Zhang Chaoying: Stitches in Time

By Cai Rong / hiHainan / Updated: 2020-12-20,13:48

From weaving Li Brocade and establishing a Cultural Cooperative to filming short videos and selling Li Brocade products online, why did Zhang Chaoying, a Li Minority woman, choose this career?

Faced with the problem of poor sales of Li Brocade products, how did she find a solution?

Let’s take a look at Zhang Chaoying’s entrepreneurial story.

Born in Baisha Li Autonomous County, Hainan Province, Zhang Chaoying developed a special affection for Li Brocade from a young age because of the influence of her grandmother. However, as she grew up and went to study far away from her hometown, she found that as time went by, the Li Brocade culture in her hometown was beginning to disappear. That's why, although she had gotten a taste of big city life, she still chose to return to her hometown and began to study Li Brocade again, and why decided to make it her career.

After her parents found out about her decision, they had many questions and did not agree with her choice. To help her parents understand, Zhang Chaoying told them that she was unwilling to let children only see Li Brocade in the museum and that she wanted to keep the traditions of Li Brocade alive.

She tried hard to find artisans to teach her the techniques of Li Brocade. In 2016, with the support of her parents and the local government, she successfully set up the Baisha Canran Li Brocade Handicraft Professional Cooperative.

However, the process of running the Cooperative was fraught with hardships.

Since traditional Li Brocade products did not sell well, Zhang Chaoying decided to innovate, blending current fashion with Li Brocade products and making them into something you can use daily.

Using conventional short videos to introduce Li Brocade was not popular, so she accepted her friends' advice. She started dancing in Li Brocade clothes, which brought in more and more interest in Li Brocade.

She kept right on doing it even in the face of skepticism.

Since she was selected as Hainan's "South China Sea Craftsman" in 2019, she has had more confidence to persevere because the honor represents the government's recognition of her hard work.

Now, with Zhang Chaoying’s efforts, local Brocade weavers have a relatively stable income, and more and more people have joined the team to study Li Brocade.

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