November 24, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 16 Comments

Alibaba GOLD Member SCAMS!

gold-supplier-scamThe blog is turning in to a bit of a scam buster site now, as today we have a post all about Alibaba Gold Supplier scams, to follow on from last week’s one on Trademark applications.

Anyone who has read my very popular post “exposing the Alibaba scam” or the follow up article I did detailing the 10 most commonly attempted scams on Alibaba will know that I always recommend that you only deal with Gold Suppliers when sourcing products on Alibaba.

In fact, it’s the very first criteria I use when I’m searching for a new supplier and want to instantly filter out a large majority of the un-safe options. The reasoning behind it is incredibly simple – it costs a lot of money to become a Gold Supplier on Alibaba and most scammers are unwilling to spend that sum, when they know their account won’t last long anyway.

So does that mean only dealing with gold suppliers on Alibaba protects you completely against scams and makes you 100% safe? No, unfortunately not! You can still get scammed by gold suppliers on Alibaba and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

But before we get started with the meat of today’s post – I do want to quickly point something out: the absolute vast majority of gold suppliers on Alibaba are 100% legitimate companies. Of course I can’t put an exact figure on it, but I would estimate that around 1% of your dealings with these companies will be a scam. And no matter where you’re ordering from, a 99% success rate is very impressive!

So please don’t let this article scare you away from Alibaba, as that is the opposite of my intent! Instead I want you to feel more confident so that you can use Alibaba safely to source great products at great prices.

Alright, now that’s covered, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

From my experience and knowledge, there are 5 main instances when you may be scammed by a gold supplier, and we’re going to go through them one by one so that you know what to look out for: (more…)

November 18, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Chinese Brand Products – Are They FAKES?

chinese-brandsNearly every time I mention the words “China” & “Branded Products” together, it’s a warning about how you CANNOT buy branded products from China.

You know exactly what I’m talking about – all those websites with their too good to be true “buy one get one free” deals on all the top products and brands, such as:

Electronics – Apple, Samsung, Intel, Sony etc.

fake-apple-productsClothing and Footwear – Nike, Adidas, Puma etc.

fake-nike-productsDesigner Clothing and Accessories – Armani, Gucci, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana etc.

fake-handbagsAnd many more!

Sites such as these are everywhere online, preying on newbies who don’t know any better (I still get emails every week from people who have lost a lot of money by falling for these scams).

BUT all my warnings about branded products from China have created a bit of confusion that I want to clear up today.

When I talk about buying branded products from China, I am referring to Western brands (plus some Asian electronics companies of course) – big consumer brands whose products you will find on Amazon and your local high street. (more…)

September 28, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 22 Comments

RULES on Importing Toys to the UK from China!

importing-toys-from-chinaFollowing on from last week’s post about importing children’s clothing to the UK, today I want to cover the specific rules for importing toys.

Toys is another hugely popular niche for new online sellers, and that’s not really surprising. After all, we’ve all seen the toy sensations that just fly off the shelves; pretty much everything Frozen related in the last few years is a great example!

And that’s exactly why I wanted to bring this up, before we get to the actual point of today’s post – you cannot buy licensed toys from China!

Please don’t ignore this point! Any toys, be they plush, figures, cars etc., which feature trademarked characters or names, are illegal to buy and resell!

It doesn’t matter if it’s a different design to the doll that Disney sell in their own stores! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have a Disney logo visible on the label! These toys are illegal – and that’s that.

Of course this goes for all trademarked characters, not just Disney. I just used them as an example as the vast majority of toys being sold illegally are something to do with Disney.

I don’t want to delve any further in to this now, as I’ve actually covered it on this blog before. You can take a look at that post here if there’s anything you’re unsure about: Wholesale Disney Character Items from China!

Okay, now that we’ve got that point out of the way, let’s get to what today’s post is all about – importing toys from China to sell in the UK.

As an importer of toys intended for children, you must comply with the 2011 Toys (Safety) Regulations, which basically introduced the European Toy Safety Directive into UK law.

The overall requirements of this directive are that toys must: (more…)

September 23, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 13 Comments

Importing Children’s Clothing from China!

childrens-clothing-from-chinaClothing is a niche that I receive a LOT of emails about, and it’s not hard to understand why – the margins are amazing!

It’s not uncommon to achieve 80%+ margins on clothing (selling your own brand of course – you won’t make anything near that re-selling designer brands!) which is something that most other industries can only dream of.

But really that 80% margin is only part of the story and when you delve deeper there are a lot of issues with selling clothing online, particularly designer brands.

I have actually covered this topic in the past, and outlined my reasons for staying away from this supposedly very lucrative niche. You can take a look at that post here if you missed it:

https://andrewminalto.com/designer-clothing-on-ebay/

But despite my personal reservations, today’s post is all about importing clothing to the UK, and specifically, children’s clothing.

I recently received an email from a blog reader who had big problems with a fairly large order of children’s clothing and shoes from China, and he ended up losing a lot of money sending the whole shipment back, as it didn’t conform to the necessary standards and regulations.

