Henan Xuchang wig has a history of more than 100 years, we started the second outside shooting after that
Original Zheng Pengfei, Zhou Xueling, Yuanchuan’s research on going overseas
In mid-November, we started our second outside shoot and came to Xuchang, Henan, the capital of wigs in the world.
Xuchang wigs have a history of hundreds of years. Starting from purchasing raw materials more than a hundred years ago, Xuchang people took scissors to collect their hair, and some went to the mountains of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan to walk around the streets, collecting hair raw materials from all over the country to Xuchang and selling them to foreign traders. Later, foreign investment in Xuchang The factory was set up, and the processing link was gradually transferred.
At present, more than 300,000 people in Xuchang are engaged in the wig industry, supporting 70% of the world’s supply of human wigs. Every five black people wear a wig on the top of their heads from Xuchang.
But like many traditional manufacturing industries in China, Xuchang wigs are strong in production, but for many years they can only do OEM for foreign traders, without their own brand and bargaining power.
The wig company we visited this time was called Fuxin. At first, like other factories, it was the OEM at the bottom of the value chain. Later, they had the idea and attempt to go overseas and set up factories in Africa, but the business environment in Africa allowed them to see the price behind the blue ocean gold rush. In the history of Fuxin’s blood and tears.
Until a few years ago, the rise of cross-border e-commerce finally broke them. Through the online platform, they were able to avoid the problems of going to sea in the flesh, and also broke the monopoly of Korean traders in the US market for many years, directly reaching the US consumers with the strongest purchasing power, and opening a truly global brand management. .
Of course, in recent years, cross-border e-commerce platforms are also experiencing the same involution as domestic ones. The phenomenon of big sellers eating meat and small sellers drinking thin soup makes both old and new players think about other ways out. What is the biggest investment in cross-border e-commerce? What kind of business is suitable for different platforms? What are the difficulties of being an independent station? Fuxin has explored the answers to these questions through personal experience.
In addition, the global epidemic that has lasted for nearly two years has brought a lot of blow to Xuchang wigs, an industry with external raw materials and external markets. Raw materials cannot be ordered in containers and can only be returned to China by air. Overseas consumer demand for non-essential goods has plummeted with the economic downturn. And what kind of help can Fuxin’s previous brand management bring at this moment?
With these questions, we visited Fuxin’s warehouses, sample rooms and offices full of all kinds of wigs, and finally came to the workshop where the wigs were born. Sitting in the dry and bright air of the north, the founder, Ms. Wu Li, began to tell us the story of her 20 years with Fuxin, wigs, and the city.
▲Wu Li, founder of Fuxin Company (left)
I used to do foreign trade in Hong Kong. I came to Xuchang in 2003. At first glance, this is the distribution center of the wig industry. The supporting raw materials, talents, packaging, and chemicals are all here. At that time, the government was attracting investment, so I chose to set up a factory here and set up Fuxin.
At that time, Hong Kong capital rarely chose Xuchang, a third- and fourth-tier, inland city, and they all invested in Guangdong, especially Shenzhen. Now it seems that I am quite lucky. If I had gone to Guangdong like them, labor and office costs would have risen quickly. You can see that many clothing, shoes and hats, and electronics companies have to be transferred twice, but I can work in Xuchang for 20 years.
‘Wigs are a necessity for black people’
The biggest demand for wigs comes from black people, because black people are not born with long hair, and it will break soon after it grows.
When there were no wigs before, they had to rely on hair extensions. After shampooing, they couldn’t scratch or comb their hair. When it itched, they could only scratch their scalp with a small bamboo stick, which was very uncomfortable.
So later, they had a wig that was easy to put on and take off, which became a necessity for them. Everyone has several wigs at home at the same time. They like to wear wigs on Halloween, Christmas, and parties; even on the wedding day, they have to prepare a lot of wigs, just like we change into wedding dresses and Chinese cheongsams later.
