This week we got a really cool one with Nicholas Leconte who is a seller on Amazon. He’s doing amazing growing his Amazon business all around the world while traveling. Let’s tune in.
Topics Covered in this Episode
Nick Leconte is an American Amazon seller who has lived around the world growing brands.
How did you get started in ecommerce?
How did you choose your products and suppliers?
Why and How Yunnan?
I have yet to go, I hear it is beautiful.
Financing the business and inventory
How have you raised funds to launch and grow your brand?
Hardships you have faced
What are some of the downturns you have had to struggle with and ultimately overcome?
What issues do you see other cross border ecommerce sellers facing?
The lightbulb moment - what really helped you scale
Was there 1 story or critical point that really helped you get to the next level?
What is the next step? You’re working on software too, I heard?
Ways to connect with you and your business
What is the best way to connect?
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 41:25
Awesome! It is really great to have you Nick. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.
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[00:00:00] Episode 391 of Global From Asia, getting so close to that 400 mark. Today we’re talking about horizontal expansion, about Europe, Dubai, all over the world. Really fascinating interview. Let’s tune in. Welcome to the Global from Asia Podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michelini.
[00:00:30] It’s me in my little studio here in Chiang Mai Thailand. Back here. It’s been really fun talking to listeners. People are enjoying our content. Annie’s show was great. Thank you Annie. Last, last time. This one, we got a really cool one, Nick. He’s a seller, kind of low-key guy and I’m really happy to get him on the show.
He’s doing amazing growing Amazon business all around the world while he is travel. We met up here and it was like, man, I gotta get you on the
[00:01:00] show. These are my favorite kinds of episodes. They’re the, the, I’m little more kind of like under a radar. People traveling around the world, growing their business, doing a lot of things to happen.
Also, I’m inspired to do Cross Border Summit. Finally, again, been getting a word out slowly. Crossbordersummit.com. November 16th and 17th, 2023 here in Chiang Mai. Got a venue, venue lined up, getting everything set up, getting some pretty cool speakers lined up. Tickets still not open yet,
[00:01:30] but pencil in those dates? Mid-November 2023. Fifth one. But let’s get into the show. See y’all in there. Boom. Are you looking for a cross-border logistics company? From Asia to the east and the west? Then look. No further Cross Better logistics is a solution for you. From ocean shipping to air freight, from factory to 3PL warehouse, Amazon FBA and Walmart. Cross better Logistics is an experienced service
[00:02:00] provider for e-commerce sellers and B2B traders on t p Stra as a G F A partner level sponsor. Let them know we sent you and they’ll take care of you. Check them email@example.com today. All right, we’ll get up to 400 shows here at Global from Asia. We have. A friend and listener, and we’ve met in the meetups.
Nick here, Nicholas. And we’re here in in the studio. [00:02:30] Got the recording. We’re testing some different setups. How you doing today, buddy? Yeah, I’m doing great. Great to see you again. I’ve been listening for a few years now, so thanks for listening. It’s fun to actually be on the podcast so hopefully can share some knowledge and experience.
I’ve gone through over the years. That’s what it’s all about, man. That’s what it’s all about. So, yeah, I mean, just, just a, a little bit intro for people. You know, you’re from the US and Yeah. How’d you get out here? So, originally from New York and I was living in Korea. That’s like where I first moved in [00:03:00] Asia.
And then later on when I was getting into the e-commerce stuff, then for real getting serious about it, I moved to China. Lived in Beijing for a year, and then as my Amazon FBA business was growing, I left my job there. And then my girlfriend is Chinese, so we spent some time inan in her hometown.
So, and then that was kind of the home base to traveled further into Southeast Asia, Asia, and the rest of the world. Sweet. Sweet. Yeah. So, yeah. kind of talked about it a [00:03:30] bit, but like how did how’d you get into e-commerce? Like what was the reason? Right. Well, originally if we go back close to 20 years, nice.
It’ll be eBay. I was selling I used to sell these zippo lighters. I was able to get basically for free. And but I just you know, I was a bit immature and the whole sending it out yourself. And I was like, do I have a box for this? And I wasn’t, I wasn’t any major seller. I was like, okay, like is this really worth it?
So I kind of just quit. And [00:04:00] then that whole, the whole business side of it went on the back burner was into other things. And then I had a friend selling on Amazon in 2015, and then he needed to launch another product. He was short on cash. We agreed on the terminal kind of investment. And I was watching and I was like, wait, so you’re telling me that we don’t actually.
take this product and go to the post office or have UPS come and get it. And I was like, wow, this is a game changer. Like I want in. So that investment worked out and then I [00:04:30] was like, okay, like I felt like I was a little bit late to the party. So I was traveling in Europe, I was visiting my cousin in London and then I saw, I was like, oh, they have Amazon here as well.
And I was like, you know what? Like, I’m gonna start here. Because it wasn’t what it was in the US yet. It was you know, you still seeing like. Listings with one image and you know, the, you know, the, obviously they’re not listening to the reviews and fixing their products, so, so yeah, I partnered out with our friends and then we jumped in.
