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How to Order from Alibaba in 3 Steps

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Do you have a product that you would like to order from a supplier on Alibaba.com? Ordering from Alibaba.com might seem like a simple task but a quick search on Google or the Alibaba forum proves the opposite.

This article provides you with a step by step guide to ordering from Alibaba.

Step 1. Sourcing products on Alibaba.com

There are three ways to source products at Alibaba. Product Search, Supplier Search or by posting a Buying Request. The Supplier Search is the latest Alibaba search option and in my opinion superior to the other two, below I explain why. Continue Reading →

Importing GOTS Organic Cotton Textiles from China

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Looking for GOTS certified organic cotton manufacturers in China? Then keep reading. In this article, you will learn what GOTS is, and how you can find GOTS certified suppliers online.

In addition, I will also explain how you can verify a GOTS certificate, and why should not assume that all cotton fabric suppliers in China are certified.

In fact, only a small fraction are.

What is Organic Cotton?

By definition, organic cotton is grown using methods that leaves a smaller environmental footprint on the environment. For example, organic cotton is only defined as such if the following criteria are met:

1. No use of toxins

2. No use of persistent pesticides (POP)

3. No use of chemical fertilizers

4. No use of GMO seeds

In the textile industry, organic cotton is the exception, not the rule. Further, the reduction of POP and chemical fertilizers reduces yields, and therefore results in higher prices.

Hence, you should expect to pay more for organic cotton, than non-organic cotton.

What is GOTS?

GOTS is the acronym for Global Organic Textile Standard, which is defined as follows:

1. Only fabrics that contain at least about 70% organic fibers can become GOTS certified

2. All chemicals such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria

3. A functional wastewater treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with social criteria

A supplier can be GOTS certified, if they pass a factory inspection performed by an accredited third party. There are only a handful of ‘GOTS accredited’ inspection companies with offices in China:

  • CERES GmbH
  • Control Union Certifications b.v.
  • Ecocert Greenlife

Continue Reading →

Selling on Amazon.com From Overseas: By Ariel B. C.

Almost half of our readers are located outside of the United States and the European Union. Yet, the majority of our customers in these countries are mainly selling in the US or Europe. Or both.

One of our subscribers, Ariel, is one of them.

In this article, he explains how he started selling in the United States, on Amazon.com, while being based in Israel and Europe.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before starting with your current business

I was born in France, and moved to Israel about 20 years ago.

I always had a passion to travel, so, logically, I always searched for source of incomes that can be managed from any places in the world.

I studied economics, but worked a very briefly as an employee. Only about 2 years, then I began to import goods from the United States, to France for several years when I still lived there. Essentially motorcycles and accessories.

When I arrive in Israel, I first worked in software for a big company.

In parallel, I began to sell online about 10 years ago, at Ebay France, managing the shop digitally from Israel while having a partner in France taking care of all the “physical” work.

Then I discovered Amazon FBA nearly 4 years ago, and I found it was a perfect fit for me.

It allows me to be free of all the worries about warehouse to stock my inventory and also I don’t have to deal with packaging and shipping every unit sold to the customer.

It also can be run from any place, so I can make a living while travelling around the world.

About a year ago, I was able to quit my job as an employee and work full time on my online business.

For half a year, I have a VA from the Philippines helping me with recurring tasks and social media. Continue Reading →

Railway Freight from China: A Complete Guide

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Railway freight is quickly becoming a transportation option for European importers. Starting from virtually nothing in 2013, rail freight is now available to many destinations in Europe – including the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.

It’s branded as the perfect middle way between sea and air freight, and it has massive potential.

Imagine getting your products delivered in less than half the time it takes, compared to sea freight. And, at a cost that is way below what you’d pay for economy air freight.

The good news is that this is already available.

But, these are still early days, and the process is not nearly as mapped out as that for sea and air freight.

Keep reading, and learn the following:

  1. When does railway freight make sense?
  2. Which cities in China are connected to the railway network?
  3. To which destinations is railway freight available?
  4. How long does it take to deliver goods from China to Europe, by rail?
  5. What is the rail freight cost?
  6. Can I get both LCL and FCL cargo delivered by rail?

Continue Reading →

Trade Shows in Vietnam 2018: The Ultimate Guide

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Finding the best suppliers in Vietnam can be quite challenging. At least when sourcing products online. Instead, you might want to consider one of several trade shows, held yearly in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi.

