So, Dogfight is back. This time, we went on Taobao and ordered some bargain business cards. Spoiler alert: we're kind of impressed.
Dealing with scalpers aside, nothing beats TaoBao when you're looking for a good deal. When we found out that a lot of companies offered printing services for next to nothing on there, we decided to try a few of them out. We weren't expecting much given the price points we were dealing with, but were pleasantly surprised regardless when we sliced open those heavily taped boxes.
But before we get in touch with our inner Patrick Bateman and delve into the nitty-gritty of it all, a few caveats. One: the companies with really good deals and legit-looking product photos only transact in Mandarin, so best have a local buddy around to help you negotiate. Two: not all prices are inclusive of kuaidi fees, so expect to shell out a little extra for that. Three: a lot of vendors require a minimum order of 2 boxes, with each box containing about a hundred cards, a couple of vendors required even more. And four: not all of them will accept a custom design. And if they do, it's one design for one TaoBao deal--we'll get into how we learned this the hard way later, but mei banfa, what're you gonna do?
On the bright side, a lot of these vendors are open to
haggling negotiating. If you're looking to churn out a generic name card, a lot of printers will provide designs for you to choose from free of charge. For delivery, expect a general period of 5-7 days. Not working days. Days-days. Now, on to our haul.
浙江尚彩印业 (Zhejiang Shang Caiyin Ye)That's the same card. From the same box. We kid you not. Price: 20rmb for 200 cards Delivery Fee: FREE This company was one of the cheapest we came across, but here's where we made a mistake: we sent them an .ai file with designs for two different cards which they counted as two different designs. We ended up paying 40 kuai, which, no big loss--except instead of giving us two different name cards in two different colors, they sent us two sets of cards with two people's names back-to-back. We're still wondering how that happened, but 200 misprinted cards aside, we came out of it knowing better. As for quality, the coated card stock is pretty decent save for a few flimsy stragglers here and there. But this is the first batch we got back. All in all, not too shabby. Overall Rating: 3/5 STARS
出彩印务 (Chu Caiyin Wu)Price: 28.50rmb for 200 cards Delivery Fee: FREE This is another pretty simple one, and the card stock is also coated. No low-quality stragglers in this box, unlike with our first printer. It also came packaged, and it looks like the company's English name is Creative Kernel Design Speed. According to the box, it says they also do photo albums, playbills, packaging, copying, paper cups, and PVC cards. But why would we order those from them and put all of our proverbial eggs in one basket? Overall Rating: 4/5 STARS
疯狂印刷无忧 (Fengkuang Yinshua Wuyou)Price: 35rmb for 100 cards Delivery Fee: FREE Now you know why we made that quip about PVC cards. While the cards are thin, they're flexible and won't bend or break under pressure after playing around with them for a while, also: waterproof. However, getting these are a bit tricky, and at any other printing shop will always set you back a bit more because these have to be screen-printed onto a super-smooth surface. One set of cards we ordered came out perfectly, another set came out with a minor smudge on the office telephone number. Not perfect, but otherwise usable. This company (who's name in English seems to be Design Origin, but whose literal translation is "crazy carefree printing") had the best offer on PVC cards, others we came across were charging up to almost 700 kuai or so per box. Ridiculous, no? Overall Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
卡艺商盟 (Ka Yi Shang Meng)Price: 25rmb for 100 cards Delivery Fee: 12rmb This one is pretty nifty. The deal on their TaoBao store originally said 16rmb per box with a minimum order of five boxes, but what were we gonna do with 500 more cards? They were nice enough to negotiate with us and we're really happy with these. They use a really nice classic, sturdy cardboard, and they have a leather finish on their ink. It's not too obvious here, but I guess it looks a lot better when you get the cards embossed. And they do that, for another fee. If you want rounded edges on your card, you add 5rmb per box. They don't go for much in the way of packaging, but we will say this: it came bubble-wrapped inside its kuaidi bag. We highly recommend these guys. Overall Rating: 5/5 STARS
尚流 (Shang Liu)Price: 39rmb for 100 cards Delivery Fee: 5rmb At first glance, this comes closest to our actual business card. While this is also a pretty good example of non-coated cardboard, it isn't very sturdy. It crumples up a lot easier than the last company's product, that's how we found out the card stock was significantly thinner. Compared to the other stuff we've had delivered, this feels overpriced. They came nicely packaged though in a matching box, but I guess that's where our money went. According to their TaoBao page, they can also emboss or do a coated card, or even a UV print as far as name cards are concerned. They also sell cases to go with your order, but they're pretty generic. Overall Rating: 3/5 STARS
佳宣印务 (Jiaxuan Printing)Price: 33rmb for 100 cards Delivery Fee: 5rmb These guys did an okay job. We went for a UV-printed logo and now realize we maybe should have sprung for getting all the text UV-printed, for full effect. The original deal on their page said 48rmb per box, minimum order 2 boxes, but we got these for cheaper. Decent coated stock, but the UV overlay on our logo is inconsistent. On some cards it's spot-on, on others it's a little off to the right, left, top or bottom. Again, not perfect, but usable. Overall Rating: 4/5 STARS
江苏新创名片 (Jiangsu Xin Chuang Mingpian)Price: 100rmb for 100 cards Delivery Fee: FREE Elsewhere online, we came across a manufacturer that could make you stainless steel name cards for that part of you that wants to pretend you're Bruce Wayne, but considering they only delivered in high volume at Bruce Wayne prices we found a cheaper version on TaoBao. While this was the priciest version in the bunch at 1rmb per card, it's also by far the sturdiest. We're not experts, but we think the cards live up to the printers' claim that they're made from an aluminum-magnesium alloy. The first few at the top of the box come in mylar pouches, but watch out: the rest of them are just stacked up in there. We speculate that with their fine-cut edges, these cards would make good self-defence tools in the event of an emergency, although we can't guarantee that. Cards are also available in gold, pearl white, and purple among others. Overall Rating: 5/5 STARS Photos by Rhiannon Florence
A lot going on this week: an architectural walk-through on the Bund, Creatives in the City, the Style-Jobs fair, Startup Grind, a tech forum and a photography conference.
