Young man does booming business preserving "clouds" in ornaments

(People's Daily Online) 10:37, March 31, 2021

A young man has turned his hobby of watching clouds into a lucrative business by making ornaments with artificial clouds preserved inside them. In 2020, he sold nearly half a million of these products via e-commerce platforms for 1 million yuan ($152,200).

Photo shows a full set of ornaments, each preserving a handmade cloud, produced by Yu Gongjin. (Photo/

Before that, Yu Gongjin, who was born in the 1990s in east China's Zhejiang province, worked in the intelligent lighting business in Beijing after earning a bachelor's degree in physics in Zhejiang University.

Yu said he was so swamped in the hustle and bustle of city life in Beijing that he barely had time to watch the sky. Yu said that clouds have a healing effect on him.

Yu's fascination with clouds dates back to 2015, when he accidentally discovered flaming clouds and was awestruck by the celestial phenomena. Since then, he has taken pleasure in photographing clouds of various shapes that he comes across and shares them on the Internet.

Photo shows four ornaments, each preserving a handmade cloud, made by Yu Gongjin. (Photo/

"In 2019, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could preserve the clouds for a longer time," Yu recalled. To do that, he went online to do some research and learned to preserve artificial clouds made from glue drippings or cotton fiber in small transparent pendants or ornaments.

At the beginning, he found drying the glue drippings to be very difficult, as air bubbles produced during the process always got into the handicraft and ruined the whole piece. After repeated trials, he finally found the most suitable temperature and humidity in which the artifacts could be made without producing air bubbles.

Photo shows Yu Gongjin taking photos of the sky. (Photo/

It takes a lot of patience to make a single ornament, said Yu, adding that the production process requires complete focus, and lasts four to five hours without a break. Moreover, it usually takes two days to make a small handmade cloud, and four to five days for a bigger one to dry, he explained.

After spotting a niche in the market for similar handicraft products, Yu decided to quit his job in Beijing last year and monetize his hobby by selling the cloud-themed ornaments and peripheral products via e-commerce platforms.

Photo shows two ornaments, each preserving a handmade cloud, made by Yu Gongjin. (Photo/

Over the past year or so, Yu has sold 300,000 to 400,000 artifacts and earned up to 1 million yuan. "I didn't expect such a boom in my business. We were often overwhelmed with orders, especially during holidays," said Yu, who currently employs two full-time staff and a part-time designer for his online business.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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