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#412 – New Update On Sourcing In China with Kian Golzari

In this episode, we bring back Kian Golzari to the show to share strategies on Amazon product sourcing in China, both in-person and online. Plus travel hacks, Canton Fair tips, and more!
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48 minutes read

Today, Kian Golzari is back on SSP for the fourth time to share some great news about traveling to China. He said that China is opening to foreigners starting January 8, 2023, and mentioned what requirements you need to enter the country successfully. We also discussed the Canton Fair and all the value and advantages you can bring to your Amazon business when attending the event. Make sure to listen until the end because Kian gives his latest strategies on sourcing online in China and his travel tips to make the most out of it.

In episode 412 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Kian discuss:

  • 01:44 – First SSP Guest To Appear Four Times In The Podcast
  • 04:00 – China Opening To Foreigners On Jan 8th
  • 07:00 – The Canton Fair Is The Biggest Import & Export Event In The World
  • 08:10 – Is It Expensive To Go To China?
  • 09:30 – China Travel Instructions And Advice From Kian
  • 22:00 – The Online Canton Fair
  • 23:00 – Sourcing Tips At The Canton Fair
  • 25:30 – Outgrowing Your Supplier & Finding Other Opportunities
  • 27:40 – How To Determine The Best Booths At The Canton Fair
  • 29:50 – Health Habit Tips From Kian
  • 33:30 – Kian’s 60-Second Tips
  • 34:20 – A New Communication App Used In China
  • 35:50 – Alibaba Improvements And More Sourcing Tips
  • 37:00 – Travel Advice When You’re Going To Scotland
  • 39:50 – How To Get In Touch With Kian Golzari 

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today, we’ve got some huge breaking news about sourcing in China that you guys are gonna wanna listen to from one of the world’s top experts. And we’re also gonna find out about sourcing online for those who can’t visit China, and a lot of other great new tips. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

Sellers have lost thousands of dollars by not knowing that they were hijacked, perhaps on their Amazon listing, or maybe somebody changed their main image, or Amazon changed their shipping dimensions, so they had to pay extra money Every order. Helium 10 can actually send you a text message or email if any of these things or other critical events happen to your Amazon account. For more information, go to h10.me/alerts. Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Seller’s Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free unscripted, and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And from the almost complete opposite end of the world, I believe, 12-13 hours difference in time zones. We have got Kian back on the show. Now, this is a momentous occasion because I have kind of like this written/unwritten rule. Just to make sure we have enough diversity of guests. You can only be on the podcast once a year kind of. And so we’ve now been on 400 episodes, and so Kian is now the first person ever to come back four times on the podcast. That’s how long we’ve been doing this podcast. So, Kian, this is no, no pressure, but you’re trailblazing here.

Kian:

Oh, man, that’s such an honor, Bradley. I’m so glad to be the first person to up here four times. Absolutely love it, man. And that’s the testament to you as well. 400 episodes. That’s a massive achievement as well. And I’m sure the audience have had so much value for those who’ve been around from the beginning. So yeah, massive honor. And yeah, if you’re new tuning in for the first time, Hey, what’s up? My name’s Kian Golzari. I’ve been living in China, living and working in China for the last, like 12 years, although last three years haven’t really been there. But that’s about to open up, which we’re about to talk about today. And in that time I’ve manufacturing sourced over two and a half thousand products, visited more than 500 factories and attended more than 20 real Canton Fairs and four virtual Canton Fairs. So I’m so excited that the real Canton Fair will be back in April as well. That’s something that I’m just desperate to get back to. So yeah, looking forward to jumping into it with you today and sharing some value with the audience.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome, awesome. So that’s about the extent of the backstory we’ll do, because we’ve covered this before, so we wanna hop right into the good stuff. But if you guys do wanna know, like he said, if you’re new to, to the podcast, maybe you haven’t heard his other ones. Mhel was kind enough to write down your episode, so guys, you can check out. Episode 61 was the first time he was on, and then the other couple times was 179 and 309 as well. We talked about different subjects, but today the topic of conversation is not Tokyo. That’s actually the Kanji of my shirt here. But it’s about China.

Kian:

I like your T-shirt man. That’s sick.

Bradley Sutton:

I just went to Japan. Yeah. A few weeks ago. I bought this at the airport. But I did like a mini Asia tour. Yeah. As you may or may not know, I went to Singapore, I went to Japan, I went to Korea, went to Vietnam for the first time. I would’ve gone to China, but I didn’t want to quarantine for weeks or however it was. But what’s the big news that right here in the first week of January, I believe, any day now something is changing for foreigners who want to visit the country.

Kian:

Yeah, absolutely. So from January 8th, China is open to foreigners and there’s no need for quarantine anymore. All you have to do is show a negative PCR test, 48 hours before departure. So it’s great because as it happens right now China have like opened up properly and they’re kind of two years behind the rest of the world because when the rest of the world, every other country massively opened up, there were huge spike in surge in cases. So that’s what’s happening in China right now. But if it was me, I’m kind of waiting for Chinese New Year to pass because even though it opens up to foreigners on January 8th, like January 25th is Chinese New Year anyway, so the factories are gonna be closed and offices are gonna be closed as well. So that’s when the Chinese New Year, the biggest people migration in the world. So these cases are gonna spike, but it’s necessary for them to just open up, get over this, and then it’s gonna be safe for the rest of the world to travel. So my personal plan is to go around end of February, beginning of March. So when those cases have come down, it’s safe for us to travel and factories will be reopened as well.