So I was in the [00:05:00] uk and then I was like, okay, I need to go to China. Started learning Chinese. I took a job in Beijing so I can kind of be in the country to get more samples. . And then yeah, one thing led to another, started off as something as kind of I thought would be a side project, side hustle, and then became a full blown business.
Congrats, man. There’s a lot to unpack there. Absolutely. I think the, the first part was like, I, I know a few of us myself too. We started and then we stopped because it was a lot of, yeah, like eBay, a lot of us started [00:05:30] at eBay and that was a huge nightmare. I’m a. Like eBay. I know it’s still around. Actually, I tried to sell an eBay, they closed my account again.
I don’t even know what I did. They just a patient’s activity and they closed me down. Like but yeah, I mean it’s been, you know, 2015 and the second part to say, like what you just said is you thought you were too late in 2015, right? Like, man, we always think we’re too late. Yeah. Everybody thinks they’re too late.
So I’m just trying to kind of recap those points to the, to the [00:06:00] listeners. You know, we’re in 2023 now, right? Yeah. In January. You know, and then probably five years from now, 10 years from now, they’ll, why didn’t I start in 2023? Right, exactly. It’s like, you just gotta start. And I think that’s just, that’s just something, right?
Like, we always feel like too late. Oh, you know, even in 2004 when I started, I went to some make money online and we all thought it was too late to sell on eBay, too late to sell online, like Oh, the.com bubble. So I, I just, I just want to highlight those points that you had said [00:06:30] and but yeah. So you, yeah, you haven’t actually, I have no experience in Europe.
I’ve talked to many others that do Europe, but So you’re more specialized in in Europe? Yeah. Well, we sell, like the one thing, we went different than like most people, we didn’t keep launching like a ton of products. We like grew horizontally. So we started in the uk. And then one day I saw this sale in Spain and I didn’t quite grasp what happened cause we never listed the product.
So I clicked, I went on amazon.es, which is the marketplace, right? The domain for Spain. And I [00:07:00] saw our product there and it was like really expensive because it’s like the listing price in the uk and then they converted it to from pounds to Euro. And it made a sale. It was a terrible listing. Like it was like Google, like, it was like, now they translate a little bit better, but it was really bad.
But someone bought it and I was like, you know, Like they had the Penn European program. There was two different methods of selling like the across the border, so like you can fulfill from the UK and it’ll send it to, this is before Brexit, so they would send over to the eu. and then but like, [00:07:30] it’s expensive, the fulfillment fees more than if it’s coming from within the same country or neighboring country in that case, like if it was in France or something.
And then so we, so then you have the whole v a t process. Mm-hmm. , you need to be registered in all these countries. So, so basically in a nutshell is that if you’re not registered in the, in, if you’re not keeping. physical products in the country, then you didn’t have to be that registered. So you could send from the uk.
But again, like unless you’re like selling, selling something extremely unique, no one’s really buying these [00:08:00] things. I don’t know what happened with this one sale in Spain. So like, we’re like, okay, let’s get registered in Germany and France because that, that we figured that would be the easiest. We went and pursued that ourselves and then Amazon had some program to get like that registered and they gave.
Working with some companies and then they kind of pay for you. So they’ll, so initially it was Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland and Czech Republic. They don’t have a marketplace in those countries, but because of their location [00:08:30] next to Germany, the fulfillment from there, a lot of the products sold in Germany are coming from Czech Republic or Cze out and Poland.
So it’s a, you gotta reduce fee for being that registered. . So yeah, so that was like it. So we were like, okay, let’s get, let’s get registered in these countries and we start selling listing translations and you know, everything for that. So that, that was the next step. So it was like UK then like the Pan Euro program to sell in France, Spain, Germany, Italy.
And then [00:09:00] then we went to the us. So then we’re like, okay, in the us and then next was I think Australia. and then the UAE and Canada, I think those are about, around the same time we tried Japan, got suspended, kept going, like it was just, it was like a front, and then we just kind of gave up on it and we’re like, okay, we’re, we’re just gonna continue with these other marketplaces.
So yeah, that was like, that was like the horizon. The, the good thing about growing horizontally is like you have the images, Like basically, I mean, there are, there is like sometimes like some other [00:09:30] barriers, like maybe you need a company, things like importer of record, et cetera. But it was like, okay, like we have these products, like why not sell ’em there?
You know, especially like if you’re selling in the US like Canada, same language. I mean, there is a French translation as well, but Australia, same language. UAE is actually uh, English, you know, for most, like you can list on in English on the marketplace. Yeah. We’re like, let, let’s keep expanding. We like, so I like digging into like a lot of the government regulations and finding the way in and dealing with the whole like taxes and duty and all [00:10:00] that.
Like that, that stuff never bothered me. Like, I can’t say like other people, like love launching products. Like, I can’t say like, I love finding new products. Yeah. But I like doing like a lot of like the admin stuff and taxes and things like that. Well, that’s, yeah. I mean, this is fascinating for me. I mean, I’m only US basically.
