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Starting an import business
Old 11-17-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
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Starting an import business

My wife and I are currently in Thailand and are exploring the possibility of starting a business to export a set of crafts and goods from here back to the US. There are some locals here that could really benefit from an expanded market and create some jobs for some of the hill tribes.

I am curious if anyone here has experience starting a business to import goods into the US. We've been doing a lot of research, but would love to connect with people that have been through the process themselves.

Thank you for any responses, feedback, or suggestions.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:58 AM   #2
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I have never directly imported products, but through our retail business (former) we sold many products working directly with the actual importer. (They all seemed to be prematurely gray.)
Getting the goods here is one thing, establishing an effective retail/wholesale operation here is yet another challenge. Once you have done that the goods will need to speak for themselves regarding demand, quality, competition, and price points.
One other possibility would be to find a US wholesaler who handles related products. Perhaps you could export directly to that company saving you from the hassle of setting up your own US operation. Unless you have something really unusal, finding someone here should not be difficult - making the deal, slightly less difficult.
Lastly, there are plenty of books on this subject. As I recall there was even a Dummies book on the subject.
Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick View Post
I have never directly imported products, but through our retail business (former) we sold many products working directly with the actual importer. (They all seemed to be prematurely gray.)
Getting the goods here is one thing, establishing an effective retail/wholesale operation here is yet another challenge. Once you have done that the goods will need to speak for themselves regarding demand, quality, competition, and price points.
One other possibility would be to find a US wholesaler who handles related products. Perhaps you could export directly to that company saving you from the hassle of setting up your own US operation. Unless you have something really unusal, finding someone here should not be difficult - making the deal, slightly less difficult.
Lastly, there are plenty of books on this subject. As I recall there was even a Dummies book on the subject.
Good luck!
Thank you for the great advice. This is very helpful as we start to build out the business plan. Finding the right partners on the US side is certainly a major part of our business and our goal is to start small so we can find 1-2 partners we trust and test out the concepts.

Great idea about finding a wholesaler. I'm going to do more research on this over the next week and determine the alternatives and now will be throwing this into mix.

I appreciate the time and sage guidance.
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrentalbot View Post
My wife and I are currently in Thailand and are exploring the possibility of starting a business to export a set of crafts and goods from here back to the US. There are some locals here that could really benefit from an expanded market and create some jobs for some of the hill tribes.
I am curious if anyone here has experience starting a business to import goods into the US. We've been doing a lot of research, but would love to connect with people that have been through the process themselves.
Thank you for any responses, feedback, or suggestions.
You would think that with all the farangs they've seen over the years, the locals & hill tribes would have already figured out how to accomplish this.

If you haven't already, you should contact Billy & Akaisha Kaderli. They've been exploring Thailand for a couple decades and are more familiar with the local stories than I am.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrentalbot View Post
My wife and I are currently in Thailand and are exploring the possibility of starting a business to export a set of crafts and goods from here back to the US. There are some locals here that could really benefit from an expanded market and create some jobs for some of the hill tribes.

I am curious if anyone here has experience starting a business to import goods into the US. We've been doing a lot of research, but would love to connect with people that have been through the process themselves.

Thank you for any responses, feedback, or suggestions.
It may work great for you, but it sure does complicate retirement, in fact turning it into something very different, a small business. Not only that, every other couple with travel lust would like to do it too, and not a few immigrants into the US with good (family) connections in the home country. So competition can be fierce.

My neighborhood has a few of these retail outlets, some last a long time, others disappear quickly but I doubt that many of them furnish much of a living to the owner. Which is something of a problem for someone further up their supply chain.

Ha
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