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
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
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
Now and again you get something me and my friends call “a touch”. I suppose it could be described as when you come across a really good circumstance that leads to a financial gain. Well on Wednesday I had a bit of a touch.
I have had a few of these since i have been buying bankrupt stock and it’s a real buzz when you find yourself with high retail price products that a bailiff, auctioneer or private vendor has mistakenly undervalued. Sometimes of course they know the value but they just need the goods outa there, either way if your on your toes you can enjoy the benefits.
I bought a variety of stock from a bankrupt electrical components wholesaler. Some of which I recognised from previous jobs and some of which I knew nothing about. When it comes to the latter I suppose that’s not entirely true. With all this technology we have these days I guess valuing assets has never been so easy, my iPad is worth more than it’s weight in gold and 5 minutes on it makes me an expert on any product or piece of machinery – as long as you know where to look.
One product caught my eye and I quickly looked it up, cheapest price on the net was £660. These are large commercial electrical breakers usually found in factories and usually costing £800. You can see a pic of one of them below, not very exciting right? But then sometimes the best ways of making money are pretty boring – look at football. There are 20 units and if I blow them out at £500 each that’s 10k, a pretty nice return. Obviously I was more than pleased for them to be in the job lot I had just picked up.
Now you dont get these kind of deals every day but when you do I guess it makes you realise why you do all this running around.
What I have realised over the last couple of years of doing this is that the key is margin, if you can offer a product at the most competitive price yet still yield a good margin then your onto winner, in my experience this can come from buying stock as cheap as possible or having a really high value niche market item. At one time you could do both, I guess part of me going to china is to see if this is still possible.
I guess you would like to know how to do this? Well keep tuned, I’m happy to help you guys have your own little touch.
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.
I have half thought things through here, i have some key logistics in place, everything is going to be ok….
I have spent the last 2 years trading in bankrupt stock, machinery and assets. Before this I was importing high-end bikes from Taiwan, Germany and the US. This has been a cool thing to do and I have met some interesting people and travelled all over the world. Good times. I guess most importantly I have had a crash education in business and hopefully have learnt important lessons, some of which came at a cost.
I have kept a skeleton business in place in the UK – namely two warehouses, one in the north of england and one in the south, along with two colleagues. The idea being that I send samples back to the uk very regularly for them to test the market with. I will be using a 5 day air courier service to get them back to the uk asap so my guys can check them out and see what the sales look like. Those that look to be hot items will then get containerised back in bulk. It’s a simple plan but in my experience if you make something simple enough it might just work.
This loose infrastructure should hopefully allow me to test a wide variety of items in the UK market quickly and know which lines are worth risking some funds on. In the past I have visited trade shows and then ordered in bulk once back in the UK, this does not always work and it also means that more often than not you’re not the only person who had that idea. Sometimes a product will have a very limited shelf life where its super popular and in demand for a month or two before the whole of eBay is clearing them out. I guess software such as terapeak might not help this? My idea is to move quick on products like these and I see this method as the most secure way of doing so.