So to try and help you avoid any costly mistakes like that in the future, I want to cover exactly what you need to do when importing children’s clothing the UK from China.

Let’s get to it!

The first things I want to cover apply to all clothing and footwear in general, as there are safety regulations that you need to meet in order to sell imported clothes in the UK.

This should really be obvious to everyone – after all, clothing is a product for which the materials and quality are extremely important. These are items that are worn in contact with the skin for hours at a time so it’s not just a simple matter of the product merely not working if it’s badly made – the consequences can be much more severe. (more…)

September 7, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 18 Comments

Fear of the Minimum Order Quantity on Alibaba!

minimum-order-quantityOne of the biggest problems that many people face when searching for items and suppliers on Alibaba is the MOQ (minimum order quantity). It’s not uncommon for some suppliers to list their MOQ as 500, 1000 or sometimes even higher for very cheap items.

moq-lens-mug

moq-beadsThe usual reaction from people in these situations is to simply scrap any such listings and suppliers. But you really don’t have to, at least not always!

If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from my many years of importing and teaching others how to import from China, it’s that the MOQ is negotiable.

In most cases it can be cut in half and sometimes even more than that – I’ve seen many occasions with my 60 Day Blueprint customers when the MOQ has been lowered from 500 to 100… it’s all about negotiation!

I did actually cover this at the end of my recent post about Contacting Suppliers on Alibaba, so check that out for a good introduction:

https://andrewminalto.com/dealing-with-chinese-suppliers/

But the method I use in that contact template is only one option – the old ‘small test order progressing to larger orders later’. There are a few other tactics that you can use as well, if for some reason that one isn’t suitable or effective. (more…)

September 2, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 15 Comments

Pre-Shipment Inspection in China – STAY SAFE!

inspection-report

I recently wrote about factory inspections and how they are an integral part of vetting any new supplier – you can read that post here if you missed it: Trip to China – £3000 vs Factory Inspection – £70.

And in that post I also mentioned pre-shipment inspections, which is what today’s article is all about, as in my opinion a pre-shipment inspection is crucial when placing a large order from China.

The first question that might come to you now is “but why do I need to do another inspection? Surely one is enough…”

Well the factory inspection and pre-shipment inspection cover two very different things.

I usually recommend doing a factory inspection after you’ve received samples from a company and before you pay any money towards a real order, and it’s basically a general audit/verification of the company – to make sure everything is 100% genuine and as they’ve presented.

Whereas a pre-shipment inspection will concentrate purely on the items you’ve ordered – making sure there are no errors and they match your specification.

A pre-shipment inspection should be done once your order is ready to be shipped, but before you pay the remaining balance, and covers things like:

  • Quality of the product
  • Quantity being shipped
  • Packaging
  • Labelling
  • Etc.!

In simple terms, I view the factory inspection as the final scam filter, but the pre-shipment inspection is all about making sure your order is perfect. After all, as I touched upon in my UK Wholesale Scams post, not being a scammer doesn’t make that company a good supplier and there are still many things that can go wrong with your actual order. (more…)

August 25, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

UK Wholesale SCAMS – Smarter than EVER!

uk-wholesale-scamsI talk a lot about importing from China on this blog, and for a good reason – it really is the best way to go if you’re looking to make real profit selling online (I’m talking about 100%+ mark-ups!).

However, importing from China can be a very taunting task for new sellers, even with all my guides and help, and for some people UK wholesalers can be a viable alternative when starting out.

The main benefits to dealing UK suppliers vs ordering from overseas are:

  • Low MOQs

Shipping costs are a big consideration when placing wholesale orders, as they can drastically affect your per item cost, but when ordering from a UK based company you don’t have to deal with air or sea freight and it becomes much more viable to place low value orders.

  • Quicker

As well as shipping being cheaper, it is also much quicker. This makes stock control and planning your inventory significantly easier and it also means you can hold a bigger variety of stock as you don’t need huge volumes of each item.

  • Branded Goods are Available

Unlike with mainland China where it is impossible to buy genuine branded goods, you can source such items from official distributors and wholesalers in the UK.

Actually getting them to sell to you or being able to make any money from such items is another question entirely though!

  • Easier and Safer

Generally speaking, scams are not as common for UK based businesses as with Chinese companies.

The reason for this is of course extremely obvious – nearly everyone knows that a large proportion of the world’s most popular products are made in China and they think that means you can buy directly from the factories there. As a result Chinese websites with too good to be true pricing on Apple iPhones and Sony PlayStation 4s are very common.

But contrary to what you might have heard, though it is much less likely, you can still get scammed when ordering from UK based businesses!

And that’s really what today’s article is all about – a guide on how to properly verify UK based suppliers.

First things first, although I’ve mentioned above how you can source branded items from the UK (unlike China where these are 100% no-go items) – they are still the most popular products for scammers and their unbelievable wholesale prices and buy one get one free offers! (more…)

June 3, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 82 Comments

How to DEAL with Alibaba suppliers?

contact-chinese-suppliersSo you have researched countless niches, searched through months of eBay data on Terapeak and filtered down your choices to a few potential products… and it’s now time to head to Alibaba and find some suppliers!

