I was born in a small fishing village along South China Sea in Southern China. My parents, owning a small clothing shop in our small town, worked 363 days out of 365 every year, hence, most of my time was spent in the clothing market since nobody took care of me at home.
Life was not easy with hard working, frugal parents who always got up at 5am to set up clothing stand as morning markets in the countryside started at the first morning light.
My knowledge about clothing grew as I listened to my mum explain to the customers composition of the fabrics, accessories, what kind of fabrics was more sweat-absorbent as the summer heat around the coast could get really horrendous in summer, what kind of fabrics was water proof…Every now and then, my mum had no way but to bring me along to clothes wholesale markets, china clothes factories where she got the clothes from.
Even the family runs a small business, when I was little I was never able to get any toys with penny-saving poor parents, so one day I decided to help myself. In the 90’s business was so good in the countryside that people rushed to buy especially before Chinese New Year. I was left to attend to some simply stuffs like underwear. The price was set at RMB￥2.5 per piece, occasionally I sold at￥3 to people from neighboring towns and the rest￥0.5 went into my pocket, back home I hided secretly under my bed sheet. I was like walking in the air with my growing wealth. However, it didn’t last long till my mum found out my little trick. I didn’t get any praise for my street smart, instead, my hard-accumulated wealth was confisticated and it turnt out to be a lesson learnt in a shameful way. Sustainable businesses in a small neighborhood comes from constant support of the community, there’s no space for being dishonest.
Later on, our family has endured lots of difficult time and it’s the community’s frequent patron/support of the business that we managed to pay off the hefty hospital bills.