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In terms of your original request, I cannot offer you too much in the way of tips on marketing to your proposed customers other than this comment.

I own a sourcing company, so I am also in the middle. There are many reasons why it is effective for a company to use my services rather deal directly with a manufacturer. But two of the main ones are price and service. My prices are generally reasonably competitive and my service levels are much higher (not perfect by any means) than those of many factories in Asia. My customers are usually prepared to pay a little more because they know they are not just getting a one off transaction, they are getting someone with some inside knowledge, some knowldege of doing business in this market and over time they have found I am honest (which is not always the case in this business). That is worth something more than just the price of a product.

The one thing that I have found from reading these forums is that there really is a lack of knowledge and understanding of dealing in this business.

I cannot help you much with the issue of importing products into Australia because that is not the side I deal with, but I can offer a lot of information about buying from China, and I find that quite a lot of the comments that I see made in these forums are incorrect. Here are some of my comments:-

1. What Jacqui said is right. I would add that you need to be extremely careful in buying any branded products from Asia. For example, if you are offered branded products from mainland China these will almost certainly be fake products.

2. You do need to plan sufficient cashflow, but you don’t need to have L/C’s and you certainly don’t need to buy by the container load. There is nothing to stop you starting small and working up as long as you can manage that.

3. Most suppliers will expect 30% deposit, and 70% payment before the goods are shipped. Only a small difference, but better to be correct

4. There are many ways to ensure your produced products are the same as the samples you receive.You just have to follow through with every order and cannot afford to ‘set and forget” a deal. You can have the goods inspected as well as arrange samples throughout the production process.

5. In over 10 years of dealing with buying goods from China, I have one instance where my goods were damaged in shipping, several where shipping was delayed by around 10 days or less and one where goods were help up at the port dues to a strike by customs in Spain.

I would certainly agree that having sufficient cashflow is vital, but also is being armed with the correct information.

Done right, there are good opportunites, unfortunately most of what has been mentioned is focussing on the negatives.