Mm-hmm. , I’ve only, I’ve done many, many different projects brands. Always us. I did try with my first one while I was still eBay seller and fairly even in Amazon, I, I got the dot code UK Theu of the bar products [00:10:30] brand I did. And it was crazy cuz I did Google Translate and then I was talking to German customers by Google Translate.
Mm-hmm. and email . That was a little bit opened a UK company, but that was. 2007 or eight. But but then I went back to the us Actually the worst was my three PL had a it was a character issue in the CSV or XML to mm-hmm. To his warehouse. Mm-hmm. . And I wasn’t [00:11:00] paying my, I wasn’t paying close attention.
And it was a week before Christmas. Mm-hmm. . And we found, And it was like two weeks of orders. Mm-hmm. . And then, so we basically like almost missed, I think we somehow made it for Christmas, but then we got rained down with like chargebacks and customer support. So I’ve only focused in the us but, but this is a really cool strategy to go just so then you’re, you’re just.
I know people don’t like to share their, their brands [00:11:30] online, but it’s a, it’s a highly competitive product. Or is it? We have a few products. We’re in sports and outdoors and Yeah, I mean it is definitely competitive. I mean, the longest running skew we have is like over 10 or 11,000 reviews cuz it’s been selling some of the other ones in the thousands or hundreds if they’re like some of the newer ones.
So yeah, I mean that was the strategy. I, I’d say the biggest disadvantage of like the horizontal growth. So like during like this big boom with all the aggregators. So like [00:12:00] they all guaranteed their investors like high growth. And one of the ways they did that was the same thing. They were like, okay, we’re gonna go over to Europe.
Cause especially Someti, I can’t remember exactly if it was like 20 18, 19, I think around 2018. And the reviews from all over the world was like, now they showed and they merged them together. Cause before it was all separate. So like when we launched the US, we started with nothing. Mm. But like when we went to like, I think it was by the time we were in the uae and it was like, okay, they just started merging them and then like, okay, we got.
Reviews, you know, so if someone’s starting [00:12:30] from scratch, then you know, but if you have the reviews, you move over and they come with you. So that makes it easier. So that’s what the aggregators were doing. But when they did look at like our, like we, we came close to selling and then But then like later on, like I, some other ones we spoke with, they were like, yeah, like they couldn’t find a way how they were gonna like impress their investors because, you know, I mean, say what you say.
A lot of them don’t have any magical like sales strategy, especially in some competitive field products. And so they’re gonna grow, expand horizontally and then like, they don’t [00:13:00] have that with us. So like, it wasn’t as attractive as someone is only maybe like your brand, you’re only selling in the. Then they can double a triple sales in other market at least the first year.
You know? That makes sense. Yeah. What I’ve learned with selling a brands is we actually, it’s, it’s counterintuitive because we as a entrepreneur or business owner, think we want to show the most perfect, flawless business. Someone wants to buy it, but actually they want to see problem. Yeah, because they want to fix those problems to make more money.
So when [00:13:30] I, I was, I’ve been just reading Flipper for fun. It’s almost, it’s fun. Sometimes I get sucked into a small, small project, but you read the descriptions. They purposely say like, I don’t have time for this, or, I’m not good at ppc, or I didn’t, you know, like they, they purposely say something so that the investor sees the opportunity.
If they fix that, they could increase the. , but, well, you know, when we do everything perfectly, we tell EM’S totally perfect. But still, I think there’s, there is synergy. I think we had chatted before when we met [00:14:00] of course scale up scaling of supply chain and other synergies. But of course that is I’ve noticed a lot of aggregators would do the horizontal to grow because a lot of sellers don’t do the horizontal until later.
Because like, yeah, there’s ways to grow, right? Like most add new product. . Another way is to increase the order. Repeat orders somehow get, yeah. That’s harder in, I don’t know how we, yeah. The subscribe and save, I think. Mm-hmm. , but that’s, that seems like a dream [00:14:30] because then you’re just getting recurring.
Yeah. It would depend on maybe if you’re selling something like supplements or maybe skincare, then you can get these surprise, if you’re selling something like someone buys like once a year or once every five years, then it’s gonna get a bit more challenging. Yeah. I mean, some of the other ways that, that we did too, like I was saying, I moved to China.
and like I was talking to, I originally found the first supplier in Alibaba, like most people. And then I wanted to visit the factory cuz I was there. And then like I was like talking to the, who I thought was my factory in Naji. [00:15:00] And then the guy’s like, okay, I need to meet you. I’m like, yeah, well I’ll let you know if I’m gonna be there.
He’s like, yeah, but I have to travel there. I’m like, what do you mean? Like I’m just gonna show up to this address. See on your, and he’s like, no, it’s like three hours away. I’m like, who puts a factory three hours away from their office? Then my light bulb went in my head and then I, then I sent my girlfriend over, got the contacts.
We cut out the middleman. I mean like this cut our, cut the cost. Yeah, like almost in half. In half. Yeah. It was huge. And then like it was just little things like we were paying maybe like 30 cents or something, 40 cents for packaging, and then like we [00:15:30] got. As well on top of 15 cents, like for like 15 instead of 40 little things.
