Lucy from Shanghai went to a beauty shop to get her eyelashes grafted, and her flickering eyes became more dynamic. She felt that the cost of nearly 1,000 yuan was worth it; Susan from Beijing spends half an hour a day on makeup, and putting on false Mink Lashes is the most important thing. The old goddess Madonna once even spent 10,000 US dollars to customize a pair of false eyelashes made of mink hair and studded with diamonds…
To some extent, false eyelashes have become a life ritual for beauty-loving women. What few people know is that behind this small sense of ritual, there is a name – Pingdu County on the same latitude as Los Angeles, facing the Pacific Ocean to the east, Top Eyelash Vendor， Amor Lashes eyelash factory is located here.
In this magical town in northern China, the output value of false eyelashes has reached several billion yuan. Different materials, styles, lengths, curls, and colors are creating superimposed value for the eyelash industry. At present, Pingdu supplies 70% of false eyelashes in the national market, and exports them to Europe, America, Southeast Asia and other markets.
If you go from Shanghai to Pingdu, you have to take the high-speed train for at least 7 hours to Qingdao, and then drive more than 100 kilometers northwest along the expressway.
The distance between this industrial town and the international city is not beautiful, but in the past one or two years, the expressway of the Internet has reduced this distance to zero, coupled with the sinking of traffic, the development of the small town has long escaped the shackles of space, and the world became flat.
In Pingdu, Qingdao, about 50,000 female workers are engaged in false eyelash-related work. Tweezers, scissors, and glue are almost all of their tools. They use their hands to curl and shape the semi-finished false eyelashes, brush the glue and lift them up. They repeat this action more than 1,000 times a day.
Subsequently, these false eyelashes flowed to eyelash stores, stores, online shopping carts and other nerve endings through platforms such as 1688 and Taobao. In the process, the value of this “small manual work” is multiplied.
“In Pingdu, especially in Changle Town, almost every household is in the false eyelash business.” Cui Defei, director of Mengxueli Eyelash Factory, told E-Commerce Online. Under the strong consumer demand, the starry productivity gathers together on the soil with a flatness of more than 3,000 square kilometers.
Under the false eyelashes industry, this northern county seems to have become an arena, where different stakeholders are cutting the same cake; but at the same time, they are also working together to make the cake bigger. Whether it is through 1688 to capture more customers, or to supply Taobao merchants, or to cooperate with foreign trade companies, false eyelashes are a living water in Pingdu.
Fiery Lash Economy
Chen Lin painted the exterior wall of his Hongbaili eyelash factory in deep pink, and this bright color can be seen from a distance on the Red Flag Road.
Three years ago, this factory building was still a pig farm. Because of the revocation of environmental protection qualifications, Chen Lin settled down and built her own false eyelash processing factory.
“Recruit false eyelash workers, the number is not limited, and there are goods all year round.” The “recruitment” notice posted on the factory gate for a long time shows the confidence of the local eyelash economy.
It took Chen Lin three or four years from recruiting troops to having stable customers, and now she can receive at least 10 to 20 million pairs of false eyelashes every year.
Processing workshops, raw material warehouses, finished product warehouses, offices, simple regional divisions circulate the business of Hongbaili Eyelash Factory.
At the same time, the invisible “circulation” is also going on on 1688. “When a factory opens a store on 1688, it doesn’t need to go to customers by itself.” Since 2017, more than 50% of Chen Lin’s orders have come from online.
But the main customer group is still offline, and many foreign trade companies are still used to going to Pingdu for a tour, to Chen Lin’s factory compound, and carefully comparing the production lines of the local false eyelash factory and the strength of orders.
“There are thousands of eyelash ‘processing factories’ in Pingdu, but there are only a few hundred large-scale and organized factories, and most of them are still in the mode of family workshops.” Chen Lin told me that Hongbaili is located in Zhongbai Among the upstream, the scale of its orders constitutes the confidence of “unlimited number of workers to be recruited, and goods are available all year round”.
Through foreign trade customers, the false eyelashes processed by Hongbaili have crossed the ocean and entered Europe, Southeast Asia and other countries. And on Taobao, China’s false eyelashes brands have also begun to take shape, and the monthly sales of some popular items can exceed 30,000 to 40,000 orders. Taking “Princess Moon” as an example, a “Princess Moon Flagship Store” was opened on Tmall before Double 11. One of the eyelashes sold in a single month has exceeded 20,000 boxes.
