Finding a reliable business partner is said to be as difficult as finding true love. However, fortunate American Daniel Hewett found them both in his Chinese wife, Celia Shu.
When they first met at a friend's birthday party in 2003 in Guilin, she was a college student and he was a bar manager and they never expected to encounter each other again in Shenzhen.
After graduation, Shu came to Shenzhen and began working as a designer for a local company. She didn't know Hewett had also moved to Shenzhen to look for new business opportunities. A friend who knew them got in touch in March 2005.
At that time, Hewett was starting his trading company, Far East Trade Solutions Inc., and thanks to Shu, many potential difficulties were quickly dealt with. Meanwhile, Shu began to admire the hardworking and passionate Hewett.
“He's from Atlanta, the United States, but he loves Chinese culture. He even majored in Chinese religion in college,” Shu said. “Starting from an early age, he began to do different kinds of part-time jobs, like refereeing youth soccer games, selling credit cards and becoming a restaurant waiter. He loves working hard.”
As Hewett’s business began to grow, Shu decided to quit her full-time design job and become his assistant and designer. Her innovative designs have been very popular among clients from the United States and Europe.
“There are a lot of business opportunities between the United States and China,” Hewett said. “We hope to make it easier for sourcing companies from the United States and beyond.”
Their years of efforts have paid off. The small firm now has a stable number of clients and with the money they earned, the enterprising young couple bought a restaurant about three months ago.
“We often dined in the restaurant and became friends with the owner. So when we knew he wanted to sell the business, we immediately bought it,” 25-year-old Shu said. She said both she and Hewett loved running the restaurant and wanted to expand their catering business to other parts of the city.
“The restaurant is my hobby, and I hope one day I can compete with fast-food giants by making healthy and inexpensive food,” Hewett said. The 28-year-old, who learned to cook long time ago, has shown his creativity by making a line of Hunan-style pizzas with homemade Italian sauce using basil he grows at the restaurant.
“All of the meat and vegetable toppings are also used in our Hunan dishes, so everything is fresh and gives both our local and foreign guests a taste they will enjoy,” Hewett said.
The reasonably priced pizzas are among the most popular items at the restaurant.
“It's only a start and we would like to grow mint, parsley, and other herbs to create more new dishes,” Hewett said.
“I'm lucky to have found Celia, who is my best friend, my love and my business partner,” Hewett said. “All my family and friends love her.” As he misses his mother a lot, Hewett said he hoped to move back to the United States and spend some time with his family after their businesses in Shenzhen expanded even further.
(Shenzhen Daily May 7, 2008)