And then like working directly with like Chinese freight forwarders in the beginning and stuff like that. There was other ways to find money and save money. So yeah, you can there, there’s definitely different ways, but like trimming the fat, you can definitely. Save money, which puts more profit, helps with the margins.
But again, like if you are looking like on an exit, they see all this like, well, like, you’re like, oh, I wanna be the perfect businessman. And then they’re like, well, you’ve optimized this so [00:16:00] we don’t see as much growth. You know, and then maybe they’re less interested. So it all depends. Yeah, I think it always finds some, you gotta, I think, find some kind of a story of something that they could do better or some opportunity or products they could add, you know?
In my experiences sometimes say I have like five ASINs, I just don’t have money to l to launch. . Mm. You know, I have this product research, they’re ready to go. Mm-hmm. , I just don’t have money because the, the inve aggregator especially, they have money . Yeah. And they don’t have brain, I don’t, [00:16:30] no offense to anybody, but they, they, or they don’t want to use their, it’s actually hard to get creativity.
Right. So if you can show them you have this creative backlog of product Yeah. Or products that you launched before you didn’t have money to keep in stock. I’ve seen that. That’s some other tactics, but. But yeah, I mean, we’ve said a lot on this show. Build a relationship with the supplier or come to China or Cody or meet your factory.
It’s mind blowing. The borders are just opening today. We’ve Sunday today. The borders in China just opened. I saw the articles online. [00:17:00] You know love met, love relationships have been rejoined. Yeah. You know, we can go back, I can go meet some factories and, and friends, so that’s gonna create a lot more opportunity.
But yeah, I mean, meeting them, it’s just, it’s, and of course, or finding out if they’re the sales or they say, sometimes they say they’re the sales department. Yeah, that’s, I mean, I don’t know why he didn’t say that to you. Cause sometimes they say they’re sales. Yeah, I mean, whatever it may be . But then, and then, and then when, when, when?
When my girlfriend was there and [00:17:30] then there was a guy there and then she was like, oh, like is this your factory? And he’s like, yeah. And then someone in the factory was like, no. And then like you can see they don’t even know each other. Like there was this disconnect. So it is funny. I mean, in other times though, it can help if like, if they’re not charging you.
You know, a 50 or a hundred percent margin, but like, there is like value in them, you know, they, they can help you out a lot. It just depends on the relationship, you know? Or if you can develop a team and people working for you who are Chinese and they can handle that, then that’s a, that’s another way, you know?[00:18:00]
Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot there. I mean, there’s, there’s treating companies and there’s like sourcing agents. Yeah. So usually a treating. , I’ve done that. I’ve done that as a service back in the day. Mm-hmm. . And they don’t usually wanna show your supplier. Whereas I like to see the supplier because it just, Secure.
Mm-hmm. , they, they added on top, right? Yeah. Like some others, they added on top. Yeah. So at least, and you pay them for that service rather than just marking up the goods, or at least if they’re gonna mark it up, they [00:18:30] tell you put 10% or, yeah, some just transparently say they put 10% and then, then there’s like the other part, like if they’re a service, but then if they’re just.
Putting it on the price of the product. And when you’re importing it, it affects the duty. Mm-hmm. and like the way your, your invoices are. So there, there’s like that side of it too. That’s right. I mean, like you pay, so Yeah. Like in the case of the us, well in the US you have like, you know, the, the duties that went up, if they fall in those categories.
So if you were paying 20%, like, you know, you want that on the as least amount as possible. But then yeah, in Europe, you. [00:19:00] The duty and the v t up front, you claim it back, but it’s it just makes it more, less cash flow if you’re not doing these exemptions and stuff. True. And then un unan are west your, is that most of your supplier?
Is, is there in the West? No, it’s actually like the suppliers we have are mostly Central China. So like when I was in Yon it was just just hanging out out there. Yeah. But then, You know, I, I didn’t know anybody there, so I’d stay there, but I mean, I would travel. I’ve been to almost every province in China.
I [00:19:30] mean, but like, half pleasure. But like, I would, I’ve been all over visiting factories, exploring new products, but it’s mostly central China. We also manufacture in Taiwan. We use, we deal with a factory in Taiwan as well, so. Okay. Yeah. Like, you know, it’s just, it was like a bit of a, it’s not really the best base.
Like if you like, want to go like quickly. Cause like, it, it, now they have the train, but it involved like a, a plane ride. A flight pretty much. So I still haven’t been. Yeah. But it’s a, it’s a beautiful place. I mean, I’ve had the food, it’s. , you know, there’s a lot of unan [00:20:00] restaurants that are, it’s a lot different than, it’s a different style of Chinese food and, and lifestyle.
It’s more laid back. Yeah. I mean, it’s like the way that they’re moving on the roads there is a lot more relaxed, more, more like here. I mean, it’s, it’s actually just like less than an hour flight from here than we are. So, it’s closer than Bangkok even. But interesting. . So, but yeah, I mean, then Covid happened and then quickly go, like, I was actually there during part of it and then like I left and I haven’t been back and yeah, I won’t, we won’t be living there again.
