Plastered was setup on Nan Luo Gu Xiang in early 2006.
I’ve always worked with people in the community firstly, because they’re close by… secondly, they come introduced through friends… and thirdly, they know the area and how to get things done. May was our launch month in 2006 and since then we’ve inspired many other t shirt shops in the area and that would not have been possible without those with whom we work. True pillars of the community.
Kang Ayi lives in a shared courtyard on Nan Luo Gu Xiang where I also have lived with my family for 5 years. She watches the shop for us, and the accounts and occasionally, our kids. She is bloody brilliant and a member of the local residence committee and therefore very informed on the goings on and gossip in our hutong. Before we brought Kang Ayi “out of retirement”, she was an accountant for a textiles company in Beijing.
Cui Ayi also watches the shop in which she actually lived with her family for over 30 years. When we moved here, the Nan Luo Gu Xiang Plastered store was actually axiao mai bu, or convenience store. When her kitchen was knocked down during the beautification of Nan Luo Gu Xiang in the summer of 2006 she moved out and rented the shop to Plastered. Our kids grew up running in and out of the xiao mai bubuying the most incredible trinkets and toys, and lollies, and pins… and now it is Plastered Central. From running our neighbourhood xiao mai bu, to best land lady in Beijing, Cui Ayi is such an important part of our community.
This is me looking fat in my Olympic volunteer outfit that the residence committee gave me in honour of all the volunteer work I did for them over the years…
You could say I’m a zhi yuan zhe (volunteer) of sorts. The first time I wore it out to see MicroMu’s first recording session I was stopped several times and got tonnes of “thumbs up” from locals. So despite the hotpot stains I will wear it out again.