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“We can consider Dongpo Street and Nan’An Street, they’re both great locations. However, I’d personally prefer Nan’An Street, because Dongpo Street seems a little secluded in comparison.”

Heeding her advice, An Xiaoning said, “Let’s go take a look at Nan’An Street, then.”

“Alright.”

They arrived at their destination only to realize that the entire street was filled with a plethora of stores selling clothing, each being only very slightly different from its counterparts.

An Xiaoning decided to go have a look at Dongpo Street instead.

They discovered that there was a greater crowd at Dongpo Street compared to Nan’An Street.

“I live in Dongpo Street, which is pretty close by. Let’s get a unit here. Yangyang, not only should we be focusing on importing goods to sell, we should also provide tailoring and bespoke services, an online ordering system, as well as a physical store for walk-in sales. In other words, we should be focusing on developing a one-stop service for our customers. Only then can our business be sustainable in the long run. But let’s start one step at a time. We’ll play it by ear and worry about the rest in the future.”

“You call the shots.”

After taking a look at several units, they finally settled on a spacious one, which has a store front. The interior also featured a washroom and a fitting room.

The rental was 20 thousand dollars a month.

Which would amount to 240 thousand dollars in a year.

The hefty price tag shocked Mei Yangyang. She quickly remarked, “Sis, 20 thousand a month is too expensive.”

“This is a prime location in the city. It would’ve cost even more if it wasn’t located a little further. I’m guessing the rental for a unit in Nan’An district would cost about 30 or 40 thousand dollars a month.”

“How much can we make?”

“That’ll depend on how we manage the business. We will earn a ton if we manage it well, of course. But if we don’t, we’re definitely going to take a loss.” However, An Xiaoning was more determined than ever to keep the business going. “I think this one’s not bad. Let’s rent it for a year,” she said.

“But it’ll cost more than 200 thousand for a year, Sis.”

An Xiaoning gave her a pat on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the risks. We need to have the courage and be brave, no matter what we do. How can we succeed if we don’t try? We’ll do a great job,” she said reassuringly.

Mei Yangyang observed the stores around them and realized the owners were just like themselves. As long as they put their hearts to it, they are bound to achieve success , she thought.

After signing the agreement with the landlord of the unit, An Xiaoning proceeded to transfer the money to his account.

On that same day, the duo had arranged for the interior designers and contractors to refurbish the unit, according to the design and style An Xiaoning had preferred. Mei Yangyang then stayed behind to supervise the renovation process. Meanwhile, An Xiaoning went ahead to look for clothing suppliers.

Before they could go ahead with the official opening of the store, the renovation and furnishing first had to be completed, which took more than 10 days. In other words, about 10 thousand dollars worth of rental had gone to waste.

Whenever renovations were going on in those 10 days or so, the two of them took the chance to visit saunas and hot springs. Just as An Xiaoning had expected, Mei Yangyang possessed impressive swimming skills. An Xiaoning could finally swim after a few sessions of learning from Mei Yangyang. Although she was unable to keep at it for too long, it was much better than not being able to swim at all.

It was the morning of the opening day. An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang stood at the entrance, feeling more satisfied than ever as they admired the fruit of their labor — the well-organized and renovated store.

An Xiaoning began discussing Mei Yangyang’s salary with her as they entered the store. Upon hearing that An Xiaoning had planned to give her a share of 20% of their total earnings, Mei Yangyang exclaimed in shock, “Sis, I can’t accept that! You’ve paid for everything in this store. I really don’t deserve to enjoy such privileges since I didn’t contribute anything at all. That’s too much, I can’t accept it. It would be more than enough to receive 5%.”

“Let’s say our earnings for a certain day totaled up to 300 dollars, 5% of it would be so meagre.”

“But I would be happy with just that. Oh, and Sis, I’ve taken a look at the clothes you brought back from the supplier, the quality is great and the design is really pretty too. I’m very confident that we will do well. So, 5% would be enough for me.”

