A Tale of Tea Plays and Breakdowns
A true story of obstacles encountered as Tea Plays fights through the development maze.
I closed myself inside the toilet and let the tears well up. Everything seemed to have been in vain. After more than three months of sampling, visiting the plant, endless negotiations and countless rounds of test printings for our Tea Plays bonbon wrappers, I had seemingly 'screwed it up' simply by requesting a non-disclosure agreement!
Months before my crying episode, we had faced the challenge of dropping our collaboration with our first wrapper supplier! After the final trial printing we discovered that the supplier had used a PET material that did not meet food safety standards.
I took the next plane to the South of China to visit a new (hopefully more professional) supplier.
The minimum order quantity was half a ton; that was hard to digest for us as an early-stage startup, but the craftsmanship required for our packaging gave us few other options.
The manager of the factory showed me all their clients' designs, explaining to me in detail how they were achieving each color effect and why they were among the best. I was impressed.
I saw it as common sense that all the information I had provided about our products should be confidential. So I insisted on receiving an NDA before it came to finalizing my order.
The reply took me aback. "We've worked with big clients paying hundreds and thousands dollars per month! We've worked with Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese clients! Never, never have we signed any NDA – and we won't this time, even with you, a small company!"
Big or small, business ethics and rules should be the same. With China catching up in innovation, awareness of intellectual property should be on the increase in every little part of our ecosystem – after all, if you do not respect it, who's to say you won't become a victim of it yourself?
After a letting the tears flow a while I got myself together and got back to creating my own company. It is hard sometimes – but definitely a battle worth fighting.
Tags: From Siyi