[00:20:30] So, but yeah. Yeah. I think , COVID, it’s been like three years now. Seriously. Three years. I think it’s finally over. I don’t know, I don’t wanna say over, but I, at least the border is opening, it’s spreading all over China. They, I think it’s just a delay of two years of spreading it and it’ll get past the Chinese people and world will hopefully be back to somewhat normal.
But, you know, let’s talk about some of the, I think we learn a lot from mistakes or problems or hardships or the [00:21:00] rollercoaster ride, right? I, I, I love to be able to hear some of the hard. You know, I, you always see those success stories of somebody. Everything worked perfect. , but they don’t tell you about the 10 years and the, the sweat blood and the sweat.
So I dunno if you got some blood or some sweat. Oh yeah, there’s, there’s a ton one that stands out right now. Like, we got hit with like a patent infringement. Oh no. And it, it was actually like if you, if we read, read into it and it was. Someone else has been like, not, not on Amazon, but they were like going to court over it.
[00:21:30] There’s like, it was like a chance we can win it, but it’s like you need a lot of money to go to court, you know? And it’s like, we’re gonna spend like tens of thousands of dollars. It’s like, so we kind of, we chose just to like eat the loss on the product. And then, yeah, so you know that, that was quite a lot of time, a lot of time spent, a lot of money.
And then you get hit with that and you’re like, okay, you know, okay, we need to be more careful. We thought like, so actually. On the product, it was like, it was like a modification and like we were paying attention to the design on the specific thing that we were adding, and [00:22:00] there was no patents. But then it was actually the, the function right of, of the product.
They had a patent and it’s like, okay, so, and then we tried, like we wanted, like, we were like, hey, like we’ll pay percentage or whatever, but they just weren’t interested, so they weren’t willing to work with us even though other sellers have. The agreement and they were paying a fee or whatever, but they, they weren’t interested in licensing out, so, damn.
Yeah. So usually, yeah, that was a, that was a tough one, you know? Yeah, I mean, what else? [00:22:30] I mean, some things are harder for, I mean, in, in a positive light was like during Covid, in the beginning, we were selling out like three months inventory in like weeks and then, but then like, it was like airfare, so we’re paying for like air shipments.
It was like crazy amount of money. , it wasn’t even like, okay, like just the profits, cuz like, you know, you spent years like holding these rankings on the first page and then like, but then it got to a point, like we went out of stock and there was nothing you can do about it. Like the factories weren’t running or you couldn’t get stuff over quick enough.
And, and [00:23:00] eventually there was like organic rankings that were had. Like we worked hard and doing everything we needed to do. Like they were gone. Like, so then like the PPC went up and like, so that, that’s kind of held over. Some of the ringing and things changed a lot after that. Like it wasn’t the same after like 2019 compared to like 20, 21.
Very different because of that in particular. And I spent way more on ads than we did prior to. So that, that comes with the territory. And yeah. I guess the other things is like on our packaging or like. Getting comfortable with the factory and thinking, okay, everything’s gonna be made well, we don’t need to inspect it [00:23:30] anymore.
Then we get hit with a lot of returns cuz of like the packaging, it was like opening and things were falling out. Yeah, like a big one. Yeah. . So yeah, there was all, each of those are important lessons. I mean, the patent one, I, I noticed even some of these, you know, VAs or online Amazon assistance that helped do the patent search, but I guess it wouldn’t even maybe caught it because the product, you said it was more the process, not the.
Product [00:24:00] itself, you know? Yeah. I mean, I think, I think it eventually, like we didn’t do like enough due diligence on our own, so we, we pay for it. . Yeah. I mean, the school hard knocks, but that, that’s the way, that’s the way we go here. Yeah. And so we avoided it. I haven’t hit that again. . That’s good. I mean, a few of us, a few of us sellers and myself, I’ve gotten the copyright lawyers.
Mm-hmm. , I mean, you got a patent lawyer, but there’s these. , they’re they’re just, they have, I guess they use some kind of software. They probably have some kind of software. There’s probably a [00:24:30] lawyer podcast or something, how to make money from Amazon sellers, and they’re like, Scrolling through. Yep. Just even if it’s not the product, it’s like a background image that they’re like the, the background image that somebody’s using of New York City.
Okay. And a guy got a $5,000 lawsuit and he just paid it cuz he said it’s not worth fighting. And he gets all settled for 5,000 pays. 5,000 l the account. Mm-hmm. can’t, you know, and then but. . Yeah. I mean, that’s a common one. And then the stock and [00:25:00] then, yeah. Covid, I remember March, 2020 when they stopped accepting inbound shipments.
Yeah. That scared us so bad. And there was like a container that didn’t yet. Booked yet to ship. Oh, that was a nightmare. But that, that passed. It’s just right now. I mean, for me and one of our friends, we’re scrambling for Chinese New Year. Mm-hmm. , it’s so hard this year for me at least, because it’s right after New Year.
