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Sourcing Around the World - Amazon Seller Tips with Meghla Bhardwaj and Margaret Jolly - Part 2
December 6, 2021
Sourcing Around the World - Amazon Seller Tips with Meghla Bhardwaj and Margaret Jolly - Part 2
Things we discussed in this session:

A. Part 1

B. Part 2

Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table:

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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_1: welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not and [00:00:07] spk_0: amy Wiis I think that's a great point as well. And of course India and even other countries don't manufacture all products. So that's something that you have to consider. Is this product really manufactured competitively in India or you know Mexico latin America. But if it is manufactured competitively especially if the raw materials are available locally then you might find that yes the prices could be more competitive. And in India for most categories suppliers are very flexible in terms of the M. O. Q. They will accept lower M. O. Q. S. For some products like apparel and textiles. The M. O. Q. S can be higher especially if you're customizing your fabric and you've got custom prints and all going but that's more of a requirement of the textile mill rather than the factory itself. Yeah that's something that you increase textile prices like no matter what wherever your sort you always have to buy more more material. Right? Exactly. Yes. But I think even with that you could maybe be you know creative and use the same textile for different skews. So for example if you're sourcing, I don't know t shirts um so maybe do you know mens womens and kids t shirts with the same or just have more skews with the same fabric that's something that you could consider as well um in India. One of the biggest advantages is that there's a lot of handloom fabrics and handloom fabrics are literally fabrics that are made on this manual loom where you have people sitting at this big huge gigantic contraption and they are literally weaving fabric fiber by fiber. And so for those kinds of products or those kinds of fabrics the M. O. Q. S. Are much lower because they're not running on a huge machine. They're done manually. So that's a big advantage that India has. And there are literally millions of hand looms across the country. It's very specialized um industry in India and in each state you find that there are different types of weavers that produce different types of fabrics in terms of the colors that they use types of blends that they use uh embellishments and etcetera. So I think that is a big you know advantage that India has in terms of text tells you can get low M. O. Q. S. With handloom fabrics that's one advantage. But overall typically the products that amazon sellers find competitive in India are like um you know wooden products, metal products, glass, ceramic, um leather eco friendly products, all of those products typically suppliers are more flexible in the M. O. Q. And um you know mostly suppliers would say I'm accused around 205 100 pieces but they can do even smaller orders like they can even do 50 pieces if you wanted to. But of course it doesn't make sense to do 50 pieces and ship ship it all across you know to the U. S. But yeah I mean it is possible to get low M. O. Q. S. But one other thing that suppliers do in India is M. O. V. Which is minimum order value. So they would say okay you can place an order worth let's say $5,000 and mix and match skews. So that's another advantage that you have. Um you can maybe buy an elect three or four skews, fewer fewer number of units persecute. And then that way you get more skews but you're also meeting the M. L. V. Of the supplier so they're happy as well because they're getting their MLB mark now to that. Yeah well I would love to add that you know you medically gave some golden tips there and something that you can do. Of course no what materials are popular in different countries but if I'm selling pillowcases, cotton pillowcases and um you know and maybe decorative pillowcases and they're made of cotton or something right? And I'm sourcing those in china right now I can look at the different unique types of fabrics that mega just described and I can see what variations of that product that I could source in another country. And I could then move production somewhere else simply making the same product out of a different material. Maybe I'm making coasters out of plastic or stone from china right now and I can go to India or even Colombia. I learned Colombia does a ton of bamboo products and I thought you could only get bamboo really in china, I didn't know you know so you never know and then if you think about all the unique ways that you can make products all the different materials you can make them out of and then the other thing is um the you could also sell finished goods, so finished goods, you know megillah sent Miglin and Margaret and the team at India source and sent us all these really beautiful gift boxes and I used my little wallet every day. It's awesome, I love it. It's like my favorite thing and I'm thinking man I don't even need to develop a product, I'll just sell this one like think about all the different you guys have skills, you, e commerce sellers have skills so there is amazon India, there's amazon brazil, there's amazon Mexico, you can find finished goods in these countries and you have skills that local people in those countries don't have to sell online. You can find those finished goods and work with manufacturers and sell them on those e commerce platforms and then you can also source finished goods for your own um for your own brands and expand your own brands by sourcing things uh from factories and so you're growing, you're growing your brand that way but you can there's also lots of opportunities to even sell in those same countries, those finished goods with the skills that you've already gained, you know amazon you know, e commerce. So I love those tips. What else Margaret, what else can they do? [00:06:17] spk_1: Well I kind of think one of the easiest things with India is the low market because I've got nine different skews, they're all different products but they're all made out of similar materials. But so if I'm like I was in china I'd have to order another 1000 of each of those every order. Whereas I can go, oh This one isn't selling as much, I might only need 300 and so I can just