IMPORTING VILLAGE TREASURES
ello and Welcome to Prosperity! Congratulations on taking the first step toward beginning a new life that will not only enrich you financially but will help others as well.
This book is all abut making money importing beautiful handcrafted products from all over the world and selling them to a hungry market. With all the money to be made you might think it’s complicated, but it isn’t when you know how, and we’re here to show you how. We take all of the guess work out of it! In this book we have provided step by step instructions on how to start making excellent money from your home. How to find these treasures, how and where to sell them, pricing, markups, payment processing, shipping, etc., and chapter after chapter of resources, marketing techniques, buyers & contacts. My name is Kathryn Powers and I have been quietly making great money selling imported handicrafts for 4 years. It took me some time to learn it, but I have finally figured it all out and present it here for you in this book in plain English. I have friends and ‘associates’ who are leading successful, fulfilling lives importing village treasures. I’ve interviewed many of them, and they’ve been kind enough to add their stories, advice, and helpful hints in these pages for you. You are now in a perfect position to start and operate your own businesss without the risk of doing it alone. By following the steps outlined in this book and using the resources provided, you can start a 2
business importing handicrafts that can be up and running almost immediately. If you have specific questions, we are available for consultation by phone. You’ll quickly receive the answers you need to get and keep your business flowing, on track and making money! Starting a new business can be daunting but that’s because most people go it alone and don’t know what’s involved. Here we help you every step of the way and detail exactly what to do and how to do it. Importing Village Treasures is so rewarding—not just for the money you’ll be making but for the artisans throughout the world whose products you’ll be selling. You’ll watch first-hand as your sales help provide housing, education, medicine, and, most of all, hope to people who would not otherwise have it. As a bonus, the customers who purchase your wonderful products will feel great because they not only get beautiful, unique handicrafts at bargain prices, but know that they are contributing to the livelihood of artists in developing countries instead of lining the pockets of wealthy conglomerates who operate mass-production, low-wage assembly lines. It’s win-win for all concerned, and you’re about to be part of something truly lifechanging! Kind Regards,
Importing Village Treasures Table of Contents Chapter 1 Importing Village Treasures
I Found Success – You Can Too! How it started How It Works Making money! A beautiful trip Helping those less fortunate What’s included in this book Chapter 2 Real Life Success Stories
Abundance The Fabulous Internet Andres & Juliana You Don’t Need to Travel Haitian Happiness The Cooperative A Hungry Market Tangible Rewards Profitable Partnerships So Easy to Learn
Chapter 3 All About Money
The Travel Brigade Our Travel Network International Shoppers Mark-ups Pricing Marketing Practices Creating Demand
Chapter 4 Empowering the Disadvantaged, Empowering Yourself
A Wonderful Windfall So Many Beneficiaries Transforming a Community Waiting to do Business with You 4
Terrific Profits Everybody Gains Success—It's Waiting for You Handicraft Resources
Chapter 5 The Keys to Success
Learning from Us What to Do What Not to Do Choose Unlikely Destinations Promote, Promote, Promote! Package Perfect Make it Easy to Buy Watch for Trends Careful Shipping Communications Don't over Extend K.I.S.S. Take it Easy This Wealth of Resources
Chapter 6 Marketing Your Products
Standard Marketing Methods Free Publicity Marketing on the Internet Do you Need a Website? Free Website Design Pick a Domain Name Website Hosting Merchant Card Services Automate your business Business License Marketing your Products Search Engines Pay Per Click Affiliates Co-registration eZines and Newsletters Call to Action Link Exchanges Classifieds Blogs 5
'Article marketing' A dozen ways to get more traffic EBay – THE road to success
Chapter 7 Selling on eBay: 150 Million Buyers
Like Christmas Every Morning Join the eBay community Setting up Shop Create your Listings Fees Watching Your Auction Pay Day Your Feedback Rating Your ‘About Me’ Page Listing your Items Finding Bargains Review Completed Sales Bidding Sniping Describing your Items for Sale Payment and Delivery Arrangements Add Audio to your Listings Automate Your Auctions Offer a Money-back Guarantee Open an eBay Store Use an email Signature Free Shipping Supplies Pack and Ship Carefully Sign Up for BuySafe and SquareTrade Check out AuctionBytes.com Getting Google Traffic Spice up Your Auctions. What Business Entity? Set your Starting Bid Low What if you Make a Mistake? What about Violations? Keep your Customers Happy Be Careful using Reserve Auctions Use a Hit Counter Use Regional Listings Use Good Photos Use 'Dutch' Auctions What if your Buyer Doesn’t Pay??? 6
Help with your eBay Questions More Excellent eBay info
Chapter 8 The Best Business and Trade Listings
Federal, Regional, Local Business and Trade Listings Complete Resources with Links to Websites and Phone Numbers
Chapter 9 Traveling and Making Contact
List, Descriptions, Dates and Contact Information for the Most Important Trade Shows in America The Places to Sell Products Wholesale and Network Finding and Meeting New Buyers, Wholesalers, Distributors and Business Partners
Chapter 11 Defining Fair Trade
Selecting a Destination Travel Arrangements Meeting People and Making Contact Money—Changing it and Keeping it Safe ATM & Credit Cards The Local Currency Travel Checklist
Chapter 10 Major U.S. Gift and Trade Shows
What are Handicrafts? The Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade Principals Added Value All Around The Next Step Fair Trade Expos Fair Trade Organizations PeopleLink Self-Employed Women’s Association Traidcraft TransFair USA World Craft Council World Trade Net
Chapter 12 Words of Wisdom
Words of Wisdom to Encourage and Inspire Success! Testimonials Quotes Telephone Assistance Program, Your Personal Business Consultant
Chapter 1 Importing Village Treasures Importing Income and Generating Wealth from Your Kitchen Table
fter all these years I’m now able to live the life I’ve always wanted to live—making good money working for myself while helping disadvantaged people throughout the world. I have finally found the key to financial success. I don’t drive a fancy car or wear expensive clothes but I will never have to worry about money again. No one except my closest friends and family know what I do, and they can’t believe it’s as easy as it is. In fact, many of them were dumbfounded when I quit my steady job to undertake something so “hair-brained,” but when they saw the money I was quietly making and realized I’d never have to work for anyone else ever again, they wanted to know how they could get in on it! I’ve had this wonderful secret for some time—one that has not only brought me monetary rewards but tremendous joy and satisfaction, knowing that I’m helping others as I help myself. And now, because my business is secure, I’m going to share it with you. Why? Because:
I’m well established. I’m making good money. The market and opportunity is so big that I don’t worry about competition, there’s plenty for everyone. I’ve been blessed, so it’s time to share my good fortune with others. What I’m doing helps poor and disadvantaged people all over the world and if you decide to do it, you’ll be helping them too! I can earn money by selling this information. We may wind up doing business together!
What am I doing that works so well, makes such good steady money
and helps people who need help? I’ve been buying and then re-selling beautiful, hand-made products from native craftspeople throughout the world. It’s simple! It’s a wonderful business not only because it makes good money, but because it helps poor, disadvantaged people in little villages and towns who are so needful and so very appreciative. Here’s how it works: I buy products inexpensively from talented craftspeople and artisans in places like Africa, India, Bali, and Thailand and sell them on eBay, my web site, to wholesalers, vendors, and at trade shows. Other websites also sell my products and I pay them a percentage of each sale. My customers are thrilled to purchase wonderful, original handicrafts that they can’t find anywhere else at great prices, and feel good about what they’re buying because they know they’re helping struggling artisans earn a living. This business is a win-win-win for everyone! I make money, my customers get gorgeous handicrafts at terrific bargains, and the artisans benefit by selling to people they could never reach otherwise. My business enables rural peasants in remote areas to earn enough money to put food on the table, help educate their children and purchase much needed supplies and medicines. What a great feeling! You can see why I feel so happy about how I make my living. And you can, too! It’s easy when you know how. This is how I got started: One day while on the internet I came across a site that told about hand-embroidered tapestries and clothing from a small tribe in Laos. I thought they were beautiful so I contacted the Webmaster to see if I could find out how I could purchase some. When she informed me that she did not think they were for sale over the Internet, a light bulb turned on above my head. I contacted the tribe through an American tourist I found in a chat room who was going to Laos and bought several of each of their items—shawls, coats, tapestries, belts, rugs etc. I then put them up for sale on eBay. 10
I bought these handicrafts for between $1-$10 apiece and listed them on eBay with a ‘reserve’ price that would at least allow me to break even. I thought they might do well because they were so lovely and unique but imagine my amazement when everything sold right away for way more than I had hoped for! Another light bulb flashed in my mind when I realized I could do this over and over again. Buying handicrafts like these from throughout the world and sell them and make good money! What began as a small eBay operation soon grew into a business featuring hundreds of products, descriptions about how they are made, the artisans who make them and the wonderful assistance I’m providing these people. I now have wholesale deals with several major retail stores, trade show sales, and accounts with websites and ‘affiliate’ marketing people who re-sell my products and send traffic to my sites. I have developed relationships with artisans in remote corners of the world—some of whom I have visited and made friends with and order from. Once I established my locations and my wholesale accounts, all I did then was maintain them. I continually look for new products and am happy to say that many products find their way to me—through website owners, world travelers who know how to contact me when they find unique ‘treasures’ and sometimes from the artisans themselves. Today my business is doing extremely well and practically runs itself. I do everything from the comfort of my own home. Now, that’s what I call financial independence! My story is not unique. It’s typical of the success other entrepreneurs are having with this business model, and you can too. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing right now, you can start this business from your home with very little money and find financial independence as you help others less fortunate. And if you love to travel, this is really the business for you! Imagine yourself riding on a train through a scenic countryside somewhere far away, forgetting all about the stress of your present job, your boss and your life back home. With no destination in mind, you get off in a small town and find yourself in a picturesque little 11
village. You turn the corner into a bustling outdoor marketplace, resplendent with color, and alive with local folk music floating through the air. The intoxicating aroma of exotic spices wafts in the breeze and, combined with the music, seems to lift your spirits up to the sky. You are at once enchanted and overwhelmed by this humble slice of paradise, swept up in all of its richness and magic. Little did you know places like this even existed! The locals smile and greet you, inviting you into their stalls and shops to view their wares and sample their delicacies. You discover some of the most gorgeous handicrafts you’ve ever seen— intricately embroidered blouses, delicate silk scarves and handbags, sparkling jewelry of every description, one-of-a-kind pottery and earthenware, hand-carved toys and beautiful tapestries—all handmade and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. You think to yourself, “Look at these products!” then ask, “How much?” Back home, the blouse you are holding would cost $40-$55— if you could find anything so original and well-made! But here the artisan replies with a smile, “$4” and just 50 cents for the small purse that accompanies it. You can’t believe it! You know that others would also prize these items, not only for their exceptional value but for their craftsmanship and originality. And then it dawns on you. “I can sell these! People would pay 10 times the price and still think it was a bargain!” On top of that, the artisans would love to sell more of their products because it would enable them to buy more food, medicine, and materials, and to send their children to school with good shoes and a new notebook. As you suggest to the proud craftswoman that you would like to purchase dozens of her handicrafts, her eyes light up, sparkle, and glow. You exchange warm handshakes and a hug, and in that instant each of your lives are changed. It’s a vision but it’s no fairy tale. You can start your own handicraft importing business and soon be on your way, traveling the world if you want to and developing friendships that you would never ordinarily make that will set you on the path to financial independence. By starting your business from your kitchen table, you can earn the money that will allow you to grow, expand and prosper.
You can build your business and your clientele as you find the merchandise you buy from struggling artisans in little corners of the world - eventually meeting them in person if you choose to and leading the carefree life of travel and adventure you’ve always dreamed of. Others are doing it at this very moment and you can too! And if you don’t like to travel, you can develop a network of world travelers who are anxious to locate treasures for you and secure the unique crafts that you resell. Think of them as your own team of explorers—modern-day Marco Polos who can earn a little extra money as they travel the world while supplying you with great leads and fine products. It gives these folks a wonderful excuse for meeting new people, and they will often go out of their way to find exceptional handcrafted treasures. In this book, we provide you with everything you need to know to get started on your own journey to self-fulfillment and financial freedom. From finding and contacting craftspeople, discovering new products, developing a market, advertising your goods, selling your products—all the information you need. We cover everything to make you successful. Here is a complete resource for you to use as a blueprint and handbook, and if you need help, individual assistance is available. We want to help you succeed as you provide income for struggling artisans worldwide. Together we can all get in on the “secret” and create the lives we all want for ourselves and for our less fortunate fellow human beings. Next Chapter, “Real Life Success Stories.”
Chapter 2 Real Life Success Stories From South America to Southeast Asia: The Handicrafts are as Abundant as the Wealth they Create
rom South America to Southeast Asia, opportunities abound for entrepreneurs. Even those who never planned to start a business importing handcrafted goods and simply stumbled upon cultural goods are now thriving and making good money. Most got started accidentally, with literally no concept that the business they were about to start would transform their lives. They only knew that they were turning a page and starting an exciting new chapter in their lives. Mucho Dinero en Mexico “I’d been dreaming of a trip to Mexico for years. A trip through the Yucatan, to the pyramids of the sun and the moon, seeing ancient Aztec and Mayan ruins, and capping it off with an extended stay in the romantic state of Oaxaca with its colorful artisans and environs. I’d fantasized about emulating D.H. Lawrence and perhaps moving to Mexico (though I knew it was nothing more than that—a fantasy). But when I finally set off on my quest, I actually realized my dream! The trip triggered a profound change in my life and livelihood that rooted me to Mexico permanently. “While strolling through the Central de Abastos one evening, I came upon the most breath-taking pottery and imaginative artwork I’d ever seen. As the Brunido and Zapotec pottery bowls, tiles, and vases appealed to my design aesthetic with their delicate coloring and fine detail, the Alebrijes wood carvings with their bright and fantastical figures spoke directly to my soul. It’s as if the fictional creatures literally reached out and grabbed hold of me! Some say they have magical power, and some say the region itself is all the magic you need.