Because there are 20 to 30 million black people in the United States, and their spending power is relatively high, the largest terminal consumer market in this industry is the United States; the second largest is Africa. Although African blacks have low spending power, they have a large population base.
“Korean immigrants have monopolized the American wig industry”
End consumers in the United States have to go through the following links when buying wigs: (beauty supply stores), traders, and foundries.
▲Typical, there are hairdressing products for black people such as clockwork, softening shampoo, etc.
When black people buy wigs, they have to go to a special place to buy them; while the beauty industry in the United States is basically monopolized by Korean immigrants, maybe it’s a national gene, just like we Chinese immigrants like to open restaurants overseas, and Indians like to open small hotels. (laugh);
These Korean-born bosses want to find traders to place orders, so they basically find Koreans out of habit, and finally Korean traders come to China to find foundries to place orders.
Therefore, at the beginning of this century, the most profitable sales and trade links in the wig market in the United States were held by Koreans, and Chinese wig companies were basically OEMs.
“Chinese factories have paid a lot of money to go overseas”
At the earliest, Fuxin also took orders for OEM production. Twenty years ago, how could there be an independent brand, let alone a brand going overseas.
I have been doing it for almost ten years. In 2013, I went to Africa to open a branch in South Africa and began to sell its own brands.
Why choose Africa instead of the United States? First of all, the American channel is in the hands of Koreans, and it is difficult for us to run sales by ourselves; secondly, it is easier to obtain visas and dispatch personnel in Africa, the cost of living is low, and the labor base is also large, so most of the factories’ brands go overseas. One stop will be Africa.
But to be honest, our Chinese factories have paid a lot of costs to go overseas. You need to adapt to local laws, taxes, social environment, etc. For Fuxin, the most prominent experience is three points: credibility, public security and exchange rate issues.
What you can usually see in domestic sales is the distribution model, that is, our brand owners distribute products to the various channels below, and wait for the distribution channels to collect money after a while, or it is also very convenient for us to go to collect the bills ourselves. But when this model arrived in African countries, it encountered many interesting wigs from people who were not reputable, and even took the goods and closed their doors . They even went all the way to collect the bills. If people died, bad debts would be indispensable.
In addition, social security is also far from the domestic gap. Gun control in Africa is very casual. As long as you have a gun license, you can buy guns on the street. In countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda, they are very close to Somali pirates, so the government army is full of mercenaries and trained elite soldiers. Strong general. After they were discharged from the army, they had no jobs, so they ganged up to engage in armed robbery.
A lot of Chinese people suffered huge losses over there, and were robbed at gunpoint in a big truck. My God, the entire warehouse was emptied for you overnight, and five or six million was gone. The local police station is not as efficient as in China. When they slowly finish writing the official documents, the robbers will not know where they are going, and we will bear the losses ourselves.
The third is that the exchange rate in Africa fluctuates greatly. You can see that the exchange rate of the RMB is very stable. It can change from 6.38 to 6.40 in one day. However, in Africa, it may rise or fall by 50% overnight. In 2015, the South African rand fell sharply. It’s a loss of millions in exchange.
“Cross-border e-commerce makes the Chinese cake bigger and bigger”
Of course, this is the traditional trade period in the past, that is, the factory sent the freight to the warehouse of the overseas company, and organized the sales in the overseas market.
After paying so many tuition fees, we switched the trading method and began to vigorously develop cross-border e-commerce.
What’s so good about cross-border e-commerce? First of all, the platform will help you collect the money before you ship it, and the funds are easy to turn around; then the settlement unit is US dollars, and the exchange rate is stable; the goods are sent directly from the domestic warehouse to the other party, avoiding the risk of being robbed. Therefore, the credibility, exchange rate and public security problems of going overseas have been solved by cross-border e-commerce.
However, this is still in terms of efficiency. The greater value of cross-border e-commerce is to help us break the monopoly of Koreans in the United States and cut into the high-profit US market.