Meijiaoyuan Eyelash Factory, the processing factory of Princess Yueer, is only a 10-minute drive from Hongbaili Eyelash Factory. In addition to processing for its own brand, Meijiaoyuan Eyelash Factory also processes false eyelashes for Menglu, Ocona and other brands.
With the arrival of Tmall Double 11, many local eyelash factories have already entered the “combat state”.
“Since July this year, our semi-finished product factory has begun to prepare the goods for Tmall’s Double 11. According to our production capacity, we can produce about 3 million pairs in one month, but there is still a gap in the three months of this year.” Pu Alu, who is in charge of the operation of Er Princess, told “Electronic Commerce Online”.
“This is something that hasn’t happened in previous years,” Puaru added.
At present, more than 120 workers in Meijiaoyuan Eyelash Factory are working overtime for the order of Tmall Double 11. “Last year, the order can be completed with a little overtime. This year, there are more people, more efficient, and overtime has started earlier. There are still many brands that are not able to deliver goods in a timely manner. Some brands are in such a hurry that they can cry on the phone.” Puaru said, “This is really not a joke.”
Take Meijiaoyuan Eyelash Factory as an example. This year’s Tmall Double 11 has brought a 30-40% order increase for it. Even if it ships 20,000 boxes of false eyelashes every day, it still cannot keep up with the market demand. This is also the reason why more and more Pingdu people join the false eyelashes battlefield, but few people are out.
In addition to the hustle and bustle of Double 11, eyelash beauty shops all over the country are also major customers of the Pingdu Industrial Belt. According to incomplete statistics from “E-commerce Online”, there are more than 30,000 eyelash-related stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou alone, and almost all of their upstreams are in Pingdu. Through eyelash stores, the false eyelashes of the female workers are implanted one by one on the eyelids of women who love beauty.
False eyelashes business in Magic Town
Strictly speaking, Pingdu is not the main raw material base for false eyelashes. The rich local mineral resources have created a number of stone factories. The trend in the past two years is that compared with the two industries of one light and one heavy, more entrepreneurs choose the former.
In fact, since around 1930, false eyelashes have been popular in the United States, and even “eyelash grafting” can be realized with a kind of super glue, and the consumer group has gradually moved from movie stars to ordinary people. By the 1960s, sales of false eyelashes had reached 20 million pairs.
Until 1976, this “craft” began to germinate in the depths of Daze Mountain in Pingdu. “I heard that at that time, our boss still twisted the fibers one by one onto the fish silk thread by hand, and only later did we have a machine to do it.” Pu Alu introduced.
But it was the end of the 20th century when the first wave of Pingdu people entered the false eyelash industry. Chen Lin told me that the “career” of the local people has a popular trend. They have gone through the stages of making leather bags, planting trees, raising chickens, and opening restaurants. False eyelashes are more and more people who have entered the game in the past 20 years. A long-standing industry, and this business is being passed on to the next generation.
Most eyelash factories in Pingdu don’t need to start with raw materials themselves. They purchase false eyelash raw materials and semi-finished products from North Korea, which not only saves money but also saves labor. Large-scale factories directly set up raw material processing plants in North Korea.
After Pingdu female workers get the semi-finished false eyelashes, they will do further cutting, gluing, lifting, and packaging. Some eyelashes with uncurled degrees need an additional step of curling and shaping.
With a stable upstream supply of raw materials, customers and markets accumulated by the previous generation, plus online markets such as 1688 and Taobao, Pingdu’s false eyelashes business is not difficult to do today.
In a conventional sense, false eyelashes pay attention to material and shape, and can be roughly divided into types such as paired hairs, dense rows, and multi-haired hairs. According to functions, they are suitable for daily makeup and grafting. Chen Lin repeatedly mentioned that this is an industry with low barriers to entry, and it is also the reason why local households start doing it.
“False eyelashes have not changed much in the past few decades, such as the popular 3D and messy effects. In fact, such products already existed four or five years ago. We all regarded them as discarded products at the time. It became popular in Europe and the United States,” Chen Lin said.
On the one hand, eyelashes start a business, and on the other hand, eyelashes employment solves the livelihood of many local women. Among the several false eyelash factories I visited, all of them were female workers.
People’s Daily Online reported in 2016 that in Daze Mountain in Pingdu alone, the false eyelash processing base has radiated 26 surrounding villages, developed more than 150 small and micro enterprises and self-employed, and driven more than 500 family processing points. Today, the eyelash industry has driven the employment of 50,000 local people.
