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Daniella Santana – fitness trainer turns businesswoman

Writer: Priyanka Sharma  | Editor: Jane Chen  | From:  | Updated: 2018-10-15

Daniella Santana

Email of the writer: consultpriyanka@gmail.com

Many words can be used to describe Daniella Santana — strong, beautiful, independent, courageous, supporter of the community, easygoing — but if I were to summarize Santana, who her friends call her Dany, in one sentence I would say, “She is a fiercely independent woman who is not afraid of going after what she wants with all she’s got.”

Born in Queimados, Brazil, Dany moved to Rio in her early teen years. In 2004, Dany graduated from the University of Rio as a physical education professional and wanted to leave Brazil, but she hadn’t decided on her destination yet.

That’s when China came into the picture. In early 2005, Dany got an opportunity to work in Qingdao as a fitness and wellness trainer. The job in Qingdao led to another job opportunity in Shenzhen, where the thick warm air instantly made her feel right at home.

Once in Shenzhen, Dany started getting asked every now and then by her friends back home for help sourcing products from China. Before she knew it, what had started as a few favors for friends was turning into a full-fledged business.

By 2008, Dany left China to raise enough capital to start her own sourcing and trading company while working on a cruise ship as a sports trainer for three years. When she returned to Shenzhen in 2011, she kept the promise she made to herself, starting Concept Express, but then she realized that she would need more in-depth knowledge for a successful trading business.

Dany joined a Chinese, and later a Brazilian, logistics company as a business developer and attended business training sessions to fill in the gaps in her knowledge.

In 2013, she began working full-time on her business. By 2016, her business was sailing on smooth water at full throttle.

In 2017, Dany was invited to join Start-Up Chile, a startup accelerator founded by the Chilean Government that is the largest of its kind in Latin America, where she mentors on all things related to conducting business in China. Dany said she loves “how easy it is to connect with people here.”

Dany lives in Futian with her two rescued dogs and enjoys salsa dancing, KTV and outdoor activities in her spare time.