In China’s children’s clothing town of Zhili, a children’s clothing from the design into a physical product, only 3 hours, the efficiency of each link in the industry chain, can be accurate to the unit of seconds. On average, for every 2 pieces of children’s clothing sold worldwide, 1 piece comes from Zhili.
Here there are more than 20,000 small and large enterprises engaged in the children’s clothing industry, from the source of fabric weaving and dyeing, design, and layout, to production, quality control, to logistics standards, packaging, and distribution, you can think of any part of the industry chain, can be within a kilometer around together.
Every year, thousands of “outsiders” flock to Zhili town, they create a new wealth creation myth, but also some people sadly exit, silk and looms everywhere under the land of Zhili town, buried countless joy, heartache, ambition, resignation, and tears.
1.Industry coming out of the flat street
Zhili town is part of Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, and was called “Zhili town” in 1465-1487 “Huzhou Prefectural Records” because of the flourishing silk weaving industry in Zhili town, where every household had an embroidery machine, hence the name.
This land has always had a strong commercial atmosphere. During the Ming Dynasty, Zhili town was the center of book publishing in the country, with a large number of merchants and people, and a very active commodity economy.
At the beginning of the reform and opening up, farmers in Zhili town would use a stretcher every day to carry a large bag, the family sewing embroidered pillowcase, children’s bibs, and other small goods to the roadside stalls, this street is also called “stretcher street” by the locals.
After more than 40 years of changes, today’s Zhili town annual gross domestic product reached 32.75 billion, for many years in the national comprehensive strength of the top 100 towns, the first eight months of this year, the town’s total sales of children’s clothing over 41 billion yuan, an increase of 15.1%. The same children’s clothing city of Foshan, Guangdong, relying on the geopolitical convenience of the Canton Fair and a well-developed industrial base, has been secretly fighting with Zhili town, the two southern cities also “share” more than 90% of China’s children’s clothing industry.
Behind the title of “China’s leading children’s clothing town” is the hard work of countless Zhili town children’s clothing enterprises day in and day out.
Shen Dongping, 35, is a native of Zhili town, his parents are the first generation of local people who started their own clothing business in small workshops in Zhili town, he is now considered the “second generation of Zhili town”.
Every day at 10 a.m., he drives from his home in the city, and if there is no traffic, it takes him half an hour to get to the factory in Zhili town.
He and his wife both work in the factory, his desk is the dominant “alien” triple screen, belongs to the straight men only understand the sexy, with a gold brand-name lighter at hand, Shen Dongping will be fiddling with it from time to time. Opposite the desk, there is a whole wood carved root tea table, used to entertain customers and friends.
Talking about his father’s business, Shen Dongping pondered for a while, “It probably starts with the reform and opening up.
In 1978, the people of Zhili town, represented by the villagers of Rolling Village, started to produce embroideries in the form of family workshops, going as far east as Shanghai and as far north as Wuxi, just like the booksellers’ shipping a hundred years ago, and began to travel south and north to do business, only this time, Zhili town went further.
Two years later, the village hall had been transformed into a small marketplace, and in 1983, the bridge, now a vacant lot due to demolition and renovation, was another lively scene back then, with people from the nearby Zhili town carrying stretcher loads of embroidered pillowcases and children’s belly pockets made in their own small workshops to the roadside to set up their stalls, which locals simply called “Stretcher Street The local people simply call it “Biantian Street”, just like a prosperous scene of Qingming Shanghai. Seeing the booming industry, the Zhili town government used fiberglass tiles to build 36 simple sheds on Bian Tan Street to support the people’s spontaneous trade.
Shen Dongping’s parents were also a member of the shed at this time. Huzhou was one of the origins of silk, cashmere, and other fabrics, by the convenience of the industry chain, but also by their own hand’s hard work, no more trade secrets in the middle, Shen Dongping’s parents a stretcher, “pick” out of the Shen family several sets of houses.
As the first “business” Zhili town people, Shen Dongping’s parents and other Zhili town people slowly found that the original cold children’s clothing gradually into the hot sequence, the subsequent decade, more and more Zhili town people into the children’s clothing industry, the 36 sheds, can no longer accommodate them, Zhili town children’s clothing this tree, has grown.
2.Hustle and bustle
In 1996, covering an area of 75,000 square meters, with 900 stores of the official opening of the Children’s Clothing City ribbon-cutting, but the merchants are not ideal, less than 20%. Old merchants can not leave the shed, the more important reason is that children’s clothing city 4.5 kilometers from the city, the population is sparse, not to mention the flow of customers.
However, the form of the flat street has restricted the development of industry, the following year, the government officially classified the flat street as a no-sale zone, the children’s clothing city store rent down to 70% of the original old store, store area is twice the original, in order to attract merchants to move in. In less than a year, all 900 stores were rented out, and the number of stores increased to 1200, at which point the progress bar of Zhili town fairy tale began to enter the next chapter.
After entering the 2000s, with the scale and specialization of the industry, Zhili town children’s clothing engaged in wholesale, OEM, and OEM brand ushered in the wind of e-commerce, through the e-commerce platform, wholesalers more easily find Zhili town factories.
