Chapter 12: Unquestioning Filial Piety 12
The responses towards the first shipment to the department store were excellent. This was within Jiang Liu’s expectation. Right now, many families are buying stuff in preparation for their children’s marriage. The series of items made by thatch were considered to be novel by most of them. What’s more, the price was also relatively lower than the other available products. Since it helped them to keep their budget, naturally, it got viral.
As for small trinket box and ornament, these types of things were popular among the ladies. Thus, most of it got sold out after some time.
Because of the first shipment’s success, the manager personally approached Jiang Liu to discuss the next shipment. The department store also decided to pay 30% of the deposit. Simultaneously, the manager also told Jiang Liu a piece of inside news that most people didn’t know off.
At the end of the year, the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee had been held. This meeting ended up with an announcement of a new policy that almost turned the current’s China upside down. The public commune was privatized, while the initial centralized policy had been localized. This had made the local leaders more sensitive with their political standing. In response to the call of the central government, many ground-breaking plans were proposed by them.
The leaders of the Tian Hong province where Jiang Liu situated at had decided to make a big move. They contacted the merchants of from fast-growing countries such as United States, Prussia and Japan to hold the first special product exchange conference in the provincial capital of Tian Hong. They intended to promote the local products to foreign businessmen during the exchange meeting. This was hopefully able to increase the foreign exchange as well as promoting the development of the local economy.
If this plan was made in Jiang Liu’s previous times, it was not considered as a bold action. However, in this era, this was indeed a daring move. Due to this, many provinces and cities around the Tian Hong province decided to take a step back as they tried to judge the attitude of the central leadership towards this audacious plan.
For the leaders of the Tian Hong province’s council, the success of this special product’s exchange conference would also determine the future career of these people. After more than a month, foreign businessmen will start to arrive at Tian Hong City. Because of this, the entire government body was busy handling this matter.
In order to welcome these foreign businessmen with the best product, the council invited all the craftsmen who had been suppressed during the Wen/Yi period to participate in the exhibition. As for the specialty from each province, the council had selected only the best in order to promote a successful trade with the foreign merchants. For this event, all province leaders were fully prepared for it.
Originally, this incident had nothing to do with Jiang Liu. It can be said that it was a lucky incident. The daughter of the City’s Leader had planned to get married soon. Because of that, the whole family had come to the department store to purchase the wedding supplies. At that time, the display of handmade products had attracted the leader’s eyes. He felt that the thatch handicraft was unique. At that time, he was suffering from the orders issued by the higher-up. It really can’t be helped since the city really did not have any special product that can be used to boost its reputation. Therefore, after seeing the thatch product, the leader thought of sending these goods to participate in the foreign exchange meeting.
But the leader also not sure if the foreigner will like this kind of rustic stuff. So he didn’t say anything about it. He just told the manager of the department store that he will reserve a booth for those craftsmen. Whether they wanted to go or not was up to their decision.
When Jiang Liu heard this news, he did not really put it in his mind. After all, to attend such an event, there were just too many things that need to be prepared. In addition to the aesthetic and the local differences between the foreigners, he still needs to ponder the types of products that will cater to their preferences.
For Jiang Liu, the benefits of this convention were not much. There were just too many things that need to be worried about. After all, even if he relied on the tuition fees for living, his income was already way more impressive. Hence, he never considered this event as a necessity. It took too much effort on his part.
Even though this matter was not important to Jiang Liu, however, for the team members, the benefits that come from expanding one’s market could be considered enormous.
In particular, the development of China in this era was much slower compared to other countries. Even if Jiang Liu was a small angry youth, he had to admit that China’s retail price was way too low. If he could help the people in his team display enough skill for the foreign merchants to accept, he can help these people sell five times to ten times the current price. With this, the profit will also be huge.
Jiang Liu ate the last berry in his pocket. He then licked the juice on his finger as he set the plan in his mind.
The people on the team found that Jiang Liu had changed recently. They didn’t know when he got a library card from the city library. But one day, he came back from the city library with a batch of books in his hand.
After the library’s reopening six months ago, a large number of new books had been published. This included many foreign books that were previously banned. Jiang Liu had been borrowing those kinds of books.
In addition to that, he also bought a radio. This was considered a big thing in the country. On that day, many folks came over to his house to listen to the radio, but they didn’t want to listen to these foreign stations. The words used were not something that everyone can understand.
But seeing Jiang Liu kept listening to those stations, the people on the team unanimously concluded that Jiang Liu was trying to learn the foreign languages.
They tried asking him why he suddenly decided to study foreign languages, but Jiang Liu kept quiet. He just told everyone that he would give them a surprise soon.
In fact, the so-called studying for foreign language was an illusion directed by Jiang Liu. As for Jiang Liu, he had already mastered simple English conversation in his last life.
This was also related to Jiang Liu’s small ambition. Previously, his dream was to be promoted from a small contractor to a big foreman. In his past life, he had lived in an international metropolis where there were also lots of foreigners living there. In particular, many architectural designs involved the participation of these foreign designers. Jiang Liu felt that if he can communicate in English, it will give him an added boost of competitiveness. So he will spend half an hour to one hour each day to learn English. Even though his accent was heavy, it was not a problem for him if it was a simple everyday communication.
In addition to paving the way for himself to display his ability to converse in English, Jiang Liu was also busy preparing the goods for the exchange meeting.
Soon, Tian Hong’s Special Product Exchange Conference began.
Jiang Liu brought a group of young people who were still flexible in their thinking to the convention. He planned to take these people to see the world. Jiang Liu felt that he probably would not stay in this small village in the future. Therefore, the future of the team still need to depend on these young people.
