Product Sourcing in 2021: Everything you need to know ⎜ Kian Golzari ⎜ EP 59
Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone, welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host Ryan Cramer and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. The leading global payment's provider helping sellers keep more of their hard- earned money. What's up everyone, I'm your host Ryan Cramer and welcome to Episode 59 of Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong provides marketplace sellers and entrepreneurs global solutions for controlling their domestic and international funds. And they account with us enables companies to significantly reduce their costs when receiving or making international payments. All in one platform to help increase operational efficiencies, saves you time, money and effort and allow sellers to manage their business profits from a single source. If you have questions about PingPong, we have those questions... We have a link about more about PingPong in the descriptions in the show notes below so go ahead and check us out. If you want to learn more, I will make sure that my email is up there on the show notes as well. But thank you everyone for joining us live on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Twitter or if you happen to be listening to this via download on Apple, Amazon, Google or Spotify podcast wherever you consume your podcast. That is where we're located so go ahead and do me a favor, follow, like and share this episode on social media and hit that reminder button on YouTube for future notifications of Crossover Commerce. You can follow PingPong Payments, or you can follow myself Ryan Cramer on social media, we go live about four to five times per week. So it's pretty typical, we will be going live with experts in our field or if not just one person will have a panel of people that are going to give you nuggets about Amazon and the ecommerce industry. So go ahead and because this is live, if you're watching us live, go ahead and tell us what you think in the comments below. And also, if you happen to be watching us at a different time, go ahead and still write in what you think and we'll make sure we get to those later on as well. If you can't catch us live again, please share, go ahead and follow us and download that at a different time, what about our guest today, enough about the show. I'm really excited because this is somebody that I've been wanting to get on our show for a very long time now, I'm super excited, we were just catching up before the show. He is doing so many great things in terms of the sourcing world, but about his biography he's one of the world's leading sourcing experts who has personally visited over 500 factories across the world and sourced over 2, 500 products, he manufactures for brands like the NBA, that's a big deal. I was a former employee of the NBA for a franchise so I definitely know how stressful that can be to get merchandise to all those different teams. The United Nations to name another entity and the Olympics, all big name brands that he's working with, as well as other big box retailers for any Amazon sellers. He specializes in product design, development, manufacturing press practices and how to find the right supplier, price negotiation and of course much more. So welcome to the show Kian Golzari of Sourcing with Kian and Kian what is up man, how are you doing?
Kian Golzari: I'm all good Ryan, good to see you man. Thanks for having me on the show. It's a pleasure to be here and looking forward to diving in on the episode. Ryan and then I should know you've worked with NBA as well. That's pretty cool.
Ryan Cramer: So a lot of people don't know this before ecommerce kind of in my like stints I worked for the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever so the NBA and the WNBA franchise here in Indianapolis. I did that for about two and a half years so I got to see all the crazy chaos behind the scenes. Specifically maybe we can touch on this when the NBA specifically went over to Nike products that was chaotic because that delay on sourcing all the goods we didn't get in jerseys even in time for the NBA season to start so people were just hammering, " When are we going to get our jerseys, when is the product going to come in," and it was months delay. So just like in ecommerce, delay and retail can really affect you as a brand, you as an entity and Nike got hit pretty hard right away from that. So I don't think that was you right?
Kian Golzari: No, that wasn't me, no, no, no. In terms of the NBA is just doing like homeware products so we're doing like blankets, towels, bedsheets, pillows, stuff like that. So we got the official NBA license for one of our brands. And then we could make any product with any team, any player, we got their logo, their signature, all that sort of stuff. And then we actually had some NBA players like as partners within our company as well. So they would promote the products on their social media, which was really cool as well. So that was a really fun journey to be on and I was living in LA at the time as well got to go to a lot of games and stuff that but you know when the season got suspended and when lockdown happened and then I just decided to come back home in that time, so it was a really exciting journey. And I'm sure like when sport picks up again, in general, and we start to allow fans back in arenas, like the industry as a whole will pick up but super exciting periods and loads of opportunity in the future as well.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, absolutely. And we actually, my first company were not doing sourcing and licensing, we had licensed with the NBA, NCAA, NHL and NFL and we did products for like home gift gardening. So we're doing products like garden gnomes and garden flags, a lot of like home gift garden stuff, because you know, Fanatics they'll buy literally anything of their team. And it's almost like a guarantee inaudible to a point but obviously, you have to get the license and whatnot. But it was so fun to work with license goods in that capacity so it was always my goto when I was trying to feature products on our deal sites or any other products, as storefronts we're working with. So a lot of fun stuff to work with. So yeah appreciate-
Kian Golzari: That's a really good point. Sorry I was going to say that's a really good point about licenses-
Ryan Cramer: No go ahead.
Kian Golzari: Once you get your foot in the door with one license, it's really easy to acquire the other ones as well. Because like you said, you had the NBA license, but then you got NHL, NFL and NCAA and stuff like that. And I feel that once you prove that the business model works with one sport entity, it's much easier to go to the other ones and say, " Hey, we're already supplying the NBA." And then it's kind of like, " Okay, cool how do we do this," but it's hard to get your first one in the door. But once you get the first one, because before working with the NBA, I was working with the Olympics. So it was easy for me to say, " Hey, this is a category of product I've done for the Olympics." And then they're like interested if you know what I mean, so you kind of need like one domino to fall. And then it's actually interesting, other licenses also approach you as well, because we sort of like licensed trade shows, like in Las Vegas in January, there's a sport and licensed tailgate show, and we would have all our NBA products on display. But then NASCAR would approach us and be like, " Hey, can you do that for us?" FC Barcelona, the soccer team, I say football, you guys say soccer-
Ryan Cramer: I know what you're talking about.
Kian Golzari: They would approach us and be like, " Hey, can you sell... Can we give you our license rates?" Because essentially licensing, it's just like, if you prove the concept works for one license, then it's just they want to see how much revenue you can bring into that category. Like it's how much money can you make for that license and if your model is successful than any other license, it makes sense for them to add you in as well, because you're just increasing revenue for them. So it's super interesting.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, absolutely and in terms of that capacity, I think I know exactly what show you're talking about. I never got to go to that licensing event but I was always the one person back home selling the products everyone else gets to see like, there's this cool, grill set of tongs or something like that with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers logo on it. And like everyone would just like, " Yep, give me 10 or 10 different teams," like in terms of the scalability, profitability, you have tears of different, " Who's your money maker?" Same thing with NBA. NFL was always just echelon of like products like, you can always make money off of Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, the hot team like New England Patriots and whatnot. And then you have like the secondary ones if you found a product like that, it was always few and far between because like the Carolina Panthers, not a big moneymaker. No offense because they don't have a market share. So it was always fascinating to see which products we would put, invest more money into specifically since there's been Fanatics that will buy literally anything, but you have those big teams that have all the products with their team on it. And then you have those other teams who don't have like as many things as possible. It was always a fascinating thing to look at of, how do you break things down, who's going to be profitable? Specifically in the NBA, you had to do this plan and out, you had to know that Golden State Warriors are going to blow up a year or two in advance, so you can get all your products and whatnot ahead of time. So I don't know if that was the same thing with what you had to do or it was more like on demand.
Kian Golzari: It was crazy for us because like we did some print on demand domestically in the states, but then like for your key players like your Steph Curry's, LeBron James and stuff like that we would manufacturer in large volumes, and we got hit a couple of times, because in the last like four years, I don't know if you've noticed the NBA players are getting traded way more frequently, right?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah.
