How to Source Products From Anywhere in The World Like a Pro with Product Sourcing Expert Isaac Hetzroni

Episode 180

On today’s episode we have the pleasure of interviewing Isaac Hetzroni, better known to many as “the sourcing guy.”  Isaac have been involved with manufacturing and supply chain his entire life as his family owned a small apparel factory in Toronto, and his father has owed an electronics factory in Suzhou, China for the last 20 years. Since then Isaac has traveled the world sourcing products. He has visited manufacturers of tea in Sri Lanka, bags in Cambodia, shoes in Indonesia, shapewear in Turkey, shirts in Mexico, jewelry in Thailand, and so many more.  We are excited to dive into all things product sourcing today.

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00;00;00;01 – 00;00;09;07
Speaker 1
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Men podcast, a story for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you are capable.

00;00;09;07 – 00;00;09;23
Speaker 2
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00;00;09;24 – 00;00;24;02
Speaker 1
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00;00;24;04 – 00;00;46;05
Speaker 3
Welcome, everyone, to the Firing the Man Podcast. On today’s episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing Isaac. Let’s Roni Better known to many as the sourcing guy. Isaac has been involved with manufacturing and supply chain his entire life, as his family owned a small apparel factory in Toronto, and his father has owned an electronics factory in China for the last 20 years.

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00;00;46;08 – 00;01;06;09
Speaker 3
Since then, Isaac has traveled the world sourcing products. He has visited manufacturers of tea in Sri Lanka, bags in Cambodia, shoes in Indonesia, shapewear in Turkey, shirts in Mexico, jewelry in Thailand, and so many more. We are excited to dive into all things product sourcing today. Welcome to the show, Isaac.

00;01;06;15 – 00;01;06;27
Speaker 2
Happy to be.

00;01;06;27 – 00;01;16;12
Speaker 3
Here. Absolutely. So to kind of set the stage for the podcast, can you share with our listeners a little bit about your background and your path in the product sourcing world?

00;01;16;14 – 00;01;35;17
Speaker 2
Yeah, for sure. So like you mentioned, I kind of grew up as like a sourcing baby from being like a little kid working in the factories, helping out, start to have a love for everything manufacturing. About six and a half years ago, I started my sourcing agency called in Virginia, and we’ve been helping companies source products overseas and now make the whole process a whole lot less scary.

00;01;35;18 – 00;01;54;24
Speaker 2
And then recently I started the sourcing guy, which is a whole content series all around, you know, helping demystify product sourcing, make things, you know, like I like I mentioned earlier, we listeria doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. We can help, you know, find some amazing suppliers and, you know, remove that headache from everyone’s day to day.

00;01;54;29 – 00;02;14;07
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. So before we get into sourcing and the intro, I’m sure a lot of the listeners were like, Holy cow, Isaac’s been traveling the world like a couple of like maybe one or two of your, your favorite countries that you’ve been to, whether it’s like, you know, why your sourcing or whatever, just, just to share with the listeners that who have not been jet setting the world my.

00;02;14;07 – 00;02;35;07
Speaker 2
Favorite country like the coolest factories I feel like I saw some amazing factors in Cambodia. You know, you think that we think of Cambodia evacuees. You’re probably thinking of like, you know, sweatshops and dirt floors. But it is the complete opposite. You know, amazing, like infrastructure and schools and daycares built into them and, you know, fully carbon neutral factories there.

00;02;35;07 – 00;02;50;16
Speaker 2
There’s like really, really cool to see all the innovation that are kind of going on. A lot of that has to do with foreign owners. So when you’re working with a lot of Chinese factories, you’re going to see Chinese based owners, right? When you’re working with factories, are there a lot of these other countries you’re going to see?

00;02;50;22 – 00;03;08;21
Speaker 2
A lot of times European owners that are going to be coming in and opening up the same lives. They’re opening up factories there and bringing a lot of kind of more Westernized ideals about like work life balance, etc.. So that was, you know, seeing a lot of these types of factories in Sri Lanka and Thailand, Cambodia, these kinds of places was was a huge shock to me.

00;03;08;22 – 00;03;15;25
Speaker 2
I’m excited to, you know, pay more content around around that and make it easier for people to source outside of China as well.

00;03;15;29 – 00;03;31;09
Speaker 4
Sure. Yeah. I mean, I would think of Cambodia as like, you know, huts and villages and stuff and you’re saying, oh, they have carbon neutral factories. Like that’s that’s kind of crazy and cool. So thanks for sharing. So we’ll get right into it. So sourcing, you know, it’s got a physical products business. You need products you need to launch them.

00;03;31;09 – 00;03;44;14
Speaker 4
Products have a lifecycle, they go away, you launch new ones. And so what are some of your top tips for beginners or even even seasoned physical products? Business owners on sourcing products? What are people get wrong and what are a couple of tips that they can improve on?

