Raised in a mountain village in Qimen county of East China's Anhui Province, Jiang Xuexia was enrolled to a university in Hefei, capital of Anhui in 2004, and worked in a Fortune 500 company in Shanghai after graduation.
"In the tea harvest season, my parents and other folks would go to pick tea in the mountain regardless of wind or rain, but sometimes they had to sell tea at a low price, which stung my heart," Jiang told the Global Times.
"I felt obliged to change the situation of my village as the first college graduate there, so I did market research and analysis, and returned to my hometown to sell black tea," she said.
In 2014, Jiang and her two sisters returned to their hometown to start their tea business in Qimen, the renowned origin of black tea.
The company they invested in more than 1 million yuan ($143,000) only produced 2,500 kilogram tea leaves with zero profit in the first year because the quality failed to meet Jiang's standard.
"My two sisters and I grew up in a tea plantation and know something of tea picking and producing, but we still encountered many obstacles to enter the tea market," said Jiang. The three sisters visited tea factories in Anhui and other provinces to acquire experience and skills. They also went door-to-door, visiting experienced tea farmers.
In 2018, Jiang's company harvested more than 1 million yuan, bringing the villagers an extra annual income of 5,000 yuan.
A new product developed in the same year provided another 60 job positions for villagers, apart from the existing 45 positions with a daily income of 150 yuan.
"A villager with bad eyesight wanted to do tea packing, so I offered her the position and encouraged her. She became skillful day by day and was happy to make money with her own hands," said Jiang Xuexia.
Because of the three sisters' promotional efforts, many of the company's customers and tea lovers would like to visit their hometown.
To improve tea quality in plantations, Jiang launched a training class for her local tea farmers. The training is now attended by many farmers from other provinces.
"Many young people have seen business opportunities in tea planting," Jiang Xuexia said.
The three sisters plan to take advantage of the unique tourism resources by combining tea culture and short-term training alongside running tea plantations and improving tea quality.
Jiang hopes that her company can lead more tea farmers to a better and happier life.