Kian Golzari: We would order like a container of LeBron James pillows. And then he was like, " I'm going to LA." He just left Cleveland and we're sitting here for all that Cleveland stock or we had a lot of Dwayne Wade product for Miami. And then he was like, " I'm out." crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: The moles yeah and then he went back.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, and then you know what's so funny is we're sitting on so much Dwayne Wade stock and eventually got traded back to Miami. So we could like take that clearance stock like 50% off and put it back up to full price and join Miami, so it was sort of I learned a lot of lessons in terms of the player sites but what you said as well about the hot teams and stuff that's super interesting as well because we were talking to retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond. And they would say, " We want to do Golden State Warriors products because they're the hottest team in the league right now." So they say, " But we're not going to go nationwide yet. We're going to trail it in all of our stores in the Bay Area." So we only want warriors products just in the Bay Area and we'll analyze that, see how it goes. And then if it goes well, then we'll add all teams, all cities like so if you have like Chicago Bulls products, so only put it in Chicago stores to monitor the order volumes based on the success of the other teams. And it's funny what you're talking about the fan bases as well, like, no matter how bad you're playing, like the New York Knicks products will always sell because it's such a crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: Number one seller always... Even the Dallas Cowboys for as long... They haven't been probably legitimate since the 1990s when my dad was like, "Holy hell like Trey man, Emmitt Smith, all those guys." And they've built such a unique fan base down there that's why they're the most profitable team. That's why because of this ecosystem they built out and no matter what you slap their thing on, guaranteed it was always a big seller. So it's so weird that's the buyer psychology I always look for in terms of like deals, we can mark it up to and what you're selling. So I'm glad we're on the same page with that, it's not often where a lot of people can talk about licensed kits like you and I can.
Kian Golzari: One other final really interesting thing I learned about licensing model is that a lot of Amazon sellers are curious and are interested about how do I go about acquiring this license? But I would feel that what I learned, you know Fanatics. com basically run nba. com-
Ryan Cramer: We were selling directly to them. Yeah, exactly.
Kian Golzari: And it's like you sell to Fanatics and then they put it on nba. com, they put it on like lalakers.com, inaudible. com. They put it on nfl. com. All individual team stores, they basically own all the leagues. And Fanatics had to rule that if you want your product in Fanatics you're not allowed to sell it on Amazon, because first of all they don't want the products on competing websites. But also, I think Amazon's got quite a bad reputation with and it may have improved or may have changed now but with like counterfeits sport products. So people were doing like without a license, knockoff Lakers logos, knockoff Dallas Cowboy logos, and selling for very cheap because they weren't paying the royalties. And then Fanatics were like, " we don't want to compete with those people. So if you sell on Amazon, you're not allowed to sell on nba. com. And we just decided not to sell on Amazon, we wanted to just stick to the leagues and to be like as official as possible. And what was really cool is that when you sell on Fanatics and you sell on nba. com, you sell on the team's website, and you also sell on the team's store. So like, if you went into like prelockdown, if you went into the Milwaukee Bucks store, you would see some of our pillows of Janis. And it's such a cool feeling to any commerce, you don't really get to touch and interact and feel your products. They're just sitting in a warehouse and they go direct to the consumer. But there's something really special about it being in retail, and being in actual arenas and stadium stores and seeing like fans pick it up and fans buy it and show it off and take pictures with it and stuff like that was like really, really motivating for me to keep going so but it's just a completely different business model.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, absolutely. And that's the thing is, it's almost like Nike, like Nike's selective they don't sell on Amazon, obviously but you know where to find those goods. I think Fanatics does a really good job in terms of where you can find the license goods, specifically for if you know you can't find a knockoff version anywhere else, it's all running through one funnel. So it's pretty easy to say like, " Yeah, of course, I'm going to work with you guys directly." But yeah, they have a good model, it was always like, " Yeah, not piss off Fanatics." And make sure like if we are selling because we were a wholesaler too. So if other people were selling online, we'd have to shut the number real quick before other people get upset with us. Anyways that's the license side of things, so your background is super fascinating in terms of like how you got started, was it always in sourcing or how did you get into the sourcing game in general? Like the bio is only so long, but I want to know what made Kian, Kian and how he got to you today?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, great question. So I've always been sourcing from day one, I was lucky that from university, I could jump straight into family business. My dad started a company called Highlander. And his passion was for the outdoors camping and outdoor and hiking and stuff like that. So he set up a brand like 30 years ago, for outdoor products. And I sort of saw that business grow as a child. And in every month I would work in a different department in the company. I'd work in the warehouse up until I was like 16 packing boxes and sending out orders. And then working the sales department, working the finance department and then when I graduated university, my dad was like, do you want to take over the buying side? Do you want to come to China with me? You want to learn how products are made. I was like, " Yeah, cool." So when I was like 21, I went to China for the first time and I was just fascinated on that trip. And it was supposed to be just a three- week trip where I ended up staying three months, and I set up an office there. And then just basically based myself there full- time went back and I live there and I moved there. And in that time is when I went to go and visit hundreds of factories, and really, really got to understand how products were actually made. And that was the most interesting and inspiring thing and give me such a, an appetite for growth. Because when you see a product in a retail store, you can't just see it as one piece on a shelf. But when you see it in a factory, you see it in like 30 different pieces. Let's a backpack for example, you see the shoulder straps, the foam that goes in the shoulder straps, the zippers, the buckles, the pillars inside lining the waterproof coating, everything right. And then when you've got like a$ 15 product in your mind, and you're like, " Okay, I need to get it down to$ 12," you've got like 30 different calculations you can make in your head of how do we reduce the cost of this item. Or if you want to improve the quality, you've got 30 different things you can make any assumptions you can make in your head of how to improve the quality. And it's almost like you start to think in 3D and that's just like one product, but then imagine seeing like hundreds of products in hundreds of different factories. And then your mind just goes crazy in terms of what are the capabilities? And what are the possibilities so I just became obsessed with understanding how products were made, solving problems through products. And also just building relationships as well, because it's a completely different culture. And I'm just fascinated by the way that China has been able to grow so fast, and how they've been able to just scale business and businesses enormously and just the culture of the people and going out with them and learning how they do business. And so I was like, this is where I really want to be. So I kind of spent my early 20s in China, and I still visit three or four times a year, quite regularly. But this is the longest time since I went there crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: You almost sounded like China homesickness, like it's always a home away from home.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, I missed it a lot so hopefully we can get back out there soon.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, absolutely and then it's fascinating to hear you say how you have to conceptualize almost like a puzzle, how you can fit it all together, and then how you break it down by price, what you need to either change or edit to make that product. What was it like, so what year was that when you were kind of going through taking over that business, learning the logistics and buying side of things?
Kian Golzari: 2010 was the first time I went to China.
Ryan Cramer: So now you've had experience for almost 11 or 10 plus years now of doing all that? What was it like walking into that first factory in terms of were you overwhelmed? What is it like just the mass amount of people or just mass amount of like moving parts? What's it kind of like walking into a factory for those people who haven't been there for production. It's not just one product, it's hundreds of products going on at one time?