do um top ups. But because I'm shipping them out in in one shipment my shipping costs are overly expensive to do that, you know, five or six different factories would be very costly. But because I can just combine it, I always send a reasonable size shipment. Like I mean I've never send less than 20 or 30 cubic meters in a shipment because it becomes too Costly for me to do. So I find that that works really well. So if you find something that you like and develop, you know, two or three even products that you can just order, you know, two or 300 of each instead of 1000 of age out of China, um you're on a win win and then you don't get stuck with something that isn't moving as well. So I think that that I'm finding with India that's been really great for us and now we go up to second and brand and we've done the same sort of thing. We're using similar materials so we can, you know, once again just add the orders together. So I think, but look, I find the biggest mistake, we get a lot of people going, well I can get 100 I'll just buy 100 of that. Well they don't understand India is great, but you need to be more organized than china because of the, I suppose manufacturing, it's all handmade or most of it is handmade. So I know if I give my supply in order now And I mean I do have quite a few components in mind. So I mean I'm probably a little bit different. They're not just during one product, they're usually during eight or nine products at the time. It takes me about 12 weeks to get that from go to whoa. So the minute my shipment is leaving, like today, I've got another order. I'm working on that today to give them the next order. So you've got to just be super organized and forecast, you know, three months in advance. But I mean look, it's no different from in retail. I mean you don't go into a department store in that jumper. You just, you know, if they made it last week, they made that last winter or do you know what I mean? You've just got to be like any other business, you've got to get yourself organized, you can't just think I'm gonna get that in three weeks and I think the same is happening in china, it's not so much production, it's getting it in there that the shipment time in the port time. And I think that's the other benefit of going to India. We always always suggest most people should go into, um, the sort of east coast of the new york or Savannah, Jacksonville. It's less time, it's about 21 days shipping, but you still haven't got that congestion at the port like, so you know, most times you're through the port in two or three days. So um, if you're dealing with China the delays and I know there is a little bit of delays, getting harder to get goods out of Nova Shaver or buy at the moment, it's getting busier. But I mean we're not talking, you know, three months, we're talking, you know, maybe a couple of ships down the track. So I think there's a lot of benefits with going to India, but you have got to get yourself more organized and obviously you've got to commit money, you know, you can't do this on $2000 you've got to put out some outlet to get your stopped rolling and that, you know, first time around because it's, you know, you've got to, you've always, you know ahead. But you know that's a business factor business, I think it's, you know the way anyone else works and if you want to come in and Try and do this on $2,000 you're not going to succeed very well anyway. As you know maybe you need to put some money into a business. [00:09:44] spk_0: I think it's very smart. That's a really great tip for anyone wanting to move their production from one country to another. Whether we're moving it from china to India or from the US to somewhere who knows right? But the point is it's not going to happen overnight when you're that's the longest time of your planning is when you're finding and vetting your manufacturers and really getting a good sample and everything. So even though you might have eight months of inventory right now because you just ordered if you're even thinking about moving your inventory out of china and exploring India or latin american as as Margaret mentioned this is not china It's not China. You need to know your products you need to know what you want. You need to communicate better. You might not be able to get packaging at the same factory that you get. You know I mean it's just it's not China it's what China was 20 years ago in some of these cases. So we have to take more time to establish that. But the payoff. might be really nice. You might be able to better manage your supply chain lower M. O. Q. S less congestion when shipping right? Getting things here faster. So for those people who are even considering moving out of china, I don't care if you just made a huge order, get on it, get on, go talk to suppliers now. Go make sure that you have a viable resource in another country. That's what I'm working on right now. I've got I've got a shipment leaving china right now and I'm still I'm interviewing manufacturers and trying to get some things lined up so that just in case one of these manufacturers doesn't work out or I need to have packaging done or I need to get printing done or I need to move it to a prep center in the U. S. To finish up the packaging and labeling and everything. I have to remember it's not china and I can't always have everything done perfectly there. So speaking of that in India, how is that? Can you obviously we know it's not china but how do we do packaging are they're really good packaging factories as well. I know that they offer some really cool eco friendly packaging. Um But are you better off having packaging and kidding products at a prep center or something Or is that really widely available in India? So for packaging that a couple of different options and usually your supplier will be able to organize packaging for you because they would have relationships with packaging companies. So if if you've got something simple like just maybe a brown box and you want your logo printed on it or something, it's better to just let the supply or handle it because they have good relations with the packaging companies, but if you want to develop something unique, if you want to do something different, then you could work directly with the packaging company and we have a couple of really good packaging companies in our network as well and you can send them your product. You know, maybe sometimes people don't even know what kind of packaging they need for their