Chinese student finds niche market for feminine pads
A college student in China has found a niche market for feminine pads. It is a funny story, but we can also learn some business lessons from a budding young entrepreneur who identified a problem and found a solution.
All Chinese college students must endure a type of military boot camp training in their first year in college. It's like a strenuous PE class where they go through lots of physical activities like trekking and jogging. An effect of such activities is what happens when you put young men's feet and sweaty socks together. Yes, strong odor.
Lesson #1 - Be observant.
Enter Li Yuan, a third-year student at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China. He figured out that putting a feminine pad in a shoe can absorb moisture and prevent odor. Actually, he didn't come up with the idea originally. He saw a few male students looking shy while standing near the feminine pads aisle at a supermarket. He was curious and learned from the manager that these students were buying the pads for use at the boot camp sessions.
Lesson 2 - Identify the problem.
The problem is actually two-fold as many new college students don't even know that they'll benefit from the feminine pads and that many male students would find it embarrassing to shop for the feminine pads out in the open.
Lesson 3 - Decide on a solution.
Li realized where there is a demand, he can provide the supply. He decided that he would become a personal shopper and sell the feminine pads directly to the students in the comfort and privacy of their dorms.
Lesson 4 - Do it!
He went to a wholesaler and bought boxes of the feminine pads. He made a poster advertising the benefit of the pads as a "boot camp miracle helper" that "only 2 a day will give comfort, keep the sweat away, and prevent odor." He then tried to recruit friends to sell the products but was rejected because those guys felt it was too embarrassing. He carried the boxes himself and went around the men's dorms to find customers.
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Li's business was a hit and became so popular that within the first two days, he already made 600 yuan (US$98) for about 3 hours of work each day. An even better reaction is from the female students who found out about his business. They like the idea and agree that one shouldn't worry about being embarrassed if one wants to succeed.