Kian Golzari: I was just fascinated to be honest because you see the first factory I ever went to was for military backpacks that we do. And we make for the military, it was like 20 liter bags, 30 liter bags, 40, 50, 60, 80 all the way up to 90. And I'm just like going into this factory and seeing like yards the size of football fields worth of fabric, and then just the fabric getting cut, and the fabrics getting sown. And then just seeing all the workers and some factories have got a lot of workers. I've been in factories where there have been like 1500 employees, and I've been in factories where there's been like 50 employees. So it's just super interesting, there's no right or wrong answer to say okay, well a factory with like only 50 employees is going to be bad and wanted for a lot of employees is going to be good, there's kind of like pros and cons of working with each because a smaller factory is much more likely to give you like a lower minimum order quantity, because they're going to let you like try more colors and be more flexible and sane. But a big factory of like 1100 workers will be like very, very strict in their core competencies and like the way they do things and they'll be able to deliver like really, really fast and they'll have systems for everything, they won't be so flexible. So you can kind of like pick and choose the size of factory that you want to work with. And I was lucky enough to see like a lot of different sizes. And then once you know how factories operate, you can just pick and choose what are strengths and weaknesses of this factory versus this one. All right, this one might give us a very quick delivery time and it might be a cheap price, but the quality is not quite there. This one delays a little bit, longer lead times but the quality is fantastic and I've never had an issue with them or this one tends to fail inspections, but their price is very good. So there's all these sort of things based on what vision do you have for your brand and where you want to sit in the market is what type of manufacturer you want to align with and I think that's something really important for the listeners to consider that it's you get to choose who you work with, and you have to pick a factory which fits your purpose, it's not like, " Oh, hey, I found a factory. I'm good now," it's like, No, what are their core values? And what are your core values and are you in sync with each other? Do they also... Are they willing to give you support? Do they believe in your vision? Do they want to see you grow? Will they offer you low MOQs, will they give you financial support, because they believe in your idea, and they believe in you, and... It's actually interesting the last time I was in China was November 2019. And I am interviewed... I took a little GoPro with me and I interviewed one of the factories, and the factory boss has been involved in loads of big business, loads of big orders. And I asked him what's the biggest order you've ever manufactured? And he said it was a few million dollars, and it was 800, 000 units of one product. And I was like, " All right, cool." And then I was like, " Well, what's the smallest order you would accept from a new customer." And he said, " 500 pieces if I believe in the vision of the customer," and I found that so interesting that someone who's doing 800, 000 pieces is also willing to do 500 pieces for someone new if he believes in their vision, because it's also about them being able to understand where you want to take your business, and where are your aspirations for growth? And are you coming up with new ideas and are you an innovator, are you a product developer? And they like to invest in that as well, because if they can invest in your growth, and they support you, well they're the factory who's going to be getting your orders, and will be benefiting from that as well. So the relationship side of things is so important. And you really get to understand that when you go and see them face to face, and you see the scope of their operations and things like that.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I guess I have a couple of questions from that, is that a common practice for factories to say that to an individual, if they're saying, " If I believe in your vision this is what I'll do for you?" Is that commonplace?
Kian Golzari: You know what, I think it's just something that's never really talked about, because we see all these courses and stuff, and people are told, " All right go online, asking them what's your MOQ, what's your best price?" But like, if you actually get to know them on like a human level, people like doing business with people, people buy from people the same way when we buy other brands products, we like to get an idea of who is the founder and all that sort of stuff, and what do they believe in and what are their core values. The same way like people might want to buy Tesla's just because Elon Musk is a head of the company, or they like iPhones because Steve Jobs designed them and they're fascinated by Steve Jobs, it's the same way working with factories as well, I like to buy from certain factories, which I believe in the factory box, and they like to do business with me, because they know I constantly develop products, I'm always coming up with like new ideas and stuff like that. And over the last 10 years, we've grown our businesses a lot together so I think but no one ever really talks about the human aspect of the relationship and the people aspect of the relationship. And that's just something that it can't be ignored, it's super difficult right now, we've not been able to go over to China so we're not really able to build those relationships as well as we would like. But we can use the WeChat application for anyone who doesn't know, WeChat is like an app on your phone, it's the Chinese messenger or the Chinese WhatsApp. And that's a really good way to build your relationship. Keep all your important conversations to email, like your price, and your specification and your delivery time and stuff like that. But on WeChat, you should be having conversations, especially right now with Chinese New Year, just past how did you like your holiday? Where did you go? Did you get to see your family? What type of gifts Did you exchange? How do you celebrate? Was their fireworks, all that sort of stuff. And send some photos, or here's me with my friends, or we just had the super bowl here, this is our Super Bowl party and it just gets to know each other on a human level. And then you'll see that next year, I say next year like next year, Chinese New Year, like you'll have a much better relationship, and then you will be able to talk a lot more frequently if you've ever got a problem with your order or with your stock, you can give them a quick call and be like, " Hey, can you just take me down to the factory real quick, get on a video call, just show me what's going on with these barcodes." You're able to do that. But if you never build that relationship, then you're just chatting on Alibaba, and you're finding out about the problems when the goods actually arrived in your warehouse in the US. So it's super, super important to build that relationship.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. And I just want to give a shout out to everyone who's chiming in so well said very nice piece of advice. And for everyone who is watching on LinkedIn again, people are saying hi, LinkedIn user. Sorry, I can't say who you are but just give us those credentials and we'll be able to see it but Scott from FBI Ireland, Kian is a sourcing Rockstar, actually and then we have Melissa Simon saying well done. Thank you, Melissa. I am so proud of being able to book Kian because he is a very busy person but always powerful info Kian shares in this expertise. But yeah, you're super busy so I'm super glad to have your insights on sourcing because I'm always constantly trying to learn more about it, especially in 2020. I think it was like a headache year for a lot sourcing people. But I know you tout out a lot of information on your YouTube page, so we have a link in the show notes, make sure you go check them out and subscribe to his channel. It's getting into 5000 followers today, hopefully audience so subscribe to his channel as well. So Kian I had a couple different things so right now, because it's a little difficult to go see your supplier, obviously you can't just fly over there. Is it common practice for Amazon sellers to go visit maybe their sourcing or manufacturer before they even go into production with them, is that pretty common place for Amazon sellers or ecommerce sellers?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, I think if you've never been to China before, and you're interested, the best time to go would be in April or October around the Canton Fair, because for those of you who don't know, the Canton Fair is the biggest import export exhibition in the world. There's over 26, 000, late Chinese exhibitors there, it's kind of like alibaba. com, in an exhibition center, you should have got all the suppliers there under one roof and that's really cool because if you haven't decided yet, who's to be your manufacturer, you can go and literally go and talk and interview all the manufacturers like in one day for one product, you won't just see them all. And the cool thing is you can actually touch and feel the products in front of you and ask them the questions you want, like right there and then because imagine like, first we have to select their manufacturers. And then we have to organize the samples, we have to send them over and then we have to give our comments, write them down and make our changes, send it back, they remake it, send it back. So like you cut out so much time just by being able to go over to the fair, and once I go to the fair, and I select these are the factories I like to work with, then I'll go and visit their factory after the fair as well, because you almost you want to validate as well that the person that you're about to do business with, you want to see their operation and stuff like that. But generally any factory, which attends to Canton Fair is a very top factory, like Alibaba has had a bit of like difficulty sometimes because sometimes there can be like scammy suppliers on the platform. But there's also very good suppliers on there as well. You just kind of have to filter out who are the good ones and who are the bad ones, but generally don't get bad suppliers at the Canton Fair, because... And suppliers who attend the Canton Fair don't tend to list of products on Alibaba, because they're so busy, because their production lines are always full, because they're such a great supplier. And if you list your products on alibaba.com, well it's like your listing it's because your factory isn't so busy and you need orders. Why are you not busy? Because maybe you're not a good factory. But that whole concept is gone out the window, because now all the factories need to be online, because if you're not online, you're not getting orders right now. And that's why the filtering process of suppliers on Alibaba is super important at the moment. And actually, the first YouTube video I ever posted was on my sort of like step by step method of how to find the best suppliers on Alibaba. And that kind of just sort of keeps me right and that channel just got sourcing with Kian if anyone wants to check that out, but yeah, I think for anyone who's considering going to China, definitely go around the Canton Fair, and then go and visit your manufacturer.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. So with that being said, What are your suggestions? How are people like filtering out good, common practice, factories or how are you finding like ones that are legitimate to work with in that capacity? Because everyone's always asking how do I legitimize this person, it might be good. They might have a good price but if I go off of Alibaba, there's always that fear of, I might just not get my products, like that's a legitimate fear for people. How does that... How do you calm those like nerves or how do you go about like making sure and not guaranteeing, but like going over every single step to make sure that you are working with legitimate entities?
