As the dramatic photos from my previous post (part 1 of this series) revealed, I took some time on my most recent business trip in China to get as far away from “factory” China and “tourist” China as possible. In my wanderings I was invited onto the living room couch of a complete stranger—a mechanic named Mao, whom I met by happenstance in a back lot, off of a side street, in a town that is off limits to foreigners and not even accessible by normal means.
The couch life of people worldwide is a modern, unifying lifestyle
Mao & Shawny on Mao’s couch inside of his home in this town on China’s western frontier
Mao was kind enough to show me his home, and even let me film part of our conversation. I asked him some of the same questions I like to ask everybody about their couch life. Sure enough, Mao had a life on a couch too. Watch the clip! You tell me how different it is from yours….
I got to travel the world as a singer and dancer from a young age
The first time I visited China I was five years old. This was in 1982, just four years after Nixon made his historic visit opening up China again to the west. I was part of a children’s choir called The Small World Entertainers….And my parents, for various reasons, couldn’t even make the trip with me!
I learned Chinese at 19, as a missionary in Taiwan for 2 years, and later as a management consultant living in Shanghai
I have watched China grow up. I have observed its relentless modernization. I travelled there again at ages 10, and 15 and lived there for years between the ages of 19 and 23. I’ve been blessed with this opportunity to become fluent in Mandarin Chinese and that’s allowed me to really come to know the people. China is not just a place where we make some of our Lovesac products—it is a place that we know and love.
That said, nearly all of our new product growth at Lovesac, is made in the U.S.A. This includes Made-in-America Sactionals. MIA Sactionals, by Lovesac are now made in California and Lovesac Sacs have always been Made in America. The pieces that we still make in China are not produced by some faceless “factory” with smoke-stacks. Surprising to many, nearly all Lovesac furniture is hand-made and sewn-by-hand, by very talented people who we know and love. These are real people too and Lovesac is proud to provide jobs for many people in a good environment over there and in the US alike. These are people who, believe it or not, have a life on a couch too. As you can see from my video interview above even in the farthest reaches of the most forgotten places on earth—our life on a couch is not so different. We are not so different.
Founder of Lovesac and LifeOnaCouch.org
“My Couch Life” Mao the mechanic Interview Video transcript:
Shawny: What is your earliest memory on a couch?
Mao: It was especially old and pretty beat up. Back then life was pretty tough.
Shawny: What color was it?
Mao: That sofa was made of all wood—you know the kind. That old Chinese style. Nowadays, we’ll often have friends over to eat here—parties.
Shawny: How many people can you have on this couch, at this table?
Mao: At least seven or eight people right here…This is our kitchen table. The Chinese love to eat.
Shawny: And your wife?
Mao: My wife is in the hospital…She’ll be alright. Its really not a big deal.
Shawny: Your son is seven years old? What is his name?
Mao: His name is Jiang Tao. We watch TV here…he does his homework here. We eat dinner here and then usually go on a walk. We’re really close. Not just like a father and son only, but like friends. He’s my best friend. Even though I’m the dad and he’s not just my son. He’s my friend.
This is life on a couch—and it is interesting, because you are.
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