Hello my wonderful people. I’m currently in China at the moment mixing a bit of business (visiting Yiwu) with pleasure (Beijing).
As you may or may not be aware, I have decided to ditch corporate life in a bid to focus on other pursuits and build a sustainable family business on Amazon.
I wanted a business where earning potential wasn’t capped, it could be operated from anywhere and it gave me the flexibility to focus on other areas in my life like acting and working on my network for creative women – Talent Reel.
Hence, the birth of Aidan Liamsi – a small family business dedicated to women and fitness, health and beauty as well as baby and pet ranges. Watch this space 😉
Now we all know that you can’t have a business without any products to sell, therefore, it was time to start getting serious.
I headed out to Yiwu – home of the largest commodity market in the world in the search for our gold. This bustling trade market is home to approximately 76,000 suppliers spread across five districts. It really is phenomenal. Although, there were always lots of people doing the same thing as me, the markets were never ever packed.
By the end of the three days, I knew who I wanted to work with, but whether the relationship develops into a fruitful one is yet to be decided.
The reason being is that Yiwu might not be the right vehicle for me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great and I found all the products I wanted, however, some of them just weren’t at the right price! Those that could work had other caveats attached.
For example, I want to private label the products but to do this – it typically requires an order of 1,000/2000 pieces which just isn’t going to happen for the first order.
The odd supplier who agreed to a smaller production of 300 pieces would have trouble providing me with a branded box even if I provided the design work. They needed a high order quantity to enable a new box to be printed. It was all a bit crazy and there is definitely a missing gap in the market there.
The agents I decided to go with seemed to be quite proactive and advised they could go to another supplier for boxes so it still could work – but, we will see.
The alternative is going back to the drawing board of Ali Baba as the prices seem a lot lower.
My business trip was definitely a great learning experience and nice to make some business contacts.
Some of the things I learnt along the way are:
- Yiwu is great if you want to buy without private labelling (think of Aladdin’s cave)
- Yiwu has lots of variety so you really can mix and match
- They don’t like giving samples 😦
- If you want to private label, you will need to potentially buy thousands per product
- The Chinese don’t like to haggle so you have to ask the translator/agent to ask for lower prices but they don’t like doing this
- You can’t access Google, YouTube, Facebook (maybe more but that’s all I use) in China so get a VPN before you go
- Make sure you ask your agents for references – the good ones should have no problem putting you in touch with one or two of their clients
- Meet with a few different agents so that not all of your eggs are in one basket
After the business trip was over, it was time to fly to Beijing for some pleasure and to see part of the Great Wall of China.
I booked a tour to hike 6km from Jinshanling to Simatai West up hundreds of steep stairs and steep inclines. It was tough in places but extremely worth it. The views were just outstanding.
Overall, I’ve had a lovely time in China, I have seen some amazing places, eaten beautiful food (hot pots, dumplings and the legendary Beijing duck – yummy!) and learnt a bit more about the culture.
However, I am ready to come home and start working on the next bits for Aidan Liamsi. Being away in Yiwu really helped me cement the product ideas and uncover a few new bits. It’s so exciting – I can’t wait to tell my family so we can get to work.
A word of warning – if you are thinking about visiting Beijing, make sure you brush up on your Chinese or take some flash cards as hardly anyone speaks English. Which makes it a lot harder to communicate and get around but not impossible! Just call it an adventure and an excuse to learn a new language 😉