Bradley Sutton:

What you just said, it deserves this. A round of applause because we have been waiting for this guys for a long time. Now, now again, I didn’t even think about that. I mean, I knew that Chinese New Year’s was now Yeah. Or in a few days because my factory was telling me actually, Hey we’re about to close, but I totally, totally didn’t even dawn on me. But the difference now is something, I forgot what it was, but what you mentioned about it opening up, it’s something like plus three or like, I have to be in my hotel for three days, or it’s kind of like loose. Like, do you know anything about what that plus three or three days or something really means?

Kian:

Yeah. So you just have to show a test, and this might change as well closer to the time, but you just, you can still go out and roam like you’re free, but you have to have a test like every three days. And then if you do take a test and you’re positive, then I assume you have to take the necessary precaution. So that happened in Dubai as well when I first moved here. Like, they test you at the airport when you arrive and then you’re out in the city, you go to your hotel or your apartment, whatever it may be, and then you get the result 24 hours later. And then if your result is negative, then you’re just free to do whatever you wanna do. But if you’re positive, you get a text to say, Hey, you should stay in your hotel room. So that’s why I assume it’d be like in China as well. But the good news is that if you know you’re negative, which you’ll know because you have a test before you travel you’re pretty much in there and you’re good to go.

Bradley Sutton:

Wow, that’s better than I thought because I, I was reading it and it almost seemed like I still had to stay in a hotel for three days, but I, I guess not if I’m doing the test. So that’s awesome news.

Kian:

Yeah. And especially after Chinese New Year as well, like this should all really die down in terms of number of cases. So it will be like super safe to, to basically walk around and, and, and conduct our business. And I, I just miss China in general, like forget the work stuff. Yeah. But just being in the city and being in the country and it’s like connecting all the people that we’ve built relationships with and then attending the Canton Fair as well is gonna be absolutely huge game changing for people’s business as well. Obviously it’s, it’s probably not gonna be the same as it was before cuz probably a lot of people are still getting over this situation. But for anyone who doesn’t know, the Canton Fair is the biggest import export fair in the world. And it happens in Guangzhou China, over 26,000 exhibitors, over three phases.

Kian:

And it’s one of those exhibitions where no matter what product you’re looking for, whether it’s like pets or baby or sport or food or military or whatever it is, like kitchen electronic massage chairs, they’ve got absolutely everything. And they’re all there over the Canton Fair. And then you have a Hong Kong Global sources trade show as well in between that as well. And it just massively accelerates your business to be somewhere like that. Like the fact that you can go to a hall and see 50 different suppliers for the product that you’re sourcing or that you’re selling and you know, you can have all those conversations with the product in your hand. You can touch and feel the product, you can implement all the changes that you wanna do. You can negotiate the price, you can build the relationship with the supplier, and that will really, really fast track your development because the sample will be ready based on all the changes that you’ve asked for before you even leave China.

Kian:

Sometimes you even just send it to your hotel room within a few days. So a lot of people always ask me like, whoa, is it not really expensive to go to China? If you think of like the cost of a flight ticket, let’s just say 800 to a thousand dollars hotel, like, okay, let’s say 500 to a thousand dollars, your food and all that, all in your cost, maybe about $2,000 to go to China for like 10 days for visiting factories in Canton Fair. But think about for that $2,000, you’ve built, let’s say five or 10 different relationships, you’ve developed five or 10 different products, you’ve negotiated the best possible prices you can get because face-to-face, you will get much better prices than you would over like email or Alibaba Chat or anything like that. And then you’ve also like massively sped up your sample development time, but also reduced your sample cost.

Kian:

Because think about when you ask a supplier for a sample and they say, yeah, it’ll be $200, the cost of freight, the courier of the samples will be like $200. You’re sending that from multiple suppliers. Imagine you get your sample, something’s not right, and then you make your changes, you have to sketch out in an email, then they have to remake it, then you have to resend it. So like you just bypass that entire thing. So I think the people which are serious about going to China, which now we have the opportunity to do, and I would advise kind of going around mid-April so you can knock out the Canton Fair and visit your factory at the same time. Because I live in Dubai now and I’m so close, I’m planning to go beginning of March just to do a quick visit, make sure everything’s cool, make sure everything’s safe, everything’s back to normal, and then I’ll go back.

Bradley Sutton:

What’s the airport if I wanted to go there? I’ve actually never been to the Canton Fair.

