Dongguan Qsun Industries won WEConnect International’s 2022 Rise to the Challenge Packaging Award sponsored by WEConnect International.
Yiqing “Sara” Hong believes that good teamwork and collaboration are the keys to success for any business in any industry. She speaks from experience, specifically as it relates to the power of prioritizing professional female relationships: She and her sister, Kathleen, have founded two joint ventures, including Dongguan Qsun Industries, and eco-friendly packaging company based in Dongguan, China, in 2017.
Dongguan Qsun was inspired by the sisters’ shared vision that paper—rather than plastic—packaging would provide a strong sustainable impact on the global market. “Our company is stronger together,” Sara notes of her women-led group. “We balance sensitivity and rationality to understand our employees and work together as a team.”
Dongguan Qsun provides paper packaging products for the high-end beauty industry so that luxury companies can provide stylish, yet sustainable packaging for their goods. Having worked in the packaging industry in China since 2001, Sara realized that an untapped market potential existed with plastic replacements in the beauty industry. Not only would eco-friendly, recycled packaging materials provide a sustainable environmental solution, but they would also give her a competitive advantage in high-end markets that previously lacked these alternatives.
“We are very good at garnering inspiration from every point in the value chain,” Sara explains of her team’s development process. “We learn and utilize these lessons in our design and production processes, consistently getting strong positive feedback from our customers.”
This agility and creativity have allowed Sara’s team to grow from a small business of only seven employees to a factory of more than 300 full-time workers and 30 quality controllers. Today, Dongguan Qsun boasts clients around the world in 8 countries across Asia, North America and Europe with an annual revenue of USD$8 million. Ensuring the highest quality is very important for Sara and her team, which she realized when she considered outsourcing production to reduce manufacturing costs. However, the financial benefit of cheaper production did not match Dongguan Qsun’s elevated standards, so Sara is comfortable paying a little more to provide a top-notch product.
And customers notice the high quality of Sara’s paper packaging. Dongguan Qsun’s first big opportunity came from a French company, Pure Trade, to produce paper boxes for its beauty products. With hard work and concentrated efforts, Sara’s team delivered packaging products that were so well received that Pure Trade’s parent company, L’Oréal, became a client.
“Being a female entrepreneur in China is not easy,” shares Sara. “It requires unremitting determination to balance work and family—to be seen at the negotiating table first and foremost as a business owner, not a woman.” Many of Dongguan Qsun’s materials suppliers are men—many of whom do not expect to negotiate with women as equals. However, this is where Sara’s strengths come in; Kathleen knows her sister is good at talking with suppliers, so Sara steps up to the negotiating table so that Kathleen can focus more on her strengths: the exploration side of the business.
“Nowadays, I can see many great women entrepreneurs in different areas. They are soft but strong, charming but with an unrelenting resolve,” Sara reflects. “I do believe that there are more women who are on the cusp of becoming exceptional business leaders.” This core belief in other women led Sara to get certified with WEConnect International this past April. She wanted to be part of an international community that holds the same values she does.
As Sara pushes Dongguan Qsun to expand its client base and geographic reach into other parts of Asia and the Middle East, she plans to tap into the WEConnect International network to help grow her business. Certification will provide the important elevated status on a global scale to boost the company even further, as well as the well-deserved recognition that her women-led team receives.
“Dongguan Qsun will continue to do its part to kick down the gender door positively and proudly, forging ahead on the road to unleash the power and beauty of women on the professional world,” Sara states confidently.