00;03;44;15 – 00;04;18;15
Speaker 2
Yeah, so I would say that some of the biggest things people get wrong are from a product side, always thinking you have to custom develop a product every time like yes, there’s tons of badges for custom development. I depends on like your market. There’s so many amazing private label label products out there. If you are consistently innovating and staying on top of trends, I think especially when you’re starting out, it’s way better to go and take a product and make some modifications to it, work out the existing product toward and launch a product into the market.

00;04;18;15 – 00;04;45;27
Speaker 2
And then once you get some more traction, come out with a version too, that has a lot more a lot more customizability or additional feature that you really understand the market versus going through and being like, I need to reinvent, you know, X, Y, Z product or I’ll cut new custom molds. And you of this all these new features when most of the time like you make almost like you guess about what the customer actually wants you to understand the product and development pieces around that and then you’re going to go in and then there’s be all of these different issues and they’re going to come with the cost of manufacturing, right?

00;04;46;03 – 00;05;05;28
Speaker 2
The more complexity you kind of create for yourself, the more things that go wrong within the manufacturing process. That’s like the one of the biggest mistakes. I’d say the other mistake is, is not hiring inspection agencies to manage your production. So I have all the horror stories I hear about manufacturing and issues with overseas vendors. Pretty much every time I ask, Did you hire an inspection agency?

00;05;05;28 – 00;05;25;06
Speaker 2
And the answer tends to be no. And agencies for people, the listeners who don’t know what that is, it. There are companies that you could hire for for about 100 to $200 a mandate, and they act as your your representatives and they’ll go into the factory pre-production during production, post-production. You give them a tax free spec sheet, essentially of like your product and all the things that check.

00;05;25;07 – 00;05;42;15
Speaker 2
And then they’re going to go and make sure that product’s perfect, that that, that blue is the exact blue you’re looking for that, you know, everything is talked, right? Most of the time they’re going to find these little issues and and then they’re going to they’re going to fail the factory. They’re going to make the fix it, and then you’re going to you know, it might delay your production a week or two weeks, but you’re going to end up getting a product.

00;05;42;15 – 00;05;43;18
Speaker 2
They actually paid for.

00;05;43;18 – 00;06;03;02
Speaker 4
So that’s awesome. So just to kind of just to kind of package that up, two things that Isaac just mentioned. So number one is simplify and speed to market. And so just don’t make a ton of modifications to an to a product, just maybe popular label on there, make a small few tweaks and get it to market and then worry about improving it down the road.

00;06;03;02 – 00;06;14;07
Speaker 4
And so simplify and speed to market. The second one is inspections. Make sure you do post production inspection before you ship your products and it’s going to save you a massive headache down the road. So that’s awesome.

00;06;14;07 – 00;06;31;12
Speaker 3
Isaac I do have a follow up question on the inspection. So what are best practices for that? Because I’m thinking of, say, you order 10,000 units when they’re done ready to go out the door is probably not the right time to identify the wrong color blue. So at what point is it best for them to come in?

00;06;31;17 – 00;06;56;19
Speaker 2
Yeah. So if you can say you can only afford one inspect, like one inspection, I would say about like three quarters of the way through production, like towards the end of production where it hasn’t gone through like packing and all that kind of stuff and counterfeit like, you know, but kind of past finishing. That’s if you can tell if you’re only going to hire like one person for one mandate, you know, you can obviously hire multiple times.

00;06;56;19 – 00;07;19;24
Speaker 2
But the process you have to think about like how complex is that product and like, where are the issues going to arise. So for the wrong color blue, you know, if you order a pre-production sample, right, and you’re getting pictures of production through, you know, you know, through production. Yeah. So yeah, that’s going to help, you know, prevent those kind of issues on my coloration And like, you’re not seeing you sending a blue and I’m seeing a different book.

00;07;19;24 – 00;07;25;16
Speaker 2
Yeah it depends on how complex your production is. It depends a lot of different things, but I’ve got about three quarters toward the end.

00;07;25;19 – 00;07;53;04
Speaker 3
Okay, that makes sense. Most people that get into e-commerce, this is how their first year goes. They take a course or or watch some YouTube videos. They go on to Alibaba and start sourcing their products, are trying to source their products, and it is almost assumed that you will be sourcing out of China. And so I’m curious, what are your thoughts on sourcing out of China versus sourcing from kind of the rest of the world?

00;07;53;06 – 00;08;21;19
Speaker 2
Yeah, I’d say that nine times out of ten sourcing out of China, the when you’re getting started is like China is still looking for any fiber manufacturing. You’re going to be able to work out the lowest ammo cube. They’re going to have most catalog type manufacturing. So there’s two kinds of manufacturing out there in my categorization. Those factories that they’re going to work based off their own designs and catalog stuff, and then private labeling versus custom manufacturing.