In this article, you’ll get a complete overview over the largest trade shows in Vietnam, covering the following categories:

  • Apparel & Textiles
  • Furniture, Home decor & Handicrafts
  • Electronics
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Print & Packaging
  • Construction & Industrial

In addition, we also cover visa requirements, invitation letters and transportation options.

Apparel & Textiles

VTG Textile & Garment

In 2018, the Vietnam International Textile & Garment Industry Exhibition is scheduled to take place in Ho Chi Minh City in in November 2018.

The event takes place once every year, mostly in the month of November. It is organized by Vietnam International Trade Fair & Advertising Joint Stock Company in partnership with Yorkers Trade & Marketing Services Co., Ltd.

It is a popular event that is attended by more than 10,000 people and around 400 exhibitors every year.

You can find a wide range of products at this event that includes:

  • Textile machinery
  • Apparel machinery
  • Fibers
  • Filaments
  • Fabrics
  • Apparel accessories

You can also find exhibitors from all around the world, especially manufacturers of winding machines, braiding machines, thread trimmer machines, etc.

You can meet manufacturers of modern textile and apparel machinery here instead of exploring actual textile products. If you are interested in machinery instead of textile or garments, this is an excellent event to attend.

If you are interested in the textile and garments instead of machinery, you can visit the sister exhibition that takes place at the same time and same venue, the Vietnam International Textile & Apparel Accessories Exhibition.

Admission is allowed for only 16 years old or older.

Venue: Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC), 799 Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, Tan Phu Ward, Dist.7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Continue Reading →

Sourcing Products in Vietnam: A How to Guide

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Vietnam is finally maturing as a serious alternative for online sellers, sourcing products in Asia. Yet, Vietnam is not an option for everyone.

In this article, you will learn what kind of products you can source in Vietnam, and how you need to approach Vietnamese suppliers once you’ve found one.

You will also learn how to deal with sample orders, payments and quality control – and why you may find Vietnamese suppliers to be less enthusiastic than those in China.

What kind products can I source in Vietnam?

Below follows an overview of the categories in which Vietnam offers a relatively large number of suppliers.

a. Apparel & Textiles

The apparel and textile industry is well established in Vietnam. In fact, most of our customers currently sourcing products in Vietnam, are in the apparel and textile industry.

Apparel manufacturers tend to have relatively wide product scopes. However, these are some of the more common products found in Vietnam:

  • Children’s Products
  • T-Shirts
  • Sportswear
  • Outdoor wear
  • Knitwear

Vietnamese textiles suppliers are generally OEM manufacturers, meaning that they make products according to tech packs provided by their customers. Continue Reading →

Furniture & Housewares Trade Shows in Asia 2018

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Are you looking for qualified furniture and housewares manufacturers in Asia? Then you should attend at least one of the many upcoming furniture and home product trade shows in 2018.

In this article, we give you a complete overview of furniture exhibitions in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India and Thailand.

You will also learn if you need a visa, product overviews and much more.

Hong Kong

HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair

HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair is among the most well-recognized and well-recieved furniture fairs in Hong Kong. In 2017, the fair was attended by more than 29,000 visitors, and around 2,200 brands and businesses displayed their products.

In 2018, the exhibition will take place in the third week of April in Hong Kong. The admission to the fair is allowed for only 18 years old and above. You also have to pay HK$ 100 which is equivalent to USD 15 to attend the show.

Visiting Hong Kong for short-term business visits does not require a visa so you can attend this event without applying for a visa. Hong Kong allows visa-free entry to 170 countries, which also include North America, Europe, and Australia.

You can explore a wide range of houseware categories in this event that include:

  • Art & craft items
  • Hardware & DIY projects
  • Bathroom products
  • Home appliances
  • Eco-Friendly products
  • Furniture
  • Outdoor & gardening accessories
  • Storage solutions
  • Kitchenware
  • Interior decor & handicrafts

You can also find hundreds of exhibitors from Hong Kong, Mainland China and other countries in the region. The event is organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Council, The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, and other partners.

The event takes place once a year, mostly in April.

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

IDFFHK

International Design and Furniture Fair Hong Kong, also known as IDFFHK, takes place in Hong Kong after every two years. It is expected to take place in August 2019.

The fair focuses more on interior design and hosts many top interior designers, in addition to exhibiting their designed products. The event is mostly attended by architects, property developers, interior designers, hoteliers and other professionals working in the design industry.