Yeah. There’s such a closed. Yeah, like one of our factory, they’re closing down on, [00:25:30] on Tuesday, so it’s like 12th for us, which is quite early. So we gotta get this shipment out. So it’s on, you know, it’s gonna be on the sea for a while, so. Yep. Getting that all out, like getting it organized, we just gotta get it out of their doors.
And then at least the shippers are still they’re still going, so should, as long as they leave sometime. Yeah. This month. . Otherwise you’re looking possibly February, you know, so Exactly. The Chinese New Year is just so hard. to predict, but this year was harder for me, I guess. Mm-hmm. , because it used to have a, [00:26:00] at least until February or late January now.
Yeah, it’s earlier this year. It’s earlier. Yeah. So, you know, I was, some of the people were just more in holiday mode in our team, and now it’s like we’re rushing, rushing right after New Year’s, Western New Year’s. So, you know, so what do you. Is the opportunity now, like what do you think is the opportu, you know, opportunity for sellers now for sellers?
Well, I would say the model with a, [00:26:30] what a lot of us started in like 20, 15, 16, maybe in earlier, was like, okay, you see some weak listings, you got the same or similar product. Maybe you made modifications, maybe you didn’t, you put your logo on it, you did the best thing. But like every, like almost everyone has good images videos now.
Good copywriting. , you know, the people are hiring the right people. So like, I think this like taking this, you know, this white labeled product, putting your brand on it. But I think if, if you have a product, you know, that [00:27:00] you’re creating, and I know you had like Don Wilder on here, he’s making his own pride.
Think like this is the way to go. You know, you need to be. making things that are unique or special, get a patent and get your intellectual property rights and then, and then you’ll have them on. I don’t know if I can say it’s dead. I mean, I’m not launching anything with this model anymore. Mm-hmm. , you know, I have like, we have our few SKUs and they’re going and the only thing if, when, if and when I sell a next physical product would be if I have a pattern or something like unique and it’s not as easy [00:27:30] for other people just to jump on and copy the same thing, you know, because, It’s it’s tough.
I mean, the, the thing like before with review, I, I, as far as reviews, I’ve launched products with zero reviews. True. We built up slowly Now, so I’m, I’m not so concerned. I wouldn’t be so concerned about that. Like, like people, like people who are like, been selling are like, how do I get reviews? Like, just like, I think that’s less important these days.
So which is good, you know, these like review farms and stuff, it got ridiculous. I mean, I’d rather not, but the only downside. You figure you get like [00:28:00] one review outta your hundred or scared 500 scared. Yeah. You get like so scared for negative 495 of the 500 sales are good, like everyone’s happy. And like maybe one out of the five or five of those are unhappy, one of ’em means a one star, but you might only have three reviews and now like you’re stuck with these image, like you might, the product might be dead.
Like it’s hard to come back from that. So that’s the downside. So like I don’t really. I mean, I don’t know who buys a product who won Star, if there’s some something else just like it. So I think you’re, it, it’s scary. I mean, it’s so scary with I agree. I mean, [00:28:30] I, I’ve been, we’ve been launching a lot. We have the you know, the Ex Brothers brand and we have other factory here in Thailand.
We’re working with Fortys and no reviews and. We did a couple vine on coming the top ones, but, but yeah, I mean, it sells, it sells without reviews. Yeah. It’s scary. It’s scary. Everyone always says do PPC with like 10 nines. Yeah, that was it. Yeah. They was like, don’t do PPC unless you have, you know, ’em five five, right.
Or whatever. But yeah, we do PPC with no reviews. But the, [00:29:00] the scariest part is one evil buyer. My friend calls it his, his. Too much power. Yeah. They have too much power. It can ruin. It’s really scary. It’s so scary. But yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I think if someone, if you have a great idea and you’re able to get that idea into the, the product to create the product, get it made, then uh, You know, I guess the only, the, the other side of that is if it’s new and you’re revolutionary in some way, then like, you don’t know if there’s demand, right?
So we don’t know, like the, the, the trick [00:29:30] was before was like, okay, you see the bsr, you’re like, oh, this is selling, so I’ll just add another one, and then another one answered another one. Then they saturate. But anyway, that, that was the difference. So there is, it’s a downside, but you know, that’s, you can get some research and test out, ask people, and you.
I think for me, the opportunity is to make a port a brand a complete brand. Mm-hmm. , I mean, a lot, a lot of sellers, you know, no one disrespect, I respect the hustle, but they do one asin, right? Yeah. And they, of course they do private label, they make a [00:30:00] brand, but I know it’s, we always hard to build multiple products, but I think you kind of gotta Yeah.
Show a complete package. Mm-hmm. and hopefully there’s cross, cross promotion opportunities within those products. Hopefully you, but , and then you can do brand, I mean brand advertising. Mm-hmm. brand building. Yeah. Influencers. Yeah, it, but of course that takes more money and more time to have multiple products.
Yeah. I mean, if you can drive the traffic, you have an audience, you have someone or [00:30:30] some people elsewhere who are gonna come and buy, then, then yeah, then you have another advantage. So I know a lot of people who are putting a lot of time in the content and things like that, so they can. Audience, let’s say, and to sell to.