BUT, maybe you’re a new business, just starting out on eBay, and this is your first time importing?

You don’t have any experience dealing with wholesalers in the UK, never mind factories and suppliers in China… Plus this is your first order as a sole trader, so will suppliers even speak to you!? Do you meet their MOQs?

If any of these worries sound familiar to you, then you are not alone! I receive many emails every week from entrepreneurs just like this, who have done most of the hard work, but get stuck when it’s time to actually contact suppliers and put their order together!

And that’s what today’s article is all about.

I want to help you, by giving some tips on how to contact suppliers on Alibaba and how to properly present you and your business. More than that, I’ll also give you some templates that you can adapt and use yourself, to make this process as easy as possible.

But let me first start off by saying that really, there is nothing to be scared of. Suppliers in China are, generally speaking, much easier to deal with than wholesalers and distributors in the UK. As long as you are respectful, sound fairly serious (you don’t want to come across as a complete newbie/amateur!), and meet their requirements – then you have nothing to worry about.

It’s not like with some branded items here, where distributors will only deal with bricks and mortar sellers, who have been in business for decades – not at all! Chinese suppliers are generally very fair and keen for your business, as long as you present yourself well.

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

Initial Contact

The first stage when contacting new suppliers on Alibaba is of course the initial contact/message. I personally usually prefer to use Alibaba’s live chat for this, simply because it’s easier to speak to many suppliers quickly and you don’t have to wait for a reply.

When using Live Chat on Alibaba, try doing it early in the mornings (6AM-8AM, GMT) while it’s still business hours in China. This increases your chances of seeing most sales reps online. Of course, many companies on Alibaba have live support working 24/7, to cover Worldwide time zones but I have found that in early mornings there are higher chances of getting someone to talk to you.

Some of my students prefer to simply send an email to multiple suppliers, as that way you will receive replies back to your email and though it takes a bit longer, it is easier to keep track of everything.

(more…)

May 11, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Behind scenes VIDEOS from Chinese FACTORIES!

chinese-factories-videosFollowing up on last week’s article on how to do proper, 3rd party inspection on suppliers in China, today I want to share with you 4 videos that cover in detail how Chinese factories work, how quality control works and many other aspects of business.

These videos are about 4 different electronic cigarette factories but they’re highly valuable no matter what products you sell as main principles will stay same in all factories based in China.

By watching these videos you’ll better understand and “read” your inspection reports, particularly quality control procedures, general manufacturing, packaging procedures.

Special THANKS goes to PBusardo & Dimitri for making these videos available to all of us!

Enjoy!

(more…)

May 5, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 76 Comments

Trip to China: £3000 vs Factory Inspection: £70

china-factory-inspectionSo you have found that perfect supplier in China, using Alibaba or any other sourcing platform, you’ve made sure the company isn’t a scam, and everything went through fine with your sample order…

But now it’s time for you to send your first real order.

Be it for £1k, £3k, £10k or more – there’s a worry inside you that stops you from making that payment. You simply fear getting scammed, especially if it’s your first importing deal or first time ordering from that particular supplier.

So what can you do? How do you keep your chances of getting scammed to an absolute minimum? I have already talked about safe payment methods on my blog, and that is one incredibly important aspect, but there’s also one more thing you can do to fully verify the supplier that you’re dealing with. And that is – doing a factory audit/inspection using a 3rd party inspection service.

How does it work? It’s a pretty straightforward process – you hire an inspector who goes to the supplier and does an independent review on the company in question. This means checking the company’s registration documents, bank account information, office, manufacturing, warehouse facilities and many more things!

In essence it’s almost like you’re visiting the supplier yourself, just without the huge costs associated with a trip to China! I have been using such inspections for many years now and they’re really valuable when assessing new suppliers to deal with as well as checking the product quality while still in the pre-shipment stage.

Today we’re going to cover how this all works in detail so that you can use this as a guide in the future, when conducting your own supplier inspections.

1. First things first – letting your supplier know about the up-coming inspection.

You don’t want to hire an inspector to visit a supplier you haven’t been in contact with! They may simply refuse entry or won’t cooperate at all.

Of course normally you will already be in communication with the supplier as you contacted them to get more info about products (prices, MOQs etc.) and placed a sample order. So they already know who you are.

When you’re ready to do the inspection, simply let your supplier know that you would like to check their company using a 3rd party inspection service. In most cases, genuine suppliers won’t have any problems with this and accept it as standard procedure.

If your supplier refuses an inspection for any weird reason, for me personally, that would ring alarm bells and it usually means something is wrong. Either they’re not what they say they are or they’re hiding something from you… whatever the reason – if this scenario occurs, I would seriously reconsider using that supplier for a full order. The only valid excuse to not do an inspection would be if they’re on holiday or attending a trade show; any other stories I simply wouldn’t believe. (more…)