In 2010, the then 24-year-old Shen Dongping also crossed into Zhili town children’s clothing circle, from the beginning of e-commerce, no parental help, only the inculcation of the family, growing up watching his parents do business Shen Dongping, familiar with all the processes of the children’s clothing industry, “the threshold is very low, anyone can do”, he jumped into the children’s clothing circle is also very simple, because here people either sell children’s clothing or do with children’s clothing-related industries, “almost everyone is doing”, in Zhili town, you can find suppliers to do all the needs of children’s clothing.
Shen Dongping’s words insinuate another layer of meaning is Zhili town children’s clothing circle of strange phenomena. Every year, the Zhili town industrial zone attracted countless gold diggers, which also led to Zhili town labor costs and accommodation costs are high, everywhere you can see luxury cars, an ordinary turner’s salary is basically 10,000 yuan to start, many factories because they can not afford the labor costs and “flee”, run to open the processing of foreign The price of local yarn is higher than that of many first-tier cities, and there are not a few people who close down every year because of poor operation.
In the second year of Shen Dongping’s store, he also closed down.
After Shen Dongping and his 11-year-old brother split up and got part of the family fortune left by his parents, he stayed at home for seven years, “those years is idle. Until 2018, Shen Dongping organized mood to start a business again, registered a new store online “Shen family e-commerce”, “because the money spent almost”, Shen Dongping is not shy to talk about the former embarrassment and immaturity, in his view, failure is more like vitamin In his opinion, the failure is more like his life robbery.
“Zhili town rarely have more than ten years of business, at least not around me”, Shen Dongping factory downstairs of a company, in the first half of this year to make 200 million yuan of live sales, but recently began to empty the transfer, and some of his friends, some of the first years can do 10 million, the second year will be for various reasons, sales fell off a cliff, “most of them can not bear at once, from then on the will to sink”.
In Zhili town, such a story, Shen Dongping has seen too much since childhood, and he started over but 3 years, he himself would not be surprised if he fell tomorrow, in the face of failure, “some people will always be depressed, will start over again, has been a great courage”. They can’t figure out why others succeed, and they don’t know why they fail, and vice versa.
3.Old and new converge
Shen Dongping’s office is next to the production workshop, the workers on the sewing machine in the workshop are mostly men. A small LED electronic clock hangs at the entrance of the office area, and the seconds on it keep jumping. He said the factory’s production is timed by the second, and it only takes three hours for a garment to go from drawing to finished product.
The left is the newly opened glass room live room, invited the anchor will broadcast a few hours every day, a day can sell a five thousand dollars, Shen Dongping do is the wholesale of children’s clothing categories, looking for his orders are online stores and some offline children’s clothing stores, for live retail, he felt that “there is okay”.
Zhili town there is no shortage of children’s clothing merchants like Shen Dongping to do a full range of products, but as he said, most of the merchants here are like warm water frogs, relying on the inertia of the industrial belt in business, Huzhou people’s bones “a delay” trait makes them lack of wolfishness in the business world.
These years, the apparel industry development can be described as rapidly changing, warm water frog, gradually becoming a spring river water duck, the market demand is constantly forcing the upgrade of the industry belt. In the field of children’s clothing, there are more and more subdivided tracks, in classification of school uniforms, Zhili town has “eaten” 90% of the national share, one of the leaders of Guohao clothing, is “one of the few” in Zhili One of the leaders, Guohao Clothing, is one of the “few” companies that have survived in Zhili town for more than 10 years.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the founder of Guohao apparel has been laying goods in the country’s supermarkets. With the rise of online shopping, the supermarket channel gradually felt declining, so in 2011, Guohao hired the sales director who has been in Weili for 10 years, but Haibo, who is also responsible for the operation of the e-commerce department, and in a few years, Guohao has developed from an annual turnover of ten million to two hundred million this year.
Guohao is a pioneer in integrating western suits and JK uniforms into school uniform design. We are the ‘public designer’ of the school uniform street, and many parents who come to group purchase school uniforms will ask if our uniforms can be made in adult models. “, Guohao, who missed drafting the school uniform standard, is currently one of the companies drafting the standard for school uniform shoes.
Zhao Wei, who also started out by design, came to Zhili town from Yiwu with a short video of his daughter in a lo dress and is one of the gold diggers who, in the words of Shen Dongping, “bring new people to Zhili every year. In Zhili town 3 years, Zhao Wei’s sales from 5 million to 20 million this year, from the initial Lo skirt children’s clothing to the current children’s trendy clothing full category.
The new gold diggers, like an alien species, are quietly changing the ecology of children’s clothing in Zhili town. In addition to seeing children’s clothing as a business, the new entrants have a sharper sense of consumer needs.
“For example, we design one-piece pants, will take into account the child’s inconvenience to go to the toilet, specially added a hidden zipper, although it will increase several processes, the cost is also much higher, but it can be perceived by the user, but few eager peers imitate.”
Attention to detail is perhaps the common denominator of every successful person in Zhili town. Now Shen Dongping sales of about 50 million a year, he does not want to do more big, “and then I can not control, have more ability to do more things”, but he still do everything, every day Shen Dongping will check the data, he does not take a great demand for customers, this is his little trick to control the risk. “Many people who fail are making money and then ignore the factory”, there are many reasons for failure, “but in the end, you can only blame yourself, no other factors can be blamed”.
Zhili town has been bustling for forty years, some people have made quick money, some have landed and taken root, and more people have been pushed out by the waves. But the Zhili town people who once came out of Bian Tan Street, and the new Zhili town people who just came here, give Zhili town some “new weave” it.