April 15, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

Good Old Trade Shows!

In the age of the internet, B2B websites, forums and Google it’s all too easy to forget that often, some of the old classic business methods are still very effective. I’d say one of these is Trade Shows. It’s a completely overlooked product sourcing concept, especially for online retailers who are too lazy to get out of their office or house to meet actual suppliers face to face.

Many people think that trade shows are not accessible to them, that you need a special invitation and what not. But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are trade shows that are open only to professionals, most will happily welcome ANY interested people!

Ticket prices are also not as high as some people think and in many cases are even free. Also, some trade shows are open only for professionals on DAY ONE but the general public are welcome on the following days. You can always find this information specifically for a trade show that you’re interested in on the official website.

I think trade shows are still one of the best & easiest ways to find suppliers and while not many new eBay sellers can afford a trip to China’s Canton fair, there are still loads of local options available. Such local trade shows are the perfect place to find wholesalers & new, emerging brands that are looking for exclusive distributors in a region. And this can be very powerful…

If you get in talks with a company that is looking for a distributor in the UK for a new product and you present yourself well and get the contract, it’s a fast track to success! Having exclusive distribution over an in-demand brand opens your door to wholesale opportunities too – then you can start supplying other retailers in the region.

So as you can see, trade shows are not only about meeting wholesalers – you can also build contacts with brand owners directly.

In the UK there are hundreds of trade shows being held each year, and many of them are business oriented. You can find a comprehensive list and calendar here: (more…)

March 18, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 734 Comments

How to Import Products from China!

Many of you will choose to import goods from abroad (outside the European Union). If and when you do, it’s essential to fully understand how importing works; what extra costs are involved, time frames for delivery etc.

For many new traders, Importing sounds like a nightmare to go through. But in fact, it’s not that complicated at all IF you know the basics behind the importing process – payment, shipping, taxes and customs. In this blog post I’ll try to cover most of the important aspects of importing from China and other countries outside the EU.

What does “importing” mean?

In general, importing means that you’re buying goods from a supplier outside your country. However, in my examples I won’t be counting European Union countries as goods can be freely moved across the EU without paying extra import duty or VAT. For most of you, China and the United States will be the top two countries to import from, so let’s cover them in detail.

Shipping Methods

Shipping costs will make up a substantial percentage of your total product cost, so it’s important to keep them as low as possible at all times. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger your order, the lower ‘per item’ shipping costs you’ll face. There’s no point in importing one pair of unbranded shoes from China as the shipping costs will be far more than the cost of the product itself. Volume is the key to success when building your eBay business around an “Importing from China” product sourcing concept. But that doesn’t mean you have to start off with full container loads either!

Here are the 4 most popular shipping methods you can use to import goods from China:

1) Regular Post. This means normal, regular China Post which can take up to 6 weeks to arrive. No online tracking is provided. It can be used for parcels under 2kg. Usually, you will only use regular post for samples and again ONLY if time is not that important and you can afford to wait a few weeks for a package to arrive. China Post is not the most reliable system so be prepared for lost/stolen packages.

If at all possible, I try to avoid using China Mail for any shipments as the delivery time is simply too long.

If your supplier is located in Hong Kong, you can use HK Airmail which is way more reliable, comes with a tracking number and usually arrives within 5-10 days. (more…)