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What are some proven ways to find China-made products to sell in the US?

Posted: 2011-09-30

Full Question

I am at the beginning stages of starting an Internet business and I am debating with my wife whether to sell home products or exercise equipment. I live in Los Angeles. Prices? Catalogs? Etc... How can you help? John

Answer

There are many products made in China under the categories of Home Products and Exercise Equipment that may be of interest to your market's buyers. Finding a list of products is the easy part, picking the right single product is the hard part.

I think the first important step should be for you to decide the exact products you feel would sell well via your specific network. If you start asking random suppliers and agents to introduce their products, you will probably get a lot of interest, but only some of the products will be a good fit for your market and most likely you may lose focus.

So do things the other way around. First pick your target product, then contact suppliers of that specific product and that product only. Trade shows are an excellent way to meet potential factories to represent, but you can also use websites like www.GlobalSources.com, which now has an online trade show, to generate a list of products and begin to approach suppliers for prices and catalogs.

Now some words of caution.

Find a supplier you feel comfortable with. If you sense they are not trustworthy during your initial discussions, then move on to another supplier.

Do your due diligence. Get references. Speak to their buyers in other countries to get a feel for what it's like to work with this factory.

One way to verify is to visit the factory on a regular basis to keep an eye on what product is shipping where. Hire an agent to represent you if you don't get to China often.

To summarize, I highly suggest you first focus on picking a specific product. Second, start looking for suppliers you feel are honest and that have good reputations. Third, even if they appear honest, you still need to get a good contract in place after doing your due diligence. Finally, always keep a close eye on what is happening around the factory and realize that placing the PO is the beginning of the project management process, not the end. Pray for the best, plan for the worst!

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