In 2017, more than 10,000 professionals visited the fair.

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong Continue Reading →

Alibaba Request for Quotation (RFQ): A Complete Guide

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The free Alibaba RFQ service enables you to receive quotations from multiple suppliers, in a matter of days. All you need to do is to fill in a form, and click on the submit button.

If used the right way, Alibaba’s Request for Quotation service can help you save hours of work, as you don’t have to contact suppliers one by one.

But as always, you need to use it the right way.

In this article, you will learn how you can save time and money using the RFQ service, while making sure that you provide enough information for the suppliers to calculate an accurate unit cost.

In addition, you will also learn what to look for once you receive the quote.

How can the Alibaba RFQ service help me?

Alibaba.com is the world’s largest supplier directory. Even the most obscure product search can result in hundreds of suppliers.

It can take forever to shortlist suppliers and contact them one by one.

Even worse, many of them don’t even reply.

Now, what if you could turn the table, and let them come to you? That’s the idea behind Alibaba’s RFQ service.

In essence, you add product information, and a number of suppliers will submit quotes based on your requirements.

All you need to do is wait. Or well, that’s the idea at least. Continue Reading →

The Art of Finding the Right Supplier on Alibaba – By Gary Huang

Gary Huang 8020 Sourcing

You can find a supplier for anything on Alibaba.com. There are often too many supplier, rather than too few. As such, you might find yourself trying to navigate between hundreds of different suppliers in the same product category – all with varying levels of expertise (or lack thereof).

Rather than flying to China and visit 200 suppliers, you need to use information available on Alibaba.com, to identify the supplier that is the right choice for your business.

And that is exactly what this interview with Gary Huang, founder of 80/20 Sourcing in Shanghai, is about.

Gary, tell us a bit about yourself and how you started 80/20 sourcing

I’m originally from the US and born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been working and living in Shanghai since 2008. Some people say the sourcing is like a black box.

Since I am a 2nd generation Chinese American and being culturally and linguistically fluent in both cultures and countries – I have an unfair advantage in being able to do better business between China and the US.

I started 80/20 Sourcing because I saw that a lot of online Sellers and small business owners were struggling with sourcing products from China.

So I decided help online sellers and small business owners save time and money when sourcing products from China and to scale their online businesses. 80/20 Sourcing offers video courses, webinars, coaching, and free articles which can be found at www.8020sourcing.com. Continue Reading →

How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

Asian Freelancer

Managing RFQ procedures and day to day communication with your supplier, can be very time consuming. Especially when you consider the time zones. Before, the only option would be to hire a procurement agent, and adapt to their procedures (and perhaps even use their suppliers).

Or, setup your own office in Asia – which is not a realistic prospect for startups and small businesses.

But things have changed. Today, you can go on Upwork.com or Freelancer.com, and tap into a huge pool of freelancers, that you can pay by the hour or on a per project basis.

A Freelancer, that will likely be based in Asia, can keep up to date with your supplier, coordinate shipments – and even negotiate prices, while you spend your time doing something else (rather than calling your suppliers at 10 PM).

In this article, the Shenzhen based founder of Global From Asia (www.globalfromasia.com) shares his best advice for hiring and managing Freelancers, and how they can free up hours of work, every week.

How have you been using remote workers in your businesses?

I have been using remote workers on my team even before I read the Four Hour Work Week in 2007. It started with customer service for my e-commerce business when I hired “military spouses” who wanted to work online as their spouse (normally husband) was traveling often for work so they couldn’t get a “normal job”.

I was blown away (this is 2006) that I could have a work at home professional customer service rep help me at all hours of the day or night. These were “moms” based in USA (Kansas and Texas – Michelle and Janet – you rock) who really were moms of my business.

The hardest part about working with remote workers is the setup of tools and systems – which is a ton of upfront work.

Once you get a good flow with you and your remote team, it is like working next to them.

I have used remote workers for almost every part of my various businesses now for over 10 years – starting with customer service to graphic design, video production, web design, app development, community management, marketing – basically every kind of role except meeting clients face to face (waiting for the teleport technology to develop more for this).

Basically, if a task can be repeated, it can be delegated. If it can be delegated, 95% chance it can be done by a remote worker. The trick again is the upfront training and tools, and then the ongoing management. Continue Reading →