The previous Korean owner needed to find a middleman, so he must be used to finding a Korean middleman, but now he can directly connect to the factory through the e-commerce platform, and they will directly ask us to place orders from Ali International Station.
Then the black consumers at the terminal don’t care whether you are from South Korea or China. What they care about is the cost performance, whether the fashion is high enough, and whether the consumption experience is good. Then there is no middleman price difference for our products. We can also answer their questions in real time on the platform. They want conditioners, combs and other little things for hair care, and we can also put them on the shelves immediately, making the experience very good.
So now, in the Ali International Station, Fuxin should be doing the best in Xuchang. The inquiry data in September and October ranks third in the country. At the same time, the cake of Korean middlemen is getting smaller and smaller, and the Chinese The cake is getting bigger and bigger.
“The cost of cross-border e-commerce is also high, and you can’t grab talent”
But don’t look at the fact that Fuxin is now a little brighter and more comfortable than its peers. The risks we took in the early stage were also huge. Traditional foundry, the production volume is based on the order, making a fortune to make a fortune, and the cost is very controllable; to make a brand, the energy and capital invested are huge, and there are too many uncertainties. Sometimes millions of dollars are spent. can not hear.
▲Fuxin Cross-border E-commerce Office
For example, if you rely on cross-border e-commerce to make a brand, you have to build a talent team, right? Cross-border e-commerce has very high requirements for talents. First of all, English is a threshold. Many of our English majors are CET-8 or CET-6, and the minimum is CET-4; secondly, you must have a certain understanding of foreign culture and consumption habits, be able to communicate with buyers, and have brand thinking skills; Finally, it is necessary to understand the platform rules of cross-border e-commerce.
It is difficult to grab relevant talents now. There are only two undergraduate colleges in Xuchang. There are not enough fresh graduates every year. Therefore, most of our e-commerce teams are recruited from Zhengzhou colleges and universities, or they have worked in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Shenzhen. Before the epidemic, Fuxin even invited black employees to do live broadcasts and videos in English, explaining how to care and wear our products.
At present, there are about 70 people in the team, most of whom are young people. They usually choose to settle in Zhengzhou. Therefore, Fuxin rented an office of nearly 1,000 square meters at the Greenland Twin Towers in Zhengzhou to work exclusively for the e-commerce team.
“Amazon, Alibaba, or an independent station?”
We currently only do Ali International Station and AliExpress. Many cross-border sellers choose Amazon, but Amazon has to send the goods to their overseas warehouses before they can get traffic support, and there are many types and styles of wigs. You can see that each type of hair piece and headgear has different lengths. , curl, color, so if you stock up overseas in advance, the inventory pressure will be great.
In the international station, when the customer places an order, our factory can decide the amount of dyeing and ironing according to the order, and send it to international logistics on the same day after the production is completed.
The international station is aimed at small B, customers like this; we have also opened several own-brand stores on AliExpress, which is a platform for C-end consumers. For the manufacturing industry, the B-end and the C-end must have both.
Of course, the channels should also be covered more. Third-party platforms are now very competitive. There used to be very few sellers and new buyers. As long as they can upload pictures and understand operations, they can basically sell goods. Now, like domestic e-commerce platforms, big sellers are getting bigger and bigger. , it is difficult for small sellers to survive. In addition, for long-term brands, the formation of private traffic can adapt to the future development of the Internet.
So we have also tried to be an independent station before.
However, this part is currently suspended, because the independent station needs a lot of money to invest in traffic at the beginning, but the traffic market is not as good as before.
In the past, it might be possible to take pictures of buyers’ shows or go to video websites to post some content, or ask Internet celebrities to bring goods to attract customers. In the early days of the country, there were many successful wig companies. There were three or four wig companies in Xuchang, which had reached a sales scale of 400 to 500 million yuan; Guangzhou even had an independent wig company with a sales volume of about 1 billion yuan.
But when Fuxin entered, none of these traditional play styles had the same effect as before. Now, you may have to use a large number of social networking sites, word-of-mouth communication, and live broadcast to bring goods, including the international version of Douyin.