Thinking that it was still unacceptable, An Xiaoning said, “That’s still too little. How about this, I’ll give you a share of 10%, with a bonus if we do well. You’re to accept any amount of the bonus, which will be decided by me.”

With a nod, she agreed, “Deal.”

To the utmost surprise of An Xiaoning, Mei Yangyang had managed to sell more than 10 pieces of outerwear just within the first day of opening. Each piece was sold for at least 200 dollars, with the most expensive piece costing more than 600 dollars, and the total sales for that day amounted to a grand sum of over 4000 dollars.

Mei Yangyang had only wanted 10% of the earnings for that day, which was about 400 dollars or so, for she felt that it was more than enough. However, An Xiaoning refused and insisted on giving her an additional bonus.

“Sis, I used to only make a few thousands at my previous jobs. The 400 something I earned today is already a lot for me. I can’t accept any more money. If you deduct the cost price for the clothing and the rental for the store…”

Handing her another 200 dollars, An Xiaoning said, “Yangyang, haven’t I mentioned this morning that I’ll decide how much of a bonus you would be getting, and you’re not to refute it? Since you call me ‘Sis,’ it’d be wrong for me to mistreat you. Here, take this.”

Mei Yangyang was extremely touched as she looked at the extra 200 dollars in her hands. “Thank you, Sis,” she said.

“We were too busy to even have dinner this evening. Let’s pack up and go have something to eat.”

“Do we switch off the surveillance cameras?”

“No, we won’t be here to watch the store overnight. It’d be better to keep the surveillance cameras on.”

After they had finished packing up, they headed to a restaurant near the traffic light.

Except, they had not expected to bump into Long Tianze and Mo Li.

“Here to eat, Sister-in-law?”

“Yeah, you guys too?”

“We just arrived. Let’s sit together.” Looking at Mei Yangyang, Long Tianze voiced his thoughts, “This little lass looks rather familiar.”

With a smile, Mei Yangyang answered, “I’ve never seen you before, though.”

Long Tianze squinted and thought to himself, Is this lass pretending not to know me?

“Is that so? Please take a seat, little lolita.”

“Have you two placed your orders?” asked An Xiaoning as Mei Yangyang proceeded to take a seat.

“We have. What would you guys like to eat? I’ll order it for you,” asked Mo Li politely, with a grin.

“Yangyang, take a look at what you’d like to eat. This prawn dish looks quite good, shall we order some?” asked An Xiaoning as she handed her the menu.

“Sure. We’ll get one of this, and a bowl of pumpkin porridge.” An Xiaoning ordered her favorite dish and handed the menu to the waiter.

“What a coincidence to have bumped into you guys here tonight. I haven’t seen Mo Li ever since our camping trip. You look a lot paler and thinner since the last time I saw you,” said An Xiaoning with a smile, facing Mo Li.

“How is it possible for her not to lose weight? She’s been having irregular meals, and she eats nothing but junk food. She probably wouldn’t even have bothered to come out tonight, if I didn’t badger her to. I just feel like beating her to a pulp. Isn’t she just degrading herself by putting herself through such torment, all because of a man?” lamented an irritated Long Tianze. He had expected better from Mo Li.

“Mr. Long, you’ve yet to see. Many women are just like Mo Li, they struggle to get a grip on themselves the moment they fall in love wholeheartedly. It’s fine, give yourself some time to get over it, slowly, one step at a time. Time will heal everything,” An Xiaoning comforted while patting Mo Li on her shoulder.

Raising her chin, Mo Li exclaimed confidently, “What right does he have to make me suffer over him? I didn’t put myself through that torment because of him. I just felt like all the effort I had put in was unreciprocated and had gone down the drain. I’m going to go look for another man who’s a hundred times better — tomorrow.”

An Xiaoning chuckled. “That’s great, isn’t it? You’ll feel better if you treat him like he doesn’t exist.”