Mountaineering Entrepreneuse

March 29, 2010
Editor: huangjuan

Wang Jing [file photo]

Co-founder of the Beijing Toread Camping Equipment Co., Ltd., Wang Jing is one of China's select few women mountaineers. She sets down all her climbing exploits on her blog, which is staple reading among Beijing's outdoor enthusiasts. Wang personally hand-stitched the first Toread tent and also designed the company logo. It took ten years of hard work to establish Toread as Beijing's premier outdoor products company.

Start as You Mean to Go On

Wang Jing and her husband Sheng Faqiang are synonymous with the Toread brand. It was their common passion for the outdoors that brought them together. Dates when they first began seeing one another consisted of visits to clients and exploring potential markets for their products. Although Wang says Sheng was not at all romantic during their courtship, his single-mindedness, sense of responsibility and sincerity nonetheless won her heart.

Things were not at all easy for the couple when they first started the business from scratch. "Those were hard times, but most difficult for Sheng. He had more to attend to than I did," Wang said. Responsible for product design, material selection, and manufacture, Wang hand-stitched the first tent in what was to become the Toread signature product line. Sheng was in charge of marketing and sales.

After the orders started coming in the couple moved to Beijing to expand their business. They first rented a place near Xiangshan Park west of Beijing. It was there that Wang designed and drew the Toread logo comprising a compass and hiking boots.

Dreams of Everest

Wang's dream is to climb Mount Everest. All her other mountaineering activities she sees as preparation for the moment when she stands on the summit of the world's tallest mountain.

Wang made her first conquest of an 8,000-meter-tall mountain in January 2007. It was indeed a baptism of fire, during which she experienced intense cold, avalanches and gale-force winds. But it showed Wang that she could withstand the hardships of mountain climbing.

Wang was in the same team on both her first and second 8,000 meter ascents as well-known entrepreneur and mountain-climber Wang Shi. She learned a lot from observing Wang's approach. He was neither the fastest nor the slowest in the team, but always kept to his own steady pace no matter what.

Wang Shi described Wang Jing in his blog as "the only woman in our team. She is slow but tough. She started out an hour earlier than the rest of us so as not to fall too far behind. To my amazement, she arrived at the summit before I or anyone else in our team did." Wang Shi was so impressed with Wang Jing's tenacity that he agreed to endorse the Toread brand.

Hands-on Success

As Wang and her husband started their camping equipment business together they both devote all their energies to it. But they have not always seen eye-to-eye on the company's best development direction.

Sheng's original idea was to open a chain of exclusive retail outlets for their brand rather than operate from a stall in a market complex. Wang thought that both the investment and risk involved in this plan were too high. After long discussions, they agreed to establish a number of exclusive retail outlets and to place their products in specific stores.

The Toread brand appeared in the financial pages of the many newspapers that reported on the couple's newfound wealth after their company was listed on the growth enterprise board at the Shenzhen stock market.

Success, however, has not changed their life, Wang said. They still live in the same apartment, drive the same car and live frugally. Wang intends to use the company profits to enlarge her company and improve the living standards of her employees. "Being an outdoor enthusiast myself, I know exactly what kind of equipment is needed and the improvements that could be made to it. So as long as I carry on climbing, Toread will stay on top," Wang said.

(Source: Women of China, overseas edition/Translated by womenofchina.cn)

 

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