Kian:

So you can either go to Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Hong Kong. So, Hong Kong’s probably most route, depending if you’re traveling from like the US or UK or Europe most popular route probably Hong Kong. I’ve been looking for flights, but Emirates like from Dubai haven’t opened up the flights to Guangzhou China yet. So I’m just kind of waiting for that. But Canton Fair is in Guangzhou, so if you can fly there, that’s Guangzhou, you can fly director Shenzhen is nearby, it’s like an hour away by car or by train. So you can also fly into there as well. But Guangzhou would be better.

Bradley Sutton:

Let’s talk some more logistics like that before we get into the nitty gritty. Cuz I do wanna keep talking about going there, but or about, about the reasons why and what we can do. But just so people understand the logistics first of all, are you planning any of those or do you know of anyone planning on restarting like a sourcing trip and then should like somebody wait for that, it’s gonna come out to me more expensive because everything’s a range and stuff. Like you said, $2,000, but maybe if we’re doing a sourcing trip who knows, it might be $4,000 cuz you get other things, you know included guided tours and things like that. Or should I just, Hey, you know what, there’s a, there’s a short window of opportunity here where maybe none of my competitors who have started in the last two, three years have ever met face-to-face with their suppliers. I have this chance all of a sudden to just get there and be one of the first ones and possibly be one of the first ones to get my, my prices reduced and build these relationships. Like, should I wait for a guided tour or should I just go while we’re getting as good?

Kian:

Yeah, no, great question. I think if, if you know what you’re doing and, and you’re familiar with navigating China and stuff like that, then by all means just go as soon as possible. Especially as you said, get ahead of your competition because the Chinese suppliers respect the buyers who come to their place of business, right? Because imagine, like this Canton Fair is in like this exhibition center in Guangzhou, like, it’s a big city, but normally the factory is in these like rural countryside areas. So when you go to visit a factory, the supplier knows you’re not there for a holiday. Like you’re there to do business, right? You didn’t go to this village, for a holiday. You’re there because you’re serious about doing business. And they respect that. They’re like, you know what, I’m gonna give this person my best, my best service, my best products, my best price, my best, best attention because they’ve come as a matter of respect, all the way to come and see me.

Kian:

So there’s so many different advantages for going and see the factory. So I would say if you know what you’re doing, by all means, but if you’ve never been to China before, you definitely need a bit of support because we all make mistakes when we’re there. Even making mistakes with sourcing products and negotiating the price, talking to the manufacturers, what are our expectations and things like that. So I would always advise a trip and a trip that I’ve been on several times before Covid was the China Magic trip, and I would hope that goes up again. I think the only challenge with a sourcing trip is that normally you would start to plan and arrange things six months in advance prior to going on the trip. Right? Whereas we, you can’t really plan anything until after Chinese New Year, because there, you don’t know what the case, what the situations will be like until mid-February, but then that means you can kind of start organizing and selling the trip beginning of March, but then the trip is mid-April.

Kian:

So it’s like saying, Hey, come on this trip and it’s starts in six weeks. So I don’t know if people can like, take time off work that far in advance, or can sure make a trip from US to China in such short notice, but whether there’s a trip or not, it’s essential to get out there. And as you said, like getting ahead of your competition and as you brother you find it’s really interesting, I did a test, right, in terms of, so I’ve got a team on the ground in China, and obviously we’ve not been able to go to China. We’ve been utilizing online resources like Alibaba.com and other websites and stuff like that, right? I took five random products from five different categories and went I’ve got these different accounts on Alibaba, just wrote a general message, not the way I’d normally write it, but just a general message, Hey, I’m interested in these, like notepads or whatever what’s your best price? Et cetera, et cetera.

Kian:

Then I got my office in China to contact those suppliers just by phoning them or emailing them and talking like locally in Chinese, exact same product, same quantity. And the prices that were given to my China office were like between 15 and 20% cheaper than the ones just inquiring by email. And that’s not to say that we couldn’t negotiate that down and get it down because obviously we can open up the conversations, talk about samples and negotiate that down, but just the initial pricing was so much better from the people which were there face-to-face or in the country or understood the products. And that’s basically a testament to people who want to travel to China will get that level of service and price because they know you’re the serious buyer. Because what we also have to consider is that anyone who goes on Alibaba.com and writes to a supplier, right?

Kian:

Those suppliers are probably getting between 15 and a hundred inquiries a week, right? And they’re trying to really gauge like, who are the serious ones? Because people are still doing their research at that stage. They get the price, they’re like, you know what, not interested supplier follows up, Hey, do you wanna do this product? And they just, they get no replies. So suppliers like get overwhelmed with online inquiries, but when you’re there in person, you’re like, I’m not here to do anything else apart from the source of product that I’m asking from you, right? So they’re gonna give you their serious best price, best attention. So getting out there is, is it be an absolute game changer. And anyone who’s listening to this and who’s been to China knows exactly what we’re talking about. But if you’ve never been before and you’re sourcing your products from China, even if you’re sourcing from other countries get out to those countries as well. Like everything that we talked about, the principles remain the same, whether you’re sourcing from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Mexico, go and visit those factories as well. Like the benefits are the same. It’s just so important to get out there.

