Living in an old lane house in French concession of Shanghai is one of my dream. The old apartment has a lot of story to tell, and living in it makes you become part of the story.
Yi Tseng, the Brand Marketing Director at Clarks shoes China, is living in one of those full-of-story apartment that I am dreaming of since 3 years ago when she jumped from Nike Taiwan to Shanghai. Yi described the place really makes her feel like home. This time I feel delighted that I got invited to her apartment to document her personal space.
I met Yi though my work, during this year’s corporation I can really feel her passion and profession for the brand and would love to find out what makes her become who she is now. Before her career in marketing, Yi has also tried working in different fields such as TV show production and magazine editing, which enriches her experience a lot and I think it is how she got an sharp eye on discovering beauty and art. There are so many little random things you can find in her place, somehow they look harmonious together and they all have a story behind. I have to say Yi is a truly great story teller.
After this month, Yi will leave Clarks for good and begin her travel plan to silk road to discover the fallen cities and cultural. Here I wish her the best and hopefully I will run into her on her travel path, after all this is a small world I believe!
Above is Yi’s writing. In English:
Life is about driving towards the opposite direction of your weakness and fear.
Below is my quick sketch of Yi…
1. If you were a pair of Clarks shoes, which type would you be and why?
Haha! I wish I’d be a Wallabee! The creator of Wallabee, Mr. Lance Clark, who is the 5th generation of Clarks family, is a dear friend of mine. I love the story he told me why he invented these breaking through shoes. He was in charge of developing the Europe continent market in the 60′s. One French retailer swiped all Clarks shoes to the floor and said he was not interested in Clarks’ old fashion shoes at all. To win the face back, Lance started from wood, he shaped the new “nature” last and leverage the moccasin craft and there’s Wallabee. The Clarks family all against the shoes and refuse to sell it. Lance had to take it to north America, find retailers who dare to try new styles, then invade back UK and global market with great commercial success. This iconic style is going to celebrate its 50 years anniversaries soon. Classy and comfortable. Embraced by all free spirit people in the world!
2. Is there a big difference between working for Nike and Clarks, considering they are both big international shoe brand?
The 2 companies have nothing in common I have to say… yeah there is one: English is spoken in both 2 companies. Well they probably represent different working culture — American and British. I learnt a lot.
3. Do you think your magazine editor experience is a big plus for your marketing career?
Probably. I learned about the art of creating engaging content. It’s important for media and brand communication assets. Best of all I made some endearing friends during my days in magazines. Till today we get together in Shanghai from time to time.
4. What is your most memorable Shanghai moment?
Oh there are so many moments, light and random… I remember riding bicycle on the street around Fuxing Xi Road and Yongfu Road checking out the old li-nongs (old lanes) and garden houses hidden behind those long and winding lanes. It was a quiet winter’s afternoon, nobody was on the street, naked trees with old yellow color houses under grey sky. I was thinking if I’d lucky enough to get a seat in front of the fire of the Boxing Cat pub.
5. What was your dream when you were growing up? What about now?
I remembered being a big fan of theater and movies when I was in high school. I dreamed to be a film or theater director. My first job was a TV entertainment show production assistant. One of the host in the show was 蔡康永. It’s fun to be able seeing celebrity at work every day, editing videos till late, and count down in filming studio. Now I have over 10 years of marketing professional experience, and I still enjoy going to theater and watch movies. It’s an unexpected life path, but I think it’s all about story telling…
Now my dreams are all travel related. I will go on the silk road this summer, cross deserts and mountains to visit the hidden wasted ancient cities. Next January I will go to Nara city in Japan to watch the 兰陵王入陣曲perform in front of 春日大社. This music and dance was created in china more than 1500 years ago and was lost in china but kept in Japan. I’m interested to peep at the diversity of human culture and history. (This sounds scaring I know)
6. Tell us about your favorite city…
This is a hard one. Granada, Spain perhaps is it. When I was on top of the roof of Alhambra palace built by the Moorish in 14th century I felt I want to live here… not stay longer but live. This was an one-time-only feeling in my life. Guess I was a slave in the palace in my previous life(?)
7. Please share with us what you are reading lately…
I can’t believe the English name of this book is that long — “Report to Saint Peter, upon the kind of world in which Hendrik Willem van Loon spent the first years of his life – an unfinished, posthumously published autobiography” in Chinese it’s “房龍自傳” Mr. Van Loon was a historian, his books on aesthetic, anthropology and even geography are easy to read, engaging and inspiring. If you are interested to understand what was an European little boy’s life like in the late 19th century, then don’t miss this book.
8. If you could bring one thing from Taipei to Shanghai, what would that be? (Could be food, culture, music or even people…)
I love shanghai as the way it is. Nonetheless, say if we could move the whole DaLongDong area 大龍峒 to Shanghai it would conduct a perfect life. Where to find the best street food you can get in Taipei, and tea, a whole street of lovely baroque style Chinese medical herb shops from the Japanese colonization (and are still run by the same families keeping all the ingredient!) even nowadays you can find modern gallery and cafe in walking distance. In other word, I recommend this Taipei corner to everyone who is visiting Taipei!