Under normal circumstances, female workers in an eyelash factory can get a monthly salary of 4,000-5,000 yuan. “Some people who are willing to endure hardship can earn more than 10,000 yuan a month after working for more than ten hours a day,” Puaru said.
In Pingdu, women aged 20-40 mostly choose to work as supermarket salespersons, farmers, etc., and their income is lower than that of false eyelash processing. Wang Fang has been making false eyelashes for 20 years. She is close to home, the work is light, and her income is good. These are the reasons why she has persisted for more than 20 years.
At the same time, more and more post-80s and post-90s, the “second generation of eyelashes” have entered the industry. They are using Internet tools to pry open fields that their parents dared not try.
Chen Lin is born in 1985. In his impression, many relatives were already in the eyelash business in high school, and the topics of conversation at the dinner table were all related industries. “Every village is in the false eyelash business, but there are only decent factories. Hundreds.”
After graduating from university, Chen Lin worked in sales in downtown Qingdao for several years, but the idea of “going home to do eyelash business” has always appeared in his mind. My parents didn’t support me. Now that I’ve gone to Qingdao, I don’t want to go back to the county to work. It’s better to go out and go to big cities.
What they didn’t say was a deeper reason. The eyelash business of the father’s generation still has the shadow of the traditional business. “At that time, credit and credit were very serious in the industry. During the holidays, these credits were urged like engineering payments.”
Chen Lin chose another path, never accepting credit for doing business online, and the “second generation of eyelashes” has a healthier cash flow.
Pu Alu, born in the 90s, has worked in many jobs since he entered the society, but in the end false eyelashes became his favorite job and the one he worked hardest on.
Boxes and boxes of false eyelashes are shipped from the warehouse to all parts of the country every day, and Puaru enjoys such a scene.
Uncover That Secret
Once upon a time, false eyelashes were Pingdu’s secret. The earliest core technology was only mastered by a few people, and only told to the closest people.
After “quietly” making the product, they went to the market with boxes and boxes of false eyelashes on their backs. The stalls in Yiwu and Guangzhou were touched by the previous generation of Pingdu people one by one. At that time, they had to use the most primitive way to win more customers for their business.
According to previous media reports, even a female worker in an eyelash factory can earn 6,000 yuan for a trip with a pack of false eyelashes on her back.
As the eyelash industry is gradually expanded, the secrets are beginning to be lost; at the same time, when eyelashes gradually become the “elixir” of women’s makeup, the eyelash market has more and more room.
Different from the previous generation, the “second generation of eyelashes” began to pursue better quality.
It took Cui Defei 6 years from opening an eyelash shop on Taobao to building his own factory to run through the entire industrial chain upstream and downstream. This kind of experience also allowed him to explore the new lifeblood of this business – quality.
“We started from Taobao stores from the very beginning, which means we have higher requirements for products.” Cui Defei gave an example. In the past, in the wholesale of false eyelashes, product A replaced product B from time to time. However, for emerging brands that open stores and face consumers, every product sold must be able to pass the inspection and feedback of consumers.
At present, 60% of the transactions of Cui Defei’s Meng Xueli eyelash factory are online. The same is true for Meijiaoyuan eyelash factory, online consumers are becoming its continuous source of hematopoiesis.
But objectively speaking, from the perspective of the entire beauty industry, China’s eyelash industry is not well developed. The false eyelashes industry chain of international beauty brands such as L’Oreal, Shu Uemura, MAC, and Make Up For Ever is more concentrated in Java Province, Indonesia. In Indonesia, women workers are engaged in similar jobs to women workers in Pingdu. They can only earn 8 pence (about 0.8 yuan) for each pair of false eyelashes, but the brand can finally sell them for 5.95 pounds (about 50 yuan) in the market. Yuan Renminbi).
In addition to layers of production costs and distribution costs, more value of false eyelashes is reflected in the brand premium. However, in the development of China’s false eyelashes market for more than 20 years, there are not many brands that are widely known by the public. Apart from the familiar Moon Princess and Menglu, there are few Chinese false eyelashes brands.
During the interview, Cui Defei recommended to me a “flat-haired” false eyelashes. This is a false eyelashes that Mengshili Factory has invested heavily since July this year. The eyelashes are printed with the name “MONSHEERY Meng Xueli”, and it has also become a product that Meng Xueli will launch under its own brand.
The second generation of eyelashes in Qingdao Pingdu has entered the Internet era of eyelash business from making eyelashes and selling eyelashes, and then entered the 3.0 era of eyelash branding.