February 3, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Importing Cosmetics from China is NOT as Easy As It Seems!

Welcome back!

I recently received an email from a blog reader, Arron, who’s looking to invest his £5,000 starting budget into creating a new brand of male cosmetics.

Is that a feasible budget or do you need more money? Or is the cosmetics niche simply too difficult, with too many rules and regulations?

That’s what we’re going to find out in today’s post!

To start, he’s the email I received:

Hi Andrew,

I have become interested in creating a brand around male cosmetics and wanted a bit of advice.

I am looking at importing products from China however, I am aware that the UK/EU have a number of requirements/restrictions in place.

Have you ever worked within the sector before? Do you have any advice on best practice i.e. ensuring the supplier has all the certificates, and that they’re real!

As my buying power is rather small. £5,000 should I look at something “less risky”?


Hi Arron,

In terms of legal requirements and responsibilities, you’ve chosen one of the hardest niches possible – cosmetics.

Anyone selling cosmetic products in the UK has to comply with EU wide safety regulations – this includes manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers (whether you’re a large limited company or a small sole trader). However, if you yourself manufacture the product or you’re the first person to import them from outside the EU, then you’re deemed to be a responsible person under UK law and greater requirements and responsibilities apply to you.

The EU Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 of the European Parliament is enforced in the UK by the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013 which came into force in July 2013.

The main legal requirements as set out by the Regulations, are that:

  • It is a criminal offence to supply cosmetic products that may cause damage to human health when applied under normal or under reasonably foreseeable means of use.
  • The use of certain substances in cosmetic products is prohibited.
  • The use of certain substances in cosmetic products is restricted.
  • Cosmetic products must comply with detailed labelling requirements.
  • Certain information and records must be maintained by the “responsible person” and available for inspection.

But before we go into these rules in more detail, I want to quickly cover what qualifies as a cosmetic product, as that’s obviously very important. And there is a specific definition as set out by the EC Regulation, so you can’t just say it’s not a cosmetic product and by-pass all the requirements! (more…)

August 16, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 1297 Comments

Alibaba SCAM Exposed! Tips & Tricks for 2017!


Alibaba is a SCAM” – you see this everywhere! And yes, you may get scammed on Alibaba IF you don’t use common sense… just like on ANY OTHER online marketplace.

Really I kinda feel sorry for Alibaba as I know for sure it is not a scam. Alibaba is simply a platform where buyers and sellers meet. Yes, there are of course scammers on Alibaba but that doesn’t mean Alibaba itself is a scam.

With that logic you can then say that eBay, the Yellow Pages and even your local business directory are scams as you can find MANY unscrupulous businesses there too.

The biggest problem this ‘Alibaba scam’ myth creates is that people who are new to importing are too afraid to even start their research process as they have that one line repeating in their heads – Alibaba is a scam, Alibaba is a scam, Alibaba is a scam…. that’s why, with today’s blog post, I want to clear the air once and for all and give you a step by step filtering system you can use to avoid 99% of scams on Alibaba and unlock one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces.

But before we go into the actual verification process; let me quickly remind you that you cannot get any kind of branded items wholesale from mainland China. I’m talking about electronics, DVDs, software, designer clothing, shoes and similar items. If you’re looking for anything branded, China is NOT the place to go as you’ll either get scammed or at best, receive fakes.

What is a BRANDED product?

By branded products I mean products that are manufactured by well known companies, like:

  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Nike
  • Sony
  • Segway
  • Etc.

These are brands that are well known to everyone and even though most of their products are manufactured in China, you CAN’T buy them in wholesale from Alibaba and other such similar sites – you simply cannot!

Companies with manufacturing operations in China have very strict distribution policies in place and it’s not like someone can walk out of a Foxconn factory (they do most of Apple’s products) with 10 iPhones in their pockets to sell on Alibaba. It’s not possible to buy iPhones directly from Foxconn, even though they’re the ones who manufacture them.

This is NOT how things work in China!!

All those brands distribute their goods in tightly secured, official channels and you won’t find these products advertised on Alibaba. If you do see ads for such products, there’s a 99%+ chance that it’s a scam! (more…)

August 11, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 1 Comments

Product Sourcing on Alibaba.com – Buying Requests vs Searching Manually?


A little while ago I took a look at one of Alibaba’s new tools – the AliSource Tool. You can check out my full review of that here: Alibaba’s AliSource Tool – Does it Work?, but basically it’s a tool that allows you to automatically post a buying request for any item you find on Alibaba, AliExpress, Amazon, or eBay.

And in my review I spoke a little bit about how I personally don’t use buying requests and instead prefer to search for suppliers for a product manually.

There are a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • It allows me to apply my filters when looking at potential suppliers;
  • I can do some preliminary supplier verification;
  • I can ask specific questions;
  • Quality over quantity – this is really the main reason! I prefer to select and talk to a view different companies so I can get a proper feel for them, makes notes etc. rather than just being contacted by countless companies that I know nothing about.

BUT, this is all personal preference, it’s how I prefer to source products and find suppliers but for some people the ease of posting a buying request may be more beneficial.

So today I want to do a little test – I’m going to put buying requests up against manual searching and see which comes out on top!

How this works is very simple:

  1. I’ll select a product.
  2. I’ll post a buying request for that product using the AliSource Tool.
  3. I’ll manually search on Alibaba.com for suppliers myself (but in order to simplify the process, the only filter I’m going to apply is that they have to be a Gold supplier).
  4. I’ll compare the results (pricing and MOQ), in order to see if there is any real difference between the two sourcing techniques or if it really is just a matter of personal preference.

Alright, it’s time to get to it then!

Just as a reminder, I select products on a fairly random basis for these tests, it’s not based on profitability or anything like that!

Product No.1

Okay, for our first product I’ve chosen a 2L waterproof bag which I came across on AliExpress:


While on the product page, I simply click the AliSource Tool bookmark button and this buying request opens and the information is automatically pre-filled for me: (more…)