First up, tomorrow night: sign up for a Shanghai Flaneur stroll with Fanny Hoffmann-Loss for an insider's take on the ever changing architectural playground that is the Shanghai Skyline. If you're more inclined towards doing a little networking, head to The Apartment for Creative Collective's Creatives in the City meet-up featuring Christopher St. Cavish and the ladies behind BeGifted for a talk on collaborating on creative projects. Image Courtesy of Creative Collective On Thursday night hit up Green Drinks June Forum on the smart grid, a new class of tech improving energy efficiency on the grid for homes and offices. Image Courtesy of Green Initiatives Shanghai Those hunting for jobs in the fashion industry should definitely be checking out Style Jobs Shanghai, an event aimed at hooking brands up with new talent. They are pretty selective though, so head on over to the link to find out more and register if you think you've got the goods. Photo courtesy of Style-Vision Asia If you're handling a startup, or just looking for tips now to keep your company going, do check out Startup Grind Shanghai's latest event for insights on hiring and retaining top talent with Saatori, Inc. founder Mary Rezek and Management Success China's Michelle LaVallee. Image Courtesy of Startup Grind Shanghai On Saturday, feel free to drop by the Shanghai Photography Conference over in Red Town to scope out some new work or take in a workshop on basic photojournalism conducted by Sean Hanratty, Rolento Ong, Roland Fei, and Chris Page.
In this week's edition of CH Picks, we've compiled a list of newsletters you should be subscribing to. If you aren't in the habit of already doing so, here's where to start.
leaked emails between Jeb Bush and his graphic designer and came across an oddity tumblr that hosts a screen cap collection of source code in TV and Film. Have at it and subscribe at the site.
Archinect, it also has a lot of user-generated content which works to your advantage. Their weekly newsletter keeps you abreast of any registration deadlines and any upcoming events in your area. While it isn't necessarily China-specific, it does keep track of regional events when other sites just plain ignore us. Subscribe here.
CH highlights some events coming up that might interest you.
Start the weekend early with a film at Haworth Organic Space for Green Drinks' monthly screening. This month they're showing Andrew Morgan's The True Cost, a documentary exploring the industrial, somewhat dirtier, side of the fashion industry by following a backwards trail to your fast fashion's origins. Details for that here. Image courtesy of Untold Creative, LLC On Friday, world-wide grassroots campaign Startup Weekend comes to town to teach you a thing or two about the basics. Startup Weekend has made the rounds in cities the world over. Image Courtesy of Women 2.0 Startup Weekend A fully-scheduled three-day program for businesses, developers, and designers culminates in a Sunday presentation open to the public. Tickets are pretty reasonable and claim to come with three square meals a day for event participants. Find out more here. Image Courtesy of Xin Che Jian If your tastes run a little more specific, hit up hackerspace Xin Che Jian in Jing'An for for their weekly 3-D Modeling & Design Meet-up, find the details to that here. Image courtesy of Creative Collective On Saturday, Creative Collective launches their monthly pop-up flea market Hidden Stash in Xuhui. Everybody's welcome to drop by, but if you're interested in flogging some wares you'd better register.
In this edition, CH brings you what some of our favorite Shanghai-based Instagrammers have to offer. Switch on your VPN and scroll away
We know that in some hipper-than-thou circles chronic Instagram use signals the height of basic bitchiness, but we found that with the right tags, you can avoid having to scroll through all that food porn and faux-artsy-filtered fare, and it pays off with some pretty interesting stuff.taobao store, she’s modelling her wares online. With likes numbering in the thousands per post and a whopping 139k followers, her minimal muji-esque aesthetic promises to either relax you or wonder why you can’t live a life as effortless. Image courtesy of Olivia Charles Lanceplaine travels a lot. A LOT, a lot. So while his stuff isn't particularly Shanghai-specific, a peek at what he sees through his lens is nonetheless captivating. "The world has so much to offer, photography is just a good excuse for me to go and capture it," he says. MIC, a skateboard mag, and makes his bones shooting skate videos, and there's plenty of that on display here. Image courtesy of Tommy Zhao When we hit him up for a comment, he said, "Sometimes I can't believe cameras exist. Just knowing that it's possible to freeze time and capture moments of life to watch later or show others, that shit's like magical to me. I'd feel like I'd be missing out if I didn't shoot or film, like in a way, everyday is history in the making." The Guardian as one of the best city photographers on Instagram. While he splits his time between Shanghai and London, he's definitely stacked up some frequent flyer miles based on his Instagram subjects. His best shots by far are everyday captures of Xuhui and the people who live in them. Image courtesy of Rey Canlas Jr. Leon Yan shoots local Shanghai life too, and really, what remains of local urban life in China as it transitions into the 21st century. Image courtesy of Leon Yan Unsurprisingly, Leon said "I am mainly focused on visual storytelling and suggesting possible narratives in the photos I take." Jmart, real name: Johnny Martinez, a Shanghai-based graphic designer who's portfolio includes work for a wide variety of clients like Nike, Bund18, and American tween accessories haven Claire's. Image courtesy of Jmart An avid skater himself, J says that most of the time he shoots casually while he's on-the-go. His weapon of choice: a 35mm point and shoot camera. "It’s low-key, versatile, easy to carry around. And you get that surprise element of not knowing how much grain there will be, how the lighting will turn out or if there will be some dope photos on the roll that you forgot you took."