00;08;21;19 – 00;08;39;16
Speaker 2
You’re right, they’re going to have a general product niche. You’re going to give them a detailed spec sheet and tech pack and they’re going to source the materials and manufacture, you know, based off of that. So a lot of countries outside China like that’s the advantage because you’re going to go and use cost, you’re going to use them for custom manufacturing and you’re going to have massive savings on your cost of labor.

00;08;39;16 – 00;09;07;05
Speaker 2
But your raw materials and laws are still going to come from China or other places. So you getting started like China is great. Now there is there is a variant to that, right? If you can find really unique product that’s not being manufactured in China. Right. When you factor based off of the local economy. Right. Like some type of special dried fruit from Brazil or some type of specialized like leather product, you know, from like South America, you know, all these other places, you can find a domestic domestic product.

00;09;07;05 – 00;09;23;16
Speaker 2
It’s like very popular. You can find manufacturers with no local region and then bring that in. And then that’s going to be kind of your differentiating factor. Like, that’s a great way to start with a lot of these other types of countries and sourcing those countries. And a lot of times those are the best products and the successful products that we hear about not changing, changing the, you know, U.S. market.

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00;09;23;19 – 00;09;30;16
Speaker 2
You know, I’m going to talk more about this, but Alibaba is is a fantastic tool if you know how to use it. That’s all I got to say.

00;09;30;16 – 00;09;44;10
Speaker 3
You know, we dive into that a little bit more because I think here’s how I use Alibaba. I type in one keyword and hit search and and I start scrolling. And so I’m I may be doing it wrong. So what’s what is the appropriate way to use Alibaba.

00;09;44;11 – 00;10;00;24
Speaker 2
So Alibaba is a search engine, right? You have every like all these different factories within the search engine. So you’re going to go and search it, search up socks, Right. And you’re going to have all these different options that are going to come around. You have to learn about how to filter through those results to find, you know, that your vendors.

00;10;00;24 – 00;10;21;24
Speaker 2
One of the easiest tips I can kind of give is instead of searching, but based on product search based on supplier. So instead of looking socks and you see a bunch of product stock, look up socks and change the tab to manufacturers or suppliers, and then you’re going to start being able to filter based off of soccer any factors you want to that typically work with a, you know, a firm that specialize in the product type.

00;10;21;24 – 00;10;44;04
Speaker 2
So then also you’re going to be going through the link through sock manufacturers and judging them on the manufacturing label. Right. You can then go to the side and start seeing, you know, whether they’re main export countries, what certifications do they have, what is their yearly output. Right. Are they Alibaba verified? Then you can go into the individual practice, things start going through the pictures, start seeing like the products that they have.

00;10;44;06 – 00;11;03;18
Speaker 2
You know, if you’re looking for socks, they’re also selling water bottles and hats and all these other, you know, you know, products like, okay, this is probably a trading company. This probably is isn’t actual manufacture. And that’s majority of Alibaba is going to be training companies. So what people do is they go in search of socks, they go through the first three pages and there’s thousand pages of socks they have up above manufacturers.

00;11;03;19 – 00;11;22;01
Speaker 2
I come up first, they talk to them. Half of them are training companies and they really then do an embedding of the actual factory themselves. They just source source some product. Sometimes you will even order sample order. Right. Without that, that’s the first experience from Alibaba. They get a bunch of misc colored socks that have a bad imprint or whatever it is, one monthly.

00;11;22;01 – 00;11;24;20
Speaker 2
And they’re like, Alibaba is the worst damn, go on.

00;11;24;20 – 00;11;45;19
Speaker 4
There. Yeah. So just to kind of like circle back and package that up a bit. And so Isaac David mentioned typing in logo as sock socks and then it pops up and there’s a thousand vendors that that have listed their products for socks. And so on the left hand side there filters. And so there’s like Alibaba verified how many years they’ve been manufacturing, what certifications they have, all of that stuff.

00;11;45;19 – 00;12;00;07
Speaker 4
And so you’re saying like kind of toggle those filters on what you’re looking for and it’ll like upgrade you and hit filter and it’s only going to it’s going to weed out most of the other stuff, right? And then kind of go from there. And then whether, you know, trading companies are probably not the best, but we deal with a couple of them.

00;12;00;07 – 00;12;09;19
Speaker 4
And it depends. I think like sometimes I’ll work in certain situations, but it’s definitely better to go to the factory because you’re going to cut out that middleman. That’s really cool. So anything else on Alibaba?

00;12;09;19 – 00;12;15;04
Speaker 3
David Isaac Can you define a trading company? I’m sure there’s probably a couple people listening that may not be familiar with that.

00;12;15;04 – 00;12;33;19
Speaker 2
Yeah, for sure. And I love all bad things to say, which are the companies I do run one with, but it’s a trading company is a company that’s going there are different kinds, right? But there tends to be a middleman, right? A person in between that is going to be, you know, you’re the representative and then they’re going to be helping you source the product.

