Nicely Made in China

China news on quality products, lifestyle, design and services.

THE OPPOSITE HOUSE

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One of the sectors changing fast in China is the hospitality sector. Among the most talked about boutique hotels in China is The Opposite House (TOH),  located in the heart of Beijing – in trendy Sanlitun. In order to learn why TOH is so highly regarded, Nicely Made in China (NMiC) paid a visit to Anthony Ross, TOH General Manager, who told us about role play, attention to detail and having a laugh while working. Read the rest of this entry »

SUREN HANDMADE / HANDBAGS

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This week’s story is about a company barely known outside China even though it has been making high quality leather products for many years. NMiC would like to introduce the company “Suren” (pronounced « sue jhen »), together  with Mao Shu Hong, general manager and her husband Yang Bao Guang, the head designer. In order to meet them NMiC took an hour’s drive north of Beijing on a gorgeous blue sky day (Beijingers will appreciate that detail). Ben O’Hara, Canadian TV’s Beijing correspondent came with us, to visit the couple’s design studio and small factory. Read the rest of this entry »

LONGMA EQUESTRIAN PRODUCTS

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In its never ending search for quality products made in China, Nicely Made in China met Nicole Bernard, the owner of Longma, an Australia-based equestrian equipment company that makes all its products in China. From Tennessee where she was born, to Alvie (pop.60) near Melbourne, via Beijing where she spends half of her time, Nicole has traveled a long way. She stopped by at the Bookworm in Beijing to talk about her passions for China and horses, and how these two passions recently became intertwined.

Nicole, can you tell us how you started Longma?

A year or so ago my riding coach -Chris Smith 1980 Australian Olympic show jumping rider- came to visit me in Beijing- , and while discussing the equestrian market in Australia we realized it is bipolar: you either find very high end and very expensive gear or cheap junk. Horse riding is called the sport of kings and it is an expensive hobby. People who spend a lot of money on a horse care about what they put on their horses’ backs. I thought that hard-working people who love riding deserved high quality equipment at decent prices and that’s what Longma has been trying to provide for a year now. While I will not compare Longma with Australian master saddle makers, I can say that we’re trying to achieve a level of quality that these people respect.

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NORLHA SHAWLS

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At an altitude of 3200m in Gansu province, the company Norlha produces the most exquisite shawls. These shawls, made mainly of yak wool (khullu), have become much sought after in shops from Paris to Shanghai. Nicely Made in China spoke to the owner, Kim Sciaky-Yeshi, to find out what makes them so special and successful.

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DOCTORS BECK & STONE / VETERINARY SERVICES

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This week Nicely Made in China takes a look at one particular sector of the service industry. With roughly 150 million dogs in China and at least as many cats the need for veterinary services has never been so great. « Doctors Beck & Stone«  started by an Anglo-Chinese team has opened a couple of clinics in Beijing, including a brand new one in Shunyi. NMiC talked to Dr Stone and Dr Anthony Beck about pets and pet lovers in China.

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SHANGRILA FARMS

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This week, Nicely Made in China goes green and meets with Alia Malik, Shangrila Farms managing director in her Beijing office. Alia, a half-American, half-Pakistani New-Yorker is a development economist. She talks about fair-trade and helping Yunnan farmers grow coffee and raise bees.

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NICOLAS FAVARD-JEWELLER

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Nicolas Favard, a 30-year old Frenchman and an extremely gifted craftsman, has lived in China since 2004. He opened recently a new shop in a quiet street just on the West side of Sanlitun North Village. Nicely Made in China had a conversation with him on how he became a jeweller, what inspires him and the meaning of jewels.

Nicolas, when did  you decide to become a jeweller?

I got the bug when I was 12.  Our teacher told us it was time for us to think about what we wanted to do later in life and I found an article about becoming a jeweller in a book.  The bug hasn’t left me since. Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. GAO ZHENMIN-LUTHIER

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This week Nicely Made in China gives centre stage to Mr Gao ZhenMin, a luthier, owner of Huaming Bass. Mr Gao Zhenmin lives in Hebei and makes his speciality to build and repair double-basses and cellos with his wife, Ms Wen YaXia. NMiC paid him a call in his Hebei workshop where a collection of stringed instruments await his attention between fragrant Sichuan maple and alcohol-based home-made varnish.

When did you open your workshop?

In 2004, after working for 7 years at the oldest Beijing instruments-making factory where I was assembling, adjusting and testing the instruments. While working there I met a lot of music professors who told me there was a niche market in making instruments for high-end classical and jazz musicians. That’s how it started.

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MALILIAN-FURNITURE DESIGN

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Nicely Made in China today presents a non-traditional furniture designer: Marianne Friese, owner and designer of  Malilian. German by birth Marianne arrived in China in 2001. Since 1988 she has been leading two lives: consultant and communications specialist 12 hours a day she turns into a sofa designer the other 12. NMiC caught her in the sweltering warehouse of the Beijing master upholsterer she works with where she was checking the quality of her latest creations before delivering them personally to their new homes.

Marianne, how did this all begin?

My first sofa was made in 1988 in Los Angeles where I was living. I wanted to buy one for my home and could not find anything I liked. A friend introduced me to a Mexican Read the rest of this entry »

SHANGHAI TRIO / FASHION & ACCESSORIES

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This week Nicely Made in China presents the brand « Shanghai Trio » (上海组合). 12 years old this year « Shanghai Trio » was born in Shanghai as the name suggests. It is now expanding to Beijing and also has a shop in Paris among other places. NMiC spoke to the owner Virginie Fournier.

How did you have the idea to start « Shanghai Trio »?

When I arrived in Shanghai in the middle of the 90′s my head was full of expectations of what I would find in China: the finest silk and  as well as all sort of craftmen working in the streets. Read the rest of this entry »