Bradley Sutton:

Now speaking of all those different countries, actually China, even before Covid was, for an American person, at least one of the more difficult countries to get to not, not quite as difficult as me going to Pakistan, which took a lot of effort, but you know, Americans we’re kind of spoiled with our passport, we can go almost anywhere in the world. But I remember three or four years ago was the last time I went to China. I actually had to go since I live not that far from Los Angeles I went to go get visa at the embassy or consulate, whatever it’s called over there. I was like planning to go to China a lot, so I got a 10 year visa, however, I heard something that all of those kind of visas, like even if you had a 10 year visa before, like they’re kind of null and void now or something, and I have to go get a new one because of Covid. Like, do you know anything about that?

Kian:

Yeah, I’m in the same boat, like, so I had a 10 Visa as well. So when Covid first hit and travel to China was blocked, they said, if anyone’s got a visa for China, like it’s doesn’t exist anymore. It’s done. So, but they haven’t actually announced yet officially re-entering China. Now, if you have to reapply, if you had a visa or if you’re a previous visa is now accepted, the only thing, and I’m gonna do this as well, is just check with your local embassy to say like, Hey, here’s a photo of my visa. It’s still valid, it’s still within the 10 years. Do I need to reapply for a new one? Or I would assume that we need to reapply probably because they’ll probably be a little bit more strict or controlling in terms of knowing who’s coming into the country and things like that. And I think that within the last, like three years since they’ve blocked it, probably people’s, like, passport numbers have changed and the countries they’ve visited recently have changed. So I’m guessing they probably want a little bit more information as well out of people. So I would assume that we need to reapply, but if they decide to reinstate the existing visas, then, then we’re okay. But I would always just check with your local embassy.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Let’s say I’m going to the Canton Fair because for maybe a newer person, that’s probably the best way to start, even if I already have a supplier, plan on visiting the supplier, but also go to the Canton Fair. Like I think the last time I’ve only been a couple of times to China, most of the times I was just along with like a group of people. Like, like, so I didn’t have to worry about rides and transportation and things like that. So I’m just wondering if I’m new, if I’m listening to this podcast and I’ve never been to China, but I’m a decent traveler, so I’m gonna go try and do it myself. Like I get to the airport. Let’s say I go to Guangzhou, how do I get to the Canton Fair? Like train, bus? Is there an Uber, is there another app? Like when I went to the Philippines in Vietnam, I had to download this app called Grab app. Yeah. There was no Uber in, in that country. So like, what’s transportation like in China?

Kian:

Yeah, so I guess there’s, that’s a great question by the way because a lot of people can get really overwhelmed or they’re misled with this. There’s two different transportation things I would consider. One is if you’re going to visit your factory, one, if you’re gonna visit the Canton Fair, if you’re gonna visit your factory, let your factory know when you’re coming, what airport you’re flying into, and they will arrange everything for you. Every factory ever went to, they always organized a driver for me. And it’s like, you literally get out the airport, they have a sign with your name on it, the driver takes you, and then they drop you to your hotel, they take you to the factory, wherever you wanna go, you wanna do some touristy stuff, they’ll come and meet you. They’re amazing hosts. Like, they’ll take you out for dinner and their hospitality is amazing.

Kian:

But if you’re going solo, you’re just gonna check out the Canton Fair for the first time. You’re not working for any suppliers. I would definitely recommend that official taxis, which in China are green because it’s one of those countries that as soon as we get outta the airport, everyone’s like, taxi, taxi, taxi, taxi. And just these like unofficial cars, right? I would not suggest that whatsoever. They do have Chinese apps. Not Uber. Uber was there when I was living in China, but I don’t believe it’s there anymore. So there’ll be a local Chinese app, which I would just suggest getting when you’re on the ground, but just queuing up and getting a normal taxi is fine. And I would say that once you get, oh another thing as well is that always, always, always have your hotel name written in English and in Chinese, because 99.9% of taxi drivers cannot speak English, and cannot read English.

Kian:

So the way I always got around was, first of all, I learned Chinese when I was living there, but second of all, I always had the business card or the name card or a photo of my hotel address in Chinese. And I would just always show that to the taxi driver and know exactly where to go. And if you ever book a hotel on like booking.com or hotels.com in China, it will always in a confirmation give you the address in English and Chinese just screenshot that photo that always have that on your phone, save, print it out in emergency. You just need to show that. And, and they’ll take you to where you need to go. So definitely official taxis. And then let your factory know when you plan to visit as well, and they’ll arrange drivers for you.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Excellent information. Now going specifically just make believe that I’m definitely going to the Canton Fair. What’s like, I know it’s massive, so like, how do I tackle it? Again, I’ve never been there, so I have no idea. Like I’m assuming like, different sections of the building or different buildings or different you know, kinds of products or something like, so should I have something in mind already? Like, Hey, I wanna focus on Home Goods, or I wanna do pet supplies. Like, like is there a kind of map or something beforehand I need to game plan or do I just show up and just start walking

Kian:

Man, honestly, these are great questions. It’s bringing back a lot of memories.

