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Firstly I’d like to say that this is such a great forum to find and be a part of, I’m kicking myself for not having found it earlier! I’ve signed up and started reading some of the threads here and there’s some great business ideas being pitched and some great advice also from very knowledgeable people.
Secondly, I’m hoping that people will be patient with the questions I’m about to ask as I’m a newbie to importing which is my business focus.
The Background: I’ve spent numerous years working as a public servant on infrastructure projects and whilst I do enjoy it, I’ve reached a point where I’m ready for a new change and a new challenge.
The Idea: My heritage is from Ecuador and from the numerous trips our family has taken to visit extended family (on my mother’s side) I’ve always had an interest in the country and the culture. The food is amazing and I’ve always thought what a great idea it would be to import products such as coffee for instance, as it’s good quality and no one is really familiar with Ecuador. It’s always been an idea at the back of my mind but I now feel it’s a good opportunity to pursue the idea. So I’m looking to start my own importing business and import products from Ecuador such as coffee, quinoa, cacao and tea. I’ll start with these core products and then expand out, depending on how successful the business progresses with those four products. I speak fluent Spanish and have travelled almost extensively throughout the country so I don’t face any hurdles when communicating and sourcing what I want.
The Plan: I’m planning on finishing up my current job in early March and then in mid-March I’ll head over to Ecuador to meet producers and suppliers to establish contacts and business relationships (it’s also part family trip). I went back In September last year and already spoke to a couple of people who are keen to export their products to Australia. And on this end, I’ve spoken to some people in business (primariily health food stores) who have shown some interest. Since my return from that trip, I’ve been busy working on everything I need to get the business up and running – business name is sorted, business logo is sorted, business cards are being finalised, I’m currently working on a WordPress style website (to keep my costs down to start) and a flyer with the logo and some basic information about the business (who we are, what we do etc) so people can have it on hand iif they want to get in touch. Soon I will also set up a Facebook page. Once I get back from my March trip I’m hoping to be in a position to start ordering products and getting them in to then sell/distribute.
The Pitch: Australian consumers are savvy and know their products. They are also adventurous and willing to try new things. There are numerous countries that sell all the products that I’m looking to import, so what will work in my favour is that firstly most Australians haven’t heard of Ecuador and what it can offer as a country. When it comes to Latin America, people associate coffee with Colombia, Cacao with Mexico, quinoa with Bolivia and tea with Argentina. Ecuador is uniquely placed on the equator with many different micro climates that are ideal for growing many of these products, organically and sustainably. The Government there has also provided a lot of assistance to primary producers over the last few years and also small business owners staring off. There is a big emphasis on the primary producer being paid a fair wage for their products which is another factor Australian consumers consider when purchasing.
The Challenge: Whilst I won’t have any troubles moving around, meeting people and sourcing products, I’m brand new to importing and so this will be the part that will be most challenging.
The Questions: I’ll apologise in advance iif my questions seem silly or a repeat from other posts, I’m still trying to get my head around how it works.
– Will a freight forwarder manage the stock from the time it’s loaded onto the ship in Ecuador to when it arrives here in Australia (Sydney?)
– Do they include in their services all the liaising with Customs, AQIS, etc?
– If so do I give them all the documentation associated with Certificates for the products? I’ve been told that if the products come in on wooden pallets in a shipping container, then I have to organise fumigation of the pallets at the port of departure.
– How do I factor in a fluctuating currency exchange into the price of the products when I set my price for selling them?
Well that’s all I can think of to begin with, I’d be most appreciative of any feedback/advice that any of you can provide.
Thanks in advance,
That is a fantastic introduction and background.
I am sure we will have some helpful members along to offer advice.