00;12;33;20 – 00;12;55;13
Speaker 2
Now, there’s different kinds, and there are tons of advantages for using different chain companies. Right. I think the best kind of training companies, you know, are going to be ones are going to be specialized within a niche, Right. So if you find training companies that specialize specifically in baby products. Right. And you need to watch a bunch of SKUs and baby product category, it’s not just one.

00;12;55;13 – 00;13;12;16
Speaker 2
And you start with a lot of lower milk shoes and, you know, you want to have kind of consistency across it, you know, using a trading company that that does baby products, you know, that’s all they do can be a really, really great tool because they’re going to have Lorem accused in working with the doctors directly because they’re grouping together lots of orders.

00;13;12;16 – 00;13;29;24
Speaker 2
Now, these large relationships and these doctors don’t want to work with Johns but hit them up on Alibaba and wants 200 pieces. But they’re fine to go work with there because it’s in trading company. Right. That and you know, group outsourcing other and you know they’re speaking Chinese and it works out right so that’s where you know what I’m sure your comments can come in handy.

00;13;29;24 – 00;13;45;24
Speaker 2
I think you can start you can sort of get to a level. We don’t work with train companies anymore, Right. Because we just need to know about control, how the Russian factory, we’re going to handle all of our own freight forwarding customs clearance. Yeah, we’re get to that level now. We’re a little different electric company side. We’re a U.S. based trading company.

00;13;45;24 – 00;14;04;07
Speaker 2
So what that means is we’re a U.S. company and react to the US based vendor. So the biggest thing is that, like our customers can sue us if we don’t deliver the right product at the right time. You know, it’s kind of funny to say that, but it’s kind of the truth. That’s like, why people come to us is because you’re going to have like an actual guarantee that the product’s going to be exactly what you wanted, you know?

00;14;04;07 – 00;14;06;08
Speaker 2
And then we charge for that level of comfort.

00;14;06;08 – 00;14;21;15
Speaker 4
And I think that was that was excellent. And yeah, we also use trading companies on certain one off products and it works well. And you’re right, they can get lower IMO cuz make rapid changes to the product, you know, act as an interface with a factory that might not have an English speaking sales staff or something like that.

00;14;21;15 – 00;14;36;05
Speaker 4
And so it’s very helpful. I think in certain situations. I’ve got a question and this a little bit different in time we have an expert on. I try to think of like a like a real life actual exercise. And so you mentioned something earlier. I was like, if you’re selling, we’re like instances where you wouldn’t go to China if you had something.

00;14;36;05 – 00;14;55;00
Speaker 4
And so in my office I have like a cowhide rug and it’s like an Australian, some type of an Australian cow rug. And so with your experience, my if I came to you and said, Hey, Isaac, I want to sell these Australian cowhide rugs, what would be your process of finding manufacturer or direct vendor of getting those like what in your brain?

00;14;55;00 – 00;14;56;05
Speaker 4
Like how does that work for you?

00;14;56;05 – 00;15;17;07
Speaker 2
Yeah, for sure. So let’s break down the fundamentals of, of manufacturing product sourcing so your main variables are going to be raw materials, labor cost and specialization. And with a special call out to taxes and duties and tariffs and free trade agreements, the first thing we’re going to look at is raw materials, right? Raw materials. You know, how complex is the production?

00;15;17;07 – 00;15;39;17
Speaker 2
You know, how heavy of a raw material based product is it? So we’re talking about raw cowhide. That’s pretty much just the raw material it needs to go through processing. That’s to go through a bunch of other processes, but it’s very raw, material, intensive example. Another one would be like a bull cotton hoodie, right? Like pack fans in export of cotton wool, Malecon, the produce said, you know, and they have low labor costs like that’s great for that.

00;15;39;17 – 00;15;54;14
Speaker 2
But they’re trying to make, you know, a a laptop that tons like opponents you know lot the raw materials are going to vary a lot like China is going to be a better ice for the specialization right. The factories in China are very good at manufacturing electronics in Pakistan. They’re not very good at manufacturing. Electronics are just not trained on it.

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00;15;54;14 – 00;16;14;07
Speaker 2
How’s it been? They haven’t been in that space for that long. They can’t get the components right. You need all the components that go into that. That core product to be close by for the manufacturing and then, yeah, labor costs. So how labor intensive is a production of the product and then kind of playing that around. So through manufacturing something like, you know, jackets with lots of different pieces and you know, details and all that kind of stuff.

00;16;14;07 – 00;16;37;11
Speaker 2
You know, going somewhere like, like Myanmar and Cambodia are pretty low labor costs and you maybe have a high enough volume like that can be great. So then and then we can also look at, you know, your terrorist attacks of etc.. So is there where like where am I shipping into what’s at the U.S.? Right. And maybe there’s a massive tax on these kinds of products that I’m shipping in from China, but maybe for manufacturing in Australia or all these different places, Right.