Bradley Sutton:

I genuinely wanna know this too, because I’ve never done this. So I’m like all our listeners right now, I, I wanna, I wanna know because I literally, I don’t know, may, maybe you and I can go together, but I want this year to be the my first year to go to the Canton Fair.

Kian:

Well, a hundred percent. I’ll be there. So I’d love to host you if you wanna go together and we can document the whole thing. But yeah, that’s an amazing question because like when I, cause I went to the Canton Fair for first time in 2010 and I was a little bit overwhelmed and I didn’t plan it the first time that I went. And you’re just kind like caught in amaze, right? You’re just kind of walking around. Cuz every hall has got like, let’s say 25-26 different rows and each rose you can walk for like maybe half a kilometer of like different booths. So like literally stop and see something, you’re like, you’re there for like half a day. And so you really have to plan your trip in terms of, so before we going to on a China trip, I would always say, right, these are the products which I want to develop as a result of this trip, right?

Kian:

I’ve maybe got 15-20, or maybe 50 or 100 different products. I’m like, after this trip I want to have like, have an amazing supplier, an amazing sample, and my price is negotiated for these products. So I would kind of go to the Canton Fair with that agenda, and I do have a map. The official website, I think it’s like cantonfair.org or something like that, or cantonfair.net or something. But I’ve made like three or four YouTube videos on my channel Sourcing with Kian of the online Canton Fair, which I show you how to navigate it online and then the real Canton Fair, like walking around the booths and stuff like that. So if anyone’s prepared for that, I definitely check out that video on my YouTube channel I’ll show you what it’s like in real life and how it talks to suppliers and things like that.

Kian:

But definitely you want to coordinate your trip to be like, okay, day one we’re going for Home Goods. Home Goods is in Hall 8.1, right? We want these like kitchen utensils, we want this. Alright, day two we’re going after our pet products. We want the pet blankets. I can see the suppliers are in this hall, so I can see there’s 50 different suppliers there. So I aim to see all of them on day two. And if you know the suppliers in advance, I would book my meetings to say, Hey, I’m gonna be there day two, 3:00 PM I’ll come to your booth, we’ll have the meeting or we’ll go for lunch together. And any meetings that I wasn’t able to fulfill that day, I would always message supplier and say, Hey, can we go out for dinner tonight? And they’ll take you out in Guangzhou, come to your hotel or anything like that.

Kian:

But you have to have a plan in terms of the products that you want to develop and source as well as leaving room for new products, which we’re gonna catch your attention as well. Cuz one of the amazing things about the Canton Fair is that while we all develop new products, because we’re product developers and innovators, so do our suppliers because our suppliers have been making those products for 20 years and they export it all over the world. So they also have product engineers where are coming out with new stuff. And the Canton Fair is typically where they show those new products and they don’t just have it front and center for everyone to see because their competition are in the booths next to them. And the non-serious buyers are also walking past. But when they have the buyers that like, well, they’re my customers, or I’ve engaged in a serious conversation with them, I believe that they’re actually interested in purchasing from me.

Kian:

They’ll take out their new products from the back which are hidden. So I would always say to the suppliers that find that account on fair. Hey what have you been working on in the last year? Or what have you got coming out new for 2023? Or what’s working in the Brazil market? What’s working in the Japanese market? And they’re like, oh hey, you should try this, you should look at this. This is what we’ve been working on. It’s not finished yet, but these are the new features. They’re like, oh, sick. And then you kind of get that first mover advantage. And when I’m at a Canton Fair, I’m also negotiating like exclusivity if I see something new. So if, if we come up with something we can get a design patent, utility, patent, stuff like that and protect ourselves.

Kian:

But if we see something we’ve never seen before that the factories come up with, I would always ask for an exclusivity agreement to be like, Hey, can you give me exclusivity on this for one year or for six months? And they might be like, or they might say, you know what, for you to have exclusivity, you need to order at least 10,000 units. Okay, over six months I’ll order 10,000 units. If I don’t order at 10k after six months, then you can open it up to the wider market. They’re like, cool. Or they might say, no, this is brand new product. There’s no way we can give you exclusivity because we have many customers interested in buying this. Then I would say, well, can you gimme exclusivity for a region? Are you selling in Germany? No. Okay. Don’t sell to anyone else in Germany.

Kian:

Let me have this for Germany for one year. And then after that you can open up, you’re like, cool. So I would say negotiate exclusivity agreements for any new product that you see at the Canton Fair. And you know, Bradley, something you mentioned as well is that like you might have a product that you’re already sourcing. Maybe you found your supplier in Alibaba like two years ago. You’ve never been to China before and you’re quite happy the sample’s great, the communication’s been great, you’re happy with the price. But one thing I’ve noticed a lot in this industry, having like you’ve been speaking at Amazon events for four or five years now, is that a lot of people outgrow their supplier. Meaning when you first placed your order, you went on Alibaba.com, you only wanted to order 300 pieces.

