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The Big Shoe Company

On Wednesday (11/4/2009), we went to visit the bigger of the two shoe companies. We were all hoping that like the first shoe company, the team would get another pair of free high-end shoes!! We went and met the son of the Chairman. He is very young and is in the process of taking over from his father. Their problems were also similar in nature: talent retention, management effectiveness and building an online shoe retail business. We will be going back to them on next Tuesday (11/10) and I will be presenting them on how to market shoes online.

What I saw actually put me off. I am not really very keen on working with this company. This company is the classical example of the "Chinese sweatshop". The workers need to work from 8 am till 10 pm everyday. For 28 days a month. They get only 2-3 holidays in a month. The pay is poor (average worker earns 1300 RMB) and typically stays less than a year. The company has no brand and manufactures shoes for a fairly well-recognized US brand. The company has no other significant client and has no other sales channel. So, for all purposes it's a captive manufacturing unit of the US brand. They just have a arms length from this company because they probably don't want to get involved in the bad publicity of a 14-hour workday.

The company is trying to sell some shoes online in China and having created a website just about 3 months back, have not managed to sell a single shoe! That is where it wants our help.


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