Getting into used goods business a boon for young woman

Before Huang Bilian came to Beijing five years ago, she was a fresh graduate with an interior design major who was still looking for direction in her career.

But there was one thing she was sure of, she was no longer willing to stay in her hometown of Chengdu city in Sichuan province.

In Beijing, she found a part-time job in a company called deja vu, a newly established outfit selling second hand books online. She was responsible for checking the quality of used books that had been recycled and sorting them out.

“At that time, I had no idea about the circular economy or the business of recycling second hand books at all. But I was personally in favor of hunting for used pieces of furniture. Sometimes I wondered how previous owners had used these old items,” she said.

Having worked in deja vu for five years and seen the company expand its business to selling second hand apparel, Huang found that second hand goods not only bring stories with them,but also create new stories when they are resold.

She remembered an evening when a very young man walked into deja vu”s recycle store in Shanghai. “Wearing a backpack and dressed in a simple manner, he seemed like a fresh graduate who was still looking for a job,” Huang recalled.

After trying on several suits, the young man finally picked a second hand men’s suit selling at 400 yuan and asked Huang whether there was any extra discount.

“I told him the price is already 70 or 80 percent off from the original price and no extra discount is available, so he left disappointed,” Huang said.

Surprisingly, the young man returned after a little while and explained that he had a tight budget but really wanted the suit.

“I thought maybe he needed it for an interview or other important things, so at last I offered him an extra 10 percent discount,” Huang said.

Huang realized that second hand goods with a low price sometimes can provide dignity for people when they have few options.

“In the past, when our parents needed something that they could not afford, for example, a decent suit for dating, they might have borrowed it from friends and relatives,” Huang said.

But today people are not as close as they were in the past and some people are unwilling to reveal their embarrassment to others, she said. So a second hand store will be a good solution for the problem.

Huang said that for some people,trading second hand books or apparel is still a new thing that they have never tried so far.

“It is our hope that people who visited our stores can get a better understanding of the second hand business and will come up with the idea of recycling when they have to cast aside idle items some day,” she added.