Kian:

The bigger factories weren’t paying attention to you. It was a smaller factory which worked with you, gave you the price and you’ve grown your business and now you’re doing like 2000 units a month. But you’ve always been very loyal to that supplier, but you’ve never tested to say like what are there bigger and better suppliers are there for me? Or the ones which have better production lines that are faster in production, that have got better quality certificates, that have got better machinery, that have better economies of scale because the supply, Walmart and Disney and guys like that. So I would always, the Canton Fair is perfect example to take your products with you that you’re already buying and say, Hey, this is my current product, what price would you be able to give me for this? For the quantity of 12,000 units per year or per quarter or something like that?

Kian:

And then you’ll get the real price. And then I wouldn’t necessarily just burn bridges with your existing supplier. I’d be like, okay, these guys are cheaper. I’m gonna start ordering from you. Now I would go back to your existing supplier and say, Hey you’ve been selling this to me for like $7.20, love working for you services amazing. Quality is great, but at account unfair, they’re offering me for $6.70. It’s a 50 cent saving. Like, are you able to match it? Yeah, cool, we can match it. Cool. Well now you’ve just got 50 cent saving. Or if they say, no, sorry, we can’t match it, then you’re like, well sorry, I need to go with these guys cuz they’re much more capable of handling my current supply chain, but I’m still gonna work with you in future for any new items and things like that. So this really gives you a good bird’s eye view of where you’re at in your business, where you can potentially grow, where you can save some price, where you can improve quality and you can do it all in like a few days on a fun trip. And it’s a tax deductible expense as well. Right? Feels like a holiday.

Bradley Sutton:

Now I’ve been to the global sources a couple of times in Hong Kong and I know that’s a lot smaller than the Canton Fair. And I remember like going there and like so many of the booths look identical, like these were in the days when I was doing like phone cases and stuff like that and there would just be like rows and rows of booth and it’s like, at least to my naked eye, there’s like no distinguishing. But like you said, once you get like stopped at a place, like you could like literally just like spend like an hour there looking through stuff or talking. So do you have any tips as far as like, Hey, how do I make sure the one that I do stop at, like, is there anything that I can distinguish about how one booth or one company might be better than the other? Are things I can look for? Is it kind of hit or miss?

Kian:

Oh man. I think you’re on fire to these questions are wicked. Thank you.

Bradley Sutton:

Buttering me. I’m trying to become the first person to be five times on the podcast early, I guess.

Kian:

No, but because this is another thing, right? That like, I haven’t walked so many of these exhibitions, the only way you know is just by going and talking to them. And I would say that the quality of your questions determine the quality of your results. So I would always well I know it in my head now, but like when I was younger, I would always just in my notepad have the questions that I wanted to ask the factories. Such as what factory certificates do you have? What audits do you have? What on the products, what certifications do you have? How many years have you been in business? Where’s your factory located? Who is your biggest market that you export to US at? North America is at Europe. And this is important because like if it’s North America and you’re also selling in North America, then they’re familiar with the quality standards of your country.

Kian:

But if a hundred percent of their exports go to Africa, then they have different regulations, so they’re not gonna be familiar with the regulations that you want. And then I would always ask within your biggest market, who’s your biggest customer? So if it’s an outdoor brand and they’re like, yeah, 80% of our exports go to North America, I’m like, who’s your biggest customer? They’ll say, North Face, what products do you use for North Face? This one here, do you have the certificates? Cool. So, and they actually like that you’re asking these questions because these are the great questions to be asking. So then they respect you as a buyer to be like, this guy clearly knows what he’s talking about. And you can also use the booths to build up your knowledge as well. So let’s say for example, you’re doing an outdoor furniture camping chair, right?

Kian:

And you go into a booth that you’re like, you know what? I just don’t like the look of this supplier. Like I’m not gonna work with them, but I need to build up my knowledge about this product before I go to find factories I do want to work with. So I’ve been in the booth and I was still in the chair and I’d be like, you know what, it’s this polyester material or is this nylon? They’re like, oh, that’s polyester. Alright, well what’s the difference between polyester and nylon? They’re like polyester is a little bit cheaper, it’s a little bit more rugged nylon, it’s like tougher and lighter, but a little bit more expensive. How much more expensive? About 15% more expensive. Cool. And do customers in North America normally have waterproof coating on it? Yeah, they normally have like two, two layer coating.

Kian:

If it’s in a colder climate or in California, they don’t do it. Alright, cool. What about the, the tubing? Is it Steelers aluminum? Oh, this is steel. Oh yeah. Steel’s a little bit more expensive than the thicker, but if you want it lighter then go for aluminum. You know, if you’re solo camping, go for the aluminum one. But if you’re putting your stuff in your truck, go for the steel one. Cause the weight doesn’t matter. Cool. What’s the thickness of it? And then I’m writing all these things down and then when I find a factory that I do want to work with, the guy which is half asleep in his booth, I’m like, right, I need this chair. It’s gonna be 40 by 60 centimeters. It’s gonna be nylon fabric, has to have this trimming, has to have this waterproof coating, must be aluminum tubing.

