With the great demands on our forests worldwide, bamboo toilet paper and tissue products offer a tree-free option to the global marketplace. Tian Zhu Paper Company, located in the Sichaun province of China, produces bamboo toilet paper and other bamboo tissue products. Read about their mission and contribution to the bamboo industry, as Mr. Hu Jun answers questions from WBO's Sonja Sheasley.
Q. How did the idea for your industry come about?
A. Our factory is located in Sichuan province of China, where the richest bamboo sources in the world are located. Since the growth period of bamboo is very short, and bamboo can be renewed by itself without human planting. Compared with trees or other raw materials for paper-making, bamboo paper is good for the environment and high in quality at the same time. For now, bamboo in Sichuan hasn’t experienced total development; to solve the problems of the bamboo farmers and employment issues, we started to make paper.
Q. What is your company mission statement?
A. There are bacteria everywhere in our modern life. Toilet paper is one of our daily household supplies that should be environmental and healthy, and all of us want to use it at ease. There is an antimicrobial substance in the bamboo fiber called “ZHU KUN” which has natural characteristic of sterilization, Acarus killing and deodorization, which is present in bamboo toilet paper. We hope that people all over the world will use this health-promoting, environmental bamboo toilet paper to reduce the breeding and propagation of germs.
Q. How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the company mission?
A. We are committed to giving the employees of our company a sense of belonging. Strong management can set the employees’ minds at rest. First, it is important to give management a sense of mission for our enterprise, so we have implemented a shareholder system that gives them the right of discussion and decision-making. At the same time, we won’t ignore the communication between our staff. If there are opinions about our company, all of our staff can give these to management. Within reason, we will try our best to alleviate their concerns and meet their needs in order to make everyone at our company feel like it is their second home.
Q. What are the challenges to running your particular bamboo business?
A. For now, bamboo toilet paper is still a new product in the global market, and most people don’t know about it yet. It is very difficult to promote in the beginning. There should be more publicity to make people fully understand the difference between bamboo toilet paper and other types of toilet paper. Fortunately, our promotion has already started; now more and more people are coming to Sichuan to find bamboo toilet paper to sell in their area.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in your bamboo business?
A. No matter whether selling online or offline, we request all our customers to do a comparison between our bamboo toilet paper and their current toilet paper or the same type of product in the market. Via seeing and feeling, they feel satisfaction with our bamboo toilet paper, or through different tests, prove that our bamboo toilet paper is much better and more environmental than traditional toilet paper.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. To build up a successful customer base for both our products and our enterprise, it is important to give the customers trust. Making samples according to customers’ requests is the most basic thing we must do. In addition, we also advise them to take our products to their local inspection institution for examination. We also suggest that they visit our factory in person. What’s more, we welcome all of our customers to put forward feedback about our shortcomings in our products or our company, and we will try our best to improve it.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to start a bamboo business?
A. If they choose the bamboo business, whatever bamboo products they choose, I hope that according to the direction of their company, all of their products are bamboo products, rather than adding non-bamboo products to sell together. Then, on the basis of common usage and the actual situation of the locals, focus on one or two specifics to promote and sell; after all, we can’t adjust the using habits of everyone. You can put your whole heart into promoting these one or two specifications. After you’ve developed a great customer base with your current selling products, it is time to think about different specifications and products. What’s more, this second promotion will be much smoother than the first experience.
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A. The Bamboo Products Fair.
Q. How do you go about marketing your bamboo business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. Since we mainly do the OEM business to export, we mainly export our products via different types of fairs and through Alibaba, but in my opinion, the most successful is through fairs. At fairs we can talk with the customers face-to-face and they can see our products in person and compare the products directly. We can follow up with this quickly, and potentially omit the steps of selling online.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Sichuan Vanov Group, which is making unbleached bamboo toilet paper, is the company I admire most. It mainly focuses on the internal market, with high-cost promotions, making more and more Chinese aware of and use bamboo unbleached toilet paper. Now, Vanov Group’s unbleached toilet paper is sold all over China and is becoming universal by degrees. What’s more, there are lots of entrepreneurs coming to Sichuan to find this type of bamboo unbleached toilet paper. So he still brings development with the same types enterprises in Sichuan.
Q. Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
A. I hope that, in 10 years, we can see our products in every market all over the world. Moreover, I hope that an increasing number of people from different places will know about bamboo toilet paper, and be more aware of the advantages of bamboo toilet paper. We will try our best to make bamboo household paper become universal in the daily life of everyone worldwide.
Q. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
A. Does the paper-making industry pollute the environment?
Bravo, Mr Hu! WBO is proud to have environmentally-conscious partners like Tian Zhu!