not have to leave the house, but also can quickly exchange cash. She had not thought about whether the difficulty of starting a woman's business was greater or lesser. "I think it's easier for women to gain trust because it's not so much for money to start a business."

   "Is it profitable?" the reporter asked. "Oh, not yet." At present, the best result seems to be that the investment money can be recovered in 2010, and profitability began in 2011. She did not disclose how much money she invested. She only hopes that her money and time will be equal to her income. "Of course, I know this is a process."

   will not give up entrepreneurship

  In an unfamiliar country, dealing with farmers at the lowest level, but doing business all over the world. She knew that there were some difficulties she couldn't think of and couldn't grasp.

   For example, if the world price of honey is lowered, your own price must be lowered. Another example is the issue of environmental protection. In the West, there have been incidents of bee colonies escaping because of pesticides. There are also risks. "We can develop a lot of farmers beekeeping, they are also working very hard, have the consciousness of the protagonist. But there is a problem, who will take risks for them? This is a problem." Alia said.

   Her farm is still in the development stage. She hoped that her steps would be steady. This year, she piloted honey in two villages, each with 100 beehives. But local authorities hope to make honey in 100 villages within a few years. "Too aggressive plans are not very good." Alia shook her head.

   There are even some minor problems. For example, is honey packaged in glass or plastic? The former is environmentally friendly, but fragile, the latter is simple, but not environmentally friendly. "Which one is better. I have no conclusion."

   "If you can't keep going, will you give up?" the reporter asked.

   "If these things happen, it would be too tragic. But I will not give up the path of starting a business."

   Her steps are that the most important thing at present is to manage the people who provide honey, and to ensure natural and pure honey. Then, she needs to perfect the distribution channel. "At the beginning, it was sold to foreigners first. The price of Shangri-La honey is slightly higher than domestic, but lower than the international price. It is still competitive. Later it will be sold to domestic organic food stores.

  Alia's goal is to sell her products to middle-class people in Chinese cities from 2010 to 2011. She still has a big dream, and she feels "arrogant" when she wants to come-hoping that in the honey-rich region of China, every household has her 10 beehives to provide honey to her farm.

   friends around her commented on her: creativity, social responsibility, and determination. The reporter smiled and said that people with so many advantages, "will become a masterpiece later."

  Speaking Chinese proficiently, she tilted her head back and laughed.

   Qiao Wanshan

   Harvard Girl's Yak Empire

   27 years old, graduated from Harvard University. Founded Shokay Company in 2006, specializing in the production of household apparel and children's apparel using yak fiber. Her company directly purchased yak fibers from herders in remote areas and hired female weavers in the countryside. She hopes that Shokay can lead “a luxury style with both exoticism and social responsibility”.

  Business Tips: Yak.

  Qiao Wanshan surprised Yang Lan, chairman of Sun Media Group: You have actually been very successful, and still come to participate in the entrepreneurial competition?

  Qiao Wanshan's folding business card reads: Shokay, the world's first creative store for yak life. Born in the United States, returned to Taiwan in China at the age of seven, then went to the United States to study, started a business in mainland China, and is currently the CEO of Shokay Corporation. This is Qiao Wanshan's current life footprint.

   What worries her most now is how to recognize something that is not recognized by the world. Many times, she patiently introduces the origin of "yak down" to her customers. But after listening to the other party, he touched the warm clothes in his hand and asked in surprise: Is this cut from the sheep?

  Although yak is said to be "all treasures," few people realize the value of yak down. It has a rough feel and a single color. This is the impression of some people on yak down clothing. In foreign countries, people know almost nothing about yak down.

   "80% of yak down is produced in China, and it must be China that drives this industry." Qiao Wanshan said. Another subtext of this sentence is that 28-year-old Qiao Wanshan leads the industry in China.

   "Things to do MADE IN CHINA"

   In 2006, Qiao Wanshan, who was studying public management and international development at Harvard University, spent six weeks with his classmates to visit Yunnan. There, she saw the yak for the first time. "There are 140 million yaks in the world, most of them in China." Later, she saw a sentence published in a book published by the United Nations: "The hair on the yak is very soft and comparable to wool."

   If so, why can't you see it in the market? During the survey, she found that domestic textile manufacturers are not good at product development, basically what the foreign market needs, manufacturers do what they need. "But foreign designers don't know that China has yak velvet material, and of course there will be no orders."

  Qiao Wanshan decided to give it a try.

   She has been trying since childhood. For example, when ordering something in a restaurant, many people love to order something. But she ordered different foods every time, and she wanted to taste every taste. "I am Gemini and like to try."

   After the inspection, she gradually determined her direction: use yak cashmere to make clothes and accessories, and create her own brand. "I have nothing but ideas and brands. If we sell raw materials, we have no advantage, we are not vendors. We also don't have our own factories, we must cooperate with processing plants.

   Yak's English is Yak. In English, this word also means "rap, nonsense". Obviously, this word is not suitable for branding. So, there was Shokay.

  A friend suggested to her that since you want to make a luxury brand, you should put the last manufacturing step in Italy, so that you can mark the MADE IN ITALY logo. "But we just want to do MADE IN CHINA. We will not violate our ideals."

   "Leading Yak out of Harvard"

   Now Shokay's brand LOGO is a silhouette of a yak with a traditional Chinese knot pattern on its back.



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