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Johny
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Importoz guy,

If you are looking to start a business you can’t afford to get disheartened at every instance there appears to be a roadblock. Noone would ever start a business if that were the case and everyone goes through the same things you are at some point.

In my mind it all comes down to research, research, research. Asking questions is good, but so is spending the time to look at all the possibilities.

But let me try and clear up some of the ambiguity for you. Having read through my comments and those of others I am also getting a little confused about what has and hasn’t been said.

1. Major companies such as Disney, or any other well known brands you can think of, have agreements with the factories that manufacture their products. Those manufacturers cannot just sell those branded products to anyone off the street. So anyone selling branded products such as Disney characters on sites such as ebay are NOT the manufacturer. If you go to a site like Alibaba, you will find manufacturers offering Disney products and other brands as well. If they are legitimate manufacturers of those products they will be able to provide evidence they are authorized to make the characters they are allowed to make (generally a completed audit of their factory). They are able to make and sell those products to those that are authorized to buy them. If they do sell them to people without that authorization, then what they are selling are as good as fakes because they are selling outside the agreed terms they have with the licence owner of the products.

2. If, for example, a wholesaler in Australia has the authorization to buy from the manufacturer, they can then onsell those goods to whomever they like. The buyer of those products does not have to have any form of agreement. As an example, the company that we have dealt with is allowed to have ceramic Disney products made, we arranged for them to be made and they imported them to Australia. They (as the wholesaler) then onsold them to their various customers (retailers).

3. It is quite likely there could be wholesalers flogging lots of branded products on ebay both within Australia and overseas. You may well find a wholesaler overseas and that is a possible option. You don’t need a license to buy that stuff, but you do need to understand how parallel trading works because there may be questions asked at customs when the goods arrive.(We are talking wholesale amounts, not individual amounts.) This could be an option for you because an overseas wholesaler may be able to offer better pricing than you would get from an Australian one.

4. With few exceptions, small companies buying small quantities of product just don’t get the chance to become authorized buyers. Look at it this way, everyone selling a few items on ebay or wherever would be wanting to be one and there is just no way it is viable.

5. Let me be more clear about this aspect. Alibaba / Aliexpress predominantly offer products from suppliers in mainland China. Alibaba is generally an OK company, but they deserve a good kick up the backside when it comes to allowing fakes on their website. You WILL NOT get real branded products in wholesale lots from suppliers in mainland China. And the reason for that is simple. Even if the products are made there, if they are then sold there, they are liable for a wide range of taxes and charges which makes them more expensive than many other places. So for example, an iphone made in China sells there for more than it does in the US and it is the same with all western branded products.

6. Alibaba gold membership is NOT an “earned” status, it is a paid for membership. You get it if you pay for it with only cursory checks being done to confirm a company may be real. It does nothing to guarantee the quality of the manufacturer/supplier. Being a gold member does not stop companies from selling fake stuff. Look around anywhere you like and see what comments you can find about Alibaba gold membership.

7. I have read the “free speech” defence, But still have no idea how making a criticism of a company makes one a xenophobe. Using big words comes with the responsibility of knowing what they mean. Sounds like someone has allodoxaphobia. ( I can use them too – Who knows what that one is without looking it up?)

Importoz guy, every other small business is in your shoes. You are competing against much larger guys who are well established and have better buying power than you do. So part of the solution is not only looking at your pricing, but what you can do that makes you different or better to deal with.

Hope that clarifies a few things.