Kian Golzari: Sure, sure. And that's great question. So first of all, the purpose of Alibaba for me, is to find the best supplier not get the best price. And I think the first big common mistake that people make is they type in the product that they're looking for, let's say it's blue light blocking glasses. And as soon as you type that into Alibaba it will come up with loads of different products, it would be 1000s of them. I think I even looked at this last night, it was over 13,000 results. And all the glasses look the same so it's so hard to decide, which ones actually do good quality here. And the prices range from like 50 cents to$ 25. You just see like$ 3$ 7$ 9$ 2 and you're like, these prices are all over the place, where do I even start here. So the first thing I do is, when you type in the search bar of what you're looking for, I changed the search from products to suppliers. And then that changes the list in terms of writing these role of suppliers making this product. And then we switch from products to suppliers, you get about like, I don't know 900 suppliers that show up but that's still far too many. We want to get that 900 like way down. So the first thing I do is select, I check the box that says trade assurance, and that trade assurance just means that your payment is protected. If you've said you want to order one thing and something else arrives then Alibaba will refund your payment for that order and that's that trade assurance protection. And then the next box I would tick is verified and verify just means that the factory are who they say they are. So if on their Alibaba listing, they have 250 employees that they have 50 sewing machines, like a third party has gone in and verified that, that information is correct. And then they get a verified check mark, so clicking trade assurance and verified are the first two things that I would do. And then that would bring your search volume way down. And then on the left side of the screen, it allows you to click the markets that, that supplier mainly exports to. So I always like to select North America and Western Europe, because the standards that we have in Europe and America they must pass these regulations, they must have these types of certificates. And the supplier now understands what products need to, how they need to be manufactured for your market. But if you're buying from a supplier, which only supplies into the South American market, or only supplies to African market, well they don't have the same standards that we have in the US. So that's where quality problems may occur and then once I've like populated that list, which will bring it down to like maybe 100 or 80 different suppliers, I will now scroll down the list. And I want to look at the factories which have been on Alibaba for more than five years. Because any factory which has been on Alibaba maybe like one two or three years, I feel that they've kind of just jumped on the platform recently, in order to benefit from all the stuff which is going on in ecommerce because Amazon and it's really boomed in the last sort of four or five years. And if that supplier is just new on the platform, that they're just going to kind of benefit from those online sales and probably a middleman or a trading company or a sourcing agent or something like that. So if you want to work directly with the best factories, can I select the ones which are over five years. And then finally after that, as you scroll down the list, every region in China specializes in a product. So for example, if you're into electronics, chances are it's made in Shenzhen, if you're into backpacks chances are it's made inaudible, if you're into like accessories and plastics and stuff like that is made in the Jiujiang province. So yeah, and I just know that like from spending as much time there but when you scroll down that list through Alibaba, the first name or the first word that comes up in the company name is always the city or province, which that company was formed. So because we're looking at glasses here, I want to see which city name comes up the most frequently. And as it happens, if you check it out, if you're behind your computer, or if you're listening to this on a podcast, it's going to come up as one called Wenzhou. And so now I'm looking at all the factories which have been online for more than five years and Wenzhou is a first name, and you can actually just do that control and find on your keyboard type in Wenzhou or the city that comes up most frequently. And it will filter out all the factories which are based in that city. So this way, we found the factories, which we get payment protection, the factories are verified, they have all the right certificates because they supply the same markets that we do, they've been in business for more than five years and they're in the area which specializes in that product. And then to finally sort of put the exclamation point on it, you click on their company profile, and you hover your mouse over products. And you want to make sure that the products that they're also doing, they are specialists in glasses. So when you hover over products, you'll see reading glasses, kids glasses, ski goggles, blue light blocking glasses, all that sort of stuff. But if you hover your mouse over products, and you see an iPhone cable, fidget spinner, winter gloves, then you just know that they're into hot products, and you're not a specialist in that product. So that kind of gives you that final validation at our top supplier for that particular product. And I've got a video like explaining that whole process but that's the way I do it and I just feel that, that's so important that it's so important to source products in the right way, especially at this time where we have to do it online. And if you don't have a process like that, and you're just typing products in and you find the cheapest, then you're going to have the negative consequences that come with that, you might think, " Well, I'm getting a great price for this product." But you're going to have a hell of a lot of returns to deal with or negative reviews to deal with because the product is going to be junk but at least this way we validated who were the top suppliers. And once we validated who are the top suppliers, then we can start to negotiate. Like I've never once mentioned anything about price, but we've noticed that these are the best suppliers. This is who we want to work with. And then we open up the conversation to say, " Hey, this is a product that we're interested in, can you send me a full specification sheet," or you can send them your designs, and then you want to send that to multiple suppliers at least like at four or five, because then you have like a knowledge of the market price for that particular product. And you'll get your prices back and it'll be$ 4. 60, $4. 80, $4. 70, $ 5. And, you know that's the price point for that item based on the specification you provided. But if you see a price, which is like$ 3, it's too good to be true. And if you see a price which is$ 8 and you know they're adding on a crazy margin, but you know that because you've educated yourself on what is the market price for that product from the best suppliers. But without doing that initial research, you have no frame of reference of where to negotiate or how much you can negotiate because you don't know what is the correct price for that product. So that's such a critical and key aspect of finding the right supplier then getting the specification sheets, then being able to negotiate the price. And then just, and this is a way that you gain the suppliers respect as well. Because when you talk like this, and then when you highlight to them, I want to work with your factory because you have these certificates, you supply this market, you've been in business for this long, they're like, " Oh, this buyer understands like the good qualities of good factories, that's a customer that I want to work with." And you've gained their respect now as well. And this is something that even beginners can apply as well because if you're doing your first order, and you only want to do like 300 pieces of something, well if you highlight all this strengths in that factory, even if your first order's only 300 pieces, they're like, " Well, let me just get through this trial order of 300 pieces to make sure everything goes smooth, but I'm sure there's going to be bigger orders like down the line, because this customer really knows what they're talking about." And compare that to an Amazon buyer who just clicks on a factory listing just says, " Hey, what's your best price? What's your MOQ and can I get customized packaging?" They get messages like that all the time and that's how courses have kind of trained people to reach out to suppliers. And they're like fed up with those messages but if they get a nice customized detailed approach, highlighting their strengths, they're like, " Okay, that's the customer I want to work with." And then you get the right service from day one.
