Carl Hill definitely gets it. He is keenly aware of the need for black people who travel to have a space that we can call our own. Let’s take a moment to imagine what this would be.
This is a space where we can interact with people who are just like us. We can hear our music, eat our food, wear our hairstyles and generally let our guard down for a moment. This space includes everything else it needs to make it a warm little slice of home. Now, let’s take this idea and bring it into reality. This is exactly the space that Carl and his partner Patrick Springer have created in the city of Taichung in Taiwan.
Arts and Crafts, the name of this enterprise, is unique for a few reasons. First, it is wholly owned by foreigners. I have heard it said, as you probably have, that foreigners cannot own anything outright in Asia.
I keep hearing that, whether you are in Bangkok or Beijing, you need to have a national of that country to be your guarantor if you want to go into business.
Carl and Patrick and are disproving this. Over the course of our interview, Carl details his strategies for starting a business in Asia.
Carl is actually the business mind behind the Arts & Crafts. It helps that he speaks both Mandarin and Taiwanese fairly well. These skills have given him greater insight into the business culture of Taiwan. This is what he taught to me and is more than willing to teach to anyone else.
While he stressed the importance of having a local person present as an interpreter, he also stressed the importance of money and its influence in business. Owning a business as a foreigner, for him, has come down to offering up the proper amount of money. After that, everything else pretty much fell into place.