“Whatever the cause or the reason, I felt compelled to learn more about the artistic process and soon found myself not only on an educational journey to San Martin Tilcajete to meet the artists, but entering into a life-altering business venture with them. “That initial trip was 5 years ago and I have been importing Oaxacan handicrafts ever since. Though it did not start out that way, my business would not be anywhere near as successful today without the Internet. I have associations with online sites and several ‘partners’, as well as a continued interest in my original retail store, with my ecommerce revenues far exceeding my in-store sales. “The beauty of importing products and utilizing the Internet is the utter lack of overhead. You can simply post products and sell them— changing and updating as often and easily as you like without even having to have the merchandise on hand! “I typically buy our Brunido tiles—my best-selling item—for $1 and resell them online for $15 - $20. I can get them at such a low price because I pay up front and guarantee to buy a certain quantity per year. I figured out how to pack and ship the tiles to the U.S. They are fragile and I occasionally lose some but my profit margin is still HUGE. Their beauty drives customers to my online stores and encourages them to shop for other things. I offer a discounted price when someone makes a purchases over $50, and I often pair tiles with other pottery or wood carvings at special promotional prices. I know people like them because I get emails and letters, (and an occasional picture), thanking me and telling me how much they enjoy them.
“In addition to the personal success I’ve enjoyed, I have made lasting bonds with the Mexican artists I work with, who have also prospered. My main partners—a couple named Andres and Juliana—have seven children. They’re making a nice living selling to me and to others and I’m so happy to be dealing with them. I get letters from one of their daughters, Carlita, telling me of her aspirations to someday attend college and become a
veterinarian. I don’t have children of my own, so forging a bond with Andres and Jualiana’s family and knowing that I am contributing in some way to their future is every bit as good as the money we are all making. “What started as a fantasy for me has turned into reality. I’m spending a good part of my life in sunny Mexico—and anywhere else that strikes my fancy—because I can run my business from virtually any location in the world. Each trip affords me the opportunity to shop for new products and meet new people. If someone had told me it could happen to me I wouldn’t have believed it, but here I am—happier and more successful than ever.” To find out more about importing Oaxacan art, visit: www.granate.com.mx The previous dream vacation-turned-successful-business is but one of many. It’s as if by following your dreams, you discover your true path in life and everything falls into place. It is so common that it must be more than coincidence. But what if you can’t afford to take that vacation, have too many responsibilities at home, are physically limited or don’t like to travel? No problem! With the Internet, the telephone and the mail you can do business with anyone anywhere in the world. The Internet is a portal to the world. It enables you to search out information and products from the far corners of the earth with a click of your mouse, make deals, and set up an enterprise while sitting at your desk. You can make that trek to Nepal or tour the ice caps of Patagonia, discover local cultures and handicrafts, and sell them in your own unique ‘marketplace’ without a passport or even having to leave the house! That’s exactly what many successful entrepreneurs do, including one that found his ticket to financial independence at a website on Haitian art. Haitian Happiness “While searching the web for a present for my impossible-to-please girlfriend one day, I landed on a site that featured beautiful decorative Haitian plates. I was intrigued because they were so different-looking and very affordably priced. I figured they must be cheesy, made-inChina knock-offs to be so cheap, but when I read the background information, I realized they were actually handmade by local artisans in Haiti. It turns out the production is a highly involved process 16
performed by skilled craftswomen who have one of the lowest standards of living in the world. Being a (previously) starving artist myself I could relate and, in addition to really loving the uniqueness and the beauty, I wanted to buy some just to help them out. So I contacted them and bought several. “My girlfriend was overjoyed with these unique gifts, and hung them above the couch in our apartment. Everyone who stopped by commented on them! They loved the designs and wanted to know where they could get them. When I told them who made them and where they came from, their interest increased. So, I went back to the site, ordered more, and sold them to my friends. “Now, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I can see a good thing when I’ve got one. I contacted the Haitian artists and offered to make a deal to buy their work in bulk quantities and sell them all over the place. Next thing I know, I’m not only working with the ladies who made them, but with an entire collective, selling all their artwork and some instruments too! “Today I not only do business with the cooperative but try to trade pictures. I send them copies of what I’m doing here and they send me pictures of themselves making their beautiful plates. I’m hoping to meet them soon and maybe even collaborate on a project with them. The artists there are so glad to be able to keep working and making money—and so am I! “One major thing I’ve learned in doing this business is that people love custom orders. The way I have it set up, I can request specific colors and modifications on many of the products I buy. The drawings I send them sometimes get a bit ‘mis-interpreted’, but often result in extremely unique and often beautiful work. I pay the artists an extra 25-50 cents for each special order and charge my customers an additional $1-$5. That’s quite a good markup! For my hand-painted plates, I charge between $5 and $25 and buy them for less than $1 apiece; for other items such as pillows I charge up to $40 and buy them for around $3-$5 each. These prices enable the Haitians to make a great living and my customers think they are getting a steal! And know what? They are! In the meanwhile, I’m helping my Haitian ‘friends’, making wonderful money and having fun doing it.”
You can find Haitian artists at: http://www.atawebstore.org/artisans/search/search.php?n=6&PHPSES SID=4f6d15f8bdafcb4f938c18102ffebd9e Finding unique handicrafts and introducing them to a hungry market benefits all concerned, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of legwork, travel or expense. If you can surf the Internet, know how to place classified ads, like to go into the travel chat rooms and like to go to trade shows you can do it. By getting started, many people have discovered a path to self-fulfillment and monetary success. Most have started their business to earn some extra money, but once established, has turned it into their main source of income. With so little expenditure, couples and individuals are discovering an exciting and ethical way to make a great living while helping struggling artists in the poorest of regions of the world. Tangible Rewards “What drew me to this business was the desire to help poor people in developing countries. I originally saw a documentary on the Untouchables in India—the lost caste members who are relegated to performing the most menial and most difficult labor. I learned that Mahatma Gandhi fought to remove the caste system in India and bring equality to all. While he did succeed in outlawing the system, it remains a tangible part of Hindu society today and the Untouchables and others of the lost ranks continue to struggle to overcome their caste designation. “What I learned from the documentary and from further research was that art is a way up and out for these people and I wanted to help. I began by searching the Internet for places to buy merchandise from these castes to support their efforts to help themselves. But I found it difficult to find a source that for this niche, so after purchasing from several different places, I decided I should start my own ‘clearing house’. “It all began with a desire to help these disadvantaged people by purchasing items to give as gifts to my friends but it turned into changing my life! I am now involved with one of the largest lost caste 18
handicraft business on the web and distribute wholesale to dozens of retail stores. My artists produce products in cooperatives that in turn provide education for their members and training in beading, engraving, jewelry-making, sewing and embroidery, leather and metal work. My product list is vast and my efforts are helping to prop up a segment of Indian society. On top of that, I’m making a great living by doing something that I never planned on but truly love! “I purchase beaded necklaces, earrings, and small silk bags for ten cents apiece and sell them for $3-$5. I know I could charge more. I literally cannot keep these items in stock at the prices I sell them for and as I make my profit, so do the appreciative artisans who craft them. “This business started as an interest, became a hobby, and as I said, is now my life and livelihood. I think my passion has translated into success and I strive to impart that feeling to my customers. I always include a brief bio on all the products I sell to let my customers see exactly who they are supporting. I can’t tell you how much positive feedback that generates—and how many repeat orders.” To find locate artisans in India, contact: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/catalog/artisan.list_by_country.p hp?country_id=45 Profitable Partnerships I have a partnership arrangement with a great gal–here’s her story: “I was looking for something that would make some extra income when I met a nice couple from England at a Travelogue presentation about traveling in Honduras. We chatted about our different interests and they told me they liked Honduras and went there often. I had sold a few things on eBay so I asked them if there was anything they could send me from Honduras that might sell on eBay. They said things were cheap there and they would contact me the next time they went. About 2 months later I received an email from them describing various products, (tapestries, sandals, lamp shades etc.) and 19
something that caught my eye—excellent handmade wooden 'cigarette boxes'. I had never heard of cigarette boxes but evidently they are popular in some cultures. I didn't think cigarette boxes would sell in the U.S. so I asked them if the people making the cigarette boxes could make cigar humidors. Of course they could, and now I have a great business selling the most beautiful cigar humidors, some of which sell for $500! It's a small shop that uses gorgeous wood— Rosewood, Purple Heart, Monterillo, Laurel Negro, Mahogany— embellished with small strips of Obsidian, silver and jade. I buy them for $20-$40 and mark them up 6-10 times.” From Mexico to India, Thailand to Africa, amazing import opportunities like these abound. As abundant and diverse as the handicrafts, so are the business opportunities. These few examples illustrate that whether you have always planned to start such a business or just stumbled upon the idea, success and good money can be just around the corner. While others have had the difficult task of learning as they go, you now have everything here to learn from their experience. I not only record these stories of start-ups and businesses, I include the resources that you need to succeed along with tips and tricks that successful entrepreneurs are using to make excellent income. I also show how much you can earn from starting your own handicraft import business as well as the pitfalls to avoid. In the next chapter you’ll learn how much others are making in the handicraft business and how you can do the same. So, get out your calculator and start doing the math—the money adds up quick, and your new business can start you off on a whole new lifestyle! Next Chapter, “All About Mon ey.”
Chapter 3 All About Money Pricing Products and Carving Out a Niche in this Lucrative Market
hen my husband and I first got the itch to travel, we started thumbing through travel magazines, watching travel shows on TV and visiting bookstores to review travel guides. But we couldn’t really get the kind of ‘inside, hands-on’ information we were looking for. “So we perused online websites and blogs and joined local travel forums where we met backpackers and other travelers in person, compiling information from them about where to go, what to take, where to stay, what to eat, what to buy, how much to pay, and the out-of-the-way villages to visit. We got lots information from these ordinary travelers that we couldn’t have found anywhere else. “From their travel stories we also learned that lots of people—no matter who they were or where they went—discovered all sorts of bargains on a wide variety of goods, and that gave us an idea. We realized that this network of people could serve as a kind of ‘buying brigade’ and could find items from all over that we could sell. We saw these folks as an untapped resource that we could harness and organize for the benefit of all concerned. It was a revelation! “Though we eventually started traveling ourselves, we started importing handicrafts through this network of travelers. People would contact us about the unique ‘treasures’ they found, send digital pictures and pricing info, and we’d purchase what we wanted. A typical transaction went like this: While traipsing through a mountainous village in Peru, Kyle stumbled upon locally-made, hand-carved flutes and 21
decorative jewelry boxes. Enchanted by the soft trilling of the flute music and charmed by the delicately-carved boxes and the beautiful Andean women who were selling them, Kyle contacted us thinking we might be as interested in these items as he was. He took some pictures and emailed them to us from the guest hostel where he was staying. We emailed back, expressing interest and requesting exact pricing information for significant quantities. Kyle went back to the artists the following day and negotiated to buy their entire stock for a mere 75 cents per item. For the artisans, it was an incredible windfall, making such a huge sale all at once. It enabled them to purchase a major quantity of raw materials at a reduced price because they could afford to buy so much. They made money not only off of that transaction, but more off of future sales because their supply costs were lower; Kyle made a little money which helped support his travels; and we made money selling the products here at local fairs, outdoor markets, and online for 10 to 20 times the price we paid. All Kyle had to do was find the products and ship them, and we did the rest. “As this example shows, it’s so easy to conduct business this way–w we do it all the time with dozens of ‘international shoppers,’ as we call them. They are our scouts in the field, finding, buying, and sending the handicrafts to us. “This not only keeps us supplied, but enables us to continually offer new and unique items from all corners of the globe. Our travelers have a wonderful new way to meet people and have made some great friends, some of which have become our suppliers.” To find travelers and artists throughout the world, visit: http://www.intracen.org/tirc/, http://www.lonelyplanet.com, and http://www.transitionsabroad.com The experience of these people shows that with a little effort you too can start a lucrative handicraft import business that will reap great rewards. With so many bargains out there, you can’t afford not to!
Major Mark-ups The mark-up on handicrafts ranges from 10 to over 1,000 percent! Overhead is extremely low, and business expenses are minimal. Taking the models we’ve given you so far in this book, you can see that you can:
Start this business from your home (no office space to rent)
Purchase a wide variety of handicrafts from travelers or via the internet (no plane tickets to buy)
Sell your products on the internet, at fairs, to other retailers, or in your own store (many retail options, from hands-on to wholesale)
Mark up prices significantly and make excellent profits (no additional production is required).
This is one of the easiest start-up businesses to create and it requires no great expertise or initial investment. You are untimately just the ‘middle-man’ (or woman) between the producers of the products and the buyers—in person or on the Internet—and deliver products that struggling artisans throughout the world need to sell to support themselves. Pricing As these fine people have demonstrated, there are many ways of finding products to sell. But how do you price them? Jasmine had the very same question when she began her handicraft business. She bought $2,500 worth of costume jewelry, accessories, clothing, and bath products while on a trip to Madagascar with the intent of selling them at fairs in California and on the internet. “I was so excited by the great things I’d found and the unbelieveable prices and couldn’t wait to get them home! Malala and Nirina—the artists I bought from - carefully packed everything in boxes, covered each with cloth, and sealed them with wax. 23
“I took the packages to the airport at Antananarivo and shipped them home on the same plane with me. When I arrived in Los Angeles I paid taxes on the value of the items, (the price I paid for them), but quickly realized that I didn’t have a clue what they were really worth! “Because I had no idea what to charge for my handicrafts, I decided to investigate how others did it. I surfed the Internet, cruised the mall, and visited some arts and crafts fairs; I also picked up some marketing books from the library and learned that there are some basic rules to pricing, but that it’s basically up to the individual. Because my stuff was so unique, I learned that I could set my own prices, but, at the same time, because I wanted to sell everything quickly—I decided to price things low. “I settled on a 10 x markup on everything across the board—the stone and glass earrings, shell necklaces and bracelets, vanilla-scented soaps, carved wooden candle holders, bright cotton skirts and sarongs—to cover my shipping and taxes costs, a booth rental, and website fees. For example, the necklaces that I bought for 40 cents, I sold for $4 and the soaps that I bought for 10 cents I sold for $1. “This was a winning formula, and one I more or less stick with, but everything sells out so fast my pricing turned out to be too low. I have since established a business partnership with Malala and Nirina and the artists they work with. “My business has helped them and their small fishing village gain a standard of living above the national average; they have reinvested in things they need for their fishing boats and have been able to sell to stores in the capital where they travel to ship packages to me. It’s been an unbelievable success all around!” General Pricing & Marketing Practices Prices vary wildly for handmade products, but most that are obtained at wholesale prices—either in person, via the internet or through a fellow traveler can be marked up 10 to 30 times, with some items meriting a 1,000% increase.
