Next Steps on our First Order and First Amazon Private Label Listing

Michael MicheliniEcommerce Series, Podcast0 Comments

Making moves. We have the order for production samples going. Yes, the first attempt – from Yiwu market – was a disaster. But we are staying strong and carrying on. This time it is from a “proper” factory and not the Yiwu market. Lorenzo has ordered the production samples, and the next steps are clear.

So on today’s Ecommerce Gladiator podcast we have Roland and I chatting about the next few weeks of action steps. The ASIN is made, and we are balancing the operations / manufacturing steps with the marketing and product launch steps. This show can be used as a great checklist for any Amazon FBA seller, or e-commerce seller for that matter, to use once they have confirmed a factory they want to work with.

The key is, not to get frozen and take forward steps.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Samples coming

    Lorenzo – you ordered a production sample of the first option. That is being sent to – you / Meir / me / all of us? It is 1 week lead time, meaning early next week we should receive it

  • Contract / Purchase Order for placing the order

    We need to prepare the purchase order – maybe even start negotiating on it now while the sample is being made. Andy Church has a good template we can use, have you discussed with Ino about placing the order? Which company will sign the purchase order? I do have a local Chinese company so I wonder if I should use that (Shadstone Import and Export Shenzhen Co.,Ltd) as having a local company to a local company is better.

  • Product Packaging

    Working with a new designer.

  • QC Checklist

    We should also tell them what our QC checklist will be. Ino should be able to help, and from my understanding this is not a secret to show the factory – they factory owner should know what we are looking for when doing the QC inspection.

  • Payment

    You outlined 2 options, I vote for the T/T option. Can they receive RMB? We can use and it is free to send from our Bank of America to the factory – but it MUST be in RMB for this to work. So can you ask the factory? Sendwyre.

  • Adding ASIN to Amazon seller central

    We should get working on this – we can add it now and change it / tweak it as we go. Can our operations team get on this?

  • Writing the product description

    I don’t mind to do it – but can we take the top performing competitors of this exact product and make a google doc studying what they are doing. I believe there is a tool the study their keywords. Cadrian can you check into this?

  • Product photos

    The factory had a nice photo booth! Ha! It may be a bit much to ask them for help – but we need to wait to take our final photos until the production sample with our engraving is received. We have sent them our Sisitano high resolution logo files?

  • Next Steps

    What we need to do next.

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Episode Length 30:38

Are you as excited as we are? A bit bummed we are going to miss the Christmas rush – but business is business. We are building a long term business and long term brand. Keeping on top of the process, and improving as we go is the most important part of building a strong foundation for growth.

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Podcast Transcription

Welcome to the Global from Asia Ecommerce Gladiator Series where you can follow along the progress of setting up a Cross Border Ecommerce business from start to finish. Hear insights of real product research, Amazon FBA, China manufacturing, branding, marketing, and all the blood, sweat, and tears of building a global business from Asia.

Mike: Ecommerce Gladiator Episode 16 and it is getting towards the middle of November and I’ve been thinking of titling this episode purchasing from the supplier round 2. Sounds like a better here it is, I mean that’s kind of inspiration on Ecommerce Gladiator named. Some of you guys mentioned a little bit about the TV show. We decided at least I decided working to try some video, we got some video interviews coming. But we’re able to get much more deeper and much better content in audio. I mean that’s what we are as a podcast. Sort of as a podcast 4 years ago. Over 4 years ago now. So it’s the way I, that we like starting natural way of communicating. We’re working on some video content. We have interviews at factory, owners of Ecommerce Sellers in China. Coming up as a Hangzhou series. Wendy has been helping out so much but that we are moving forward well. So today’s show and for 16 of Ecommerce Gladiator Series we have production samples coming, we found a factory, no more Yiwu market but it is in Jiujiang province. Eno from Insight Quality and Lorenzo one of our partners at Paraliving living going down and building up this first order for Sisitano, our coffee accessory, our mocha pot brand. And on today’s show we have Roland, he is another partner at the company. He’s helping with the project management, our COO of our business. We go through this list of items we have now that we’re placing the order and he kind of give us worth thinking, how much we should tell the factory trust the factory, what preparing for the inspection, preparing for the listing, we got the listing going on the Amazon account. So it’s kind of go write down the list and I think it’s pretty amazing talk and inspiring you guys take action.. I’ve been talking to some of you and I hope you follow along and not just listening but doing and some of you guys know more than I do. So please share with us and let’s keep rocking.