00;16;37;13 – 00;16;52;08
Speaker 2
Maybe there is a free trade agreement, right. Where there is, you know, no taxes or the rich has to pay duties, there’s no additional tariff on top of it. So you kind of take all these different variables, you weigh it all out, you look at the volume we’re looking for. I mean, you can try to like, shape the best overall solution and the best supply chain.

00;16;52;10 – 00;16;52;20
Speaker 2
Okay.

00;16;52;20 – 00;17;08;04
Speaker 4
Now, I really like that kind of how you broke it down into raw materials vs taxes and then just normal logistics and then kind of like figure out and map out a game plan for all of that. What’s the best one for all of that? So thanks for sharing that. That’s all. That’s awesome. Over to you, David.

00;17;08;06 – 00;17;27;18
Speaker 3
So when it comes to product sourcing, of course, there’s there’s going to be people that work with professionals such as you. There’s also going to be people that insist on doing it themselves. And so I’m curious, what is the best way to find suppliers in some of these other countries outside of China, for instance, in Cambodia or in South America?

00;17;27;18 – 00;17;36;03
Speaker 3
Is there an Alibaba type website or is there any global website that that has a global network of of manufacturers?

00;17;36;07 – 00;17;56;09
Speaker 2
So Alibaba does have other countries now as well, but it’s not super robust from our perspective. You know, the way we found it, you can go through ecommerce boards. So reaching out to like Sri Lankan e-commerce board go through their websites, you can see all the different top suppliers, see their contact information, you can try to reach out to them.

00;17;56;09 – 00;18;13;07
Speaker 2
I’d say it’s about be shot at the commerce or it’s active or not in these countries and they’re actually going to help you. I went as brash as like you just book the nicest hotel you can in the capital city of a country. You go up to the lounge and you wait for someone that looks, you know, non-native to walk through the door.

00;18;13;07 – 00;18;28;04
Speaker 2
And I clearly remember like being at the Marriott and just like waiting. And I got to be like, Hey, I run a certain company. I don’t know anyone. When in Cambodia, do you know anyone in manufacturing? I know like every almost every person walks through the door of the like, yeah, like I know someone like her. Yeah, I’m.

00;18;28;04 – 00;18;43;02
Speaker 2
And manufacturing and then I just lined up a bunch of meetings or next few days of just people that, like, had factored in new people that had factories because if you think about it, like people are either in pronounced nice national hotels like you’re probably there for business and manufacturing hub. So it’s like the more aggressive way you also go through like import records.

00;18;43;02 – 00;18;55;29
Speaker 2
So there’s lots of tools out there now where you can start, there’s like you can map out, you can search for factories, search for different companies, You can see where their shipments are coming from and then hopefully find these vendors that are in other countries.

00;18;55;29 – 00;18;59;25
Speaker 3
You have any specifics on what tools you could use to look at import records?

00;18;59;25 – 00;19;15;18
Speaker 2
Yeah. So there’s a free one called import you at the beginning, pretty popular, where you can type in different companies. You’ll be able to go and kind of see their records of different factors that they’re importing from, which is a huge ask how every resource you’ve been sourcing for a long time and then import genius is another one that’s more expensive.

00;19;15;18 – 00;19;36;20
Speaker 2
It has a lot more functionality like we have as well can get you a lot more countries, etc.. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s great because you can do a lot less studying when you’re working with existing factories that you know like are already producing a great product that you like in the marketplace or working with a major brand. The caveat is that a lot of companies are hiding that that permission, so they’re hard to reach those factories and have the factories have massive ammo queues.

00;19;36;20 – 00;19;41;10
Speaker 2
So there’s ways to work around it, but it’s a great way to source product.

00;19;41;10 – 00;19;53;03
Speaker 3
I love that there are tools out there that I can use, but I hate that other people can do that same thing to us. And so what are some ways when you’re sourcing to kind of mask that?

00;19;53;03 – 00;20;09;11
Speaker 2
Yeah, so you can, you can work with your freight forwarder. It’s something that we offer our clients. So you work at the freight forwarder, you don’t act as the importer record, right? So you, you can either create a shell company that acts as the importer record or you ask for your order. In America is a straightforward earth to act as the importer record.

00;20;09;11 – 00;20;26;00
Speaker 2
So then there’s no real record of your company importing the product into the country. So different ways you kind of search, you can search based on Mac addresses, you can search based off the company name Alyssa BLR. So if you just hide as much of that as possible, then then there’s going to be no real trace of you being the company to bring it in.

00;20;26;00 – 00;20;43;19
Speaker 4
And that’s awesome. So I want to circle back on before I get to my next question. I want to circle back on what you mentioned earlier as it goes. Like, I think it’s like I would call it next level, like sleuthing, where you fly to Vietnam, you get the best hotel and you just kind of sit in the lobby and wait and like, so I’m like, I’m an introvert, so I don’t like, do that.