The basic rule of pricing is to find what similar products are selling for and use their pricing as a guideline. However, there are other factors that can increase the value of handicrafted products. They include:
Originality Quality Distance/Difficulty of Travel Rareness Trendiness
Typically, lower priced crafts will be marked up the most, as will very high-end jewelry and luxury items. You can make a greater margin off of lower priced items, but you’ll have to sell a lot more of them to equal the margin you’ll make from selling higher end items. So you need to decide: Are you interested in volume, big ticket sales or a mixture of both? There are specific price points that consumers like and have proven to be effective across the board. The .99 and $9 prices have a real psychological appeal because $9.99 isn’t quite $10. Also, anything under $100 is appealing to consumers. Giving incentives for buying more than one item, such as “3 for $1” is also attractive to buyers. Creating Demand By creating demand for your products, your prices can increase— sometimes a lot. How do you do that? By simply telling a compelling story about the origin and production of the handicrafts and how the purchase will help the people who produced them. Just as we’ve been doing throughout this book, telling stories of the artisans—the shoes that Santiago could buy for his children, the bicycle that Mena could finally afford that she rides to school in the next town, the malaria medicine that Vivine could get for her grandmother, the cooperatives that were formed that gave women and unskilled workers a chance to make a living and find dignity and hope. In short, help people feel good about what they are purchasing. Let them know: “You’re not only buying a wonderful bargain, you’re helping a poor artist buy food for his family in Guatemala.” You might also consider putting the “Fair Trade” label on your products and associating with that organization. There are advantages to doing that—gaining access to their resources, being able to price product up to four times the standard price—but there are also drawbacks, including being restricted in what you buy and sell. To learn more 25
about it, see our Reference Resource Chapters in the back of this book. In Chapter 5, “Insider Tips” we detail great marketing strategies that give you further examples and insight on how to price and how not to overcharge. But first, we have several more examples of how this business is helping people around the world. Next stop: Africa, India, Nepal, and Romania and the female artists who are thriving because of the handicrafts they sell to ‘resellers’ like you! Next Chapter, “More Success Stories.”
Chapter 4 More Success Stories Empowering the Disadvantaged, Empowering Yourself
hen she woke that morning she couldn’t believe her eyes. There, on the dried mud floor of her small hut were several reams of material, colored thread, tiny mirrors, a jar of beads, and a fresh pair of scissors. Alongside the material lie a slip of paper with an order for dozens of mirrored and beaded scarves, kurti, small coin purses, cloth belts, wrap-around skirts and salwaar kameez pant suits. The figure next to the order read: $200. Indrakshi smiled wider than she ever had in her life; The amount represented a year’s salary in her small village outside of Bravagnar and she and her sisters were going to earn it in a few weeks upon completing that requisition. A few months earlier Indrakshi and her sisters Harinakshi and Kamalskhi joined a women’s cooperative that specialized in handstitching and sewing traditional Gujarati garments for export. Because they were unskilled, unmarried, and hadn’t been afforded an education beyond the 3rd grade, the sisters had virtually no means of making a living until the cooperative gave them an opportunity. Started because a few travelers had come to the region and expressed interest in starting an export business of local handicrafts but couldn’t find a large enough or reliable supplier, the cooperative now filled orders for travelers and small business people throughout the world and employed hundreds of women like Indraskshi. “I am so proud to be working here,” Indraskshi says, holding back tears. “For the first time in my life I have the ability to take care of my entire family. My sisters and I can now afford to pay dowry if we want to marry and are completely supporting our parents, grandparents, and ourselves. This tremendous opportunity has transformed all of our lives.”
And the artistans are not the only ones who benefit. The small businesses that purchase the garments make a healthy profit, selling the skirts that cost less than $3 from the cooperative for $20 and salwaar kameez pant suits that wholesale for $10 for up to $100. As the small businesses make money, they order more garments which, in turn, enables the cooperative to hire more people. Because of the overwhelming success of the enterprise, this cooperative has been able to set up a daycare, provide additional training for its employees, recruit women from throughout the area, establish an in-house health care system, and provide communal meals at its headquarters. As this example demonstrates, by starting a handicraft business you can completely transform not only your but an entire community’s life. Female artisans and so-called “unskilled” workers provide a unique opportunity and market for you to tap into and help as you help yourself. By affording these workers the means of making a living, your business can be the liberating force that ends a cycle of poverty and despair. “For the first time in my life I have got this kind of an opportunity… I am feeling very happy and confident. I can feel the change in myself,” says one Indonesian woman who is selling her crafts through such an enterprise. And there are hundreds of cooperatives and individuals out there like these, just waiting to do business with and fill orders for you. But don’t take our word for it—read about the success of the Torvold family who forged a relationship with some female artisans in Romania. Romanian Riches “We were in Constanta, on the Black Sea, enjoying our vacation when some young women, traditionally clothed, approached us to purchase some of their wares. They had beautiful textiles in bright reds, blues, yellows, and earth tones, as well as small rugs and carpets in lovely geometric designs. “They invited us to their shop to view more carpets and garments and we gladly accepted their invitation. It was just a short distance from the beach but the town was completely different than the tourist area we were staying in. Stray goats, sheep, cats, and dogs roamed among rows of shanties and small gardens, while women wearing head scarves sat on porches and under shade trees sewing, weaving, and singing 28
traditional songs. Children played near their feet or chased the animals as a few of the older women cooked and offered each other—and us— some local delicacies. Far from being a sad scene of poverty, it was quaint, happy and inviting. “One of the older women who spoke very good English explained that the men all worked in the fields or in town and that women were solely in charge of making the textiles and carpets. In fact, women were in charge of the entire process—growing the hemp and linen, cutting the wool, preparing the fibers, weaving and painting the designs, and cutting and decorating the cloth. For as long as anyone could remember, women collected roots, stems, flowers and insects and made them into dyes. They knew the properties of each plant and insect, the best moment for culling them, and the operations that had to be done in order to obtain the desired intensity of the color. When the time was right they dyed their materials and either wove them into carpets or made them into textiles, then garments. “All this knowledge and skill the women passed on from generation to generation, thus enabling their daughters and grand-daughters to learn a trade a make a living in this stiflingly-poor country. “After meeting the women and hearing their story, we were more interested than ever in buying their products and knew that our customers back in Minneapolis would be too. We inquired about making large orders on a regular basis, contacted some other friends in the garment business in New York, and started shipping Romanian textiles and carpets to the U.S. to sell wholesale and retail. “We have been doing business with these women ever since and because we networked with such a large wholesale outlet back home, they have realized profits beyond their wildest dreams, as have we. The hand-died textiles that they sell us for 25 cents a yard we sell wholesale for $3 and others retail for up to $15! Top designers have purchased from our enterprise and the Romanian women have been able to convert their shanty-town into a permanent village with paved roads, a town square, stone and wood houses, a school, and a small infirmary. Other businesses have sprung up around it and the location has become a tourist attraction in itself, which, of course, helps the women make even more money! “All this started with a simple tale of toil and enterprise and turned into a raving success story for everyone. What a great feeling it is for
us knowing that we helped these women who are so strong and talented, and what a boost it has been to our business.” To shop for Romanian products online, visit: www.RomanianDolls.com, www.lcd-glass.ro, www.Hardy-Antiques.ro, www.RomanianMuseum.com, www.Romania-Traditional.ro, www.Folkromnia.com Cultural Ambassador, Successful Entrepreneur Struggling artisans throughout the world are just waiting to sell to buyers in the U.S. For many of these craftspeople the handicraft business is their sole source of income and the only job they can possibly obtain. Women, the illiterate, the untrained, low caste members, physically challenged persons, and others who have no marketable skills in their country or who are barred from working because of their gender, physical attributes, or social standing are especially in need of your business. It can make all the difference between hope and despair, self-sufficiency and abject poverty. By entering the handicraft business you will also be helping to spread knowledge of other cultures and bring people together through shared interests. As they say in India, “crafts are more cohesive in human relationships than even language, as they are an expression of the human spirit in material form.” By bringing the handiwork of artisans from remote regions of the world to the West you are helping to bridge the gap between cultures and bring our world closer together. Whether it’s wool sweaters from Peru or Batik prints from Bali, the sale of unique handicrafts brings joy to buyers and freedom to producers while enabling a cultural exchange that engenders mutual respect and understanding. Not a bad business plan! The non-profit organization Aid to Artisans (ATA) estimates that such enterprises transform entire local economies. For example, in Honduras, where no artisan export-based businesses had existed prior to 1985, craft exports now generate more than $15 million in sales annually. With their guaranteed income, artisans put money back into 30
their local economies, purchasing food, staples, and raw materials, which has a ripple effect on the entire area. Literally from Timbuktu—where 70% of Malians, mostly women, produce arts and crafts—to South Africa—where Zulu basket weavers and bead workers rely on selling their ancient crafts not only to earn a living but to keep their culture alive—to Nepal—where women in particular struggle in a climate of war and cycle of poverty to make traditional Nepalese block prints to revive that dying tradition and to provide food for their families— there are hundreds of opportunities to buy unique handicrafts and help others as you help yourself. As we’ve shown, the success stories are manifold and yours could be next. As you transform your own life by starting an exciting handicraft business, you will be helping others keep their families and their cultures alive. The feeling you will get from such a business venture will be far greater than what you could achieve in almost any other enterprise, as the entrepreneurs we’ve highlighted in this book so far have attested to. Below are some further resources for locating handicrafts to get you started and on your way to writing your own success story. In the next chapter we’ll detail the top tips from the personal experiences of other entrepreneurs to help you avoid pitfalls and get off on the right foot. Remember, we’re here for you also. At any time you can make a simple call and we’ll walk you through every step of the process. So, now that you know there are so many great folks out there waiting for you to start your business, what are you waiting for? Change your life today and enable someone else to change theirs! More handicraft resources on the Internet:
Zulu Crafts, South Africa http://www.ilala.co.za/
Crafts from Kenya www.langata.co.za
Crafts from the Ndebele Tribe www.mopanicrafts.com 31
Tourism & Travel Information www.hluhluwehotel.co.za
African handcrafts www.africancreations4.com
Online directory for African Handicrafts http://www.tradekey.com/ks-african-handicrafts
Virtual Tourist—Handicraft Directory http://www.virtualtourist.com/
TradeGet—Handicraft Directory http://www.tradeget.com/companies/X482/antique_and_collecti bles.html
Next Chapt er, “The Keys to Success.”
Chapter 5 The Keys to Success Ten Keys to Success & What Not to Do: Learning From our Achievements and From our Mistakes!
