After his epic performance in the courtroom, Li Yuanying stayed quiet for more than a month. Mainly because Sun Simiao is feeling restless being in the imperial medical hall and wants to travel the world again.
Li Yuanying is still worried about Li Er and Sizi’s condition and refuses to let Sun Simiao leave. He instructed that a medical clinic be set up near the lake next to the library. The front portion of the house acts as a clinic while the back is a medical supply warehouse. This place was specially built so that Doctor Sun can treat patients to his heart’s content while he finished up on his medical book for Li Yuanying.
Li Yuanying’s study style is chaotic which is to learn a little here and there. Fortunately, he has his “system” to help him summarize and provided him with practical exercises, making his random learning style quite effective. Sun Simiao insisted that all his apprentices start learning from elementary school and they would typically spend 8 to 10 years in training before being allowed to treat minor illnesses. In short, you can’t graduate without studying for more than ten years. Even if you are brilliant enough to graduate early, no one would dare seek your medical help as they will be skeptical.
Sun Simiao doesn’t care about others but he will be strict with his own disciples. After all, medicine is a profession that takes care of life and death. This is a matter of human life. If Li Yuanying wants to use the medical books he is compiling, he will need to comply with the years of training by following Doctor Sun’s rules!
Li Yuanying has no objection to this. After all, he didn’t intend to seriously study. He just needed to find other young talents to study medicine on his behalf.
With Li Yuanying’s assurance, Sun Simiao settled down at the medical center. It opens for half a day to receive patients and after that, this place is a platform for experienced doctors to discuss medical skills and exchange experiences. Only after closing would Sun Simiao calm down and work on his medical book.
Li Yuanying was still afraid that Doctor Sun will leave and so used his library to put up notices, telling scholars that if they encounter a doctor elsewhere, they must inform him to come over for an exchange of skills. He also bragged about Sun Simiao, saying that he is a genius doctor that came down to earth, the king of medicine. Don’t miss your opportunity but bring forth your medical case and come talk to doctor Sun. If you are not sure about medicinal materials, Doctor Sun will help you identify them; if you are not sure about the recipe, Doctor Sun will help you increase or decrease the dosage. As long as you come, you can always learn new skills!
Li Yuanying had been occupied with this for more than a month.
Although it has only been open for less than three months, the library is already well known. This place is now a must-visit for scholars from other places, it has almost become like a pilgrimage location. With more exchanges between readers, the news gradually spreads!
Hearing that Sun Simiao was writing a medical book and spends half his day exchanging knowledge with others, many traveling doctors flocked over. For doctors who are busy with their medical center and could not leave, he would send an apprentice to join in the fun, hoping that they can learn a skill or two.
This newly opened medical center quickly became lively. With more crowd than the library next door.
At the beginning of May, someone sent a letter to the library. A boat from the South is here bringing new tea. Since little Prince Teng is interested, the best tea have been reserved and is waiting for him to collect.
Li Yuanying was a little stunned as he has forgotten all about this incident. After thinking, he remembers telling Su Qiniang of Wancui Mansion to help him with it. He visited Beili only once and was then severely punished by the Emperor. With that, he quickly threw this incident at the back of his mind and conveniently forgot about it.
But Su Qiniang did not forget and her step-brother is proactive. If you think about it, it makes sense. There aren’t many who drink tea in the North yet Chang’an City is where all the richest people in Tang Empire gather. Since Su Erniang’s stepbrother is in the tea business wouldn’t you also scratch your head in a hurry to unlock this big market?
Although Wancui Mansion is a place where tea is sold, how many people actually go there with the pure intention of drinking tea? Even if they drink it, they still wouldn’t perceive it as something elegant for everyday life. Otherwise, why didn’t dignitaries and nobles class drink it at home but only in a red light district? It is rare to have found someone so interested in this tea.
They have also done background work and is well aware that Little Prince Li Yuanying is no normal Wangye (Emperor’s brother). He is the most favored younger brother of His Majesty Li Er and plays with the Emperor’s biological children often. The very famous library was also built by him. Even if Li Yuanying is young, getting through him and using his connection will open up the tea market to the noble class!
Li Yuanying didn’t think much, he just thought that it was rare for someone to remember what he said so casually. He casually asked his men to fix an appointment. The last time they visited Beili, it was because they weren’t sure what kind of place it was. His Majesty knows that the incident was an honest mistake and so didn’t impose a heavy penalty. However, he warned that if Yuanying goes again he will break his leg!
It was still early so Yuanying spent a long time studying in the medical center before setting off. Su Erniang’s brother arrived early and Qiniang wearing a curtain hat was sitting beside him. As soon as Yuanying arrived, the two stood up and greeted him. Qiniang also took off her curtain hat, revealing her beautiful face that has gotten even more beautiful.
Back when the late Emperor was alive, he lived an indulgent and extravagant life and so Li Yuanying grew up among heaps of beauties. He himself is a darn good-looking kid and so he didn’t pay much attention to the beautiful Su Qiniang’s but curiously check out the brother. This man was in his early forties with a gentle look and typical southerner features – small eyes that looked intelligent.
