It was great having him over as he kicked off his summer break from university and it gave me a chance to have a little down time and do a few touristy things while exploring my surroundings properly. Continue reading
This has got to be perhaps the biggest crux of importing from China. Ensuring that the goods you buy are up to the market standards you require. On paper it sounds easy but in practice it’s a little more complicated. I guess this is why goods from China and Asia as a whole seem to get a bit of a bad reputation. Continue reading
I get a lot of great emails from you guys and i really appreciate you taking the time to get in touch with me. Here is a small selection of some questions i have been asked that i think will appeal to other readers of my blog. I am in a very fortunate position here and i want to help others i meet on this journey with any knowledge I can share. Please do get in touch, it would be great to connect with you, share stories and maybe do some business along the way. Continue reading
Since moving here my “job role” has adapted vastly to suit my environment. I did originally move here with the idea of sourcing product for my own business to sell back in the UK. This has since developed somewhat and I have also started to source directly for others thanks to people getting in touch through this blog. Continue reading
I have wanted to visit Canton Fair for about 4 years now, I was put off by two things in the past that had I known what I know now, would not have been an issue. Number one being getting a visa and number two being getting from Hong Kong airport to the Fair. I almost came here to the Fair in 2008 and I was trying to organise the trip through a Chinese agent. Continue reading
So I am now onto my third iPhone since being in china. Thank god this time I backed up all my contacts and information from that phone onto my iPad via iCloud. A really useful and life saving piece of software that remotely syncs all data on your apple devices backing them all up whenever you are connected to a WiFi network. Continue reading
Since moving here I have been constantly surprised, shocked and amazed by some of the things I have seen in China. I guess a lot of these things are “You had to be there” moments that just pop out at you while on your way to find some milk – an expedition in itself! Others though are just things that make me think why does this not happen in the UK? Continue reading
So the fixed gear bike is coming along, it’s been a tricky one because of quality control issues butting up against my efforts to keep this bike close to the £220-50 mark at retail. But so far the bike looks pretty dialled. Continue reading
When I used to race mountain bikes we used this term to describe you riding at full tilt, fast paced into a corner leaning the bike in as you teeter a foot out to keep balance, dust cloud kicking out from the back wheel. These past few weeks have been akin to those happy Sunday’s racing down a hillside, I have definitely been foot out flat out and feel just as alive now as I did then. Continue reading
Well I’m into my third week living in China now and it feels like I have been here 3 years. Amazing place and I am really enjoying myself here. I can’t really get across on this blog how crazy this place is but like last week here are a few sly iPhone snaps of what I’ve seen while factory hopping. Continue reading
We have visited 3 laptop and tablet PC factories since being here. Now is probably a good time to mention that pretty much everyone from the guy on alibaba.com to the guy in the market trade stall says they are a factory, the reality is very different. Continue reading
Really excited to have signed a sweet deal today that will hopefully lead to good things for us in the OEM in car entertainment market. As you may know I was looking for a supplier of quality aftermarket car GPS, DVD and CD units. I didn’t want to go to the bottom end as i know there are a lot of quality issues in this area. Continue reading
Before i came here i did a lot of research into past sales volumes of certain products on sites such as ebay and amazon. These however are not going to be my only sales outlets as due the volatile nature of these sites doing so would be ecommerce suicide – never put all your eggs in one basket. Continue reading
“This is china” – a phrase used by western people living here. It means “This is pretty crazy right but hey don’t be suprised, your in china after all”. That just about sums up this place, culture shock doesn’t even cut it. I have been all over the world but this feels like another planet.
I landed in Hong Kong on friday and it’s been a mad rush and emotional roller coaster for the past 3 days. Losing my iPhone didn’t help, if you know me personally then please email your contact details to me on dan @ cassico.com.
I had to fly into HK for my visa which i had to wait overnight for. I have then travelled to Guangzhou which is my first port of call to start visiting factories on Monday. Pretty tired but can’t wait to start putting all this planning into action.
I have Just been for a meal with a friend of mine who lives here and met my guide/translator. Sorry for the lack of updates for the past 3 days but interestingly blogging, facebook and things like youtube are all banned in China so i had to sign up to an off shore server in order to log in – this is china! Here’s a few snaps from the last few days, afraid since I lost my iPhone all the good ones are gone.
From what I can see people here are either pretty poor or super rich, it’s a funny set up and you can see the social effect this has. There is a lot of fake stuff here, as you might expect, but I didn’t expect this level of blatant copies. I went to a roof top party on Friday night and there was a fake Rolls Royce phantom parked outside. Outside my hotel, a casual fake range rover sport. I just went to buy a new iphone from a legit looking apple dealer until my translator told me it was a copy. You could never tell, makes you wonder….
Living costs wise you can live for real cheap, but you can also spend big bucks. Apparently the average wage here is about £120 a month but my hotel was £160 on the first night so I guess I need to slip out of “Tourist” mode. A bottle of water is A few pence but in starbucks one will run you £2.60.
So tomorrow we start hunting down goods, very excited indeed.
Downsizing – not really a word I would use to describe a business moving forwards but is that the wrong attitude?
Above you can see the back of one of the warehouses I was using up until recently. It’s 8000 sq ft and at about £2k per month including council rates and electric, was costing me a fortune to run. Looks like a lot of headache right? I was using it to house bankrupt stock and assets, in the photo you can mainly see some of the 37 pallets of kitchen units and doors that I bought from a bankrupt company in Darlington and Exported to Nigeria in Africa.
This exercise of buying this kind of stock in bulk can sure turn a profit, on the job I mentioned above I probably turned over £12k from a £4k outlay but it is always difficult and timely work which often means logistical costs and headaches. I’m keen to remove one of these headaches by downsizing from such a large and costly warehouse. This will reduce monthly overheads, promote sensible buying of stock and motivate us to turn stock over quickly as we won’t have the room to let it build up month on month.
I have downsized the warehouses and now have reduced overheads and gained some great flexibility to boot. The unit below shows one of the new warehouses and at £600 per month it’s a real saving. In addition to this I have come across a great Fulfilment warehousing service that I’m thinking of using for the bulk china stock when things get going.
For those of you who might not know what fulfilment is its basically a dream come true for people like me who want to work from an iPad on a beach some day. Your stock is delivered to them via container and they unload and re pallet it accordingly. It is then warehoused and allocated stock barcodes. When you sell items you simply email or fax the orders, they then pick and dispatch them for you. Put simply you never need to see or touch the stock you import. This will allow me to travel to various suppliers globally and spend time doing what I am good at while letting a professional company carry out the day to day logistics.
This sounds like an expensive premium service right? Well no you would be surprised. I was quoted prices from around 70 pence per item which when you take into account the low shipping rate they can offer due to there volumes thats a pretty good deal.
So by getting myself into a downsizing mindset I have found a way to seriously reduce my overheads, promote quicker stock turnover and found a way to potentially improve my stock handling and dispatching. Doesn’t sound like a business moving backwards to me.