eluctant entrepreneurs of every type—tourists who stumbled upon amazing crafts while traveling, struggling artists shopping for unique gifts online, curious folks making travel plans who discovered an import business along the way—have all started their handicraft businesses on the spur of the moment with virtually no business plan or assistance from others who have conducted a similar enterprise. And because of that, these budding business owners had to learn the hard way, wasting time, committing costly errors and running into roadblocks along the way. But you don’t have to! Our experience, research and the scores of interviews we’ve conducted with successful entrepreneurs selling handicrafts on the Internet, in retail stores, wholesale, at arts and crafts shows, and at trade fairs will lead the way. We’ve compiled the Top Ten Tips that lead to profit and prosperity for everyone involved. These are the Dos for success and the Don’ts to avoid failure; the insider tips that will help you develop a business plan that will work for you! Keys to Success: DOs 1. Choose Unlikely Destinations People told us not to go to the Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Laos, and even Vietnam because they thought these governments were anti-American. Well, stubborn and curious as we are, we went anyway and are so thankful that we did! Because Americans are reluctant to visit
certain places—especially after 9/11—there are more opportunities than ever in precisely those spots. The local artists in these lesstraveled places are eager to sell and often desperately in need of business because of post-9/11 fear, poor economies, and internal strife. Most folks that we encountered were extremely friendly and just as curious about our American culture as we were about theirs. For example, in Lahore we were routinely invited to dinner in family homes and welcomed with open arms - and that’s supposed to be a dangerous place to travel! We found the friendliest people of all there. While you should obviously avoid war zones, don’t be afraid to venture to lesser-known destinations. In all likelihood you will become an unofficial good will ambassador and be met with warmth and welcome. Plus, you’ll find great crafts at amazingly low prices, discover wonderful people and cultures, help mend political fences, and infuse much-needed cash into local economies as you also put some in your pocket. 2. Promote, Promote, Promote! Use every tool at your disposal to promote your business. In my opinion there is no such thing as overkill when in comes to spreading the word, and no tactic is off-limits or too far out. Think ‘guerilla marketing’ when you’re starting out and find every way possible to get your name, web address and business out there: blog nonstop, including your web address on every post; spend time in the chat rooms, post your name and story on the bulletin boards, print your URL and business name on everything—business cards, fliers, cups, hats, Frisbees, posters, stickers, T-shirts; swap links with every web site that’s willing, especially those with high traffic volume; conjure up press and publicity by telling the world the story of the artists you work with - alerting both the local and national media. You can also sponsor local events by trading your products for advertising, join your local business bureau and rotary club, and get involved in the art community. Seriously, think of every possible way to spread the word about your business and network; there are many ways to do it, which cost nothing more than your time and ingenuity. Remember your goal— you want people to learn about your business. If they know about 34
you and the wonderful work you’re doing, chances are they’ll buy from you! 3. Package Perfect & Tell the Story When we first started packaging our products we did very basic stuff— cellophane, ribbon, label—and that was it. But we found that our products didn’t really stand out. At our trade show booths we made lots of sales, but too many people would stop to look then walk away. After trying to figure out why we decided to repackage to reflect the true rustic nature of the products we sell. We started to make our packaging a lot more ‘primitive’, and include a small bio of the artisan who made each piece for every item. At our next fair the reaction was amazing! People gravitated to the clever packaging and were enchanted by the biographies of the artisans; wanted to know more about each person, then gladly fork over their money and buy, buy, buy! They felt so good about helping someone on the other side of the world whom they could now connect with that suddenly adding another piece of jewelry or pottery to their collection became the ‘right’ thing to do! 4. Make it Easy to Buy We had a designer create our website and were happy with the look and feel of everything. She set up a payment processing account that accepted PayPal and credit cards with secure, online buying so our customers felt safe buying from us. She also incorporated a password-protected ‘log-in,’ ‘tell a friend,’ and ‘wish list’ features that would facilitate shopping by enabling customers to store their shipping information, refer friends to our site, and record items that interested them for future purchase. The only thing we didn’t think of in the begining was the ‘upsell’—offering other items to purchase at the same time a customer bought the original product. A couple of months and several marketing books later, we added ‘taglines’ and ‘links’ to our site that alerted customers about additional products and offered a 10% discount if they bought a set, rather than 35
one item. Those additions really increased our sales and often turned a $40 sale into an $80 sale without much more effort on our part. 5. Anticipate Trends When we first started our business we featured whatever we found that we liked, whatever was priced right, or whatever the artists were specializing in at the time. Since then we learned that if we take the time to see what colors are popular, what fashions are happening, and what trends are on the horizon, we can purchase garments, fabrics, accessories, and art that are right on the cutting edge - and sells over the top! By anticipating what’s new - and that entails nothing more than keeping up to date and eyes open - you can identify the color palette and general design trend and buy with that in mind. Buyers what they want in the color, fabric or style they want and it increases the appeal of whatever you’re selling. DON’Ts 1. Don’t Assume you can Ship from Anywhere Nightmare scenario: we found some amazing wool sweaters in Patagonia and bought a large stock to supply a partner with a store in Maine. We returned with them and, sure enough, just as we thought, they sold like hotcakes. We then set it up so the weavers could ship directly to us when we needed a new supply - and there’s the rub. Because we’d previously brought the sweaters with us to the airport and shipped them home with us, we didn’t realize that there was no train line to this village, the roads weren’t reliable year-round, and there was no freight or shipping company nearby. Need I have to tell you what happened? We sent a large order, but when the weavers sent the goods to us through their local driver, he encountered major transportation problems, weather delays and road closures. The result was that the sweaters arrived not in October for the Fall/Christmas buying season, but in February when we’d already written them off. The weavers were extremely sorry and made it up to us but it was a dissapointment all the way around. 36
Moral fo the story: Know your shipping method, establish it clearly, and have a defined shipper if possible who can take care of all concerns. Also, you often can’t ship things from remote places at all times of the year. Remember, there are monsoon and freezing seasons you may not be familiar with! 2. Don’t Assume Communication When we bought our first masks and wall art from Africa we didn’t even consider communication as a factor. A tourist who helped us spoke broken French, which the Senegalese spoke fluently, and in the south the Zulu spoke broken English. It really wasn’t a problem because we were all face-to-face and could point to things when words would fail. But all that changed when we tried to re-establish contact and re-order from the U.S. If it wasn’t a major language barrier via the phone, it was a technology barrier via the Internet. Make sure that when you establish a business relationship with people you have someone you can communicate in a language you can all speak fluently and that there is solid Internet access at both ends. The Internet really is available almost everywhere in the world and enables us to not only communicate about new orders but to communicate often and develop a real, human relationship. 3. Specialize & Don’t Over-extend One of my partners got into trouble with his first business venture because he thought he could buy lots of various products and sell them easily all over the place; he assumed a grocery-type store approach would make sense. He was mistaken. He jumped around with various marketing ideas and tons of different products until he found the ones that sold the fastest, were easiest to handle and made the most money. He finally specialized in tapas crockery from the Basque region in northern Spain and still does extremely well with these products. As he was learning what to specialize in, he had another lesson in store. He over-extended himself and bought a huge shipment of small olive bowls and tagines of a certain style because he was sure they would sell quickly. Wrong again! 37
While both olive bowls and tagines were popular, the color and style that he’d stocked up on were not. He eventually did sell everything but at a discounted price. What he learned the hard way is that you don’t order in mass based on a whim. Take it easy at first, see what sells, what people like, and then stock up. 4. K.I.S.S.—Find a Memorable Address for Your Website Don’t over-think it. I was counselor to a company that had spent huge money, conducted outside focus groups, in-house test groups, regional group meetings, and all kinds of hocus pocus to decide on a ‘winning’ web address, only to come up with the longest, most impossible name you can imagine. The result? A weird, forgettable address with no branding possibility whatsoever that they eventually abandoned. Stick with that tried and true adage: ‘Keep It Simple, Simon’, but try for a name that has some connection with your products or at least your business. If you’re selling hand-carved chessboards a domain like ChessBoards.com would be nice to have, but you can bet it’s taken. Instead, think a bit ’out of the box’ and consider names like ChessBoardsUSA, ThailandChessBoards, ChessBoardCentral— something that gives consumers an idea of what it is you speciailize in. Also, buy several domains with similar names. That way you can promote each one and link them all together and offer a larger Internet ‘footprint’. You don‘t need a different site for each one, they can simply be ‘doorway’ sites to your main selling site. 5. Hang in There The best advice is: Take it easy, don’t jump too quickly and use all the many available avenues to promote and sell your products. Start small and work your way up. When people discover you, I guarantee your business will take off! It can be an endlessly fascinating and lucrative business and the knowledge that you’re helping disadvantaged people in villages and towns all over the world makes it all worthwhile. These success stories reveal that starting a handicraft business can be extremely profitable and transforming. If you follow the advice, avoid the pitfalls and find your own niche, you can change your life as you change the life of others.
With this wealth of resources at your fingertips, we know you can succeed and take charge of your new life. Here’s to you and your exciting, new venture—helping to empower everyone concerned succeed!
Next Chapter, “Marketing Your Products.”
Chapter 6 Marketing Your Products The Keys to Success
here are many ways to promote and market your products, but the best and most effective of all is the Internet. In this chapter we’ll cover the most effective Internet marketing techniques and show you how they all works. First of all let’s talk about regular marketing methods, including radio, television, newspapers, direct mail, trade shows, magazines, flea markets, ‘PennySavers,’ and press releases. a)
Radio: Radio is one of the least effective methods of selling the type of imports you’ll be importing because radio time can get expensive, and people can’t see your products. One of my associates writes: “I arranged a P.I. (Per Inquiry) deal with several radio stations for their unsold ad time. They didn’t charge me for the airtime to run my commercials but instead took a share of the profits from sales. For this to work the stations needed to know two things: 1. the products will sell and 2. if there was a dependable way of tracking sales. I paid for the production of the commercials which ran me about $250 each, (I had two), and I found a good call center that takes calls as they come in. My commercials featured a memorable 800 number, which is really important – you never know what people are doing when they hear your ad, so a memorable 800 number is important. Overall, the radio ads were a lot of work and didn’t really work all that well. If you decide to try P.I. your main goal should be to get listeners to your web site.” P.I. lead generation info: http://www.target-response.com/radio/p-i-advertising.shtml
Good call center: http://callcenterplus.com b)
Television: Television has the advantage of letting people see what you’re selling and can be cost effective if you know how to use it. Cable adverting can reach specific markets, and latenight spots can be had for as little as $5-$10 each. You can buy pre-made, generic television commercials on YouTube for as little as $50 and customize them with your audio and contact info. YouTube contact info: http://www.youtube.com
Newspapers: Newspapers are a shotgun approach to marketing–you can’t really target or appeal to a specific audience, but your products will probably have wide appeal so you might consider newspaper ads. There are newspaper networks that sell discounted classified advertising packages in multiple newspapers. They don’t provide tear sheets or even let you know when your ad will run, but they obtain big circulation figures cheaply. Here’s a network: http://www.nationwideadvertising.com Some newspapers even offer free classifieds if you have the right products, such as: http://www.sfgate.com
Direct Mail: You need to consider many things when thinking about using direct mail, including:
List source - Probably the single most important element. Where did these names come from and will they be interested in your products? Creative - Are you sending a letter? Postcard? Standalone? How will you encourage people to read it? Targeting your market – Who is it supposed to reach and how will it reach them? Copy - How are you getting people to order? Testing - This is vital in determining the effectiveness of your response. 41
Direct mail can get expensive. People stand over their wastebaskets when checking their mail so you need to come up with something that gets their attention quickly. Your goal should be to send them to your website. Here’s a campaign that worked well: a woman who sold car insurance bought 100 postcards when she went to Las Vegas. She sent them to prospects with a handwritten note that said something to the effect of “Don’t gamble on your Auto Insurance, call Betty for a free quote today!” Here’s a typical list broker that offers multiple quotes for mailing lists, printing, fulfillment etc.: http://www.printvendors.com/rfq_mailing_list.htm e)
Trade shows: These can be a great source of business and lots of fun. They can also be lots of work! First of all, make sure to select the right shows by seeing where your competitors are exhibiting and getting details about the visitors from the show presenters. You should also consider advertising in magazines that reach the wholesale buyers you’re looking for and let them know where to find you on the exhibit floor. Here are some things to consider:
Make sure your back-wall banner tells people what you sell and what you do. Lots of exhibitors think passers-by will ask, but they won’t! Have enough brochures and handouts for everyone. Make sure your business card is handy and has all of your contact info. Get last year’s exhibitor’s list and call some of them for feedback. Take a micro-cassette recorder and make yourself a note after you talk to a prospect. “John Jones, ABC Company— blue sweater with red shirt. Interested in products from Africa—has 6 stores in California.” It helps a lot when you get home and want to contact the people you’ve met. Consider making a video that tells about your company and your products. It gives prospects a good overview of your products and services. 42
You can get some good ideas on YouTube; here’s how: Go to: http://www.youtube.com. Type in ‘sales presentation’ in the search field in the upper right corner and look for those that feature 5 stars. Don’t make it too long—60-90 seconds maximum. People have short attention spans at trade shows. You should be able to get a colorful video produced for around $300. Have it done on DVD so you can also mail it to prospective customers. You can also put it on a video business card that people can see on their computer. If you’re in a “craigslist” city (http://www.craigslist.org) post the following ad in this category: Jobs -> tv/film/video
“Short Video Wanted: 90 second video wanted for trade show booth presentation. Multiple shots of me featuring my products. I will supply location, script, talent, display table, products. You supply camera, lighting, sound, pre- and post-production, fx, titling, Master copy on DVD. Pay is $300.” Make certain that you’re buying it—some ‘producers’ won’t give you title but instead ‘license’ it so you have to pay for any copies. Tradeshow site with lots of info and services: http://www.tradeshows.com Also see Ch. 9, for a comprehensive list of national and international trade shows. f)
Magazines: You can reach specific audiences with magazine ads and there’s no doubt they lend credibility and authenticity to your company but they’re expensive and require long lead times.