00;20;43;19 – 00;20;58;13
Speaker 4
And so for you, you know, like I would say like you’re the perfect person to, like, build out a network of connections of people. Because if you’re going up to random people and saying, Hey, I don’t know anybody and you’re building that connection, that’s I think that’s awesome. I just wanted to call that out because that’s not something I would do personally.

00;20;58;13 – 00;21;15;26
Speaker 4
But like someone you’re building a network of manufacturers, that’s a that’s an excellent skill set to have. So I wanted to call that out. Next question I have is Canton Fair. This is something that everybody you know, when you’re in the physical products business for a long time, everybody hears of this Canton Fair. And I know Corbett has kind of knocked it out for the last several years.

00;21;15;26 – 00;21;32;22
Speaker 4
They went online a you know, who knows what. So can you speak a little bit to that? And then do you recommend people not like business, physical products, business owners to go there? Would you recommend them sending you or your team? Like what do you think? What are your thoughts about the Canton Fair? I actually can say, like share with the audience what that is and then thoughts about it.

00;21;32;22 – 00;21;53;08
Speaker 2
Yeah, for sure. So the Canton Fair also known as the China Import Export Fair, is such a the largest source of power in the world. You have about to say 40,000 different factories represented at the fair. It’s my said it’s the size of like six Olympic stadium. I mean, it is so large. And so yeah, you have all these different booths and the different factories.

00;21;53;08 – 00;22;11;16
Speaker 2
I’d say it’s probably 80% factories, 20% trading companies that have these booths exhibiting their product. And it’s the best way to source product like that. I’m sorry, there’s no better way to source than the Canton Fair. I was super disappointed when I just got back from the get out there. Actually, I was just in China for about three weeks.

00;22;11;16 – 00;22;27;03
Speaker 2
Pretty much of our suppliers are doing the fairs. There’s two there’s two other sourcing fairs as well around that time. And yeah, I met one American maybe the whole time, like there was no one. Yeah, there were like no Americans there. Every time I go to put their like American. Wow. There is so like, like you are a representative.

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00;22;27;03 – 00;22;40;22
Speaker 2
Well, I’m like, yeah, I know. Like, this is crazy. It’s like it’s the best place. And I feel like it was a great advantage doing that, right, because I got to see all the close to product by asking the suppliers, see like what’s on the cutting edge. And then we were able to, you know, we were, we were live sourcing for all of our customers.

00;22;40;22 – 00;22;57;08
Speaker 2
So just taking pictures of products, sending that out. So yeah, obviously you could like you could just come to like us or just go to China, go live there. So that’s twice, that’s twice a year. It’s April through like beginning of May as well as in October. And there’s three phases to the fair. So there is phase one, which is going to be mostly electronics.

00;22;57;08 – 00;23;16;20
Speaker 2
Yeah, phase two, which is going to be consumer goods and like home product. And then phase three is going to mostly be apparel, sporting goods and food based products. And each phase lasts for about five full days. So it’s a big undertaking, but if you can make it out there, like, I mean, look, you’re talking to the doctors right there.

00;23;16;20 – 00;23;31;05
Speaker 2
You’re seeing the product in your hand. You know, you’re negotiating, you’re you don’t have to like, but you can also like how how is it the company is like, how nice is the booth, right? How professional are they? They have all a certification listed on on their booths. Right. So if you’d like. Yes. I reports, yes. Sounds a bit retail.

00;23;31;07 – 00;23;32;10
Speaker 2
All that can be done.

00;23;32;10 – 00;23;43;18
Speaker 4
So that’s awesome. Yeah. So, so your recommendation is definitely go one follow up question. Do you speak Mandarin or does a lot of the is there English? I like if I was to go there, I don’t speak Mandarin. How does that work?

00;23;43;18 – 00;24;05;26
Speaker 2
This is my viewpoint on the whole speaking Mandarin thing. If you’re talking to a factory and they don’t have someone that able to speak English proper like, well, with you, they’re probably not a good factory for you. Why is that okay? Because the they’re probably not selling into the U.S. or Western markets 99% of the time. Okay. You don’t want to work in factories that aren’t selling to the U.S. market.

00;24;05;26 – 00;24;20;26
Speaker 2
Why? Because they’re not going to, you know, be producing product for your user base that might not have all the certifications. And, you know, they’re not going to be on the on you know, they’re a partner for you as well. So you want your partner to be telling you like, hey, this is all the cool stuff that’s going on, right?

00;24;20;26 – 00;24;36;23
Speaker 2
Like, like I was just visiting like a lighting factory was like, look at all these cool leggings I wear, like the doll thing and producing for the U.S. market. Like, this is what’s in, like, the scrunch by. And this is the mat, right? If you’re out there that’s selling of the U.S. market and they’re selling at the Chinese market, like they’re not going to you know, you’re not you’re not working together on this thing.