So yeah, like yeah, if you have a brand, definitely. If you have good quality, I mean, if you just, like, if you get to the factories and like we had some problems. I mean, we went to the factory, we’re like, look, we gotta improve this. Sat there with their engineers and made it better. I mean, like, I don’t know if it’s much better than competition, but we were having problems specifically with our [00:31:00] products and I was like, okay, like some people, like, they’re just gonna leave it, you know?
Like you can’t do that. So, yeah, I mean, there’s always some fire to put out or something like that. So yeah, product, business, I mean, every business has, but product, business, you have to have a quality product. Obviously I, it’s obvious, but it’s now more than ever. But yeah, I mean, another way, like you got me thinking about Europe.
I, I’m always scared about the V a T and the complications, but what, what do you tell your friends or tell sellers looking to go into, I always say like, you should do it. I mean, [00:31:30] the, the scary part of the v a T and that, but it’s, it’s not, it’s not like you don’t have to do it yourself. So I actually, so like what?
We started off like using a company and they, they weren’t doing it correctly. One day I started digging through their work and I like with spreadsheets, I’m pretty good with numbers and and accounting. So I went over and so basically we started doing our own v a t for a few years. And so then we were finally like, well, like, we wanna automate it for ourself because we’re using like spreadsheets.
It’s still room for human error. So like, we’re gonna automate this, you know, so we, we hire the developers and we’re like, [00:32:00] okay, like I’m sure other people. would like to use this cuz the, the VAT compliance is expensive. Like you can, you can get like some kind of intro like with like Amazon maybe, but like generally, like the average seller, if they’re doing all the pan euro countries, they’re probably paying between like 500 and $800 a month.
So like we’re, we’ve created this software where like you just put in the Amazon CSV and it’ll spit out like the returns for you. Now, unfortunately, it’s not like that easy. Like it’s like you still have to reg, you have to [00:32:30] register in each country or get register. And then you have to file. But some countries, they don’t allow you to file.
UK is the. And then Germany’s actually like pretty straightforward. You can do it yourself. A few of the other countries you have to have a a local partner. So we have this network of accountants we work with. But my recommendation if someone wants to launch in Europe, like UK’s the easiest one cuz the language, it’s in English, I’m assuming like, you know, we’re talking about English speakers here.
and it’s easy and like, it’s just like, it’s a less bureaucratic than let’s say, [00:33:00] Spain. So you can get your own v a t number. It’s all in English. If you, if not, you can get someone else to do it. So, and then you can do the returns yourself as well. And now the, the part is like if you do it like five sales, it’s easy.
But like, once you start getting into like, even like a hundred, it’s a little bit more complicated. So that’s like basically what we created the software for. So like, there’s. Most people don’t know how to do it. I mean, majority, even a lot of accountants. So you just put it in and you’ll get the numbers you need and then exactly in the format that you would file it in.
[00:33:30] So it’s make it a lot easier, a lot more cost effective. Like we’ll be cutting costs drastically, like we should be launching it hopefully by this. Within this month. And then yeah, like we’re hoping to change change that’ll be disruptor here, so people can actually expand there if they want to, if they’re already selling there, cut back on costs, you know?
Okay. They’re, they’re spending a lot of money, so, yeah. That sounds great. Yeah. Maybe it’s not a little bit more specific question for me, but may maybe somebody listening. So I, I think, you know, I have a few different brands with different companies. Mm-hmm. , would I sell, would I have to [00:34:00] register a company?
I know you can do v a t from like, I know Hong Kong. Should I have a company there? Should I have a company for each brand or company that I’m selling for? Or should I like, use one company for my Europe? Not making sense there you can sell. So the thing is, the, the one thing that I find a nuisance with Amazon, so like since the UK left the.
but you have like, it’s like the North America, right? Canada, Mexico and US are all under the same account. So you’ll have one company for like both UK and eu. If you have multiple [00:34:30] brands, I mean, like, you don’t want to have multiple companies selling within Europe. Cause then you’re adding more costs.
Registration, like you’re talking about tax filings. I mean, if you have, for example, a U S L C or Hong Kong company, you can easily sell in Europe. Like there’s no problem. There is an issue with Like the importer of record or declarant. So if you don’t have a company in the EU or in the uk, like technically you’re supposed to, but like again, there’s solution.
We, we, we have something for that as well. Cool. Like, so if people need an IOR or [00:35:00] Declarant, they can get it done and we take care of it. Awesome. Because we had the UK company selling in Europe and then when the Brexit. So then we have to deal with that. So, you know, we’ve had a couple different companies in the EU to handle this like that.
We started to do this, so we do it for ourselves and we offer this service for others as well. Okay. And then, so I’m selling in the us I’m, you know, I buying from CHI manufacturing, China or Asia. Mm-hmm. . So now of course I would just send some. I’m not, you wouldn’t send an ocean to, to Europe, [00:35:30] right?
