Looking to buy items manufactured abroad to sell on small scale in usa
March 27, 2011 2:19 PM   Subscribe

Starting an importing business for sweaters from a manufacturer abroad, need advice...

I have done some research and for a small investment I can get knit sweaters from abroad, manufacturers. I have emailed for weeks with a couple companies and am now thinking about putting in an order. They only take wires. All the manufacturers only accept payment via wire so that has a fee and makes me less comfortable. The oder would be approximately $400 for product (after first obtaining a suitable sample).
One of my contacts asked me if I have a representative in Hong Kong where her company is. I'm now wondering if I need this and how would I find one?
I understand $400 to start really isn't a huge investment but I just wanted to get opinions here on things I may be missing.
Thank you,
posted by femmme to Work & Money (2 answers total)
This might be a good time to check out SCORE and get some advice.
posted by InkaLomax at 2:37 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I worked for a small store/e-commerce that imported its own t-shirts (low volume). For each new t-shirt it took several iterations - design, sample, sale - before we actually got a high quality sample good enough to sell.

If possible, try visiting the factory that's making the sweaters.

Test each sample thoroughly. Wash em several times. Also make sure that they - the whole product life cycle - are as eco-friendly as you are comfortable telling your customers.

$400 is a pretty small order so don't expect to get the super treatment by your manufacturer. keep in mind that the larger the orders are, the better price and lower shipping fee you will get.

Have you asked for references? Your manufacturer might already have a customer in your country/region.

Contact your chamber of commerce and see how they can help out. These organizations tend to be well-run with lots of influential business people tied to them.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:38 PM on March 27, 2011

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