00;24;36;23 – 00;24;53;08
Speaker 2
Up the down trends, they might not have import imports or vacations. I have experience importing into the U.S. and it becomes a whole hassle to make sure all the documentations right. And yeah, so that’s kind of my thing. Well, like you’re on the show, I had almost no problem. I speaking Russian and you know you can use the translator apps as well.

00;24;53;08 – 00;25;03;15
Speaker 2
But my biggest tip is that quite a few really good VPNs before you get there because the firewalls are strong and you’ll have a very hard time access accessing your email and all that kind of stuff.

00;25;03;22 – 00;25;21;04
Speaker 4
No, I think that’s excellent advice. David and I have ran into issues over the years where, you know, working with certain factories, they don’t have SD sheets, they don’t have import customer records, they don’t have any of that stuff. And it’s a hassle to be the first. You don’t want to be the guinea pig for a company trying to import into the U.S. So if they’re not speaking English, then that’s an excellent advice.

00;25;21;04 – 00;25;24;10
Speaker 4
And the VPN to you, you said you had two VPNs.

00;25;24;10 – 00;25;41;21
Speaker 2
And there were still times where I could get I couldn’t get onto my email account, Don, cause it’s getting tricky and just to talk to my last thing about like the selling it, like North American market, like if you go on Alibaba and Alibaba verified, it actually breaks down the percentage of sales that they do like within the different market.

00;25;41;21 – 00;25;50;04
Speaker 2
So you can see like 60% of their business is the U.S. or is it 5%? Right. You know, reference Alibaba, Patriot Act and suppliers to kind of get this information.

00;25;50;07 – 00;25;55;24
Speaker 4
That’s awesome. Yeah, very cool. The Great Wall of China. It’s tough to get over that right over to you, David.

00;25;55;26 – 00;26;02;11
Speaker 3
So let’s pivot a little bit and talk about merch. How can you do merch? Well, in 2023, I can.

00;26;02;11 – 00;26;23;03
Speaker 2
Answer this question pretty well. So because we actually started as a merged company and we still do a ton of, you know, where we do merchandise, we have our on demand solution for on the corporate side, the thing is probably like 40% of our business is still on the merch side. Well I’d say is merch is rapidly changing, especially and the agitation for on demand is is is the biggest thing.

00;26;23;03 – 00;26;51;05
Speaker 2
Right. So before print on demand was you know, very much like vinegary low quality director garment printing now is expensive and slow and you could only use certain type of heavyweight kind of horrible T-shirts to print on and you know, it was inefficient. And, you know, that has changed exponentially in the last ten years. Nowadays, you have these massive half million dollar machines, you know, pumping out shirts of fantastic quality.

00;26;51;05 – 00;27;15;27
Speaker 2
You have all these different types of new decoration methods from, you know, embroidery dark to film, you know, different types of sheet transfers. On top of that, the laser on demand, you get the full digital printing on demand submission on demand. If tons and tons of SKUs, we have 100,000 proud demands, do that catalog. I guess where I’m going out with merging smarter is is understand like all the capability out there with merchandizing and then try to build a more intelligent supply chain.

00;27;16;01 – 00;27;37;24
Speaker 2
We’re testing, testing, testing lots of different products and finding the ones that work well and then building a supply chain where when you’re doing merch like run on demand, but then have systems in place, so you go and you sell a hundred of the shirt, don’t DTG all hundred shirts like have a hub, a system where you can go and then batch print those 100, you know, cut your cost basis by 20% and then ship all those out.

00;27;37;24 – 00;28;00;10
Speaker 3
So I want to make sure I’ve got a good understanding of what print on demand is. So this this would be a scenario where, say, I am sourcing hats, I’ve got a design, I communicate, we get a sample made and I’m happy with that. Is it the case where you list that on your website or on amazon.in? And then once an order comes through, that’s when it is triggered to print.

00;28;00;10 – 00;28;16;10
Speaker 2
So either you’re going to use existing stock that the vendor is depending on whether you’re going to have like they’re going to have their Richardson hats extend you know, other caps and next level new era and all that kind of stuff. You know, if you’re a country vendors, you can take your own private stock. So you’re going to go and put your own custom, your own hats, how you’re going to shop.

00;28;16;10 – 00;28;28;10
Speaker 2
They’re going to sit there and be prepped. And when an order comes through, you know, I love milk. I don’t know, like whatever your design is, then it’s going to be embroidered or the parts and you put on and then it’s put in the poly bag and shipped out.

00;28;28;10 – 00;28;48;04
Speaker 3
That’s interesting. And I will admit I’m a recovering accountant. And so I have to point out to our listeners that cash flow constraints is something that a lot of people run into. And if you look at I mean, if you look at how can I run our business, we order from China, pay in the 90 days later we have inventory showing up.

00;28;48;04 – 00;28;59;26
Speaker 3
It is a bit of a gamble on whether that’s going to sell. And so I do think that that eliminates some risk in that product launching stage. And it also can lessen the amount of cash outflows.