Kian:

This is the thickness of the aluminum. And this flower’s like, wow, this guy knows what he’s talking about. I’m not gonna bs him. I’m gonna give him the best price. I’m gonna give him the best service. I want the guy as a customer. But if you’re asking those questions then to the factory you want to work with, they can kind of see that you’re a newbie and they’ll still work with you obviously, but they can inflate their price and they won’t take you as seriously. So I would utilize the Canton Fair to learn as much as you can about the products and then find a factory you want to work with, and then you’re just gonna have their respect from day one and get the best price and best

Bradley Sutton:

Service. Now something that I’ve been doing more 2023 on the podcast. My, my theme kind of is like mental health, physical health due to things that happened to me last year and like hobbies and stuff. Because I think as entrepreneurs sometimes we get in ruts and, and we get stressed out a lot. And so it’s important to have these things in mind. We let ourselves our, let our bodies go and stuff. So I’ve been asking a guest for this year, like, what, what is some of your habits that number one, like what’s your hobby that you do to kind of like escape outside of the entrepreneurial world? And is there any kind of like exercise routine that you’re doing or diet routine because you’ve always been fit from what I know you, so like obviously you’re doing so hopefully you’re not one of the those person who just has perfect jeans and just can eat whatever and drink whatever you want and never gain weight. But I’m assuming you have some kind of a routine.

Kian:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And that’s a great question as well, especially going into 2023. I always treat fitness as a priority because I’ve noticed in life that whenever I’ve been really happy, I’ve always been in shape. And whenever I’ve been like a little bit down or upset or not in the best in moods, it’s when I’ve been out of shape. And there’s a direct correlation between like healthy mind, healthy body. So I actually have something called a workout calendar where I’ve got a spreadsheet on my desktop, which is open all the time, and I plan my workouts for the week, whether I would just be like going for a swim on the beach or playing basketball with my friends or going to the gym. And I plan it out day by day and I just make sure every day and I put it into my calendar as well, right?

Kian:

Because we do calls, we’re doing this podcast. This podcast is in both of our calendars. But if it’s not in your calendar, you can easily miss it. So I know what work workout I’m gonna do every day and I put it in my calendar. So it’s a non-negotiable. Like, so I can’t do the call at that time cause I’ve got my work workout at that time. So I would always just say like, plan your workouts in advance and then if you’re, if you’re like me, that like workouts play a lot in terms of like your happiness and mental health, then it, it’s a non-negotiable. So I would just say plan it in advance.

Bradley Sutton:

Alright. Now, this is great and I think I highly suggest everybody, as many people visit China if possible. But at the end of the day, being realistic as far as our listeners go, or Amazon sellers out there, probably a very small percentage have the means and the time and everything to actually do it. So for everybody else, what are some strategies you can give us about online sourcing in China? You know, like is the online Canton Fair still a thing? You talked about that in a previous episode. Can you give us some new tips about using Alibaba.com? Is 1688 still something that, that we should be looking at? What are some we actually call them now instead of 30-second tips, we call them 60-second tips now. So what are some 62nd tips about sourcing online in China that you can help us out with?

Kian:

Yeah, for sure. So I would say definitely it’s still utilize the online Canton Fair the online Canton Fair, like the user ability, the online interface is not as good as Alibaba.com. The suppliers are just different. So I would utilize both. My starting point would always be alibaba.com, just because there’s very good suppliers there. There’s also very bad suppliers there, but you also, you just have to have the right filtering process. And I think Bradley, in previous episodes, which are gonna be linked below, we’ve kind of talked over the strategies in terms of how to find the best suppliers there. So I’d always utilize Alibaba.com, I would utilize the online Canton Fair website. I would even use websites like Global Sources just because they offer something different, because everyone is kind of going to Alibaba.com, but sometimes you might find a supplier which only lists on globalsources.com.

Kian:

So you might have access to different products, different suppliers, different materials, things like that. What I was also gonna suggest was previously we’ve talked about using WeChat and building up your relationship and stuff like that. There’s a new app that all the cool kids are using in China, and it’s called DingTalk. So if you download an app, and, and you know what, a lot of people have had a nightmare of WeChat. They’re like I need to get verified and I need a friend to submit authentication. All that’s very complicated, but just get an app called DingTalk. It’s like a blue logo of little, like Falcon or Eagle on it or something like that. And that’s owned by Alibaba. Whereas WeChat is owned by a company called Tencent, which is the Alibaba. And all the suppliers are using DingTalk. The userability is so much easier. You can send documents and files, voice notes, video calls, way more organized, easier to use, all your suppliers are on it. So definitely utilize that. It’s much better than WeChat. And it’s got over 500 million users and WeChat’s got around a billion users, so it’s already well adopted in China. So if you talk to your suppliers, just say, Hey, what’s your DingTalk? And then but just ask him for their DingTalk.

Bradley Sutton:

I think he’s like pulling– I think he’s punking us guys here. We’re gonna get punched in the face when we go over there. Alright. Right. I love it. I know you’ve been doing stuff with alibaba.com and, and, and things like what, what’s new that you can report? I remember last time, or maybe two times ago, you were on the show and you were giving us some good tips as far as, hey trying to get at least this many years of Yes. You know, that they’ve been, and, and here’s a good filter to use and, and stuff. But, but has there been any kind of developments on alibaba.com that you could tell people to utilize?