Press releases and free publicity: Free publicity is one of the most effective marketing tools possible, but how do you promote yourself and your company to give your growing business the exposure you’re looking for? Every reporter is looking for news and business stories that are human interest stories. Here are four things you need to give the press in order to interest them in doing a story about you:
1. Personality. A company is faceless without the people who run it. In any story, readers want the personality of the people to come through. They want a sense of who’s behind the company and the products, especially when it involves something as interesting as what you’ll be doing—importing beautiful handcrafted good from disadvantaged artisans from all over the world. 2. Facts & Figures. Reporters love facts and figures; they anchor a story in reality. However, if you prefer not to divulge sales figures, talk instead about your growth rate, future goals, unique suppliers, or new marketing methods. "Our sales have doubled in the last six months," or "We've found a wonderful group of talented women in Africa who will be making customized iPhone covers for us.” 3. Anecdotes. As impressive as numbers can be, they can be a bit boring and aren’t the whole story. Real-life examples of how you solved a problem bring your story to life. Readers want to hear about real people. Your story says ‘I've been there and done that.’ Tell the stories behind the facts and embellish them with (true) details that would make someone want to read all about it. A little drama comes in handy. “My son and daughterin-law took a vacation to Thailand and emailed me pictures they made with their digital camera of some linen pillow cases being made by monks in a monastery where they stayed.” 4. Details that Reveal. Reporters have their antennae up for interesting details about the people behind the business. More and more, that's the approach that reporters are taking, so be open and include details. Maybe the way you find your treasures reveals something insightful about your marketing strategy, or the fact that you work best in your pajamas. Your motivation and vision for the business is affected by who you are and how you do business. Think about the attitudes and experiences that have helped you to succeed. Fortunately, your handcrafted products, the people who make them and how you buy and sell them make great copy and is sure to generate lots of free publicity. In the beginning you might consider hiring a person experienced with writing and submitting press releases—it will pay off quickly. The better connected they are the more likely your story will be printed— journalists and the media like to get stories from sources that 44
sound professional so they don’t wind up with egg on their face. But you don’t need a high-priced public relations press agent— you can do it yourself or go on craigslist and advertise for a freelance publicist/press writer. Here are two places on the Internet you can submit your press releas free: http://www.prlog.org http://www.pr.com/ See our reference section, Ch. 8, for more PR contacts and guerilla marketing ideas. Marketing on the Internet E-commerce is a $102 billion dollar-a-year business and growing steadily. Who’s buying and how do you tap into this giant market? For the handicraft items that you will be selling—including apparel, personal care products, household goods, gifts, games, and jewelry—it’s primarily women, aged 25-50. According to the latest government figures, this is the primary target market, but baby boomers over 50 also spend lots of money on such items. This is great news for your business—you not only have the traditional market to build on, but a big market of socially-conscious boomers who helped usher in the popularity of ethnic handicrafts in the first place! So, how do you reach them? There are many ways, the first being the construction of your own website. Quite simply, you build a web site and use it as the central clearing house for your marketing efforts. You can hire someone to help you get your site up and running or you can do it yourself. All the experts agree that clearly defining your Web site up front—what you offer and why you are the best—is extremely important. A first impression is key and should tell potential customers immediately everything they need to know to continue shopping (you only have seconds to capture their attention and interest). Next, having userfriendly, comprehensive landing pages are vital. Think of a landing 45
page as a mini-version of your site. Your goal is to minimize the number of distractions and links that point away from the purchase or opt-in. Therefore, all of the information that customers might need in order to make a purchase should be readily available without them having to drift away from the landing page. Overall, make sure that there are no wasted clicks and that your site’s internal search takes them to EXACTLY what they want to go. Then, encourage the sale and make it easy to purchase. Many experts say that offering incentives to first-time buyers is a good way to get that first sale. Then, encourage their loyalty by offering a way to keep in touch—many do this with newsletters and email “tips” and “what’s new” alerts. If you don’t want to design your site from the ground up, many companies offer templates that you can purchase for as little as $15. You can then customize the template to meet your needs. Check out the offerings from www.BoxedArt.com. Some of their sites are very well designed and will give you a professional look right away. Yahoo offers free tools to accommodate website design, so if you want to create a simple site with just a few pages, you might consider going with Yahoo. If you’d rather have someone do it for you, there’s lots of talent available at your local college or go online and post an ad on craigslist, a popular community bulletin board at www.craigslist.org . Before you post your ad, find a site or two that you like and include it in your ad or at least have it available for a prospective HTML person to see. That way, s/he will know about what you’re looking for and what style you like. Look at retail e-commerce sites that you like and user them for design ideas. Choose sites that effectively display their products, are simple to use, are safe, and successful. Be sure and put rate of pay in your ad—you don’t want to waste your time, (or theirs), talking to the high-end designers—you just don’t need their unique talents for the simple eCommerce site you need. Go to craigslist and click on the ‘Post to Classifieds -> ‘web/HTML/info design job’ and post something like this:
HTML Wanted: “Looking for a sharp, experienced HTML person to do an eCommerce site like this one: www._______________ (pick a 46
site that you want to emulate and write that URL in the space above). Please send sample work and contact information. Pay is $20 per hour.” Here are some pointers:
You should be able to get a god site done for around $500. Be certain to get references and call them. There are lots of ‘site designers’ that don’t have a clue, don’t provide phone support, aren’t responsive to email and are just plain amateurs. Don’t pay for the site in advance. Site designers usually require a deposit of 25%-50% down. Make certain that you can upload pictures and descriptions of your products yourself and it’s easy to do. Have the site designer show you how. Have the designer incorporate a site statistics program like WebTrends that will allow to track site activity, where visitors are coming from, time spent on various pages, etc. Include shipping pricing on your display pages as well as on the checkout page.
A domain name for your site: Next you’ll need a domain name for your website—a place people can go to find you. Two things to keep in mind when choosing a domain name: 1) The audience you want to attract and 2) K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Simon). In other words, find a catchy, memorable name that will appeal to your target audience. You may even want to have two different names that appeal to different groups and both of them forward to the same site. For the boomer market, think: free spirited, revolutionary, socially active, entrepreneurial; for generation X, think: tech-savvy, instantgratification, celebrity-obsessed, off-the-wall. The key to a great domain name is that it’s memorable and easily spelled. If you have something that’s difficult to spell or too long, chances are that folks won’t remember you. If you have something simple but it can be spelled a few ways, such as girls and girlz, consider buying both names so that no matter how a potential customer spells it, they are forwarded to your main online store site. The name you choose can have something to do with your products— or not! Sometimes the zaniest names are the most effective (can you 47
say Google or Yahoo?). Just make it easy to spell and memorable, i.e. luckyduck.com, greeneggs.com, or coolcrafts.com. You can choose other extensions such as: biz, .TV, .US, .net—but they’ll be harder for folks to find and remember, so stick with .com if you can because it’s the most familiar. To find a domain name, go to a registering service on the web and keep entering names until you find something available that works for you. Here’s a good place to go: http://www.domaintools.com Just keep entering names in the ‘Who is Lookup’ until you find one that’s available. There are many registering services available but we like the following because they are inexpensive, offer hosting services, and are easy to use (as low as $6.49 per year for a domain name and hosting as low as $3.99/month): www.dynadot.com Website Hosting Once you have your site designed you’re going to need to ‘host’ it somewhere. Hosting just means that you pay a company to put your site on their computer so people can access it 24/7. They’ll make sure your site accommodates your payment processing and other software programs. Web hosting costs as little as $10 per month through providers such as Yahoo or Google, or our favorite, an inexpensive, friendly, and responsive hosting company called Hurricane Electric at http://www.he.net . Merchant Card Services If you are going to accept credit card payments online, you can get your own merchant account or let a payment processor do your payment processing for you. Merchant accounts are difficult for new businesses to obtain due to the amount of fraud in the small business arena. There are many merchant brokers that provide credit card services, but you will pay a monthly fee in addition to the percentage per transaction. PayPal now offers affordable credit card payment services. They also offer free shopping cart software when you want to add products to your website. 48
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/web/index-outside Another good alternative is CostCo. processing setup at:
Check out their payment
http://www.elavon.com/acquiring/costco/ Automating Your Site and Your Business Ask your site designer to include an auto-responder. Auto-responders can answer your incoming email messages automatically, manage orders, deliver newsletters and handle lots of your automated correspondence. You can schedule messages to go out at set intervals and send a weekly email to your customer database. There are virtually endless possibilities for automating your site and making your business efficient with many vendors who offering these services. One company that offers a full solution for an eCommerce website is CCNow.com. Their program allows you to process credit cards, create shopping services for your products, set up your own affiliate program and automate all of your email correspondence. Check out CCNow at:
Business Licenses Business license requirements vary by state, county and sometimes even by city (we list the SBA and business agency contacts in reference section, Ch. 8). Be sure to make your business legal and talk to an accountant about whether you should set your business up as a sole-proprietorship, corporation, or my favorite, a Limited Liability Company. (LLC). Here are the details on an LLC: Like a corporation, an LLC is a separate and distinct legal entity. This means that an LLC can obtain a tax identification number, open a bank account and do business, all under its own name. The primary advantage of an LLC is that its owners, known as members, are not personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the LLC. An LLC can be taxed either as a "pass-through" entity, like a partnership or sole proprietorship, or as a regular corporation. By default, an LLC is taxed as a pass-through entity, and the owners of the LLC are not subject to double taxation. Ownership in an LLC can be expressed in two ways: (1) by 49
percentage; and (2) by membership units, which are similar to shares of stock in a corporation. In either case, ownership confers the right to vote and the right to share in the profits of the LLC. Unlike a corporation, an LLC can distribute its ownership interests as it pleases, without regard to how much money or property a member contributes to the company. For example, if Sam contributes $10,000 to the company and is a silent partner, and Rick contributes no money but runs the company on a daily basis, they could still decide to split the membership interests 50%-50%. There are also some great home business deductions available. For a good overview go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited_liability_company To set up an LLC, go to: http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/businessstructure/ht/llcsetup.htm Marketing your products. A good idea, great products and super prices are a good start, but it’s the execution of an idea that makes a business successful. You can’t set up a website and hope it will be visited, you must let people know where you are. There are endless opportunities for promoting your site and marketing your products online. Here are the major methods: 1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 2. Pay Per Click (PPC) 3. Affiliates 4. Opt-in email 5. Co-registation 6. eZines 7. Newsletters 8. Link exchanges 9. Classifieds 10. Blogs 11. Article marketing 12. Auction sites Let’s look at them one at a time.
1. Search Engine Optimization
The search engines are vital to online success. When people are looking for information, products or entertainment, they start with the search engines. Search engines 'rank' sites and return sites that they think are the most relevant first. The higher your ranking, the better chance users will find you and the greater your traffic. There are many ways to increase your site’s ranking with the search engines and popularity with online visitors. 1. Provide good content. You need not only lots of content, but it should be unique. Include charts and maps of the world where you get your products, tips on airline travel, packaging ideas etc. Show off your products being used. You get the idea – do something original and add to your content all the time. Keeping your site unique and fresh means the search engines like it and your visitors have a reason to come to your site instead of your competitor’s site. 2. Make your content accessible When search engines access your website, they won’t see it the same way humans see it. Instead of pictures and text, search engine 'spiders,' (automated software programs that review your site), see things like HTML tags, page titles, links, headers, and the relevancy of your content. That's how they know how and where to rank your site. Make each page focused, simple and quick-loading. Don’t rename your pages, don’t create redirects, and don’t use long, complicated URLs. Simple & stable pages invite others to bookmark your pages or link to them, and allow search engines to assign a “trust" value to your page as a dependable presentation. If your page is about ivoryinlaid picture frames from Thailand, the page title should be something like “YourDomainName.com/inlaid frames/thailand." 3. Tell others about your content There was a time when you could just add lots of keywords to your page and attract the search engines, but today’s search engines aren’t that easily fooled. Search engines not only look for content and site 51
structure, but also link popularity. The more links to your site, the higher your page ranks for a variety of search queries. How do you get other sites to link to you? Get involved online. Participate in newsgroups and web forums, look for online directories and vertical search engines that deal with sites and topics like yours and contact webmasters and bloggers who maintain similar sites. Take time to help others by contributing to bulletin boards, chat rooms and discussion forums. Be sure to include your URL in your 'sig file' (the signature you use with your postings). If there’s a radio or TV show which discusses websites, business or eCommerce, drop them an email and introduce them to your site and your business. Find people who might be interested in your site, be it a newspaper, radio show, magazine or newsletter. To get a mention in any of these, it helps if you do something a bit different like sending one of your products to a celebrity, contributing to a local charity or having a video on a video sharing site like YouTube. Here’s a quick checklist of “optimization” approaches to avoid:
successful tricks are slim and you might get banned completely. 2. Pay Per Click Pay-Per-Click is an advertising method where websites send traffic to an advertiser's sites in exchange for a payment per click. Advertisers bid on the keywords they believe potential consumers will type in the search field when looking for their type of product or service. If, for example, an advertiser sells Alaskan cruises, s/he would bid for and buy the keywords "Alaskan cruises", believing a user would type those words in the search field, see his ad, click to his site and buy an Alaskan cruise. These ads are called Sponsored Links and appear in the right column of the search engines. The advertiser pays each time a user clicks on his ad. Notable PPClick keyword search engines include: Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft adCenter, GaZabo.com, LookSmart, Miva, SearchFeed, GoClick and others. With the huge demand for positioning on the first few pages of the search engines, the competition is fierce indeed and the bid pricing can get expensive. Clicks can cost from 10Â˘ to $100 each depending on the bidding, product, positioning, demand and other factors. Using Pay Per Click advertising takes expert and specialized knowledge in search engine marketing, or SEM. A few of the techniques needed to conduct a successful Pay Per CLICK campaign are paid inclusions, contextual listings, keyword bucketing, title and meta tags, indexable body text, linking strategies, key-phrase rich titling, link descriptions, web analytics and many more. Aside from the difficulty of obtaining, (and keeping), good search engine position, there's the problem of click fraud. Click fraud happens because search engines share ads with sites which display their ads and often very little else. When someone clicks on an ad the advertiser pays and Google and the website makes money. A recent Business Week investigation exposed a thriving click fraud underground populated by swarms of small-time scammers in such places as Botswana, Mongolia, Syria and Korea. â€œPaid to read" rings, URL triggers, parked domains, tier and B&C networks and many other online groups with thousands of players do nothing all day long but click on ads and collect payments from the search engines, with advertisers paying the bill. Some of these hackers have even developed 'clickbot' software that generates page hits 53
automatically—and anonymously. Insiders estimate that up to 35% of ad clicks may be fake, so unless you know what you're doing stay away from Pay Per Click marketing. 3. Affiliates One of the best ways to promote your products is with affiliate marketing. How does affiliate marketing work? Websites send you site visitors and get paid a commission if those visitors visit your site, buy your products, turn into a lead or sign up. You don’t have to contact sites individually and ask them if they would like to sell your products, there are affiliate management firms with thousands of sites in their network that do it for you. Your affiliates usually charge 15% 20% of the sale price, and the management firms get about 20% of that. Here are some things ot consider when thinking about utilizing an affiliates: 1. How much are you going to pay your affiliates? Take a look at your margins and what your competitors are doing to ascertain what would be the appropriate commission rate. 2. A key to your affiliate program will be the setup. Affiliate marketing is about partnerships, not technology. That is important to remember, because some folks have this perception that affiliate marketing is a channel you can just throw money at and watch it perform on auto-pilot. That’s wrong - affiliate marketing is about people. While technology and the appeal of the ads you provide your affiliate ‘partners’ are important components to an affiliate program, the central focus should be on the people and the relationships. Some
Think like your customer and walk through the process after seeing one of your ads on an affiliate site. This will enable you to identify details that need improvement.
Staffing of the affiliate program is important. Figure out if your affiliate program will be dones in-house, outsourced to an
The affiliate program model you go by will be significant. Will you focus on pay per click, pay per sale, pay per lead, or some combination?
If you’re going with an affiliate network, which one and why? There are a number of choices out there, so check out the landscape and take a few for a test drive. One we like is SharASale at http://www.shareasale.com Here’s a good overview of how it works, http://www.shareasale.com/how.cfm , and here are details on their pricing: http://www.shareasale.com/pricing.cfm
Signing with an affiliate network isn’t the end of it. You need a good outline that educates the affiliate sites when they sign up to sell your products.
