Q: What is your business model? A: I sell hundreds of props, from ropes, to cards and sets of magic toys imported from the US and other places. My products sell for less than 100 yuan each and they were a big source of profit in the first couple of months, but shops selling only props cannot survive for long. Dozens of students now attend my four-hour training sessions, which cost 300 yuan and give someone enough skills to perform simple magic shows on stage. Can people perform these tricks without too much training? Most of my clients are young people and are quick to pick up new things. We have two magic teachers who conduct four intensive, one-hour classes. My students learn many tips during the sessions and have to practise a lot after class. Most can do well and I have only had a few who cannot follow at all. I tell my students that magic is scientific and every step is based on scientific theory. We teach them some formulas and ways to think and act as magicians. Doing magic is simple and anything around us can be harnessed as a prop. I encourage my students to use the belongings of those watching them perform. I don't think it is difficult to pick up magic at the basic level as long as you are interested in it. What is your students' response? I was really surprised when they said doing magic helped them socialise. Some education majors told me they could interact with children more easily if they did some small magic shows during practical training at kindergartens. Similar positive effects have also occurred among workers in dull office environments or salespeople trying to strike up a conversation with potential clients. How did you start the business? I opened my shop in February last year. Before that I spent about a year researching the market. I found that magic-related stores were burgeoning in China, but the conditions were a long way from those in countries where the magic business is developed. Early entrants to this industry will gain more than the later participants. So I invested in it and now I feel happy with my decision. I was really in awe of David Copperfield when he performed in Shanghai two years ago and have been attracted to magic since then. But after I set up my shop and learned about it, I began to think that magic was not so mysterious, and based on logic. I don't feel the competition is too severe. There are just three or four shops in the city and we know each other well. Our business models are almost the same. I am optimistic about this industry and I am planning to open a magic-themed bar. Running a small shop seems very fashionable. What do you think? Before I started this shop, I was also one of millions of people doing a routine job. My last job was in a foreign trade company. I had a decent salary, but I was bored. Now I am working for myself and I like it, even though I don't have any holidays. With the help of my husband, I do everything from contacting manufacturers and their agents, and buying teaching videos from overseas, to promoting our training classes. Another problem is the frequent visitors who ask me to teach them how to cheat at gambling. I tell them all to go away.