Kian:

Yeah. The thing I’d say about alibaba.com is it’s constantly improving and I’m doing some work with them in terms of like giving ’em advice in terms of like how I would like to see the platform improving, things like that. And everyone in the team is like, really cool. We went to the office in New York and actually Helium 10 were there as well, and we did some content together. So every, and they also sponsored selling skill as well, right? So ev everyone in team in alibaba.com is really cool. And they, all I can say is that there’s a lot of new updates coming and even things like in Alibaba.com, you get trade assurance to make sure your payments are protected and things like that. Even that is improving the way we pay our suppliers, the payment protection that we get, the speed of payments, the cost of online transactions, all of that is improving, plus the user interface. Like even every time I log into the website, there’s little updates here and there. I’ve made some suggestions such they’re gonna take on board. I’m excited for that to, to come out as well. But I would definitely utilize alibaba.com. It’s gonna, and I’ve got a couple of videos on it, how to use it on my YouTube channel as well. So yeah, you can go wrong there.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Before we get the links to how people can reach you and stuff. One last question for you. Very important 2023. Speaking of travel. A hundred percent sure. I am taking my family sometime this year to Scotland for the first time. So tell me some, a couple go-to places, like maybe it’s a restaurant or maybe it’s a, I mean obviously I’m gonna go to the Castle Yeah. Over there, but just like, what is something I need to do when I go to Scotland?

Kian:

For sure. So a few things, especially if you’re going for family J.K. Rowling the offer of Higher Potter is from Edinburgh. And what a lot of people don’t know is that, like, she wrote the first Harry Potter book in a lot of different coffee shops in Edinburgh. And it, I know I can tell you what those coffee shops are, and then outside the coffee shop, they have the plaque to be like, J.K. Rowling wrote the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in this coffee shop, and a lot of writers were there. It’s a really good aura and vibe cuz you know, you have that feeling. But then apart from that, I would say if you can go in August, you’ll get to experience the Edinburgh Festival, the French Festival, which is the biggest comedy in arts festival in the world.

Kian:

And the city just like turns out for it. Like, it’s an amazing experience. The weather’s amazing. If you’re into the outdoors and you’re like hiking as well. We have like the best mountains in the world, the freshest in the world, the best views in the world. If you’re into whiskey, we have the best whiskey and distilleries in, in the world as well. So I would definitely do like a little whiskey tour in the Highlands maybe do a bit of hiking, do a bit of camping, and obviously it’s like I started off in camping and outdoors, so I’ve got all the gear. If you went into any camping trips, I’ll, I’ll hook you up for nice tent, sleeping bag, furniture, chairs, all that sort of stuff. If you wanna do like single day of camping or overnight camping or whatever, I’ve got all the gear for you, camp beds, all that sort of stuff.

Kian:

And then, yeah, apart from that, I know you’re into sport, so I try and watch football or you guys call it soccer, soccer game, which Celtic and Rangers are two of the most like, famous teams there. Definitely check that out. That’s a wild experience. And yeah, definitely check out Edinburgh and Glasgow and then the Highlands up north as well. And I’ll definitely write a few recommendations for you as well prior to you going, but couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It’s one of the best countries in the world.

Bradley Sutton:

That’s awesome. How can people find your YouTube channel? How can they reach out to you for more information? Give us your interweb locations out there

Kian:

For sure. So something exciting I did in 2022 is I recorded two courses with a company called Foundr. And one of them were filmed in Australia, then one filmed in la The first one was a product development course, which was released a month ago. So kind of like everything I’ve learned in product development over the last year. And Bradley, you actually featured on the website because on my own website, sourcingwithkeyan.com, I took a testimonial from you, I think from the first podcast that we did. And then they, they put your image and testimonial on that founder website, but if you go to founder.com/kian, there’s my product development course there. Apart from that YouTube and Facebook, Sourcing with Kian, I’m also on LinkedIn, just Kian Golzari Instagram @kian_jg, which I’ve got big plans for making a lot of content in 2023, similar to that workout calendar. I’ve got a content calendar as well, and I’m gonna go nuts this year. So probably some of the stuff we talk about today’s definitely gonna get clipped up as well. So yeah, definitely check out the IG @kian_jg and the websites sourcewithkian.com as well.

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. Well like I said hopefully we can travel together sometime this year. You know we’ve linked up in all over the world. Dubai, we’ve linked up in other places, but so far this year, definitely want to go to China. I’m doing a trip I’m gonna be announcing in a week or two, like to Bali. I’ve never been to Bali. So there’s gonna be like an Amazon getaway over there, so maybe we’ll see each other there. But anyways it was great catching up and hard to believe you. It’s been four years since we’ve been doing this podcast almost. But I appreciate you al always bring a lot of knowledge every time you come on, so thanks a lot, Kian. We’ll be seeing you soon.

Kian:

Always a pleasure. Thanks, Bradley.


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