In order to create an optimum affiliate program, you need to know what affiliates want. Here’s a list: 1. Forge a true partnership. If the deal is slanted too much in your favor, don’t expect affiliates to knock down your door. They’re already promoting you on a leap of faith, so make things as fair as possible. 2. Run a credible affiliate program. Affiliates want to work with sites that pay them on time and provide reliable tracking. Do right by your affiliates and they’ll do right by you. 3. Be set up to sell. Companies often roll out their affiliate program along with the launch of their website, but bugs, poorly planned landing pages, tracking issues and other problems defeat the whole operation. 4. Don’t complicate things. This won’t be an issue if you go with one of the major affiliate networks, but some homegrown affiliate systems are a complicated mess.
Why Some Affiliate Programs Fail The reality here is that affiliate programs don’t fail, affiliate managers fail, and it happens for a number of reasons, including:
1. No education. Provide your affiliate partners with the information and tools they need to succeed. Let them know your target audience and best selling products. Create a sales guide that gives them a road map to promoting your products and your company. Give them some training, no matter how informal. Remember, they don’t know your products like you do! 2. Support. You don’t have to make yourself available 7 days a week, but be available during business hours by phone, email, IM or whatever. Be there for the affiliates or risk missing out on big opportunities. Sometimes they’ll be contacting you with big orders! 3. Know your competition. You’ve got to know who it is, what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and who they’re doing it with. Take a look at all aspects of their affiliate programs and learn their operation inside out. The better you know your competition, the better you can beat ‘em to the draw! 4. Co-registration Co-registration refers to the practice of capturing leads or memberships. Visitors signing up for a free subscription, report, white paper or site access are offered the chance to receive other offers on the "thank-you page" that appears after the initial registration. Take a look at a typical example here: http://www.advertisingknowhow.com/jv/index.php. This is the thank-you page new subscribers get after filling out the subscription form at Advertising Know-How.com. This thank-you page features six other publications and an easy-to-use checkbox form. It only asks for name and email address, however, many co-registration thank you pages require more information including name, address, phone number etc. Leads generated on co-registration networks can be customized to describe your product or service. These leads cost from 25¢ to $1 each for general population, age 18+, US only and can be delivered to you in near real-time. The price will rise above $1.00 for prestigious sites and as you narrow the target audience. Generally speaking, anything below 25¢ is highly incentive-driven and not worth your time. 56
It's a good idea to check out the site they were generated on to make sure it's attracting the type of customers you're looking for. Here's the site of http://nitrolistbuilder.com
Here are some co-reg tips: 1. Make sure they can give you some good examples of the sites where your offer will be placed 2. Do they have auto-responder capabilities? 3. Make sure they can post real-time leads 4. Get some concrete examples of who they have worked with in the past and what the results were 5. Make sure they have a handle on what it is that you are trying to accomplish with your campaign 6. How long have they been in business? If they are new, what's their background? 7. What is their invalid lead policy? They should accept at least 10% back 8. Do they offer an out-clause? A 48-hour out is the standard after a small setup fee or minimum amount delivered 9. Do they offer daily caps? 10. Make sure they give you a realistic estimated time of fulfillment. If, during the campaign they deviate from this and start raining leads, call them on it and ask to return to a stable volume. 5-6. eZines and Newsletters Electronic magazines or “eZines” and newsletters are the hottest and most overlooked marketing plays on the Internet. They target audiences and are one of the fastest growing areas of online marketing and it’s easy to see why—they work! Both as a method to promote your web site and as vehicles for delivering paid advertising. What’s an eZine? An eZine is an electronic magazine or newsletter delivered directly to subscribers. They include text and graphically embellished e-mail elements. They’ve become popular with online marketers because they are a cost effective way of reaching targeted consumer groups. Similar to opt-in e-mail, eZines are requested by the reader and therefore have a far higher readership than spam. They feature information, photos and entertainment, so the advertising messages displayed reach the consumer when they are in a receptive frame of mind.
Best of all, eZines are delivered right to each subscriber's mailbox so you don't have to depend on the reader finding you. Ezines feature unique interests and are sent out weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The most successful eZines feature display advertising. Marketers are anxious to be included in them because experience has shown that it’s a viable medium. Because ezines are specialized, targeted opt-in email with content, eZine advertising can be very cost effective. Here are some of the cardinal rules when using eZines in a web promotion marketing campaign: High Impact Message As with banner advertising and other forms of marketing, the message must be compelling and the graphics appealing, or better yet, enticing. As paid content you’ve only got a small amount of real estate in an eZine ad, so you must grab the reader’s attention quick! Call to Action There is only one goal when it comes to electronic marketing– make them click to your site! The two best ways to achieve this result are super-dynamic graphics with strong eye appeal and a free offer or other unique selling proposition. It's essential that an immediate response and decision to click through to your site happens right away. Here's a good eZine ad brokerage that includes lots of tips and good advice: http://emailuniverse.com/ezine-tips/?id=825 7. Link Exchanges Link Exchanges are links exchanged between two individuals or companies that link to each other's site. What is the purpose? To build "link popularity" within Search Engines. Many professionals believe that you should only link to sites that have discussions or information similar to yours. They're right - it's the best way to attract qualified traffic. Once a visitor has browsed your link partner's site, they may look for other resources and see a link to yours. If you have links to your site
on sites all over the net, there's more of a chance some people will see them and visit you. Here are several link exchanges:
http://www.linkpartners.com/ http://www.reciprocallink.com/ http://www.link-city.com/
8. Classifieds There are plenty of sites on the Internet where you can place classified ads, many of them free. Some of them cover specific target markets, unique products and unusual services. Here are a few of the best and most popular: http://www.craigslist.com http://classifieds.yahoo.com http://www.backpage.com 9. Blogs A blog, (a takeoff on the words ‘web-log’), is a website where entries are written in chronological order and displayed in reverse chronological order. They offer commentary, opinions or news on a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news; some function more as personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) or sexual in nature (Adult blog), and are part of a wider network of social media. Probably the most popular is Technorati at http://technorati.com. It catalogs and tracks more than 70 million blogs. You can post comments on apropriate blogs and include your site in your ‘sig file’ (your signature at the end of your post). 10. Article Marketing Article marketing is a type of advertising consisting of writing short articles related to a particular product, interest or industry. Once written, the you make these articles available free for distribution and publication in your marketplace. Each article contains a 'bio box' and
'by-line' which include references to and contact information for your website and your business. Well written content articles released for free distribution can give your business credibility and bring you new clients. Here’s a site that will distribute your articles to 127 Article Directories for $14: http://www.articletrader.com/distribution 11. Auction Sites There’s really only one—eBay—and understanding how it works and its fabulous potential is so important to your business we have devoted the entire next chapter to it. But before we get to that, here are 12 sure-fire ways to drive traffic to your site: A Dozen Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Website 1. Give away a free report to get visitors to your website and leave you their name and e-mail address. For example, one of our associates give away a report entitled: "Free Imports from Cambodia." A good title and a high-perceived value for your report will increase the number of visitors anxious to trade their name and e-mail address for it. 2. Get affiliates to drive traffic to your site. For example, twice a year Mary Jane runs a three-day promotion on her website offering additional bonuses for her inported linen tablecloths. She contacts affiliates weeks in advance to give them sales copy that they can send to their customer lists. In return for a larger affiliate commission, it is not difficult to line up hundreds of affiliates willing to send you buyers. (Even if some of the visitors they send your way don’t end up buying immediately, many will sign up for your free report and add their names to your list.) 3. Start a blog and post informative content for your target market. This will draw traffic through search engines and links from other blogs. Once you start building traffic to your blog, add a sign-up box for your e-newsletter. You can start a blog for free at Blogger.com. 4. Create a joint venture with a company that complements your own. Joint ventures work very well. What’s the biggest name you can think of to approach for a joint venture? Aim high – you never 60
know who might love yur products and wants to partner with you 5. Create an e-book or report containing links to your site. Sam J. recently allowed hundreds of distributors to give away a report that included links back to his sales and sign-up pages. It was a win-win situation, because it gave the distributors a freebie to use to encourage sign-ups to their own sites. 6. If you arenâ€™t on Youtube yet, get started immediately. Put together a short video clip and post it on Youtube with your website address watermarked across it. That way, everyone who views the video becomes a potential visitor to your site. The more interesting you can make your video, the more people will see it. Clips that get the most views are usually funny, controversial, or heartwarming, and make viewers want to forward them to other people. With the interesting, beautiful products youâ€™ll be selling a YouTube video is a natural! 7. Arrange for a free teleseminar and host a one-hour interview with another expert. (You can use FreeConferenceCall.com to set up the call.) Get the expert to promote the teleseminar to his or her list and website, and build a sign-up page where people who want to access it give you their e-mail address in exchange for the teleseminar phone number and access code. 8. Use standard PR strategies to get your website featured in the paper or on a local TV station. Make sure you get a confirmation from the reporter that your website name will be featured in the story or on the screen. But understand that only a small percentage of people who see an "offline" promotion will make the effort to track you down online. (Read about one of the techniques Paul Lawrence used to get free publicity here.) 9. Submit content-rich articles to online article directories like EzineArticles.com. This can be a valuable source of traffic for your website AND a great way for joint-venture and affiliate partners to find out about your site and products. 10. Spend a weekend mastering the basics of Google AdWords. Learn how to use catchy pay-per-click ads to bring traffic and potential sign-ups to your site. Of utmost importance is writing a good headline for your ad. 11. Visit and contribute to related online message boards and 61
forums. These can be good places to start building traffic to your site. Simply post relevant content and leave a link back to your website in your signature. 12. Hand out business cards with your website address every chance you get. You’ll be amazed how they get around and how effective they can be!
Use all of the above methods to build your business and be patient. It takes time, but rest assured, the money is out there waiting for you!
Next Chapter, “Selling on eBay.”
Chapter 7 Selling on eBay: 150 Million Buyers Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Sell on eBay!
bay is such a cost-effective way to sell you products that I’m devoting a whole chapter to it. More than 100 million people around the globe sell their products, services, and valuables on eBay, the online auction community where almost anything in the world is for sale. It’s a great place to sell your imports, but be aware that whether you’re buying or selling, eBay can be addictive. It’s like Christmas every morning when you wake up and check your email. Where else can you connect with thousands of potential buyers for practically no money? Barbara Bates is a typical example. The Eagleton, Colorado housewife started selling some of her unwanted household items on eBay a few years ago and got hooked on the rush that comes from discovering that the stuff she considered not worth much was turning out to be another person's treasure. "I recently bought three picture frames at a consignment shop for $10 and sold them on eBay for $260. I love the thrill of the hunt, and what a great way to make money!" Getting set up to sell on eBay is quick and registration is free. But before you start auctioning off your products, there’s a lot to learn. Join the eBay community Becoming a registered member of the eBay community is the first step to both selling and buying. Go to http://www.ebay.com and log on to the registration page where you will be asked to: a) Enter your contact information: name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and e-mail address
b) Create your user ID and password c) Read and agree to the “eBay User Agreement” Not sure if your items are appropriate for an eBay auction? Almost anything can be sold on eBay—vacation packages, clothes, furniture, china, jewelry, even cars. The list of what can't be sold is much shorter: drugs, firearms, stolen property, and the like. Setting up Shop Once you're a registered member, you will be prompted to register to become a seller. You will be asked to: a) Choose a User ID. Other eBay members will come to recognize you by your ID, so choose one that people can remember and has something to do with your business. b) Create a password. c) Answer a security for future ID verification. d) Click on the confirmation button. e) Provide credit card information. No charges are made to your card. EBay provides information about their policy for those unsure about placing a credit card on file. f) Select how you'll pay your seller’s fees—either using the same credit card or a preauthorized debit card. The Sales Pitch When you've dealt with the administrative details, it's time to create a listing for the item you'd like to auction. The site will prompt you to: 1. Select a format—click Online auction or Sell at a fixed price. 2. Select a currency. It is best to choose American currency. 3. Select a category (art, collectibles, etc.). The site will make recommendations on where to place your item to ensure it reaches your target audience.
4. Enter a title and description. This is your chance to lure potential buyers; precisely describe the item and list condition, dimensions, history, etc. 5. Enter the minimum price at which you want bidding to start or set a "buy it now" fixed price. As a new seller you will be allowed to sell only one item at a time. When your “Feedback Rating” (explained below) from buyers reaches 10+, you will be eligible for multiple listings. 6. Select the duration of the auction—your choice of one, three, five, seven, or 10 days. Seven days is the most popular selection, as many bidders shop primarily on weekends. 7. List the location of your item and increase your exposure by also "listing regionally." This is especially good for finding buyers in your vicinity who prefer to pick up an item that can be difficult to ship. 8. Add a picture. This is optional, but highly recommended. EBay allows one photo for free, but additional pictures are cheap. For a fee of only 75¢ you can supersize your picture or even create a slide show. You can use a digital image, but the file must be in jpeg, TIFF, or bmp format. It's as simple as adding an attachment to an e-mail. 9. Choose accepted payment methods and list shipping costs and details of where you are willing to ship. 10. Review your information and submit.
Out of Pocket For sellers, there are two basic eBay fees: an Insertion Fee for your listing (between 35 cents and $6.75, depending on the starting price you choose for the item) and the Final Value Fee, which is 5 1⁄4 % of the first $35 of the closing price plus 2 3⁄4 % of the balance. There are also a variety of optional features available to sellers—listing upgrades, picture services, and seller tools—all of which come with fees anywhere from 10¢ per item to $49.95 for having your item listed on eBay's home page. Watching Your Auction Of course you’ll be carefully tracking your auction activity and if you’ve done your homework you’ll see a steady stream of buyers and steadily 65
increased bidding. Be prepared to answer email from buyers with specific questions, but if you’ve described your product thoroughly and provided good pictures you may not be bothered with many inquiries. Pay Day Now comes the fun part! When the auction is over you're ready to collect your money and deliver the goods. Sellers usually arrange to ship items, and buyers cover the costs. Goods are not shipped until payment is received. Sellers choose which forms of payment they’ll accept: credit cards (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover), money orders, PayPal, cashiers checks, personal checks, and COD. PayPal is the most widely used form of paying for goods sold on eBay, in fact, eBay owns PayPal. It's a secure online service that allows buyers to send credit card or checking account payments and money over the Internet to anyone with an e-mail address. Opening and using a Personal PayPal account is free, but you will need a Premier PayPal account to receive credit card payments. Premium account fees begin at 2.9% plus 55¢ per transaction. Risky Business? 1. Always photograph and/or mark your item before selling. Record the serial number or take a picture of some identifying mark so you can prove exactly which item you sold & shipped. 2. Use shipping services that require a signature for confirmation of delivery. 3. Never sell items on behalf of another person or organization. Beware if you are approached by companies to sell their products in trade for a share in the profits. Sellers do all the work, pay for the listings, and wire the sale proceeds to the manufacturer, but in many cases are never compensated—the money is untraceable. Once you've made your first sale, an online feedback profile will be created for you. Consisting of comments and ratings from users who have traded with you, your feedback profile is the most important aspect of your reputation on eBay. It gives buyers a look at your reputation and confidence in the description & quality of goods and service you deliver.