But in this way, you have to have a team of talents who understand this? Do you need funds? long-term investment? So after the epidemic started, we put our survival as our top priority and suspended the independent station.
“This little thing, a worker can only hook one a day”
▲A bundle of hair raw materials worth nearly 10,000 yuan
The hair is harvested from Myanmar, India and the country. The hair quality in China is the best and the price is the highest, but unfortunately there are fewer and fewer girls with hair.
When the human hair is recovered, pretreatment is done first, and the dust and bacteria on the hair are washed away with potion, cleaned, disinfected, and dried to get bundles of clean hair.
▲The process of sending and making clockwork
These hairs are combed and patted with a grate and then divided into different grades according to their lengths, which are called “gang hair”. Most of them are rolled into hair curtains by a special sewing machine, and a small number of them are manually crocheted and woven on the lace hair net. If you have curly hair, wrap it in a steel tube with newspaper for high temperature styling.
Finally, according to the designer’s request, the hair curtain and lace hair net are sewn on the head cover, and a wig is made.
▲Hand hook steps
Among them, the most time-consuming part is to hook the lace hair block, a 4×4 (inch) square, each worker can only hook one out a day, which is a delicate job. So our orders are all sent out, and now most of them are in Bangladesh.
“Of course the epidemic has an impact, but it’s also a blessing in disguise”
So you can see that Xuchang wigs are currently a typical “two ends are outside”, the raw materials are imported from Myanmar and India, the market is in the United States, Africa, and even some processing is not in Xuchang.
As a result, the epidemic has had a great impact.
The first is transportation. In the past, our raw materials were shipped by sea. This year, the container flow was not smooth, and we couldn’t order a container even if we ordered a ship. We had to change it to air transportation. Slightly; the finished product is shipped by air, and the fuel price and labor cost are both rising. Before the epidemic, the shipping cost for 1 kilogram was around 40 yuan, and now it is almost 80 yuan.
The second is demand. Africa also closed cities last year and banned inter-provincial movement, resulting in a sharp drop in business activities. Therefore, after the epidemic hit, the African economy was very poor. During the blockade, some people starved to death, and they couldn’t take care of eating, drinking, and consuming wigs.
But Fuxin is actually a blessing in disguise. In the past two years, the epidemic has accelerated the development of cross-border e-commerce to a certain extent, and consumers have shifted more from offline to online consumption, so our situation is much better than that of traditional foreign trade companies. Many production lines in traditional foreign trade factories are half-open and half-stop. Although they have not filed for bankruptcy protection on the surface, they are actually half-idle.
In addition, Fuxin’s online sales are all its own brands, and the pricing power is in its own hands. As the cost increases, the price can also follow. As for the foundry that can only produce by order, the pressure is particularly great this year. The order is falling, the raw material and logistics costs are rising, and the price cannot be raised, and both sides are under pressure.
“Hair resources will be less and less, and we should develop towards luxury in the future”
So, through our example and other foreign trade factories, you will find that Fuxin and Xuchang wigs must take the road of integrating industry and trade, that is, to retain the manufacturing link and make breakthroughs in marketing.
Because if you don’t have a factory in your hand and you are only a middleman, you will be bypassed sooner or later, and you will lose the cake; if you master manufacturing, you will be sensitive to the prices of raw materials, labor costs, and labor costs, and you will have a cost advantage over your competitors. .
Then you can only market by yourself, you can have a clearer control over what styles and colors are popular, and know what products we will produce this year; even what some light custom customers need, we can immediately produce them for them.
Marketing also includes branding. In fact, as we are now doing international stations and AliExpress, sales are only a direct purpose. In the longer term, it is to establish consumers’ awareness of our brand through third-party channels; and independent stations are our own. Therefore, although Fuxin has suspended the independent station in the past, it will resume construction when it stabilizes next year, and realize our global brand awareness through the independent station.
In addition, on the material route, I am very optimistic about the track made by Xuchang people.