Ryan Cramer: That's the most in depth I've ever talked. Anyone's ever gone through like, this is how you can detail and how to stand out. This is how we stand out from a crowd. And this is how you get their best foot forward. And this is how you get the people who want to work with you and put together quality products, that was awesome, I was just like, in my notes or in my head, I'm just taking notes. I'm like, " This all makes complete sense to me." Everyone else has also mentioned this too so we have a stream of someone wants to say hello, Kian you didn't remember sharing Evan, Kian you didn't even tell me you're on today, my best friend in the industry and had no idea is dropping bombs here today. So of course, Sharon of course and then of course me. We had a couple of people so thinks we're watching Sharon and hello, all the way in Israel. We hope you're doing well. Check out Sharon's show too she's on Cellar Sessions on Thursday. So definitely check her out. She's dropping bombs there as well. But we had someone actually mentioned in the wife and I went through that same problem, I'm assuming I'm not even going to try to pronounce the name but I'm assuming the problem comes with negotiating price point and then just trying to find either price points all over the place. And then just trying to find that customized order sheet for people, if they're just like, yeah, this is our standard template that we're going to give customers who come at us, but then if someone comes up with a customized sheet, like Kian just mentioned, they're going to be more apt to ebb and flow and work with you as a customer in terms of like specifics that you need with your product. I didn't know that about each industry or each factory, it starts with either the province, but then also that each province has a different specialization. Like is there... How many different ones would you say that there are out there? Is it for not being from like, have never been to China, I don't know all the different like location, you say like this is great for textiles. This is great for electronics, how many different like categories would you list that out?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, there's loads because there's metal, there's machinery, there's automotive industry. There's so many different areas which specialize in different things. And you're not expected to know that but the way that you find out is like through the search process, and like outlining who are the top manufacturers and then just scrolling down the list. And then you'll see that one area comes up like most commonly. And that's not to say that there's only one area in China that specializes in this. But if you're into making, I don't know something very basic like t- shirts, t- shirt factories are not going to be all over China like it's just going to be in a couple of different provinces. And generally the province which specializes in a certain product tends to be on their proximity to the raw materials of that product. And also like their proximity to the port as well. And traditionally, when I went to China the first time all the major factories were just on the coasts, on the east coast of China, and because when it would be right at the ports so that they can export a product but all these ports that he's started to develop in the big cities like Shanghai and all that they kind of lost their manufacturing, because the cost of labor just got too high. And the factories just started to go more and more and more inland because it's so interesting like seeing this growth in China and seeing this growth in the middle class because you have these people which have now developed a disposable income as the Chinese market grew, and as a result they start to desire a lot more Western goods. So from when I was there in like 2010, every time I would go back, I would see like Starbucks, KFCs, pizza huts, nightclubs, bars, local restaurants, all that stuff just popping up. And then imagine like, okay, the young workforce, which you used to go work in a factory would now be like, " Why would I work in a factory when I can work in a Starbucks and play on my phone and have a much better inaudible."
Ryan Cramer: Specifically just to play on their phone?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, working in the factory is really hard work and then when you work long hours, long days, and then you tend to stay in that region the whole year, and you go home for Chinese New Year. So compare that to just like being a barista, I would much rather be a barista rather working my ass off.
Ryan Cramer: If it's going to save some time and effort in a long day's work, yeah, a lot of people do go like almost the easy route. And that's why blue collar jobs aren't as common anymore, but they're necessary, but I can see where you're coming from, younger generations would rather just go to westernized companies like that. So that makes complete sense to me.
Kian Golzari: And then-
Ryan Cramer: Go ahead.
Kian Golzari: ...result that meant all the factories moved more and more inland. So before you would kind of like before, when first I went to China would get off the plane to get to the cities, and then you just go to the factory, then go to this nice five star hotel, and they're not too far away. But now you get like the four- hour train inland, you go to the rural areas, and then you're working really, really far away expensive but there's beauty in that as well, like, it's a completely different lifestyle, probably different culture, different people. But it's just you have to know, and you have to adapt with the times as well and you can see that it's an aging workforce. And their... You know someone who works in a factory actually gets paid double what someone in Starbucks would get paid. Because like, it's hard working, people don't want to do that work either. And that's why like, labor costs keep increasing, and factories keep moving more and more inland, and they move to different provinces. So that list of the cities and the provinces, which specialize in different products, it's quite an organic list as well, because it's growing and developing and changing as China develops and grows and changes as well. But going through that search process just allows you to keep an eye on that.
Ryan Cramer: That's awesome. Before we get to more questions that are coming in, what about paying your supplier. I know it's common practice, there's one or two ways you can either pay in USD, which can be expensive and that's what PingPong always touts is, it's convenient for people because they don't have access to RMB or CNY. If you do is that a common practice in terms of paying in local currency, or is that our best way to save more costs in terms of, because what I always tell people is manufacturers and suppliers are always going to pass on that conversion rate to you and your invoice. And that's always an unforeseen cost that people just don't understand that it's there. But that's what we're always trying to educate people is if you have that ability to do it, they're not going to pass on the tier of our percent conversion rate from either USD or whatever currency. Do you try to always send in local currency to them to save costs?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, actually, Ryan it's so interesting you bring that up, because right now, we're actually getting hit pretty hard with that, because RMB has really strengthened against the dollar and main reasons for that is because China's economy recovered way faster than everyone else's during the whole virus period. But as a result, that means that Chinese suppliers are making less money every time we pay them. Because if you paid your supplier$ 50,000 for a PO, six months ago, and then you pay them$50, 000 today, they're getting a lesser rate today. So therefore, they're making less money when they exchange those dollars into RMB. And I've seen it with our suppliers, we've had price increases of between like five to 8% in the last few months, because of the exchange rate alone. And I use a website called xe. com to track the exchange rate, and you see it like historically. And you can graph it like from several different months, like from I don't know, when you first start paying your supplier, whether that was like 2015, 2018. An the thing is same happens in reverse as well. And it's sometimes the dollar strengthens against the RMB and they actually receive more money when the dollar gets stronger when they make that conversion, but they never tell you, " Hey, I've made more money on your order so here's like a discount back." So because of that exchange rate now benefiting them, I always just if they tried to put the prices up, I just say, " Hey, by the way in 2018, the same happened in reverse, the dollar actually strengthened against RMB and you actually received, the currency increased like by seven or 8% then and I never asked for a discount of you. So I think it's only fair that we also add don't change any of the prices now as well." And if you show that you know that stuff and you show that you understand about exchange rates, then they're less likely to mess with you. But if they just put the price up and say here, the exchange rate, this is what's happened then you're kind of stuck because a lot of suppliers are actually saying it. And you know another thing I would say about that if you are facing increased prices because of the exchange rate, something that suppliers know really well is that the freight costs have gone up a lot as well. And like the cost of shipping has increased so much and I was just saying to the suppliers, " Look, a container used to cost me$3, 000, but now it's costing me like$9, 000. And because of that, I've now got this massive cost increase, which I have to pay in order to ship my goods to then sell those items. And then as a result, you're going to get more orders, because I've shipped those goods." But if I didn't want to pay that cost increase on freight, and I didn't want to ship these goods, then I'm not going to make any sales and you're not going to as a result, you're not going to get more orders. So I'll cover the freight cost increase and your cover the exchange rate increase or let's split the increase in freight costs 50/ 50. So if it's gone up from 3000 to $9, 000, the increase was$6, 000, let's split that$ 6, 000 like 50/50. And we'll both pay for getting these goods over here. So that's just a couple of things I do and aside from that, as well in terms of being the supplier in local currency, I tend not to do that, I tend to just pay my supplier in US dollars and that's it, because I don't want to get involved in sort of booking like RMB at a certain rate, because then you're becoming essentially like a Forex trader and to me, that's like a separate business. And I don't necessarily have enough time to constantly study and monitor the exchange rate and decide, when it's a good time to buy RMB, when is a good time to sell it? How much should I be holding? But you can give good like forecasts in terms of consider how much are you actually going to be paying for your orders over the next like three months? How many suppliers have you got, how many orders will you be putting out? And then what total US dollar will that be? Will that be like$ 50,000, that be$ 100,000, would that'd be a million dollars. And then you might decide I've got a million dollars worth of purchases I need to make in the next like three months. Let me go and buy that in RMB right now, because the rate is really good. And then you can kind of like secure your pricing and secure any sort of transactional costs at that price that you're happy with. I don't tend to do that. But I know that some people do. And-
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Sorry. Go ahead.