This is a man with a story to tell.
Li Yuanying liked stories so he didn’t rush to talk about tea. He instead asks how Dalang and Erniang met. After all, one is a tea businessman and the other a lady from Beili. It’s possible for them to meet for a fun time but they rarely became brothers and sisters.
The man introduced himself. His surname is also Su and he’s the eldest child. His village has a unique way of naming children. Since he’s the eldest he’s called Dalang (Da means eldest). Back then, he came to the capital with a caravan filled with goods from the South. Unexpectedly, his boat capsized and everyone died. He survived by luck but all his possessions were gone and he couldn’t even afford to return home. Thinking about his wife and kids, Su Dalang felt miserable.
He then met Su Erniang who traveled out of the city to pay respect to her dead mother.
Erniang heard his unfortunate story and since they share the same surname, she gave him some money saying that they might have been part of the same family tree 500 years ago. She told him to purchase some popular goods from Chang’an and sell them back home. If you can make something then this journey is not in vain. Su Dalang was grateful and after repeatedly refusing, he accepted the money.
Timing is everything, that same year all the goods he picked were short in supply and he made a lot of money! He went home and told his sensible wife about this encounter. The wife then advised him that it was rare for strangers to extend a helping hand in the time of winter. You must repay the kindness that you have received.
Soon after that, Su Dalang and Su Erniang became “brothers and sisters”. Since Erniang is also from the south, Dalang would bring spring tea to the Capital city for her to soothe her homesickness.
The idea of selling tea was Erniang’s. The two have been trying to find a way to do so but have not made much success.
Listening to the narration, Yuanying didn’t get the epic story he was hoping for but was still quite satisfied.
“This tea is good but others don’t know of the benefits. They wouldn’t want to drink it when it looks green like this. If you want to sell it, you need to think about what is the unique selling point. Why would others drink your tea instead of water or alcohol?”
Su Dalang had lost all initial hope when he saw that Prince Teng was a child. But this statement is refreshing. He then told Yuanying all about the benefits of tea: “This tea refreshes the mind and relieves fatigue. If you consume too much wine and meat, you can use this to sober up and get rid of tiredness. If you drink a bowl every day, your whole body will feel much lighter.”
“How much tea did you bring to the Capital this time?” (Li Yuanying)
“Not much, only about five hundred jin (around 250 kg).” (Su Dalang)
“That’s enough. I need to spend lots of money soon. I have two ways to cooperate. Listen and see which is better.” (Li Yuanying)
When Su Dalang heard this, he sat up straight and made a gesture of listening intently.
“First one, you sell me all the tea at market price, I will never let you suffer losses. The second one, I will come up with strategies to sell this tea and you sell it according to my direction. We will then split the profit half-half.” (Li Yuanying)
The first is a one-off deal based on pure buying and selling. The second method is real cooperation, he can borrow Li Yuanying’s name and connections but he needs to share half the profit.
After thinking Su Dalang said: “I’ll choose the second one.” He didn’t only have five hundred jin of tea. If he doesn’t open up a go-to-market strategy, his tea will forever not sell well in the future.
Li Yuanying liked the quick response and had good impression of him. He then continue explaining more.
For the next few days, Su Dalang ordered people to divide the tea into grades. The best batch is reserved for Li Yuanying’s consumption. The next grade is to be sold as “king of all tea”. The remaining grades are divided by weight and wrapped into small paper packages housed in a beautiful external box.
The packaging boxes are segregated by the tea grades. There were silver, wood, pottery and paper packaging.
With such a subdivision, more than 400 boxes that can be sold.
Although it took a lot of effort, Su Dalang felt a sense of accomplishment when he looked at the neat rows of tea. It looks completely different from the initial two boxes he had shipped here!
With eye-catching packaging, there must also be eye-catching sales strategy.
Li Yuanying thought about it and remembered an upcoming lively event in the Capital: Dang Renhong had returned to the capital with prisoners. This man is Li Er’s close confidant and friend since his youth. He was sent to the South due to war and returned with seven thousand prisoners. This is a large number of people who can greatly help in reclaiming wasteland or building roads and bridges. They can solve the shortage of manpower.
His Majesty is happy and will definitely organize a feast for the ministers.
Of course, Li Yuanying can approach the ministers one by one and pick a few influential officials to be used as live advertisements. But that’s too slow. Why not just launch a big promotion at once and take advantage of this feast to directly promote his tea?!
Li Yuanying happily admired the elegant and beautiful packaging. With satisfaction, he took a box to Sun Simiao and invited him to taste it together.
Since Su Dalang has vouched that tea has many benefits, Yuanying needed to make good use of this info. Who better to get an endorsement from than the great Sun Simiao when it comes to judging whether something is good for the body? If the old genius doctor says yes, then it must be good!
The author has something to say:
Little Prince: Dear, do you want to buy tea? It’s super
expensive, oh no, it’s super good for the body!