product. So you could send a sample of the product to the packaging company and then get on a call with them and then just have a discussion about what you want. And, you know, they could advise you on what best way to package that product or what kind of box to, to produce a lot of the packaging companies, um you know, typically they've been focused on retail. So you just have to keep that in mind that maybe these packaging companies have more retail packaging background. But increasingly we're finding more and more companies also, you know, doing e commerce packaging and so they understand that the product needs to be, you know, secure and the packaging needs to be as small as possible because you're, you know, ending up with more um shipping costs and in more storage costs because e commerce is growing so rapidly in India, there's a lot of focus on these things as well. So you know packaging companies because they're catering usually to the domestic market as well, they understand the needs of e commerce um you know sellers. So there are huge packaging companies and printing companies to there's one printing packaging company that we have in our network and they've got like advanced machines from Germany and you know really high volume printing and all that they do at the same time. They also cater to smaller orders. That's something that I find quite interesting with many companies because with packaging, you know a lot of a lot of times the higher you go, the higher volumes you source to lower your perp price is for the packaging. But a lot of suppliers are quite flexible in terms of the MLK us, even for packaging, like we've negotiated with packaging companies that for our Community they can you know, do as few as 500 pieces per box even for customized boxes. So um yeah I mean they're quite flexible and you'll find all types of packaging, paper, cardboard, um call flute and um a lot of eco friendly options of course, so we've got organic cotton bags or jute bags. Um What else do you have anything? [00:15:00] spk_1: Well I think we've got we've got a supplier who started doing corn starch poly bags which we think is really quite unique because um that means instead of having a plastic plastic bag, it's made of cornstarch. So obviously it's biodegradable in 12 months it's gone. So I think those options are really good for people. And um I think [00:15:23] spk_0: your [00:15:23] spk_1: packaging is tends to be a little bit more eco friendly. Like I know my manufacturer hardly uses any plastic. Most of my products are wrapped in like nice brown tissue paper and things like that. So you don't find when you get your product it's full of polystyrene and um you know bubble wrap and all that. It's very very few products certain products they obviously have to protect certain things but in general most of the products are done more eco friendly. And look I think the labor costs in India is so much more cost effective than to me I wouldn't consider shipping anything to the U. S. From America. And packaging it because of the labour cost is just so ridiculous. And packaging I find is quite reasonable. I mean we have All our packages are like gift box type packages and they're very very reasonably priced. And once again you know I can do because I've been using the same supplier and they know me they'll do you know it took us 300 boxes if I've just got a small top order in one of my products. So you know I've still got boxes have been trying to somewhere because they made me get 2000 or something and I only [00:16:24] spk_0: needed 1000. [00:16:25] spk_1: So you know like you don't have that wasted at all sort. You know, you might, I think, [00:16:39] spk_0: okay, she frees, did we lose Margaret? Oh no, maybe you there. Well, she still looks great. Even I think the other thing about packaging that we found is that um um you know, because there's such a huge domestic market in India, um there's, you know, need for products and a lot of products that are manufactured in India by factories are actually for the domestic market. So there is a fairly developed domestic manufacturing industry. Maybe these suppliers are not familiar with export markets. So for packaging, a lot of the actual products, the packaging materials are actually not exported directly, their supply to manufacturers who then export the product. Right? So for packaging, even if you find a domestic company that, you know, a small company in a, in a small city that's doing um that's, that's printing, packaging and boxes for the local market. You know, even that could work out for you for exports because for products, you need an export focused company because they need to understand your quality standards and all of those things, packaging is kind of different. It's a box, it doesn't really, you know, have any special requirements for exports versus selling in the domestic market. Yeah, I think it's so great to hear that that there are so many packaging options and it's a good reminder for people to don't be afraid to ask your supplier and to keep, keep that in mind, you know what you're looking for. But also, you know, even if you're not in china, don't be afraid to ask your supplier because this is usually not their first rodeo. This is not the first time that they've created a product or had someone order a product from them and uh yeah, it's really smart. So I love it. Well, I mean before we wrap up today, I would love to hear um what is we always ask? You know, what is a book that you've read lately or something that you're listening to that is keeping you motivated. You have any any really good things that you've been into lately. Gosh, let me try to think. Um yeah, not really. I mean I've just been listening to a lot of different podcasts uh in the, in the industry and um you know your podcasts and webinars that you do. Not anything in particular. Um I mean I can think of, you know, Aecom Crew is one of my favorite podcasts. I don't know if you know Mike Jack Nous, I think you do right, you met him in Hong kong. Yeah, we'll have to check out. I don't know if I've listened to that one yet. I will definitely, definitely have to check it out. Yes, definitely do that. They've got a great blog and really good podcast as well. Deacon crew dot com. So that's one of my favorites. But other than that, no, I have not been reading any books or anything, it's just, yeah, there's just so much going on. Yeah, I mean you went from having the India sourcing trip to going and doing