Kian Golzari: And then finally, one thing I've had success with as well is that I know a lot of Chinese factory bosses like to keep money outside of China as well, because some of them are quite fearful and scared of the government that what happens if one day the government shut the company down, and they basically lost everything. So they like to keep money outside of China as well so a lot of them have Hong Kong bank accounts where they keep US dollars. So whenever they asked me, " Hey, the prices have gone up because of the exchange rate?" I just say, " Look, how about I just pay you in US dollars and do you have a Hong Kong bank account that I could just pay into there." And that's big factory bosses tend to have a Hong Kong account as well and sometimes they accept that.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely, yeah. And if you're looking for a solution, obviously, in terms of like real time, if instead monitoring mid market rates are the way to go, no there's other competitors of ours out there that do the same thing. But in terms of like FX rates to save money, even just not paying from your bank account, or your foreign exchange rates in terms of like international exchange fees, or your wire fees, making sure that you go with a company like obviously, with the payment service provider, like PingPong, I'll give a plug with us and make sure that your fees are either covered if that is the way you can do because in real time, you can see what the rate is going to be. I'll make sure I drop in xe. com, to make sure that you guys can check out just and monitor what the currency is. Because even if you're not using... Even with receiving funds, I'm not sure if you're selling... You're not selling on Amazon are you? You are currently right?
Kian Golzari: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: So like receiving funds too when you're getting those conversion fees or rates back, obviously, that's where like this fees and exchange rates either within Amazon, you can get dinged or to your bank you can get dinged. So no matter which way you're sending money internationally, always make sure that you know that where the value is in terms of like, a strength of one currency versus another that's where negotiation can happen. That's where you can save money, but also, that's where you can also lose money. So like you said, I think to a good point is make sure that you're knowledgeable in the situation. If you want to have control over money, make sure you check out those solutions as well. So I'll put that in there. A couple questions Kian for if you're okay with that, we had someone from YouTube asked a question, is India on your radar for cross border ecommerce sourcing? And that can maybe tee this up for you for a sports term. India's very big topic in terms of sourcing in terms of like not competing with China, but sourcing in general is becoming really important for the India economy. And a lot of people are starting to look at that as a opportunity to maybe instead of China using India as a sourcing country is that something that you've looked into as well?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, for sure. And I do buy from India and Pakistan, currently because every country is exchanged for different items, the same way we talked about different areas and China specialize in different products. Well, it's the same in like India and Pakistan, they're really strong for cotton material. They're very strong for canvas material. They're very strong for leather material. They're very strong for like wooden handcraft products. So depending on I wouldn't say we can take any product and we can also buy it from India, I would kind of look to see all right, well what products does India specialize in? And a really good thing you can do in for any country, not even just India, if you want to see like what countries specialize in what products, you can go into Alibaba, and in the products, just type in search the product that you're looking for. And on the left side of the page, Alibaba is now starting to show products from a lot of different countries, even USA. And so like for example, if you type in leather biker jacket for men into Alibaba, on the left- hand side is going to bring up all the different countries which have got listings for those products. And actually, I was looking at this the other day, in the last YouTube video that I made that I showed this example. And leather biker jacket for men had like 2900 results from Pakistan, but had like 900 results from China. So there's actually way more suppliers in Pakistan. So you might not know what country specializes in the product that you're looking for. But after you type it into Alibaba, it will show you. And there's another good website called indiamarked. com. And that's kind of like the Indian Alibaba is nowhere near as good but it is just a website and a platform that allows you to see Indian products and chat to Indian suppliers. And finally, one other thing I would say about India is that depending on what country you're importing into, India might be more advantageous. So for when I first started out, a lot of the products that I was doing was just getting imported into the UK only. But India and UK are both part of the Commonwealth. So there's 0% duty on anything imported from India into the UK, so I was buying like cotton t- shirts from India, and it's similar priced in China, but the ones in China had 12% duty and the ones in India had 0% duty. So just immediately, you're saving 12% just on the duty alone and Australia is part of the Commonwealth as well. So you might see depending on where you're importing into different, buying from different countries might actually work in your favor, the same way like importing from Mexico into the USA will be more advantageous than sourcing from China or India or anywhere like that. So kind of just understand what diplomatic ties your country has as well.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. That's great stuff. And I put India more in the comment section as well as xe. com for people who want to look and use those resources as well in the show notes, go and check those out as well. Another question I came in, I'm looking for getting an ice cream trailer for my Italia icy business, any tips or advice? That's a big, that's a big product, correct? An ice cream trailer?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, an ice cream trailer I mean that's obviously going to be a massive product and I'm assuming that you just want to buy one, rather than like mass produce it. And the good thing is when it is like a big item like that, and when it is an expensive item like that, the factories tend to allow it to do one item or five items or something like that. And so I don't think minimum order quantity will be an issue for you, if you were like I want to buy like one leather jacket, then that would be a problem. But if it's just one ice cream trailer, I'm sure that'd be fine but the thing I would consider with that is that you have to cross reference the price of shipping and importing that product versus just buying one in your own market as well. Because sometimes the importation and the logistics of that product might be more expensive than the product itself, versus just sort of sourcing it in your home country. But I would just use the exact same methods, as we talked about before going through the process on Alibaba typing it in, because you'll definitely find the best suppliers online for it. You can also use import records of other brands. So if there's a ice cream trailer brand that you know of that you like, you can type that into a website called importyeti. com. And there's another website called panjiva. com, which is P- A- N- J- I- V- A.com. And any importation, any sort of shipping documents is public information in the US. So any ice cream trailers which have been imported into the US, the factory names will be listed there. So if you know the name of the brand which imported it you can take their brand name in and it'll show their shipping documents and shipping documents will have the factory name on it. So that way you can just get direct to the manufacturer which made that item before so yeah I would use the import record websites, I would look at the same process on Alibaba. I would also cross reference to seeing if you can buy it domestically because it might be cheaper than messing around with all the import costs for such a big and heavy item.
Ryan Cramer: That's a big and heavy item. So yeah, make sure you check that out, Import Yeti I put the link as well in there in the show notes. One more question, I guess thanks for watching Izzy. I love these podcasts. I appreciate that, do products from India generally arrive by boat or air? That's good question.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, both it really depends on you like how big your order is if you're shipping by container, then it's going to come by sea. But if it's just like a small item, it will come by courier, by air, it's really up to you. And again, it's a costing exercise, you can decide, if it's less than a few cubic meters, I'll just send it by air. But if it's anything over five, six cubic meters is better to go by sea, because it's going to be very expensive to send all of that by air. Freight prices, so it's kind of discussed a little bit earlier are through the roof at the moment and that's affecting the whole world, not just China. So you might find that your sea freight prices will be very high at the moment. So if you wanted, you might want to hold off if you're not desperate for the stock, maybe ship it in like April, May, June, and the costs will come like way down but air prices, it's been pretty stable.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, absolutely. Great question. Izzy thanks for watching and listening to us. And I know I typically capped out at this, but I know we just have so many more questions I want to cover before this. So again, if you're okay-
Kian Golzari: Sure.
Ryan Cramer: ... we'llwe keep sure keep on going and tracking along and answering questions. I specifically want to cover sourcing agents and working with those. So in terms of how if at what point do you want to work with a sourcing agent especially with pricing going on high prices, sourcing products? What is the best way to either engage with a sourcing agent? And then on top of that what is the best way to make sure you're working with the right one?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, great question and I think before deciding whether you do or don't want to work with a sourcing agent, you have to understand is sourcing aspects of the business something that you enjoy, or is it something that you want to basically outsource? Personally for me, I feel that the sourcing aspect is the most important aspect of the business. And even if you don't like doing it, it's something you should understand as well, because you really want to understand what is the true cost of this item, you want to get to know the person that you're doing business with, as in your factory. You want to know where your goods are being made. And you also want to go pick up the phone and speak to that factory boss if there's ever any issue with the products. But then if you're like, " Hey, sourcing is not for me, I just want to outsource this, then just bear in mind, the pros and cons," and disadvantages of using a sourcing agent is that you kind of lose that factory relationship and communication, I would only work with a sourcing agent which allows you to have a relationship with the factory boss, even if you are buying through a sourcing agent. And then the biggest disadvantage, I would say is what happens if the sourcing agent goes missing? Like what happens if one day they're like, quit their job, they don't want to do anymore, what happens if they go on holiday, they get married, they have kids, whatever, or what happens if they get hit by a bus. And you can't speak to them anymore and then you're like, "Well, where are my products being made," you're not going to find out. So it's very, very important that if you're going to work for a sourcing agent work with a sourcing company, that if one person goes missing, that someone else will step in and they have your company information. And then the other sort of thing I'd be mindful of if you work for a sourcing agent is that if you don't have access to your factory, that sourcing agent is going to work with the factory which incentivizes them the most. What happens if a factory says, " All right, I'm going to give you like 5% of this order if you bring that order to me." And then a sourcing agent can actually switch your factory without you ever knowing based on the factory which is going to pay that agent the most for bringing them that order. So it's just things like that I don't like that it goes on behind the scenes and you never quite have that full visibility, but there are sourcing agents which gives you sort of full transparency as well and those are definitely the ones that I'd recommend working with and I'm actually working on a pretty big project at the moment where I've not really revealed it yet but i will be soon but I'm building something pretty special to cater to the size of the market so definitely stay tuned and I'm going to be releasing some more info about this shortly.
