Your Questions – Part 1

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

Factory Quality Control Visit

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

Canton Trade Fair – Phase 1

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

Another one bites the dust.

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

Micro Factories

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

Foot out, flat out.

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

Getting my laptop on.

Finally found my laptop supplier, it was definitely worth the leg work.

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

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.

Downsizing – not really a word I would use to describe a business moving forwards but is that the wrong attitude?

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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.

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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.