Before they arrived at the venue, Jiang Liu had already mentally prepared these young people. However, when they reached the trade fair and saw a bunch of blonde’s foreigners speaking words that they could not understand, these young people couldn’t help but reveal an astonishing look.
But it doesn’t matter, there was Jiang Liu with them.
Their exhibition tables were not large, but it was enough to put all the goods brought by them.
This time, Jiang Liu brought one type of merchandise. It was slipper made from thatch. Despite that, it comes with various variations in its details.
A group of foreign businessmen with a translator passed by this small booth. Originally they did not intend to stop. However, when the group’s head suddenly stopped at the booth, all the people behind him also halted.
That foreign businessman walked up to the front of the counter as he picked up a pair of straw slippers on the table. His hand was pointing at the small panda pattern that was also woven using the thatch.
The panda on each slipper was different from one to another. Most of them were still young cubs. They were either lying on their limbs or tumbling on the ground. There are were also bamboo images on the slipper. These vivid images instantly captured people’s hearts. When people see it, they can’t help but quiver and wishing to kiss the real thing.
Seeing the expression of the foreigner, Jiang Liu knew that his decision was correct.
In a few years, the national treasure, the giant panda, will become a diplomatic weapon for the Chinese nation. People can bring in a lot of foreign exchange income just to see these panda lying on their backs.
In addition to the giant pandas, a series of animal patterns woven on the slippers also included small foxes, raccoons, and other popular creatures of the later generations. Of course, to cater to another group of customers, in addition to these little things, there were also tigers and other types of beasts.
These patterns were tiny. It only occupied a small corner at the upper part of the slippers. Jiang Liu did not cover the whole slipper with the images since it will cheapen its value. If they don’t like the animal series, they can also choose any style from the Chinese classical graphic series or the plain series.
Jiang Liu was well prepared, and there was enough sample for all of them.
Seeing that the merchant liked the goods on the counter, the accompanying translator helped the businessman and Jiang Liu communicate. At that time, Jiang Liu stopped him as he took a step forward.
Jiang Liu first thanked the merchants for their praise. But his attitude was by no means humble. Even when he was grateful for the attention, he was not acting meek. A businessman praised his goods because his goods were really outstanding. It was worthy of such a compliment—just that.
After coming to China, this blonde businessman felt that the Chinese people were excessively self-effacing. These differences in cultural backgrounds had caused a gap in their personalities. For these foreigners, Jiang Liu was more like them.
In their view, excessive self-effacing behavior was an indication of their own distrust over their own goods. If they do not trust their own goods, how could they let others trust them?
“These slippers were all hand-woven. Each pair is a unique piece of art, and the materials of these slippers were derived from Mother Nature. Unlike the industrial smell that came from the thick and rigid of the plastic shoes, these shoes did not have a smell as it was woven using the natural resources. Using this made one feel closer to the earth. Stepping on means that your feet are touching the earth. This brought sublimation feeling to both body and mind.”
Even though Jiang Liu mouthed off his advertisement as fast as a train, he still unsure whether the foreigners at this time had already begun to protect nature or even understand the concept of animal protection. But this did not prevent him from bragging off. He only had these sandals to blow to the sky, and there was no such thing on the ground.
Those few young people who followed Jiang Liu heard him communicate with these foreigners in the same language. When they looked at Jiang Liu’s confident expression, they suddenly noticed the gap between themselves and Jiang Liu.
At this time, these young people had started to admire Jiang Liu to death. This had completely stripped his past image to scratch.
The foreign businessman who listened to Jiang Liu’s words could not help but take off his shoes and socks and then asked Jiang Liu to give him a pair of slippers so that he could try them.
To be honest, the ordinary thatch slipper was not comfortable to wear. But the slipper made by Jiang Liu was the improved models from the basic one. Even though the insole was made using the thatch, soft cotton clothes had been placed underneath to make it comfier to the wearer.
“Oh my god!”
It was unknown if it was due to the psychological effect or not. But this businessman felt that this pair of slippers were really comfortable. What’s more, it was also made from the most environmentally friendly grass. If one worn it, it was as if they can really blend with nature.
And because of the keen instinct as a merchant, he was optimistic about the sales of these handmade products in his country. Therefore he immediately decided to place an order and bring these beautiful things back to his country.
Then the two sides began their battle on the price of the slippers and finally ended up with a price of 8.5 US dollars.
Now the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Renminbi was 1.4987 to 1, which means that he sold the common thatch slippers that can be found around china at around 12.7 yuans.
Jiang Liu did not feel any loss. In the late 1970s, the per capita income of the United States in the early 1980s had reached 20,000 US dollars. As for the per capita wages of China in this era, it barely reached 350 yuan.
It should be noted that the latter was the average wage. Nevertheless, the majority of farmers in China do not even fall within the average range.
The other side asked for a thousand pairs of thatch shoes. They also set a style and gave him a deposit of 30% of the total sales. After they left, the young people who followed Jiang Liu finally had the courage to ask him how much their shoes were sold.
They thought that, if they could sell it for two yuan, they would be very satisfied.
When Jiang Liu told them the result of the discussion, these several young people were completely paralyzed.
12 yuans and 7 jiaos just for this slipper? They were unsure whether those foreigners who are crazy or whether Jiang Liu’s mouth was too slick that they can rely on his mouth to sell a stone with the price of gold.
Anyway, these young people were too excited, knowing that those foreigners regarded their slippers as something rare. They already imagined that when the slippers were finally being sold, they will have money to go to the city to buy fashionable plastic or leather shoes.
This will be the first pair of shoes in their life except for the usual thatch sandals, and it was all thanks to Jiang Liu!
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