Ryan Cramer: Let us know when we can do that and then we'll certainly help out this product in terms of releasing that. God what a tease Kian, gosh crosstalk I thought you were going to drop some big bombs right now for this but stay tuned.
Kian Golzari: What I'll do is as soon as that's ready we'll jump on with another episode and I'll explain all about that.
Ryan Cramer: Let's do it and I'll make sure I let Sharon and Evan know. She's always getting on me, she's like, " When's Kian going to be on?" I meant to tell her, but no. We'll definitely do that, we'll either record it or make sure that we get on and we talk about that project because there's a lot of cool projects out, PingPong is actually really cool and a part of you actually are part of neuro correct? Are you part of that project over there with Mina and Samara by chance?
Kian Golzari: No I'm not actually so I've crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: I thought they were talking with you about that?
Kian Golzari: No, no, no I'm helping them out with crosstalk product and I recorded a YouTube episode with Samara as well. It's not been released yet and Mina and I chat a little bit as well but no they're great guys.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I was going to say I swear you are a part of that project. That's my fault but yeah, that's another cool project that we're a part of in terms of like sourcing and really just bringing a product to life on Amazon. Another thing that's going on right now, obviously, it's kind of passed right now. And if you have a plane for the Chinese New Year, it's still somewhat, I say lingering. It's an event that it's almost like shut down for an entire month or so is that... Maybe you can talk about how do you plan for Chinese New Year? Because it's almost like Christmas or Quay Four shut down for inaudible United States? How do you plan for Chinese New Year, if you're an Amazon seller, and you're sourcing from China?
Kian Golzari: Yes, it's a really important time of year, because essentially that's when the factories tend to shut down for about a month, I mean, the office workers will go off work for like maybe a week or 10 days, so that's not too long but the factory workers actually during Chinese New year's biggest people migration in the world, there's over 100 million people that travel over the new year period and in that time, it's just no goods getting made. And why it's an important time to pay attention to is that whenever I've had any quality issues with products in China, and it's not happened very often, but when it does happen, it always tends to be around Chinese New Year. And that's because the workers who are doing these orders are trying to finish them quickly, so that they can get home for Chinese New Year. And they kind of make your orders in a rush in that time. And similarly, when workers come back after Chinese New Year as well, it's not always the same workers that come back to the same factory, they might go to another town for another product, because that factory is offering them better living conditions, better pay or anything like that or maybe it's closer to home or something like that. So there's like a retraining time in that when workers come back after Chinese New Year if you've never made a backpack before but you are now in a backpack factory is going to take a little bit of time for you to understand this product and to learn how the fabrics are cut and sewn and all that and put together and stuff like that. So I always allow a bit of time before placing orders. And for that reason, you kind of want to be able to place a forecast order at the start of the year to avoid that pre- Chinese New Year and post- Chinese New Year periods. And as well, as we sort of discussed the shipping prices are extremely high during the Chinese New Year period, like right before and right after. So again, it's a time I like to avoid. But the Chinese New Year is actually like a lunar holiday. So this year was the 12th of February five days ago. Last year, it was January 25th. So the day is not the same like for us, it's New Year's Eve, December 31st. It's not the same day every year in China. And every year has got different animal and there's 12 years, 12 different animals, and this year is the year of the ox. So one thing I would recommend is definitely wishing all your suppliers a Happy Chinese New Year, it's their most important holiday of the year. And you can literally go into Google and type in Happy Chinese New Year, year of the ox and just grab an image and then save that image and just write your factory's name on top of it. Write your own company name say everyone at you know KG Enterprises wishes everyone Shanghai Trading and Co Happy Chinese New Year, year of the ox and then you just have this image as well and that's quite a special touch. Definitely recommend you sending that by WeChat or by email. And then if you want, you can also send a gift as well if you like, but they tend to exchange red envelopes, which is cash. So crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah.
Kian Golzari: I'm also accepting red envelopes for anyone who's interested.
Ryan Cramer: I told my company, our international offices are in China and trying to send a random envelope to us via WeChat doesn't happen, it can't happen right now. So it's almost like they try and it doesn't work just because like banking or whatnot and through apps. So it's always a nice gesture. But yeah absolutely those are great tips in terms of like working with a supplier around this time of year. It's always like people question like, do they really shut down that long? Yeah, it's a very special holiday in time for a year where they take off spending with family, they travel. Just like people tell between Thanksgiving and New Year's it's almost like a relaxed time of year not much productivities going on. But just make sure you plan for that every year, make sure you know that calendar, are you right now where you're talking about with our creative yesterday on our show, like they're already planning for Q4 and doing Christmas promos and stuff like that. We'll do the same thing and know your logistics and shipping calendars and kind of work that out, or do you have any like easy steps or like guides for people? Maybe this is on your YouTube page that are just starting out in sourcing like quick wins for them that they can make sure that they're hitting all their checkmarks for their business.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, for sure. So, on my YouTube channel, I've got a video for every topic I've got a video on like the pros and cons of working with sourcing agents. I've got a video on how to arrange for a sample, you know what type of wording to put on the documentation to make sure you don't pay any import duty, the stages of different samples. I've got a video on software tools for sourcing, I sort of breakdown the advantages of using those and how to use them. I've got a video on how to get a little MOQ, your low minimum order quantity for your first order. I've got an online video of how to navigate the online CAT on fare for when that comes around. So kind of like every step in the journey, every step in the process, and I've got a video on it. And the one that I'm working on right now is quite special. Actually, it's the first time I've done this. I'm making a video on how to source products from the USA because yeah crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: We're so special look at us.
Kian Golzari: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: People forget about that, you can source lots of great products from the United States, but it's only specific ones. I'm assuming that's what you're going to talk about.
Kian Golzari: I kind of feel that majority products come from China, but anything that comes from the USA is either something that you put on your skin, or you put in your mouth, and if any skincare any cosmetics or any food products, some like I want to figure this out for myself. So I kind of like went through my way of how I would find US suppliers, how to communicate with them, how I would find them, how to negotiate with them because it was a little bit different. It was the pros and cons of dealing with USA versus China and I'm like, I'll do this while it's Chinese New Year. Well, I've got a bit of free time with the Chinese suppliers. Now I can do this with the US suppliers and I've kind of like documented that process. So I'm making a step by step guide of how to switch from USA as well.
Ryan Cramer: That's awesome. And then is there almost like an Alibaba, is there a great resource that you go to or have found through that process or is that coming soon?
Kian Golzari: That's definitely a teaser. Yeah, you'll have to watch a video inaudible.
Ryan Cramer: Kian you're killing me, man. No, I'm just kidding. That's awesome. Yeah, that's always something I've always wondered too, because United States have so many different factories too. And I know they're starting to come back in terms of like local sourcing, but putting on your face or putting in your mouth that's not the most exciting tagline to-
Kian Golzari: You actually get a thumbnail for the video actually.
