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This store in Beijing is another wonderful tale in the development of Sajou. Very few small French companies, especially in the textile business, can boast not only to ship to China, but also to have an exclusive sales outlet. This is the little sister of the Sajou Paris store.
It is little known, but China has a great tradition in leather work. This is how we first established a contact with our importer, Leather Craft. As well as selling to the general public, they also supply resellers and leather schools with skins, tools, accessories and of course, Fil Au Chinois sewing threads.
As our business together grew, the owner and director, Qiuyan Dong, brought up the possibility of opening a Sajou store in Beijing. After my initial surprise, I replied that, of course, I was in agreement, but that the store should be as similar as possible as our Paris shop.
Qiuyan Dong, who translated Sajou in Chinese. Not an easy job because Chinese
symbols are not translatable, but more an idea of the sense. She had to compromise
to come up with phonetics for the ‘SA’ and ‘JOU’, bearing in mind that the ‘J’
is not a natural sound in Chinese, and they use more a rolled ‘R’.
The result is飒 (Sa) 儒(Rou), with the charming translation of 飒 meaning ‘fresh’
or ‘the voice of the wind’ and 儒 meaning ‘tender, kind, polite’
also used to designate educated people!
Qiuyan Dong is not one to do things by halves, and quickly sent off her sister, Qiuling Dong and brother-in-law, Jingdong Wang to Paris. After looking in great detail, asking hundreds of questions and taking a lot of photos, the wheels were in motion. I then sent off in a parcel by regular postal services small pots filled with the paint colours, tiles and varnish, thinking it would never get through Chinese customs. Everything went through smoothly and swiftly.
Home page of the Chinese version of the Sajou site: sajou.cn
Whilst the search was on to find appropriate premises in the old city of Beijing, the sajou.cn site was under construction, again reflecting the image of its’ occidental counterpart. It all seemed to go so quickly and I found myself in June of this year on my way for the official opening of the store.
Accompanied by my husband (one of my most fervent supporters) we found ourselves on Air China 934 flight, destination Beijing. A bit like something out of a Tintin book, except this time, it was me the heroine of the story. You can imagine my emotion stepping onto Chinese soil, an emotion which grew even more when we arrived in the town centre, to finish with tears in my eyes at the sight of the store! It felt as if I was in a dream – I couldn’t believe it was real. A Sajou store, admittedly smaller than the shop in Paris, but right there, in the middle of Guloudongdajie Street!
Qiuyan Dong knows how to organize an event in perfect Chinese style, with large red pompoms and ribbons, prosperity bouquets and velvet-covered trays, ceremonial scissors and of course, fireworks and confetti! I had brought a large red, white and blue ribbon and matching bracelets for the personnel, a total of 12 people. All this took place on the steps of the store, surprising the passers-by and creating a bit of a traffic jam in the street!
Emotion at the opening ceremony of the Sajou Beijing store. On the top step,
left, Qiuyan Dong, president of Leather Craft;
on the right, Frederique Crestin-Billet, alias Madame Sajou.
Of course, everyone gave their little speech and my voice trembled a bit when I thanked them for all the work they had done, a work made possible thanks as well to the constant support of my collegues for over 10 years in France.
Long live Sajou Beijing and long live sajou.cn! Qiuyan Dong has already planned more visits to France too discover different aspects of French and European embroidery to show to her clients. We shall endeavor to help her in this great project.
Read more: The Sajou store in Beijing in the Dongcheng district.
47, rue du Caire 75002 Paris
01 42 33 42 66
Métro : Sentier
Monday to Saturday
10.00am to 7.00pm
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