Mike: Alright everybody it’s episode 16 of Ecommerce Gladiator Series. We have Roland, one of our partners for Paraliving. Thanks for getting up early for our talk today.

Roland: Anytime. Hey everyone, how is it going?

Mike: Yeah, we’re talking about the topic this time. I think it’s just sharing the actual, we’re finally found the the right factory at least we hope got the right one.

Roland: We hope so, yeah.

Mike: We have that Yiwu experienced. So now we’re going to normal factory. But yeah go ahead.

Roland: We thought we found the right one back then too. And then it turns out 80 plus is bad quality. 80 plus percent. So hopefully this time is actually is the right factory.

Mike: Yeah, so Lorenzo is staying positive. He’s really excited about this supplier and went out with Ino from Insight Quality and so I think right now. We’re waiting for production sample to come and I guess we have a few of them sent around at least some of us in China to play with.

Roland: Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to tell the audience what a production sample is so basically once you order a sample, you’ll gonna receive an item that you’re looking for. But when you’re asking for production sample you make sure that sample is going to come out from the exact mold and the exact production that you mass, mass production is gonna come up off. That’s the difference between the sample and the production sample just for the record for everyone there.

Mike: We even want to have, I know the factory was trying to save time but not in engrave our name. It’s gonna put our logo inside so we want to make sure it’s exactly what we mass produced. So we’re working on, we gonna insist to have them put the engraving on the product, right. Our logo.

Roland: Which is going to be a great differentiating and not only the logo but the factory is also providing the packaging which is weird because. It’s not weird but not expected for us because we already have another package supplier. But this way the factory is actually going to take care the entire packaging for us. Which means that they only need to give them the design and they pretty much pack it up for us to be ready to ship. One interesting idea about this, is what if the, have additional product and we do. In our package, so next to our main product, we will want to have some additional gadgets or additional items in it. Do you think Mike it’s completely normal to send it to them and have them pack it for us into a final bundle?

Mike: There’s few different things to think about. One thing to think about is do we want them to know our final product? I guess some people are okay with the factory, one factory knowing all of our products. I guess and now. The basically big question is how much do we want to trust our commercial knowledge or information do we want to give our supplier. If we have a package outside maybe we could talk,I think even Andy Church on Insight Quality willing to do it. But if we used the outside packaging like I know Meir’s company could provide that as well. The good part is they kind of hurt, one is they called it black box. So the idea is one supplier doesn’t know all of our sources. ‘Coz if you ship like for 4 or 5 different suppliers, they’re gonna probably be able to figure out where those come from. And then technically they could you know, sell on Amazon or like sell it online. Or they could sell it to other competitors.

Roland: Yeah, well on the other hand if you think about it. You’re talking about a factory. So it’s the factory bit set up production lines, setup history of 15 years or so. Is going to go for our couple of dollars gadgets to make sure that they can provide it in the same industry. Although they are playing and I’m aware of that but, they are OEM factories so do you think they gonna be like “Oh look at what they’re doing, let’s do that, copy that and do the same thing”. I mean Chinese factories and Chinese people are famously or not good at selling in the US based on my experienced. I don’t wanna say this I’m not to offend anyone but we had several factories even wholesalers come to us and be like,”hey guys, what you’re doing is great, and please help me get at from China and start in the US and the Europe”. So I feel like it might be something that would slow us down to think about and not really have to worry about this. I don’t know but you might be right or you might not be right. This is the what I cannot decide right now. Because if you have it package it with someone else then we have to move the entire batch produced batch to someone instead of moved everything us to the factory that we already have.

Mike: It’s true I mean that’s the negative this is gonna make that cost logistics a little bit more complex. I guess it’s true our products not so, I think it’s also about our product’s not obviously that, it’s not like. Sometimes if you’re making like a brand new patent product like electronics components. You don’t want the factory to know all the pieces of the electronics. Or something that’s maybe got a lot of different secret kind of pieces. So, it’s just a thing to think about but yeah usually people just send it to the factory, my last ecommerce business I was send it to the factory.

Roland: Yeah, I mean, if you’re thinking about the cost which we do and everyone should. I think I can say the price of the box that factory provided us is like 5 cents or so for each item. And the box provider we already have is providing us a higher price like around 30 cents. It means this is 6 times as much as the factory providing us at the same place as the product come out. They would pack it up for us because the packaging contact only provides the box not even package it for us. So that means 6 times the cost plus have someone go there and package it for us and include everything in it. So it’s like double cost. Not they can in account to shipping.