these virtual India sourcing um sessions which were so neat because we got to meet all these different suppliers and check things out and uh, and then you launch the India sourcing network, which is so neat, you know, um so tell us a little bit more about the India sourcing network and what we can expect to find there. Yes, definitely. This is so exciting. I mean this whole, the whole concept has just evolved over the last year. We didn't plan on launching a website as such, but it's just like one thing led to another and then we had so much content, we're like okay, we need a home for all of this content, we need to organize everything. So the idea behind India sourcing network is to provide amazon e commerce sellers everything. They need to source products from India and we realized that there are a lot of different sources to find information about china, but there was nothing really about India and um, you know, we are probably the only grew up in the e commerce space, so to speak to provide this kind of information and so on the network on the website, what you can find is first of all vetted suppliers and service providers, so whether you're looking for a sourcing agent or freight forwarder, quality control lawyer, um you know, packaging companies and any kind of service that you might need when you're sourcing from India, we've got vetted service providers, then secondly we've got vetted suppliers and this is really important for us because um we we realize that there's so many suppliers out there on different platforms and or people just go google, but there are also companies that are maybe domestic focused orb, you know, bad actors and we're just trying to take people for a ride. So we really emphasis on vetting companies and we check that they are legitimate companies that there are manufacturers and that their exporters, those are the three things that we check for all companies that we have on the website. So, you know, people can source with confidence that these people, these suppliers know that know the requirements of overseas markets. And then the third thing that we're focusing on is education because again, there's so much information about china, but not much about India. So we've got a blog, we've got a free e book that we give to anybody to who wants to just be anybody who's just thinking about sourcing from India and doesn't know if if India is right for them. So this e book gives an overview of how to source from India what product categories are competitive, how to find suppliers, how to place orders, logistics, etcetera. And then recently we've started an India sourcing workshop, which is just so exciting. It's a three day workshop that we conduct live over a period of three weeks and we host live sessions every weekend and we're just basically going through the A to Z of sourcing from India and giving people, you know, like almost like a course on how to source from India. So it's like uh it's like an India sourcing trip in the kind of the weekend, you know, just like I'm gonna discover this today and learn this today and when you're done with it, then you kind of have a better idea of how to actually hit, hit the ground running either virtually or in person eventually we hope. Amazing. Amazing. It's really great. And the website for India sourcing network is India sourcing dot net India's sourcing dot net. Okay, perfect. Well I know everybody is going to go check it out, I mean such great information and it's great to hear that India is still a viable option for sourcing even throughout this pandemic as well as even shipping prices and m accused being a little smaller and that there's some great resources for people to learn, I think we covered a lot today and it's great to hear from you guys what you're working on and your businesses and what you're planning on doing uh in this next, you know, six months here that that, you know, is going to be just the craziest queue forever. I'm just really wondering what is going to happen next. You know, it's like, it's been so crazy. It's like, jeez, what could possibly, you know, would we ever have thought of, why would we have like the crazy hornets? And then we had like the fires in Australia and we had the covid head and it was like, what is going to happen next? Right, at some point, there's things we've got to turn around and start going the other way, right? I know, it sure has been a very eventful last 18 months or so, but we have to think about, you know, had we not, I'm not going to say I'm thankful for Covid, but I had we not had Covid, we might not have India sourcing dot net, we might not have, you know, the relate some of the relationships that we built during this time period has been really, really just amazing and the different things the way we pivoted in our businesses, I think all of our businesses have gotten more resilient and we have contingency plans now that we would have never had before. So I, you know, hey, despite all that, I think it's uh it's not so bad, so, well, I so appreciate you being here with us today and Margaret, we lost Margaret. So we'll have to follow with Margaret, make sure she's ok, but she's lost her internet. She just messaged me, Oh, did she? Okay. Worldwide internet outages. What's next? But yes thank you so much for being here mega and thank you everyone for listening. Make sure you guys rate review and subscribe. We love hearing from you and definitely go out and check out India sourcing dot net and mega um last but not least. Did you want to plug anything else? Anything else that people need to check out or anyway they need to contact you I think check out our facebook group. We share a lot of good info there. We do webinars every week and we have a lot of resources so search for sourcing from India on facebook and join the facebook group. I love it, sourcing from India on facebook get in there, I'm in there. It's a good group. I love it. All right everybody, thank you so much for being here and we'll see you next time. Next Tuesday on the seller roundtable. [00:26:28] spk_1: Bye [00:26:29] spk_0: bye. [00:26:31] spk_1: Thanks for tuning in, [00:26:32] spk_0: join us every [00:26:33] spk_1: Tuesday at one PM Pacific Standard time for [00:26:35] spk_0: live Q. And A. And [00:26:37] spk_1: bonus content after the [00:26:38] spk_0: recording at cellar [00:26:39] spk_1: round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller. S C. O dot com and [00:26:47] spk_0: amazing at home [00:26:48] spk_1: dot com