Your Feedback Rating 1) Give and get good feedback as soon as possible after an auction has ended. Having a good feedback rating makes other eBayers comfortable doing business with you. You may want to ship your products to someone with an excellent feedback rating before their check clears, but don’t do it if they have negative feedback. 2) How do you build your feedback rating quickly? Buy a few lower cost products that you use everyday that you normally buy at the store – pen refills, ink cartridges, razor blades, beauty supplies etc. Pay promptly using PayPal and post good feedbacks for the seller as soon as you receive the products and ask them to do the same if they don’t do it right away. 3) Be specific with your feedback: Leaving a comment that says: “great seller,” is ok, but you’ll get better feedback comments if you leave something like: “Item arrived quickly in perfect condition, just as described.” Or: “Quick Professional transaction–good email and great product” Be as specific as possible—“Beautiful Painting–I’ll enjoy for many years to come.” Send an email to your seller when your purchase arrives. Thank them and let them know you posted feedback and are happy with the transaction. Your Buyer’s Feedback Rating Always check the feedback left by others about the person you’re thinking of doing business with. If you’re a buyer in an item’s auction page, select “view seller’s feedback.” And if yu’re selling, be aware that buyers are going to do the same. The comments made by others that have dealt with this person in the past can be very revealing. If you see a bunch of negative comments, stay away from this person. If you see positive, then proceed. A decent feedback rating should be in the high 90’s (98% & above). Don’t let one or two negatives dissuade you if most of the other feedback is positive. Everyone makes mistakes, and things get lost in the mail, people mis-communicate etc. There are also some people out there who are very difficult to please, and who may leave a negative feedback ‘just because.’ Be especially careful buying expensive items from sellers who are newly registered or have a low feedback score.
If there’s a problem, try and work things out with your buyers or sellers before automatically leaving negative feedback. If, however, you’re dealing with a buyer or seller who is a total fraud, then by all 67
means go ahead and leave negative feedback. It will help others who might get involved with them. The eBay community is made of people who are mostly good, although we all goof once in awhile. Unfortunately, there are also a few ‘crazies’ out there who may retaliate if you leave them negative feedback by flaming you, sending rude remarks to your bidders etc. Sometimes leaving negative feedback on these people can cause more trouble than it is worth. PayPal Everyone is concerned with fraud and there is no faster or safer way to complete an eBay transaction than with PayPal. PayPal is used by more than 100 Million users around the world and now processes more debit and credit card payments than Citibank. Over 80% of registered eBay users accept PayPal and eBay has fully integrated PayPal into their systems. Take the time to become a verified seller and always give your verified shipping address for fraud protection. Be aware that PayPal has been know to freeze an account if there’s a dispute so it’s a good idea to keep enough money in your Paypal account to do business but not excessive funds which may be frozen. Fraud is actually rare but does exist on eBay. The most common fraud is a seller that offers an expensive item for sale at an unbelievably good price the asks the seller asks to pay in cash, cashiers check or money order. You send the money and never see the product. The seller that demands a cashier’s check or a money order is a red flag. Never bid on a large purchase if the seller won’t take PayPal or a credit card, and always check the seller's feedback and how long they have been registered on eBay. Most frauds set up an eBay account, run a few quick high-priced auctions, get the cashier’s check or money and either disappear or are kicked off of eBay. Be especially careful if the seller is located outside the U.S. Your ‘About Me’ Page EBay provides a section where you can describe yourself, your family, your hobbies—even your pets. You can add a photo on the page, talk about your lifestyle, interests—basically anything you like. Your “About Me” page is where people get a sense of who you are and if they want to do business with you. It’s also the only place on eBay where it’s 68
allowed to direct buyers to your web site, so as you can see, it’s an important part of your eBay account. Spend some time on you About Me page—it’s well worth the effort. Listing your items About 65% of eBay buyers find their item by searching, so carefully featuring the exact names of the products you’re selling is key to bidders finding your auction. Some sellers place a tilde (~) or a star * next to their auction title to help get attention, but if you do, be sure to place a space between the tilde or star and a word, or the word won’t come up in a search. For example: *Canon* wouldn’t be found because eBay’s search engine sees the * as part of the word. Use eBay’s powerful search engine to find items and to see what items are selling and how much they are selling for. Find Bargains with Misspelled Titles Everyday there are thousands of eBay auctions that feature misspelled words in the titles and descriptions. Auctions with misspelled words don’t come up on the regular eBay search, so often these auctions have no bids and can be scooped up at a bargain price. This means you can profit by finding these misspelled auctions before anyone else does. When you’re listing your items for sale be sure to check all your listing and descriptions terms carefully or you’ll also be ‘lost in space!” For example, typing in the word "diamond" will return dozens of misspellings of the word on eBay and may mean you’re the only You can find misspelled auctions by using a free eBay Misspelling Tool located at: http://www.fatfingers.co.uk/Default.aspx bidder. Lots of people start their auctions off at 1¢ in order to generate interest, and if they haven’t included a reserve price, you may be able to pick up some great bargains. Remember that 65% of eBay buyers find items by searching, so if a seller names an item incorrectly it won’t come up in a search. These items usually get very few bids and can be a real gold mine. If you want to buy something specific on eBay, think of how the word could be commonly misspelled and type it into the search box. You’ll be surprised how many items come up.
Find Bargains with Late Ending Times Here's a tip to find bargains—look for items ending after midnight. There aren't as many people up after midnight and those auctions tend to get fewer bids. If you don't want to stay up late, use BidSlammer to bid for you. The main thing to learn here is to end your auctions at the proper time in order to attract the maximum interest. Start and end your auctions at peak traffic periods when traffic is the heaviest. Sunday or Monday evenings between 5 and 10 PM (Pacific Time) are good—so are Saturday and Sunday mornings. Believe it or not, Mondays during the lunch hour are also very good. There can sometimes be a posting delay of up to two hours on eBay during the busy times. Don't forget that eBay uses Pacific Time. This is one of the best reasons to use an auction management service such as Vendio.com. You can create your auction and schedule it to launch at a specific time or day. Review Completed Sales You can get a good handle on the value and popularity of items by looking at similar items that have sold. They’re called Completed Listings and you’ll find a link in the left sidebar in the product category you’re interested in. This page shows you successful bid prices, (in green), listings that didn’t sell, (in red), number of bids, bidders and lots of other good info. Before you list your items take a look to see what similar items sold for—and which ones didn’t. You’ll also get some good ideas for product descriptions. Bidding Most people bid in even numbers, so if you’re bidding add 2 or 3 cents. If the bid is $5.00, make your bid $5.52 or $5.53. You may just outbid someone by a few cents instead of a large dollar amount. This is very important when sniping. Sniping EBay’s ‘proxy’ bidding system means you can set the highest price you’ll pay for an item then forget about it. EBay will bid the minimum increase until it gets to your maximum. If you know exactly how much you want to pay for something this works fine, but if you’re not sure how much you want to bid or if an item is hot, then ‘sniping’ is the answer.
There are 2 ways to snipe: 1. Use a professional sniping program such as BidSlammer, located at http://www.bidslammer.com. “BidSlammer's eBay auction sniper
allows you to secretly arrange a bid for an eBay auction. BidSlammer will place your bid five seconds before the auction closes. This hides your interest and prevents last-minute bids by other bidders.” 2. Do it yourself, here’s how: a) Open a window on your desktop that features the item. b) Open a second window and place the highest amount you’ll pay for the item. c) Hit “Review Bid.” d) Enter your username and password, but don’t hit “Place Bid” yet. e) Wait 10 or 15 seconds before the auction ends. Keep refreshing your first window to see the time left. f) At just the right moment, hit “Place Bid.” With luck your bid will arrive at the perfect time to beat out your competition. Be sure to keep track of the time with the official eBay time or you could miss the end of an auction. Describing & Listing Your Items for Sale Your headline is your advertising and your item description is your salesperson. On the web, how your buyers perceive you and your product is everything. Copy writing is the art of showing and telling what you sell in the best possible light. It’s the most important thing you have going for you. A carefully crafted item description can increase you results a lot at no additional cost. Remember that 65% of eBay bidders find what they are looking for by using the search function so be sure to use carefully chosen and accurate key words in your title and description. EBay gives you 55 characters in your headline. Be sure to use all of them—they’ll help you get hits, visitors and prospects. Also, be careful how you describe your items for sale. Buyers using a single word for their search can return lots of ads, and may want to narrow their search down to a more specific need. For example, if they are looking specifically for Timex watches as opposed to just any watches they’d use the AND keyword function in their search
description. In the search field, they would enter Timex watch, which would return a list of all ads with both the words Timex and watch in them and exclude all ads that don’t contain both words. Savvy buyers also know how to look for ads that include certain phrases, or words that go together in a specific order. For instance, if searching for teddy bears, you can use quotation marks, like this: "teddy bear." This will return a listing of all ads with the words teddy bear in them. The word bear must immediately follow the word teddy for the listing to show. If buyers are looking for watches, but aren’t interested in Timex watches they would use the AND NOT keywords. In the search field, they would enter: watch -timex. This would return all auctions whose listings included the word watch, but excluded the word Timex. (Note: there’s no space between the minus sign and the word timex). Make your item description as complete as possible. Include all relevant details: condition, size, weight, age, collectability, and be sure to include any short-comings or defects. What you think may not be important may be very important to someone else. Describe your item’s condition, talk about its benefits and uses and keep writing until you run out of something to say. Use a short opening paragraph that promises something–and then deliver on the promise. Describe the product–but also write about its benefits and/or how it is used. If you have personally used the product, describe your experience. Short sentences are more readable than long ones. If you write a long sentence, follow it with a short one. Keep your paragraphs to less than 3 or 4 lines. Boldface important words or phrases. Include attentiongetters: questions, news items, a guarantee or a promise. Ask for the bid at the end of the description. Use active verbs and enthusiastic language. Here are some tips on listing and describing your products:
Use all capital letters in your headline to make it stand out. Use the Bold Face and Highlight option if your price-point can afford the extra fee. Use tildes "~ " to set off your headline. Make sure there is space between your tilde ~ and any searchable word or eBay’s search engine may not recognize it). Avoid goofy characters such as “L@@K,” “MUST C” and SAVE 72
$$$$$$, etc. If you are not using a reserve price, say so with “No Reserve” or “NR.” Use the HTML command <font-size=+1> at the beginning of your description or If you use eBay’s HTML editor, set it to Medium font size. This will increase the standard eBay type size to make your words readable on any computer screen. Clearly state what you are selling in the first paragraph. Make your paragraphs short–no more than two or three sentences. Place an extra return between paragraphs to create some white space around them. Use bullets to describe features and benefits. Write short sentences and/or follow a long sentence with a short sentence. Don’t worry about your auction description being too long. It's more important to include all the information a buyer needs. If your description is easy-to-read, potential bidders will keep reading until they have all the information they need. Include all relevant details such as age, condition, hallmarks, flaws, packaging, size, manufacturer, and so on. Use “power words” to create word pictures and emotional responses, such as: New, Rare, Genuine, Beautiful, Original, Charming, First Class, Lovely, Save Money, Bargain, Guaranteed, Expensive-Looking, Unique, Unusual, Stunning, Top Notch, First Class, etc. Stress product benefits such as health, beauty, time-saving, ease-of-use, money-saving, etc. Personalize. Tell the reader how or where you found the item or how you use it. Spell out your shipping and payment terms clearly and completely.
Carefully Spell out Your Payment and Delivery Policy Spell out everything. How much do you charge for shipping? How will you ship the item? What is your policy on insurance? Do you use escrow for expensive items? When do you post feedback? Do you hold checks until they clear? The more information you give a buyer the better the buying and selling experience will be for both parties, but be sure to make it sound friendly. You don’t want your auctions to sound like a bunch of rules written by some lawyer wanna-be.