Mike: True. Yeah, I mean, we’re gonna do it. So, I think it’s everybody got to decide for themselves if you’re listening.

Roland: And look Mike, we are in a podcast. There are thousands people listening to us right now and telling them what we’re doing. Do you think we have to be afraid of a factory, a Chinese factory. Well we have the one of the greatest teams building up the entire process.

Mike: True. It’s true but I think I’ve seen in my own products gets listing on Alibaba. I did some of my own trademark products like electrophor. And the factory would mistakenly list them on to Alibaba and I have to email them to delete it and they’ll say “Oh sorry mistake”. And then actually the sales girl would leave the company and tell me “no, it’s a mistake, the boss told me to put it there”. I have to say that it’s not a problem now but in later when they start listing it on Alibaba and Global Sources and all this directories as a kit. Somebody else could just contact them and say I want to buy this exact kit and they’re like “okay, sure of this price”. It makes them much easier for someone else to do which could be listener and could be the factory and they would, all the work we’ve been spending now, forcing all this stuff would be just given away to someone else. So,it’s not such a complicated product to source but, it’s just sometimes I think about, but yeah I think it’s not the main value right now. Our marketing, our sales, our team are execution of what really matters. But were goods, the purchase order so I was talking to Lorenzo, we’re lucky we have Andy Church with Insight, they have a templates, I believed. They can help us with making the purchase order but we definitely got to make sure we have all this outlined like if they’re late or if there’s quality issues, things like that. So we definitely got to make sure we meet that.

Roland: Yeah, we could also have what do you think on NDA?

Mike: Sure.

Roland: I know all this contract are like formal and they either keep it or not. But once we have like non-disclosure agreement with Paraliving Inc and the factory they might be less likely to cheat on us.

Mike: Sure, this call called actually the NNN agreement. So it’s non disclosure, non compete, non circumvention. So that’s the ultimate one. It includes NDA so we should definitely look at. And moving forward also part of the, I just want to share what I’ve learned in that years. So we got to make a QC checklist, we have Insight Quality to help us. But basically what that is a list of what we’re checking and I used to think that you had to hide this from the factory. But actually I’ve learned that you share with them upfront what you’re gonna be checking so that they make sure that the quality is there.

Roland: Yeah, there are several ways to do this. I’ve been, I was in China just a couple of weeks ago and this is exactly what we did. Checking some factory making sure that they’re manufacturing the right thing and basically you want to share it to them because they also want to improve like we have to forget about keep China and China copies and all this. This is not the reality anymore. Chinese factories are bombing huge and they are becoming the largest manufacturers of the world. They don’t ‘want to be copycats anymore. They want to be like individual and strong factories on their own. And to be able to do that they want to improve and all these quality checks and the checklist you provide them makes them learn or makes them or gives them the opportunity to learn and grow and see that “okay, what are the requirements that we have to complete with in order to win this customer, I’ve been this customer and been that customer”. So it’s better to work with them in order to mutually grow. I believed.

Mike: It’s true. Yeah, I think just to maintain, I think listeners there’s no secrets while you’re checking. Actually I think it’s a good thing and while Lorenzo was there just this past Friday. He was sending us or he was sending the factory addressing of those sample improvement that we said from the last week’s update were, we saw some issue. So the factory knows this issues and they know that they are important to us. I’ve had quality issues in the past with the previous products and sometimes they just would say they didn’t know. One example I had Roland was the temperature that I had to withstand of these tables I bought from China. And it got, people put this folding tables in their trunk and it get to so hot and and would melt the sticker off the top of the table. It was like a stick on and then the factory said “Oh, you didn’t tell us that we did it to make it, to withstand this heat, the temperature. The more you, we tell the factory what we need, the less they can say.

Roland: The more they gonna make it. I mean this heat resistance is also very important right on the product. And the same thing once we told them that “Look we heard that people can get burned or some of the parts of the product can burn or melt”, they said like “Oh we have a solution for that”. So as soon as we told them what we want they already had a solution for it. You just gotta ask.

Mike: Okay, yeah, it’s true. So it’s our job to make sure, that’s why we did there a sample testing find different problems with the heat and other things.

