You should buy Walter’s book “Import Direct from China”

I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Walter, over the years, as members of an internet marketing forum. He’s retired from active trading and now serves as a passionate advocate for businesses who want to learn how to import without purchasing obscene quantities of merchandise. First, let me say that I’m an experienced importer. Not as experienced as Walter, but I sell more imported merchandise than I sell domestic merchandise. I went to a trade show in 2007 and decided that I wanted to build a business around importing.

But it was not without pitfall. Oh I’ve had highs and lows, successes and complete wastes of money. So when I came across his book, I was curious. Buying an ebook is a difficult thing because you don’t want to buy a book from a money hungry tool who just figured they knew one thing that others didn’t and decided to write a book full of basic information anyone should know. I hate that. I really, really hate that. So you spend your time trying to figure out if the person knows more than you already know, so that you will learn something from the book.

Walter knows a lot. Even if you have experience importing, it’s worth the price just to learn different techniques and tips because even if you only learn one thing, it will probably make or save you far more money than you paid for the book. You’re at a perfect time to begin to learn about importing because the barriers to trade are rapidly being crushed and it’s far easier for a small business to get in the game, with minimal investment, than it was even just a few years ago.

This is not a book about importing designer or branded clothes and accessories. If you read my guide, you know why it’s not about that and anyone selling you something about that is probably completely full of it. This is a book about importing and using that business opportunity to build a sustainable business for yourself, that you can scale. Tons of sellers are making six and seven (even eight) figures importing merchandise, branding it, and selling it on amazon.

The best thing about purchasing Walter’s book is he’s around to answer any questions. If you’re serious about importing from China and building a business, this is the book to buy.

import-china-buy-book

The Lowdown on Sales Sites

Lately, different members of theclothingbroker.com website have sent links to websites that either operate as shopping clubs or private member-only sample sales, looking for ways to replicate that business model.

First, let me explain a little bit about the difference between those types of websites and typical off-price retailers. Most of these sites that are very popular have invested heavily in advertising and marketing to build a very large base of subscribing members. Whether the memberships are free or paid, most of them boast that they have hundreds of thousands, or maybe millions, of registered members. This creates a built-in audience for any type of product that they’re trying to sell. For the most part, these companies are not buying merchandise from the off-price market and selling it. Many are actually acquiring the merchandise on consignment or they are purchasing the merchandise but they negotiate payment terms so they do not have to pay for the merchandise until after the sale has concluded.

Typically, they will have the merchandise in their warehouse getting prepared for the sale, and thirty to sixty days after the sale has concluded, whether that was a one day sale, a one week sale or a one month sale, they pay the vendor. Also typically, they’re returning any unsold merchandise. This is very different than someone who is going to a jobber, looking to buy a handful of brands, or a specific brand. The main difference is with this large base of members or subscribers, these companies can buy or consign very large quantities of a single brand. Typically most jobbers do not have very large quantities of a single brand. Sometimes that happens, but a lot of times it does not.

This type of shopping has become a preferred way for a lot of these brands to get rid of past-season inventory. Many of the smaller companies are actually selling in-season inventory because they’re trying to build up their own customer base, because online sample sales have a higher cachet than having your merchandise on eBay or on a discount website, because you cannot view the merchandise without being a member so it’s not necessarily advertised to the public. The products do not show up in shopping feeds, and they do not show up in Google searches or Google products or any of those other comparison shopping sites that show the lowest retail price. Therefore, it may not be common knowledge to most customers that that brand is even sold at a discount during one of these sample sales online or from one of these member-only shopping sites. It gives the impression that you need to be in the know to even know how to get it at a discount, thus it helps these manufacturers protect their brand integrity.

Trying to emulate this model costs a lot of money and if you’re going that route or if you’re going to even attempt to go that route you typically cannot do it in the regular off-price market because you need to be able to go directly to those brands to negotiate those purchases.

I never really wanted to manufacture clothing

I just wanted easily accessible, high quality, private label merchandise. Unfortunately, it turned out easily accessible and high quality created a contradiction of cosmic proportions.

What was easily accessible was of mediocre quality and, since it was easily accessible, was abundant in the marketplace. Years ago, I was convinced that there was a factory or two down in Los Angeles, cranking out styles for the same core group of manufacturers, just putting different fabric colors, trim colors and labels in the garment. That might even be true, but I never found them (if they did exist). Instead, I found that apparel manufacturing is unnecessarily complicated and redundant.

When i couldn’t find these magical private label factories, I begrudgingly started educating myself in apparel manufacturing. Enough to be dangerous, but not enough to feel like i was getting too involved. After all, I preferred to be the one going through racks of clothing, or look books, picking styles and colors and merchandising them, not slaving over tech packs and grading rules.

I was so fortunate to befriend Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion-Incubator.com after stumbling across her book on amazon.com.

Adventures in apparel manufacturing (or a ridiculously complicated attempt at trying)

Most of you will find that in your evolution in being a designer apparel reseller, you’ll come to the conclusion that you want to buy goods directly from overseas factories. Sometimes that’s a good idea, sometimes it isn’t. I get so many questions about this that I’ve decided to write about it, providing highlights, and occasional absurd commentary on my own experiences. I am, the epitome of, the reluctant manufacturer.