You’d probably air ship or no. We, I mean, if uh, I guess if you’re big enough to do ocean, if you, if you’re, if you’re testing the market, you have obviously you can do air freight, the most expensive. The other option that it doesn’t exist in the US is the train. Mm. So like, like the train is like somewhere in between.
It’s not as cheap as the ocean. Quicker, but not as quick as the plane. So we, we’ve used it before, like in sometimes it’s been beneficial. Like we don’t really, we have regular sea shipments. We right now, like the latest we, we started usings, Amazon Global logistic. Yeah. And it’s [00:36:00] going into Rotterdam, but before we use Hamburg and Germany.
But yeah, we, we send directly from China, if you like, just testing the market. Depends, I guess, on the size of your product, the volume, maybe you want to test the market with an air shipment, but otherwise, yeah, the sea shipment is, is the way to go now because of Brexit, you’re gonna send separately to the UK and the eu.
That’s just something to keep in mind. Got it, got it. All right, Nick, this has been great. So how can people find, You know, it says maybe next, next 30 days the software or, or, you know, connect with you. What are some [00:36:30] ways to Yeah, if if you’re interested, if you’re like, got any questions about V at and stuff firstname.lastname@example.org.
So that would be P A N E U R O V A t.com. pan.com. And then, Yeah, if you, if you also, the importer record would be email@example.com, we can put that in the, the full notes. And yeah, I mean, if, if you wanna reach out to me directly, then you can find me on Facebook with my name Hanzi, N I c k L E C [00:37:00] O N T e.
And if you’re in Southeast Asia in the next few weeks, I’ll be here in Thailand since the end of. Awesome, man. Really great to have you, Nick. Thanks. Thanks so much having me. Happy. Yeah. Appreciate it. And thank you to our sponsor, our returning sponsor, mercury.com online bank. Well, it’s a real bank, but we can talk totally online for us.
Our Blimp program participants are going through this as well. Thank you, mercury. Travis’s great there. It’s been on our show, has been in our events. We’re gonna have another event where we will have them attending as well. [00:37:30] And if you wanna get a little bonus for you and us, if you sign up and do some special circumstances, you can go to global.
Com slash Mercury. I also have a video tutorial that we use even for the blimp. People use the same exact video to learn how to use it. Hope you can check it out totally free. Why not see you there? Thank you so much for listening and watching. You know, I, I think there’s been some technical issues lately with the show.
I don’t know, like we’re on, we try to, we actually [00:38:00] just fixed up our podcast page at global information.com/podcast-radio where we link to like Spotify, Podbean, Google Podcast, iTunes. I think there’s even others. Of course, we’re on WeChat, but of course WeChat’s in his own world. So some people listen, it’s not WeChat or uh, Alaya.
Really appreciate our listeners in China. I know how hard it is there and I hope you’re having a great Chinese New Year. The year of the Rabbit. We will be putting a show online right in the middle of [00:38:30] Chinese New Year’s holiday, basically, for those that don’t know, Two or three weeks, China’s closed.
And for this year, it’s kind of mid January till early February, but we’re still rocking here. Thailand’s normal. Of course there’s a bunch of Chinese New Year’s stuff around. I think there’s been fireworks shooting off already, but also about the show about Nick. Thank you for sharing. . We are also learning, I’m studying about Europe.
I, I’ll be honest, I haven’t done too much there since my eBay days. I had eBay UK account, a [00:39:00] UK company, and I sold in Germany, but I mostly still in the US but I think we’re gonna grow. Horizontally a little bit like early. I don’t wanna promise, but I’m studying. I was already talking to Nick Ma. Maybe we gotta get a little private mastermind for him.
Also, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to him while he is in town, and we have just so many great people in this community. There’s a lot happening, but the most important, or my favorite, is to cross quarter summit.com. Save the date November 16th and [00:39:30] 17th. If you wanna be in the V I P. We’re gonna do a mastermind before the day before on Wednesday.
It’ll be half day like we’ve gone the last few times. People really like it. And then we have a V I P dinner with speakers and guests, and then the main event is Thursday. November 16th and Friday, November 17th, and with a course, a full day conference, networking, learning a after parties. And then Saturday we’re gonna have a great training day.
So if you want to get some add-on training [00:40:00] sessions with some of the amazing guests and speakers, you can do that. I’m already seeing some cool comments I barely even told people. People are super excited already. Save the date. November 16th, the 17th. This is just kind of early announce. But there’s just so much to do, so much to grow and build, but that’s what makes life and business interesting.
See you later. We already got the week, the show after this is already recorded, Chris Rawlings a really amazing discussion about growing your brand in 2023. We dive into [00:40:30] AI and just growth and a fascinating conversation, so I am sure you’ll like that too. Whether you’re listening or watching, I’m trying to make, you know, fix my hair for this, I just have my lunch.
That’s it for today. See you in the next episode, like subscribe, comment, share, blah, blah, blah, whatever. We’re just making good stuff here, so I hope you enjoy it and we’ve been here doing it since 2013. It’ll be 10 years this October. Can you believe that? 10 years. Thanks again. [00:41:00] See you all firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bye-bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our email@example.com from asia.com. That’s Triple w.global from asia.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.