Human hair is a resource-based thing. In the past, domestic hair could not be used up, and now I have to go to India to buy it; Indian temples used to accumulate the hair of female believers for many years, but now the stock is getting less and less. Children love to dye and cut their hair short.
But black people’s demand for wigs will definitely exist for a long time, which is determined by physiological factors. Therefore, human wigs should develop in the direction of light luxury and luxury in the future, and take a small and refined route.
As for chemical fiber, chemical fiber can make many bright and interesting wigs , and can develop many styles, but it is not as light and smooth as human hair, and the cost is relatively low. This area has been occupied by Korean companies, and many factories have been opened in Indonesia and Bangladesh. China’s Rebecca also has more than 10,000 employees in the original silk factory in Bangladesh.
There are already so many big companies competing, we can’t put eggs on the rocks. Therefore, Fuxin’s positioning always adheres to human development, differentiated competition, and makes good use of Xuchang’s special advantages in human development professionals and supporting chemicals.
“Watching it grow from a seedling to a big tree, I feel really happy and amazing”
Many times I think I am very lucky. The first stop went directly to Xuchang, Henan, and I bet on its growth. Twenty years ago, Xuchang was still very remote. After 9 or 10 pm, there were no people and cars on the street. But after all these years, wow, it’s now full of traffic and brightly lit at night.
Not only Xuchang, but our entire country is also strong and its international status is improving. It used to be very troublesome to go abroad. For example, I wanted to visit the American market at that time, and I had to go to the United States several times for a visa. Now it is very easy to apply for a private visa to the United States.
Thanks to the support of the state, Xuchang wig industry has positioned Zhengzhou as a central city, engaged in airport construction, and engaged in Zheng-Xu integration. In the past, there were not so many international flights in Zhengzhou. Our products had to be shipped to Guangzhou by a transportation company, and then installed and exported from Guangzhou. The time cost and logistics cost were high.
Now Xuchang can drive to Zhengzhou in one hour, and UPS, DHL and FedEx in Zhengzhou Airport have their own special planes, which directly send international flights and can be delivered to buyers in 3-5 days.
I read a report before saying that one in every five black people in the world is wearing a wig made by us in Xuchang.
Once I went on a business trip to South Africa and ate at a restaurant on the border with Mozambique. I asked the waiter if you knew about (Fuxin’s brand), she said, well, they are all wearing; Las Vegas participated in the exhibition, and a customer came over at the exhibition and said that I often buy wigs in your online store. It was very kind to see you, and then he enthusiastically took a photo with us.
When I see them look so beautiful in their wigs and love our products so much, I’m so happy and proud, I feel like I’ve really provided them with something of value.
And for my employees. Many of our workers came from the countryside. When they first entered the industry, the average monthly salary of a worker was five or six hundred. Now it has increased tenfold. There is a young man who started at the grassroots level in 2003, and now he has become a manager. He gave birth to several children in Xuchang and bought several apartments. When I see employees settle down in the city and their children go to school in the surrounding area, I feel that they are amazing, providing employment opportunities for so many families (laughs).
When I look at this company, it grows like a sapling. After many years, I see it grow into a big tree. Wow, I feel very fulfilled. I feel that I belong to this industry and this place.
Author / Zhou Xueling, director, video production / Zheng Pengfei
General planning / Ultra Express
This is the 160th original content of Yuanchuan’s overseas research
Male wigs The realistic effect of wigs made by Tangfengcai Technology is more favored by hair friends Recently, several sets of pictures of men’s wigs have caused waves of hot topics on the Internet. The handsome hairstyle sets off the distorted face very well. Although the face is very rustic, the fashionable wigs instantly increase...
A college student in Shenyang mixed into a girl’s dormitory in the middle of the night, and the girl shouted “Show your face and show your face” On the morning of June 30, a student broke the news on the Internet that the female dormitory of Shenyang Aeronautics and Astronautics University… entered a “monster”! It...
You must be logged in to post a comment.