A British Lady’s Efforts to Protect ICHs of Ethnic Groups in China

Authors: Go Chengdu

2017-06-21

There are thousands of delicate handcraft works with exquisite craftsmanship sold in Blue Sheep, including leather carving, knitwear, accessories, woodcarving and paintings by the disabled or poor artisans, some of whom are natural disaster sufferers or are poverty-stricken and from ethnic groups.
Basing on Chengdu Market and Gradually Going Global
When buying the handicraft works from the producers, Rachel is so generous that she never bargains with them. In the three years since the shop was open, it did not make large profits but the business has gradually become better. As a social business, the company has been developing its business model, and Rachel hopes to give 50% of her revenue back to the society.
Many handicapped people tell Rachel what they want is a job rather than financial aid. "People can achieve self-fulfillment and self-esteem from their jobs, and feel that they are part of the society. Living on financial aid is not sustainable," she explained.
Rachel is optimistic about Chengdu's cultural development and the local market. With a long history and rich culture, the city is abundant in intangible cultural heritage items. She is most impressed with the traditional skills and production methods of Shu Embroidery, Shu Brocade, Bamboo-Woven Ware and palm plaiting articles, Lacquer Art and Silver Filigree Ware.
During Chengdu's process of building itself to be a national major city in China, more and more Chengduers become tasteful and have a better understanding of the value of arts and crafts, and would like to spend money on them to help those in need. As the city becomes more international, the shop is now frequented by many foreign guests and often makes presence at some international events in the city, such as the annual Holiday Bazaar.
On the other hand, as the city is becoming a comprehensive transportation hub in central and western China, Chengdu is expanding its exports of traditional handicrafts, and some products have been sold to the Netherlands, the UK, the US, Australia and Switzerland. Rachel hopes to work with relevant local government departments and non-profit organizations, to further expand the market reach.
Home is Where I Hang My Hat
Rachel's hometown Salisbury is a small town located in southern England. She only returns it for a short time once a year. Having worked in many countries around the world for over 40 years, she called herself a wanderer. "Home is where I hang my hat." When asked about whether she would go back to the UK after retiring, she said firmly, " I hate to retire. I have to do something meaningful for these people. "
Having helped many families in need, the "homeless" lady hopes that Blue Sheep can grow continuously and become a real sustainable sales platform to help poor people sustainedly.
Rachel's Advice for Business Starters:
When thinking about what products to sell, you need to target accurately the specific market of your products and research in depth the potential customers, to make sure your products can cater to the needs of your end users.
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