April 7, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Fire Safety Regulations When Importing Fabrics, 
Furniture and Other Products from China!

Hello & Welcome!

It’s Friday today and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for this week’s Reader’s Question post!

Today I’ll be answering an email sent in to me by Steven, who is looking to start an importing business, but needs some help. And that’s exactly what I’m here for – so let’s get to it!

Hi Andrew,

I don’t want to bother you with a lengthy email as I’m sure you’re incredibly busy but I wanted to ask just one question about something that I just cannot find the answer to…

I’m starting to import homeware goods like throws, rugs, furniture etc. and I’m concerned with laws governing the import of fabrics. I’ve heard there are laws stating textile goods have to comply with standards i.e. fire retardant materials etc. but I’m struggling to find any info on it and don’t want to get the goods to customs and be told I can’t have them or be told that I’m not able to sell them on my site. Have you had any experience in this kind of work Andrew and can you shed any light?

I also wanted to say a quick thank you for all of your business related help, out of all of the blogs, Facebook pages, and YouTube channels out there, I find your content has explained queries the most clearly and to the point. Coming from a haulage background into this world has seemed daunting for me if I’m honest but I’m gonna give it my best shot!

If you get a moment to reply to my email, that would be brilliant!

Thanks again mate!
Steven

Thanks for your email & question Steven. And thank you for your kind words – I obviously put a lot of time and effort into this blog but it’s all worth it if I can help people achieve their dreams and create their own online business, so I’m very happy to hear that it’s been helping you.

Moving on to your question and yes – you’re 100% right, there are laws in place regarding the fire safety of furniture and related goods that you, as an importer and seller of such goods, have to comply with.

Specifically, it is The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 that you have to comply with.

These Regulations are UK Law “designed to ensure that upholstery components and composites used for furniture supplied in the UK meet specified resistance levels and are suitably labelled” and they’re enforced by the Trading Standards Department.

These regulations were created because the number of fire-related deaths in the home had increased to more than 700 a year in the 1980s and it’s estimated to have saved nearly a thousand lives so please take this seriously! Failure to comply with these regulations is an offence under UK Law and pleading ignorance “is not accepted as a defence.” (more…)

March 29, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 20 Comments

How to Use Alibaba Trade Assurance to Protect Yourself from Scams!

Hello and welcome back!

Today’s post is all about Alibaba Trade Assurance – a service from Alibaba that offers “full payment protection for your online orders”.

So without any further ado, let’s get to it!

First things first – what is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Well it’s a service run by Alibaba that’s “designed to help create trust between buyers and suppliers.” Trade Assurance covers eligible orders on Alibaba.com with full payment protection if either:

  • The quality of your products do not conform to the agreed standards;

OR

  • The supplier fails to ship your products on the agreed shipment date.

Sounds good, right? But, how much does Alibaba Trade Assurance cost to use?

It’s 100% FREE – and by free, I actually mean free – for both buyers and sellers, so it doesn’t add any cost to your order at all even though it’s basically an insurance in case anything goes wrong.

However, Trade Assurance doesn’t cover all orders on Alibaba – as it’s only eligible for suppliers who have signed up to the service and promise to abide by the Trade Assurance rules.

You can easily see which suppliers/products are covered by Trade Assurance by looking out for the Trade Assurance logo when searching for products and suppliers on Alibaba.

In this example search (and no, I don’t suggest you actually start selling iPhone cases!) you can see that while the first listing isn’t covered by Trade Assurance, the second one is:

When you hover over the Trade Assurance logo, you’ll be able to see another very important piece of information – the coverage amount for that supplier:

This is also known as the supplier’s Trade Assurance limit and this amount is set by Alibaba, not the supplier! It’s based on the supplier’s qualification status and also their historical sales volume, so the higher this amount the better really. (more…)

February 8, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Importing, Exporting, TT, WU, MOQ, FCL, LCL ALL EXPLAINED!

Welcome Back!

Last week we covered General Business terminology and today it’s time for Importing & Shipping!

If you’re new to my blog, this is a 4 part post series in which I’ll cover the most important terms used in the online business world. Each week I cover a specific topic – last week it was General Business terminology, today it’s Importing & Shipping and in up-coming weeks I will also cover eBay & Amazon, as well as eCommerce.

Without further ado – let’s get started!

Importing – when you buy goods and ship them from another country. Quite often we don’t the use word Importing when buying goods from another European Union country because when you buy from another EU country, there is no customs procedure and we don’t have to pay VAT/import duty. But in general, when you buy from a supplier located in another country, this is called Importing.

Exporting – when you sell goods and ship them to another country. Just like with Importing, when you sell to another EU country, we usually don’t use the word Exporting as there will be no customs procedure in place due to the Free Goods Movement Act all EU countries have accepted.

Shipping – simply means sending goods from one place to another. There are various shipping methods available which we’ll cover later on in this post.

Stock – term used to describe products/items for sale.

B2B – Business to Business. This term is used to describe a transaction between two businesses. Many suppliers will state on their websites that they deal with B2B customers ONLY. This means that they won’t sell directly to end customers, in quantities of just 1 unit.

B2C – Business to Consumer. When a company sells directly to Consumers. Basically any business selling online to retail customers follows a B2C business model. This term is not as widely used as B2B as if it’s a normal online store, it’s obvious that it’s B2C. However, B2B businesses on the other hand are usually clearly “labelled” so that consumers who are looking to buy just 1 item know that this is not the place to look.

MOQ – Minimum Order Quantity. This is a very important term you use when communicating with suppliers. It states how many units you need to buy from a supplier to even get a deal. Sometimes you can negotiate MOQs, as covered in my post here.

There can be product MOQs as well as order MOQs. Product MOQ means how many units of that particular product you need to buy and order MOQ means the total order quantity you need to reach to be able to buy goods from that supplier. (more…)