Once a journalism student, Miranda Q had no idea she’d eventually start a thriving e-commerce company--though the signs were there. She admittedly loves to shop, and she even met her business partner, Charlwin Mao, in a shopping mall.
That professional meet-cute happened while both were visiting Harvard, and the U.S. for the first time, over the Chinese New Year, during a break from college. Qu was studying journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and while she didn’t go on to become a reporter, she says the skills she learned, in collecting and distributing information, are directly tied to the role of the company she founded with Mao.
Xiaohongshu, translated as Little Red Book, is a cross between an e-commerce site and a social platform, but dedicated solely to shopping overseas. Capitalizing on the “traveling with an empty suitcase” phenomenon, it started as a community where people could post the best items they bought abroad, and where, to guide others to those deals. Now, “Red” sells those foreign items--mainly from Japan and Korea, and primarily in the fashion and cosmetics realms--on the site.
Through founding and developing this Instagram-meets-Pinterest-meets-Amazon business, which the company says now has 200 million users, Qu was named one of the 25 Rising Businesswomen of 2018 by Forbes China. And she still loves to shop.