As Beijing enters its second week in self-quarantine, the stories of how people have been dealing with the coronavirus outbreak – by staying, leaving, or watching on from afar – are many and varied. In Beijing Bunker, we quiz Beijingers on what approach they’ve been taking to stay safe and sane in this time of war.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Or, if you happen to be Claudia Masüger, when life gives you smushed fermented grapes, you make one of the most successful foreign-run F&B services in China: Cheers Wine. Since opening in 2011, Masüger has helped oversee the opening of around 50 stores in China, educating the people about good, well-priced wine. Unfortunately, as with many other businesses in Beijing, the coronavirus is having a sizeable effect on sales and currently sees Masüger stranded in Barcelona. Here she talks about how wine is helping the community get through these otherwise testing times.
Would you consider yourself safe, sane, safe and sane, or other. Why?
Safe and sane all the way.
Has the virus disrupted your travel plans or those of your loved ones?
Yes, currently I am stuck in Barcelona. Lucky me.
How have you been spending your time since the outbreak? How has your life changed on account of the situation?
I remote control the crisis and I am in touch with my team on a daily basis. All of our employees are healthy and safe. Some of our team members are still locked down in the countryside or working from home. The team is amazing, supportive, and fully committed to doing everything possible to provide the best service to our customers and community under the current circumstances. Our focus is on fast delivery and availability. We have started a series of “cloud wine parties” with WeChat groups and bring the community virtual together. It has been highly appreciated as people feel lonely during this time. There are many attractive promotions and free gifts for our customers to cheer them up during this terrible time.
Has the situation affected your work or business? If so, how?
Yes, our revenue decreased 80 percent so far in February. But we have seen an increase over the past few days on account of being able to start reopening stores again, and consumers ordering conveniently via Eleme, Meituan, and our WeChat mini-app (ID: CHEERSwines).
Have there been any unexpected upsides?
The great support we receive from our Cheers community is outstanding.
Which resources (online or real-life) have proved the most useful to you during this time?
[True Run Media’s head honcho] Mike Wester’s Safe & Sane WeChat groups are efficient and informative! Thank you for that. I am also grateful for our employees, my parents, friends, and especially our EO Entrepreneur community. The business environment is very tough and many of us struggle to survive. The support we can give each other during this crisis is encouraging.
What’s one thing that you’ve done that has saved you a lot of hassle/time/insanity?
Focus on handling the situation in the most positive and supportive way, with an open heart, a clear mind, and busy hands.
What do you most look forward to doing once all of this has blown over?
Having a party, sponsored by Cheers, at the Beijinger office to say thank you for your incredible support to the community! You are awesome!
Image courtesy of Claudia Masüger