00;28;59;26 – 00;29;23;09
Speaker 2
That you have. I think the future, our hybrid base production system, the Beijing systems. So what does that look like? Yeah, you have your inventory of like while your core product products are super, you know, you there’s massive cost savings for being able to produce everything overseas and then you supplement, you know, let’s say it’s we’re running a 25% of your goods or inventory based product, 60% are going to be on demand.

00;29;23;10 – 00;29;41;04
Speaker 2
So it’s going to be a lot of your fill out your catalog to fill out the by experience read. The reviews are Amazon, the Shopify or Shopify vendor, right? You need to have a lot of different products to select from. They increase your average cart value and then you can also how they’re maybe percentage be kind of like will be pent up demand but the ability to then go into kind of a batch system.

00;29;41;04 – 00;30;02;05
Speaker 2
So you’re going out there and you’re seeing the crowds are scaling, you’re seeing that the prices for a while. Okay, cool. Let’s go in Screenprint are mass beers, 100 pieces and then that’s supplement and that’s going past. Okay, now let’s go and buy more inventory overseas. You know, at scale you can balance as so I’ve been way, way less access inventory, way less cash spend on inventory and then just a more effective supply chain has less waste.

00;30;02;05 – 00;30;03;07
Speaker 2
I’m really excited by it.

00;30;03;07 – 00;30;12;00
Speaker 4
Yeah. Now that’s awesome. Isaac, Let’s pivot in a little bit and can you share with the audience imprint genius what is imprint Genius and, and who dissects companies?

00;30;12;00 – 00;30;32;03
Speaker 2
Sure, Yeah. So we’re a product sourcing merchandizing company so I’m like about hyper clients are going to be Amazon sellers, e-commerce brands, aggregate areas where we’re helping them source output on their behalf. The other side is our merch arm. We’re working with out print on demand sellers as well as like mid-market enterprise companies, and we’re running their hybrid supply chains, producing their merchandise.

00;30;32;04 – 00;30;35;28
Speaker 4
David, Anything else you want to cover before we run? Isaac through the ringer with the fire around?

00;30;35;29 – 00;30;42;21
Speaker 3
No, I just wanted to point out that we’ll put links down to to impact Genius in the show notes. No, let’s get in the fire and.

00;30;42;23 – 00;30;44;06
Speaker 4
Yes, Isaac, are you ready?

00;30;44;12 – 00;30;45;00
Speaker 2
Yeah.

00;30;45;03 – 00;30;46;29
Speaker 4
What is your favorite book show?

00;30;46;29 – 00;30;47;18
Speaker 2
Dog.

00;30;47;20 – 00;30;54;06
Speaker 4
Oh, I love that book. Have you seen the movie? They just came out with the movie. It’s similar to that, but it’s pretty good. What are your hobbies?

00;30;54;11 – 00;30;57;01
Speaker 2
I like to surf and play Paddle.

00;30;57;08 – 00;30;59;01
Speaker 4
What is a paddle? What’s that?

00;30;59;01 – 00;31;02;28
Speaker 2
Kind of like an S and racquetball. Combine the balls.

00;31;03;01 – 00;31;07;23
Speaker 4
Okay. That’s awesome. What is. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?

00;31;07;23 – 00;31;17;11
Speaker 2
I mean, I love having, you know, the freedom to kind of travel and live on my own schedule, you know, work out 16 hour day one day, and then work a six minute day the next.

00;31;17;12 – 00;31;25;05
Speaker 4
Awesome. Yeah, I love that. Our last one. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started?

00;31;25;05 – 00;31;38;10
Speaker 2
I’d say how how nimble they are, right? Always being able to adapt. Being a lot people get, you know, they go through failure and then they kind of give up or they get too comfortable and they don’t realize that they keep on innovating and keep on improving themselves.

00;31;38;12 – 00;31;41;26
Speaker 4
Okay, Yeah, I really like that one. David, over to you to close out the show, if.

00;31;41;26 – 00;31;46;07
Speaker 3
People are interested in working with you, what would be the best way to get in touch?

00;31;46;07 – 00;32;08;06
Speaker 2
Yeah, I mean, you could reach out to imprint genius, go and produce dot com and sell the form. And if you want to like, learn about product sourcing yourself and you know, you know gap I tried that you know before hiring us I had the sourcing icon which is my free blog. We have tons of articles and guides teaching people all about how the source products overseas, you know, guides for specific countries, you know, how to source from Sri Lanka, Cambodia, etc..

00;32;08;06 – 00;32;14;29
Speaker 2
And then I’m also launching a four course style of it’s going to be free with like an 80 Z of how this first product that should be launching in the next few weeks.

00;32;15;01 – 00;32;19;28
Speaker 3
Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today and looking forward to staying in touch.

00;32;20;02 – 00;32;21;21
Speaker 2
Of course. Thanks for having me. Yes.

00;32;21;24 – 00;32;22;03
Speaker 4
Thanks!

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