Ryan Cramer: United States, we're good at things that you put on your face or mouth. Oh, God, that way, we get a lot of different like censorship's and all this other fun stuff I'm sure.
Kian Golzari: Your channel would get banned on YouTube.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I was going to say YouTube may not allow you to release that on their channel. So here we are. I know just one more thing before we wrap up our show today. For all these different things, you're obviously learning yourself what other like educational forums are you kind of going through and you're either sharing with people or you're learning yourself in terms of sourcing from different countries? Is there a way that you yourself or where are you learning kind of been up- to-date on everything?
Kian Golzari: To be honest, I always just learned by doing and I was always just sourcing in person in China and for me, like online sourcing is something I've just had to master in the last year because I didn't have a choice. So I'm like, " Okay, if I'm going to be sourcing from Alibaba, let me figure out how to do it in the best way." And kind of like that step by step process, which we talked about. I just figured that out, if I'm buying online, this is how I'm going to do it. And then after I learned that myself, I'm like, " Now, let me put it in a presentable, inaudible format for other people to learn from as well." So everything I do, I just kind of learn it by doing and just kind of use my experience from what I've learned from Chinese manufacturers, and to really utilize what they value and sort of plug that into this process as well.
Ryan Cramer: That's awesome. And in that course that you're doing, you don't do a course or anything like that. It's all free information that you're just giving people obviously, you're selling on inaudible you're crushing in other ways. So you're trying to get that information out to people. That's awesome. And a couple more comments that came through real quick. Kian has great videos, I'm glad I found you. And then Ryan through Gary Wong, seven- figure sellers summit. Yeah, thanks Izzy I appreciate that. I was just on Gary Wong's seven- figure seller summit, We're a sponsor Kian, I know you mentioned this, we're on the billion dollar seller summit as well with Kevin King. So I know we're supposed to be a part of that. I know you're a part of that event, I believe correct that's coming up.
Kian Golzari: I was at the last two events-
Ryan Cramer: You were at the last two.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, I'm not sure if Kevin will bring it back because he likes to bring new speakers. But Kevin if you're listening, bring me back, man.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, Kevin if you're watching or listening to our podcast let's make sure Kian represents again as well. So there's all these interesting digital events. Do you ever think like, do you think 2021 will have in person events again, just in your own opinion?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, for sure. I'm actually going to one next week in-
Ryan Cramer: You're in Dubai. Come on, man like the rest of the world doesn't crosstalk.
Kian Golzari: I'm flying to Cancun next week.
Ryan Cramer: Sorry.
Kian Golzari: Our network have got an event there organized by my good friends down in Athena. So we've got a meet up there for all the members. So we're just going to go over there, I'm going to make a presentation on product development, which I've been working on. At the moment it's going to be super exciting. So it's already happening. I think the Canton Fair will be back not for the April one but for the October one.
Ryan Cramer: We need to have Dena and Athena on. Athena is super busy. She's doing Branded by Women right now but she's always doing something. I've only talked to them once but we need to get them on and just have like a tight network like mastermind group because they have so much content to share with people. So you need to put a bug in the air to make sure that we get them on our show.
Kian Golzari: We're amazing. I was with Dan today but he's actually flying out to Mexico tonight. So when I'm with him next week, I'll give him a shout. And I'll crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Slightly put this video into his direct messages and we'll make sure hey, listen to the very end and then obviously, Scott referred to our video series of the United States suppliers of think of the click through rate. That's very true Scott, I think the click through rate would be phenomenal for a title like that. Hey Kian I know you got a bounce. Thank you for spending just even this little extra couple of minutes with us today. For people who have questions or want to learn more information? What are the best ways to really get in touch with you or I don't think you work with people. But just like how do you like, get your knowledge to them in terms of they have questions about sourcing?
Kian Golzari: Yeah, sure. If anyone's interested to learn more about sourcing stuff, definitely YouTube is the best way to connect with me. I've got a channel called Sourcing with Kian and I've got a Facebook group of the same name. And it's got over like 4500 members. And there anyone who's got any questions about sourcing, you can just sort of post it in the group, and either myself or the community will answer the questions. But yeah, Ryan as you mentioned, my youtube channel is at like 4900, and something crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: We'll get it there.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, we can get over 5000. So if anyone's listening, I would greatly appreciate the old subscribe button. But yeah, I'm also on Instagram, kian_JG where I'm a little bit more social there, on LinkedIn as well. I do one on one coaching that's something that Sharon got me into. So if you want to work with me on a one to one basis, I do have a calendly link, which is just calendly.com/sourcingwithkian. And then yeah, and I got a special project that we talked about, which I'm going to come back on the show to discuss as well, but that's going to revolutionize the sourcing game as we know it.
Ryan Cramer: This is big hype. I am so excited, you have to message me what this is offline, I have to know now and I owe you a yeti. Don't worry I haven't forgotten about that.
Kian Golzari: Yeah, yeah.
Ryan Cramer: So get freaky, and he left his back in Scotland that had PingPong on it. So we're going to make sure we hook them up some way shape or form with that, because this got distributed as gifts this year and they're making their ways around to people. So yeah, we'll make sure we hook you up with that. But hey, thanks man for hopping on. This is fantastic in terms of education in general, there's so much more we can go into, obviously, like low MOQ's, and how do you get that with agents, but you're a busy guy, check out his YouTube page everyone to make sure that you are keeping up to date with the top sourcing practices because I know you've been around doing Alibaba stuff with Helium 10. They're doing all that functionality stuff. So there's also awesome content coming from that as well. So to stay up to date, follow him on social media on Instagram, and then on LinkedIn as well. So Kian, thanks so much, man for hopping on today.
Kian Golzari: Thanks for having me Ryan, absolute pleasure and I look forward to chatting to you again soon. All the best.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Thanks man. And then for everyone else who's on listening to us again live. Thanks for joining us on another episode of Crossover Commerce. Again, we go live almost every single day, I'm going live six times this week. I'm still kind of a little crazy to do this with everyone who's coming up. But I do it for you to drop knowledge like we did with Kian today to make sure that you have all the information necessary to take your business to the next level. Actually, tomorrow, we're going to be talking with Joe Valley of Quiet Light Brokerage, reverse engineering your business to an exit, I am super excited to be talking with him. Obviously, with aggregators and roll up companies, there's lots of ways to sell your business when you get to a point of exiting, we're going to talk about tips and tricks to do that. And then also on Friday, I have a two for one special Fred is going to be... It's typically laid back but on Friday we're doing a live roundtable event with the branded by women, that we have four speakers who are coming on who are going to be talking about their life in Amazon how they're crushing it. I have a lot of really awesome guests that we're just going to be picking their brains about just the different facets of Amazon that they represent. So stay tuned for that in the morning and then afternoon we're going to be talking with Andrew Morgan inaudible building an Amazon legacy as well. So definitely check us out later this week and then even next week, the guests keep piling up with star- studded content. I say stars because they're big players in the space with great success that they've been able to drive for their own business as well as others. So stay tuned. I'll make sure I make that announcement on Friday. So again, if you're listening to us live continue to subscribe to our channel on PingPong Payments or follow me on social media at Ryan Cramer on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook go and follow me there and then subscribe or follow us every single day, make sure you share this episode on social media channels so that Kian's message gets out to inaudible on community. Again, I'm Ryan Cramer with Crossover Commerce. Thanks for joining us again today on another episode. Stay safe and stay healthy everyone.
Ryan Cramer of PingPong Payments talked with Kian Golzari of Sourcing with Kian, about everything you need to know about product sourcing in 2021. They also talked about Chinese New Year, how to get low MOQ, working with Sourcing Agents and much more!
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