HiYaHiYa is a family business Shanghai. HiYaHiYa was founded in 2004 by Qianer, her brother YaLin and father Mr. Wong. Through her love for knitting and designing, Qianer knows what the knitter needs. YaLin and Mr. Wong are the engineering geniuses who design and develop the needles.
The bamboo is locally obtained. This way they can guarantee the quality as well as the sustainability of the process. Their employees are treated as human beings – no mass slave labour, no underpaid child labour, or other such human rights violations.
The distributor HiyaHiya Europe supports causes like the research on breast cancer and East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), a charity which provides support and care for children with life-threatening conditions.
Meet the maker – Qianer Huang of HiyaHiya
About artisans & happiness.
We were lucky to chance upon a nice piece of synchronicity, when my Significant Other recently had to visit Shanghai for a business trip – for something that has nothing to do with Yarnz whatsoever. But HiyaHiya’s home base is in Shanghai! And the founder Qianer Huang was so kind as to make room in her busy schedule for Significant Other and his colleague, to show them some of Shanghai’s beauties and to answer some of my nosy questions in person… Which was great, because I very much like to know more about the people behind the brand!
Qianer learned to knit when she was a little girl, even though knitting as such is not very popular in China. She taught herself, with the help of some friends every now and then. She found that in general, the quality of knitting needles in China was very poor. So she decided that she could do better and asked her father, who worked for an aerospace company as an engineer, for help.
At first these custom designed needles were only for herself, but soon her friends started to ask if they could have the needles too. Some of these friends were designers in the US, that’s where the idea of actually selling the needles took shape.
Hiya means “happy” or “pleasure” in Chinese, so HiyaHiya means something like Happy Happy. You’ll find this cheerful happiness not only when knitting, but also in the production process of these fine needles. Qianer knows first-hand that working circumstances can be very tough in China. Not so at HiyaHiya though!
Today, HiyaHiya employs 45 people. Most of these are artisans who make HiyaHiya needles in the HiyaHiya factory. Qianer and her brother YaLin design the needles. They have a very good team, including two designers who design HiyaHiya accessories and Needles Cases. One of them is an artist and painter. HiyaHiya works closely together with some very good producers who then make the accessories and Needles Cases. The relations are very close, HiyaHiya helps them to train their workers and control quality. Some of accessories are handmade, for example, the women make small yarn ball stitch markers and dumpling cases at home. Nice and relaxed behind the telly.
Qianer’s brother YaLin also runs the factory. Her father Mr. Wong still works 4 hours a day at HiyaHiya, even though he is over 70 and officially a pensioner. (In the true Chinese spirit, though I hope I still love my job as much when I reach that age that I don’t want to quit work either! HiyaHiya – happy happy – is well named.) Qianer herself spends most of her time designing patterns and of course HiyaHiya products, plus she takes care of the Social Media.
I really hope that one day I can visit HiyaHiya myself. But for now, I’m ever so happy happy that I could get to know Qianer better by one remove.
Thanks Qianer and thanks HiyaHiya!
Picture from left to right: Significant Other’s colleague, Mr Significant Himself and Qianer Huang at the Yu Garden in Shanghai.