Roland: Exactly. But make sure to test your product. Don’t trust the factory right away because we could have because we could have say, “Oh so many of our competitors but other companies that sells the same product could go to this factory and they would but the exact same thing so it must be good quality. Don’t trust it,don’t trust anyone. Make sure go up there, check it yourself, make sure that it’s what you want. Make sure that it’s something that you can put your name to it and make sure that it’s gonna withstand all the reviews and you’re not gonna get the negative reviews.

Mike: It’s definitely. So we’re getting there and also we one point I think interesting for listeners is the payment terms so I don’t know, Lorenzo seems excited about this Alibaba payment. I haven’t been sourcing for a while. But I usually just do the TT or the telegraphic transfer which I think we’re gonna do. But they said either Alibaba payment or the 30/70 which I think is standard in my experienced 30% deposit, 30% upon release, 70 to release the goods.

Roland: It is good and I believed they are open for negotiations long term if you want to get better payment terms like TT or something. But also it’s I think for the record and for the audience make sure not to give 100% upfront as you can burn yourself. Because what happened to us last time is, thanks God we didn’t give them 100% to give them some percentage upfront for the entire batch and when it came and it turned out to be 80% bad quality, they could just ask for the refund of that, 10 or 20%. But if you give them the 100%upfront the factory or the wholesaler could have easily told us “hey, look it is what it is, you saw it, you seen the quality, sorry and it would have not that cool “. So make sure not to release the entire payment at once.

Mike: Yeah it’s true,I mean I think for now we can’t really ask for more. I think 37 is pretty fair at the pressure that we’re getting.

Roland: Yeah, it is good. I mean they are the phase, we’re just like dancing around each other. This is how we say it in my language. You getting to know each other, you getting to know what the other want, preferring the one is not preferring, dancing around each other. It comes from when you’re dancing with a girl or a guy at a nightclub. And you know you are just approaching, the dancing around each other and see what each of you like. This is why I used this phrase for.

Mike: Yeah, I like that. It’s true I guess maybe in English or an American we’re like I think the slang word is feeling each other out. You kind of testing each other. But I don’t think either cycle expect special terms on either side. So I think we’re just kind of go down the standard road right now.

Roland: I think the only bubble payment to get back to that real quick is as good. Because Alibaba is first of all is a huge company. And it’s also giving us some security that the company is legit or the factory is legit. And it also gives them some security that they are legit. And they are not gonna run away with the product only at 30% paid once we received it.

Mike: Yeah, it’s true.

Roland: It’s like an intermediary.

Mike: Okay and now for the fund, at least for me, I’m not a fan of sourcing to be honest thinking I know, again to the marketing side. I can’t wait. I’ve been really at the edge of my seat. I think you too. I mean, we want to make money, too.

Roland: Exactly.

Mike: We got the ASIN, done a good job. You got that listed so for listeners, we’re actually asking that too. We get that created before we have the product at the FBA. So will get the hang of the title description and all that information. We got to get pictures made right after the description for our competitive analysis all that fun stuff.

Roland: Exactly. For the ASIN to be creative, basically you need the very basic info of the product and the UPC code which is pretty much the, like the barcode that you can purchase at several online sites or even Amazon or EBay. If you’re selling a product that is already has a barcode. You’ll just look at the number right below the barcode and that’s the UPC you add to your product. So, Amazon will be able to wire it to something. So it will be able to connect it with some product categories. It will be able to differentiate or know something about your product right away. Except if you’re private labeling then you obviously gonna have a new UPC like in our case. And then you have to set up the category yourself. And this is what happened yesterday and basically our product is listed right now even though the listing is not final. We’re going to make a completed step by step, we have it up there. But we’re going to add the final picture to it which are designer is going to be working on. We’re going to add the description and the titles, the keywords we want and Cadrian and Mike, the Marketing department is working hard on the keyword searches. So basically that is how is listing is going to build up. It’s important for us that they’re only doing one listing in the beginning so in case you want to sell many items like hundreds and hundreds, you might not doing this way, you might go to spreadsheet or upload or import the spreadsheet to Amazon. But for us we’re making sure that everything’s perfect right from the beginning. So we have all the keywords in placed and basically we’re establishing our brand online right now.

Mike: Yeah, step by step. Although I think we’ve kind of missed Christmas but I think it’s more about the long term of the brand of the business and the processes. I always think in/out processes set us free and once we get everything smooth and get this first order through. It’s all about, Meri’s a big fan of processes. It’s all about the systems and improving efficiency, productivity, and tweaking it.

