Life does not always go as expected. When a crisis occurs, some couples may split up, while others draw closer together. Joyce and Ricky overcame the challenge of life and death, and drew closer together with a renewed promise to look after each other. Together they set off on a brave journey to create a loving healthy new life.
A promise for life
It might sound like just another love story. Joyce and Ricky met each other through friends, and after several dates, they got together. But barely two years later, their life took a dramatic new turn. Joyce was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. Then the nightmare started. The endless check-ups, operations, and chemotherapy that followed, left Joyce totally exhausted and increasingly bad tempered. Many of Ricky’s friends asked him: “How serious are you about this relationship? What are you going to do?” But Ricky had an answer. “No one can predict the future, but I’m very sure that if I don’t stick by her at this moment, I’ll feel regretful”. And this was when Ricky decided to make Joyce a promise for life.
A terrible disease can hit you hard, but it can also bring new inspiration. During her chemotherapy, Joyce received a lot of healthy advice from friends and she found that many personal care products were in fact filled with chemicals and preservatives which could affect your health in the long run. After Joyce recovered, she continued studying different natural ingredients, and also learned to hand make soap. Joyce, who had always loved ginger since she was young, knew that it could dispel colds, help blood circulation and had many more advantages. This led her to the idea of adding ginger to her handmade soaps. “In the beginning, I was just making the soap for my own use,” Joyce said, “but as I made more and different kinds of products, I started to sell them to my friends and got a lot of good comments. Some friends suggested I sell them in the market.” And that’s how “Jiang Bao Zi” was born.
Joining one heart for a brave dream
Ricky was not that involved in “Jiang Bao Zi” at the beginning. He just helped Joyce with some of the heavy work and selling the products. But the first market experience impressed him a lot. “I felt a bit strange at first as if I was a hawker,” Ricky said, “but then I found that when the manufacturer can talk directly to the customers, it is actually a very precious interaction”. Ricky and Joyce would learn about the body types and needs of their customers and help them to choose the right products, or even tailor-make special formulas for them. It is this human interaction that has kept them motivated since 2013.
Having run the brand for 5 years, they are so used to work hard - seven days a week. They make their products on weekdays and sell them in markets on weekends. All their “dates” are now spent in markets. Working together brings lots of arguments, but it also gives them a subject to talk about, and a new, stronger connection. Jiang Bao Zi is like their baby. No matter how tough it gets, they keep working at it with their own hands and hearts..
Drop by drop, inspire others to live a green life
In addition to strengthening their love for each other, Jiang Bao Zi has also introduced Joyce and Ricky to lots of green nutrients. As a result of participating in markets, Joyce got to know some local farmers and learned that their operating conditions were very tough. So she decided to use only locally grown ginger for her products, in the hope that this would help the sustainability of local farming. Compared with other ginger, local ginger also has more juice, and thus greater efficacy.
Talking about the future, Ricky and Joyce wish to open a bigger shop, not a chain-store, but a long-term platform with unique characteristics that can bring different handmade craftspeople together. Human interaction is what they have most treasured all along. They also hope to inspire others to love the Earth. “Not using preservatives has created problems for us in maintaining stock. But if we add chemicals, they’ll affect the marine ecology when they eventually find their way into the oceans. Our power is perhaps very small, but we hope to inspire more people to use less chemicals, and this would in turn help the environment as a whole.”
Love life, and Love the Earth is an act for life, are you willing to make your pledge?
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