Roland: Right, it is just, it makes me so exciting like I cannot wait to finally get it out on the market and make all the sales and just all these Amazon sellers and coaches and getting all the insights learning day after day and I see how much you’ve worked. I see how much you just, once you do it, once you set your mind to it, it’s going. People are making tons of money, people are creating tons of value. People are becoming sellers, registering brands becoming like brand owners and it’s so amazing, it so motivating and I cannot wait to, we are doing it too. But cannot wait to make all the sales and actually show the audience the entire journey and how it has been done. Once we get to the point when we’re making all the sales.

Mike: Yeah, it’s good and amazing. And so I think we kind of went through the system and other crazy things as the factory help us take product photos even, Lorenzo is, they got a little photo area there. I know we are wondering how we gonna do with the photos. Yeah but I’m pretty impress with this factory but at the same time I have to be honest, it’s a little bit scary they can do so much, they can do everything. That’s a little bit scary at the same time.

Roland: But on the other hand like a green, I mean I feel like it’s perfect in the beginning to start out with and make sure that we’re there. And we just do it, I don’t think we have, I mean long term obviously, we wouldn’t want to be afraid of selling things but for now I am happy that we found the factory that can do so many things for us.

Mike: Yeah, we gonna go meet them. Lorenzo is being a person which is good and then they, which I keep building that relationship. Like I tell people sometimes, I say they are business partners, I don’t think the factory isn’t but of course they are not a shareholder. I think they are, we’re very reliant on each other to be a successful business if we have problems to orders, problems on quality. Our business is at risk so it’s exciting.

Roland: Exactly.

Mike: Alright Roland, thanks for sharing with everyone, our next update and I think maybe by next time will have some samples and some purchase orders and contract and time frame but I think as far as the time frames. Let’s say the middle of November we should have the production samples and then I think it’s a month for the productions. So I guess it’s in the middle of December, would it be done? And then it’s gonna be ship, it might be landing for Christmas or something.

Roland: I mean, it’s so exciting and I can’t wait for it. So it’s going to be amazing for sure. Awesome.

Mike: Alright let’s get back to work.

Roland: Thank you so much for having me and have a great day, let’s people rocking.

Mike: Let’s rock.

Mike: Thank you Roland for sharing. We keep our promises, we’re being transparent and open with what’s happening here in our Ecommerce Gladiator Series. Again I know some people have been saying are confusing with all these different names and people and I know it’s a little bit overwhelming for me. We have just to recap, Roland our partner’s COO shareholder Paraliving Inc, US. Delaware company we set up for this Amazon business. We have Eno he’s working on the ground and Yiwu from Insight Quality and Andy Church, the owner of Insight Quality and he’s been on the show, too. He’s helping with the quality control and production oversight. So those 2 represent that company. And then we have some great partners in the business, I had to make some hard decisions and couldn’t take everybody to apply but these are the people that applied to be our business partner and we already mentioned Roland, we have Cadrian Chan. So Cadrian is our CMO or Marketing officer. He’s based in Hong Kong and he’s invested as well as being partner in the company, Jack Pinkerman in North Carolina and he’s really great keeping us all in line and helping with the books and he’s our partner there as well as our CFO or Chief Financial Officer. Lorenzo is doing great. He’s on the ground at Hangzhou going to Yiwu often. Helping to keep this supply chain going and keeping this updated. He’s also wrote an amazing supplier report that we shared on blog. I will link to that. He wrote an amazing supplier report that’s a guest log on the Global From Asia blog. And this is amazing. Of course last but not the least Meir Simhi, he is our inspiration of this business in July as having dinner in his house and he told me I should get back into Amazon and I was giving maybe excuses. Make it part of the blog. Make engage your audience, engage the people. So he’s a shareholder now and a mentor and advisor and great friend of mine. So thank you Meir. Helping us a lot with the samples, checking. So that’s the team and I am, we’re doing so much here and I appreciate everybody for listening all the way to the end. And being part of this watching it live. Or maybe listen 2 years later. I hope this helps you. Hope this inspires you. And then again I hope you are taking action in your businesses. Alright take care guys.

Welcome to the Global from Asia Ecommerce Gladiator Series where you can follow along the progress of setting up a Cross Border Ecommerce business from start to finish. Hear insights of real product research, Amazon FBA, China manufacturing, branding, marketing, and all the blood, sweat, and tears of building a global business from Asia.

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