Be careful of phony email supposedly from eBay or PayPal Many emails you receive that look like they come from PayPal or eBay are fakes. If eBay sends you an email–and they sometimes do, don’t open it. Whenever eBay sends you an email they also send it to your My Messages box in your My eBay page. Just go to you’re My eBay where you will also see the email if it really came from eBay. You can open it there safely. If you receive an email from PayPal, don’t click on any of the links. Instead log into your PayPal account and you’ll see any notices on your main account page. All genuine emails from eBay and/or PayPal will be always be addressed to you by name. If the email says Dear Member–it’s a fake! Add Audio to Your Listings Adding audio to an eBay listing boosts sales. It gives your site and your products ‘life’, helps convey your business style and makes people comfortable. One of the best, (and easiest), audio providers is a company called Seller's Voice at http://www.sellersvoice.com. It’s easy and inexpensive. Here’s how it works: You sign up, then dial an 800 number and record your message. You then go to their web site and copy a short line of code that you paste into My Auction. If you launch your auction first, you can also record the message and just type the auction number into the phone and they’ll paste it in for you. You can put audio on your About Me page, all your auctions, or send audio in emails to your customers with their Audio Postcards. Automate Your Auctions When you start selling lots of products you can automate your auctions with an auction management service. There are several good ones out there but one of the best is Vendio at http://www.vendio.com. It provides templates where you type in your headlines and text, insert your images, set your price, terms, length of auction and upload your auctions at any time or day you specify. They also track your inventory and sales, send automated emails to customers, provide a PayPal or credit card gateway and automatically post feedback once payment is received. It’s a great service, far better than eBay's tools such as Turbo Lister and Selling Manager. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee: Include an unconditional money-back guarantee on every thing you sell. A simple offer of ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ will dramatically 74
increase your sales. Even people disappointed with a purchase will rarely go to the trouble of sending something back. The cost of providing the few refunds will far outweigh the good will generated, and will be reflected by increased sales. At the very least offer a guarantee that your items are exactly as described and you will give a full refund if they are not. Set up an eBay Store Your own eBay store is a great place to park merchandise between auctions, clear out slow moving merchandise, and have a place to promote products in your emails. EBay Store listing fees are low, much lower than auction fees. Place a clickable link in your auction item descriptions that invite people to go to your store and see your other products. eBay also indexes your store listings to search and shopping engines such as Froogle. If someone comes to your store from off of eBay (such as from a Google site), and buys something, eBay credits you 75% of the final value fee. Set up a PayPal Store PayPal offers a service called PayPal Shops. It’s really nothing more than a link to your eBay store or your web site, but PayPal offers their users a search engine where they can search PayPal shops for goods offered by merchants who accept PayPal. Occasionally PayPal may feature your shop on their checkout page. If this happens your shop will get thousands of hits a day as long as they feature it. Use an email Signature A great way to promote your eBay business is by using a signature. Signatures are six to eight lines at the end of your email messages and all email programs support them. You ‘sig file’ should include a description of what you sell and a link to your eBay store or your About Me page. Accept Personal Checks for up to $20 Accept personal checks for up to $20 and ship the product without waiting for the check to clear if the buyer has a good feedback rating, at least 20 feedback postings with no negatives. Most people will not write a bad check because it costs abut $20 these days in bank fes for a bounced check, and nobody want to risk a negative feedback for $20. You’ll seldom get burned for implementing this feature. Shipping & Supplies You can have all of your mailing supplies sent to you by the Post Office and UPS. Visit http://www.usps.gov and http://ups.com for more 75
details. eBay and PayPal now have an automated shipping system integrated with UPS and USPS right on their site. If you use USPS Priority Mail, (a favorite option for eBay sellers), you can use track your packages. It’s free if you do it on line, (at http://www.usps.com), or 45¢ to do it at the post office window. If you send your items via USPS priority mail the post office will give you free envelopes, tape, and boxes. You’ll get free shipping supplies, but think about it. If you pay Priority Mail rates and get free boxes, that is often close to what UPS charges when you add in the cost of a box. Another source for free supplies is your local gift shop or kitchen shop. These merchants receive merchandise in good boxes everyday with plenty of bubble-pak and Styrofoam peanuts that they simply toss or pay to have recycled. Get friendly with your local gift shop and you can have access to tons of free shipping supplies. No one likes to receive their “treasure” in a battered shoe box or an old apple carton. Take the time to pack your sales carefully. Invest in bubble pak, peanuts, tissue paper etc. Don’t Overcharge for Shipping There's a game some sellers play where they'll list a $5 item for 99¢ but charge $7.99 for shipping when it really only cost a dollar to ship. eBay will cancel your auction if they catch you doing this—it constitutes fee avoidance. Buyers are sensitive in this area. They know when you are making a profit on shipping. You can charge a small premium to cover your cost of handling and shipping materials, but it should be reasonable. Always offer to combine shipping costs if a person buys more than one item. Explain your shipping policy in the item description. Sign Up for BuySafe and SquareTrade BuySafe is a company that provides fraud insurance to your buyers, worth considering if you wind up selling expensive goods. It cost a little to sign up, but BuySafe has plenty of evidence that shows that using BuySafe in your auctions will increase your bids and final values much more than the cost of their service. Get details at www.buysafe.com. SquareTrade is sort of the Better Business Bureau of eBay. They also provide a dispute resolution service for their members and can get bad feedback removed. Info on their site at www.squaretrade.com.
http://www.honesty.com and http://www.squaretrade.com, both offer a seal of approval for you web site and your auctions. Most professional sellers use them. Check out AuctionBytes.com AuctionBytes is a great site with lots of free resources for auction sellers. They have suggestions for the best times to start and end an auction, a free online tutorial on how to take good photos, a daily and a weekly free newsletter and plenty of additional free resources. Best of all they have a dailynews feed of news about eBay and online auctions. Find it at www.AuctionBytes.com Use Google AdWords to Get Traffic Google generates traffic to web sites by featuring 'sponsored' (paid) ads, called pay-per-click. Pay-Per-Click is an advertising technique where Google links to advertiser’s sites in exchange for a payment per click. Advertisers bid on the keywords, (called AdWords), they believe potential consumers will type in the search field when looking for their type of product or service. If, for example, an advertiser sells Alaskan cruises, he would bid for and buy the keywords "Alaskan cruises", believing a user would type those words in the search field, see his ad, click to his site and buy an Alaskan cruise. These ads are called Sponsored Links and appear in the right column of the search engines. The advertiser pays each time a user clicks on his link. Google AdWords can get expensive, but if you look for the obscure keywords no one else is bidding on your can obtain hits and traffic to your auctions or eBay Store. There is a service called Wordtracker that is free to try out and very inexpensive to subscribe to. It will help you find those obscure key words that you can buy cheaply. Here's the AdWords Training Center: http://www.google.com/adwords/learningcenter Review WordTracker here: http://www.wordtracker.com Here's a WordTracker review site: http://www.wordtrackerreview.org Spice up Your Auctions You’ll see some auction sites that really stand out by using textured backgrounds. Here’s a good site for free backgrounds that may be interested in using: http://www.grsites.com/textures 77
Internet Terms and Jargon You’ll no doubt run across lots of terms you may not know—here’s a site that will explain with they mean—acronyms, business terms, marketing, online jargon, etc., http://www.netlingo.com What Business Entity Will you Use? Not many people get sued selling products on eBay, but it can happen. If you set up a Limited Liability Company or incorporate your business you may be shielded from most lawsuits. If person interested in suing you learns that you are incorporated and you don't keep assets in the corporation, they will often not bother because they know your assets are protected. There are also lots of tax benefits to incorporating. Here are two good resources—one for info on setting up a limited liability company and the other for incorporating: http://www.nolo.com http://www.clickandinc.com Set your Starting bid Low to Attract Traffic If have a great item that you KNOW will sell start it off at a very low price. This will get you early bidding and lots of action. You'll usually get more for your item than someone who priced their item higher, because your auction has more bidders participating. You want a large group around the item. Some will be competitive bidder—people who will pay extra just for the thrill of winning. Include the Auction Number in your emails Always include the auction number with the end of auction notice and any request for payment. Place the number in the subject line so you can easily track emails. People often bid on several items and can get confused. What if You Make a Mistake in an Auction? If an auction hasn’t received any bids you can revise it, no problem. Just click on the “revise auction” link right below your username. If the auction has received bids, first cancel the bids and then cancel the auction. If you go to My Account on your My eBay Page there’s a link where you can email eBay and ask them to credit the listing fee. Tell them you cancelled the auction, fixed the mistake and relisted it. Give them 78
the old and the new item number and they will usually—but not always credit you the fee. What about Violations? EBay rarely discovers a listing violation. They rely mostly on the community to report violations. The most common violations are listing in the wrong category, key word spamming, putting a link to an outside web site in your auction description and featuring items that are not qualified. Whenever you make a complaint about someone else’s auction eBay also examines your ongoing auctions, so unless your auctions are squeaky clean, think again about reporting someone else. Set up a Website and use eBay to Drive Business to it Every seller should have a web site. Sales you make from your web site don’t incur eBay fees. EBay has cracked down on sellers using auctions to drive hits to their web sites, but there are still several techniques you can use without running afoul of eBay. Learn how to Promote your Website and/or eBay Store There are lots of Internet training courses out there offered by socalled Guru’s, but one of the best is an operation called the Internet Marketing Center. Their site is a bit amateurish, but they really know what they’re doing and are making lots of money. There’s probably no more knowledgeable marketing pro on the Internet than Cory Rudl, the founder. Cory was killed racing his Porsche but Derek Gehl, his very able partner carries on his work. In their 1000+ page Internet marketing ‘bible’, you learn every strategy and technique that you must know if you want to start, build, and grow a successful business on the Internet, from the ground up. Here’s their site: http://www.marketingtips.com/tipsltr.html And here’s Cory Rudl’s bio: http://www.myinternetmarketingcenter.com Keep your Customers Happy Customers want three things: 79
communications, and get what they were promised. * * * * * *
Use PayPal to get their payment quickly and then ship quickly. Answer emails immediately Reveal any flaws or shortcomings your item has Never over-promise or over describe an item Package your items carefully and professionally If you can, toss in a little something for free
Really Communicate with Your Buyers When an auction ends, send your buyers an immediate email congratulating them and providing clear payment instructions. Send them another email when you ship the item, and a follow-up email to see if everything went okay. This final email should include the link where they can post their feedback on the transaction. Be Careful using Reserve Auctions No one likes reserve auctions. Most people understand the necessity for them, but a large percentage of users won't bid on a reserved price auction. If you really believe your item will sell, simply price it slightly lower than the minimum you will take. If you are selling a very expensive item, certainly place a reserve on it, but let the potential bidders know what the reserve is. It doesn’t have to be a secret. The point of a reserve is to protect you against something selling too cheaply. Being open about your reserve can actually help you get bids. Use a hit Counter to Track your Auction The most important thing to know about an item that didn't sell is: Why? Didn't it get hits, or did it get hits and not get bids? If you’re getting hits and not bids, then you know there's interest in the item, but something is wrong with your price or your description. If you’re not getting hits, then there is either no demand or your headline needs an overhaul. Did your auction fail? No bids, no hits? You can re-list it for free. But before you hit the re-list button lets look at what happened. Was the item over-priced? Was it in the correct category? Do you need a better headline or description? Is there any demand for the product? You can relist one time for free if an item doesn't sell. If you keep relisting and the item doesn't sell, you’re burning up eBay fees. If 80
others are selling your same item, and you’re not–go back and reexamine what you are doing. Use Regional Listings There are some people who will only buy from their local area. When you pick a region, it doesn’t limit your auction to that region, it just tells sellers in that area that you are nearby. There is no charge to use a regional listing. Build a Mailing List If you sell a specialized product you’ll be able to build a base of customers who buy your type of products. Once someone bids on your auction, or sends you an email with a question, then you—not eBay, own that customer and you can communicate with that person at any time without violating eBay rules. Whenever you launch an auction, send all your existing customers an email letting them know about its. If someone purchased something from you in the past, you now own that customer and it’s not against eBay’s regulations to market to them directly through email or from your web site. Selecting a Category OK, you have great products and have completed the first phase of getting started. You’re excited about your merchandise and ready to start selling. The next step is to find the category to list your item(s) in. Considering eBay has over 7,500 categories to choose from, this should be a relatively easy process. But there’s an important strategic trick you should know. Before listing your item in any category, follow these simple steps: First, browse through the eBay categories and write down the ones you think are relevant to your product. You’ll be able to find at least 35 possible choices. Next, write down the number of auctions currently online in each of those categories, (it will appear next to the category name). An average category has about 4,000, so if there are more than that you may conclude that the category is active, If there are fewer than 2000 consider it not very active. If 2,000 sounds like a lot remember how big the world is and how many users there are on eBay—almost 100 million!. Using this ranking system, rate the categories that you have chosen for your product. The idea is to list in the most active categories because they get the most traffic. If you put your product in an inactive section of eBay, you may get few or no bids, even if you feature it . Avoid categories with less than 1,000 81
auctions online unless your product is highly specialized to that category. Use Good Photos Digital cameras and scanners are cheap and good photos are vital to auction success. Keep your photos small—large image files take forever to load and your buyer will click off to another auction instead of waiting while your 300 K file downloads. Here are some simple tips to take good digital photos: * * * * * * * * * *
Clean up the area around the subject Use a tripod to keep your camera steady Avoid clutter in the photo Shoot outdoors on a cloudy day or in open shade. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight—too much contrast Indirect window light is also excellent. Shoot objects on a table next to a window with a white or gray sheet for a backdrop Get up close to the object Show a close-up of any repairs or defects If relevant, show the product being used. Show something such as a coin or a ruler to indicate size Show the subject in an attractive setting
Keep a Sharp eye on Your eBay Fees You need to be careful with your fees—especially the special features fees—they can mount up fast. ProfitCalc, is an eBay fee calculator that can save you money. http://www.profitcalc.com Use Dutch Auctions A Dutch Auction is when you have several identical items for sale. set the minimum price you are willing to sell for, and specify quantity for sale. Many bidders will bid on more than one item. person who bids the lowest for the last available quantity sets price for all winning bidders. Get Help for Your eBay Questions EBay forums help answer almost any question you might have.
You the The the
You can find the discussion boards broken down by subject at: http://pages.eBay.com/community/boards/index.html There are several category-specific chat rooms at: http://pages.eBay.com/community/chat/index.html The eBay Answer Center: http://pages.eBay.com/community/answercenter/index.html There is another good forum on Auctionbytes.com at: http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/index.php More Excellent eBay info Sources Advanced Search page: http://pages.eBay.com/search/items/search_adv.html Search eBay stores: http://pages.eBay.com/search/items/search_stores.html Announcements and News: http://pages.eBay.com/search/items/search_stores.html Discussion Boards: http://pages.eBay.com/community/boards/index.html Rules and Policies: http://pages.eBay.com/services/tsindex.html What if a Buyer Doesn’t Pay? EBay has a very procedure for bidders that don’t pay. a) Send an email requesting payment and warning the buyer you will file a non-payment complaint to eBay if they don’t pay within a specified time. b) If they still don’t pay, go to your My eBay Page and find the link to the dispute resolution center. Follow the instructions there to make a claim and file a final value fee credit (to refund your fees). EBay will contact the buyer and give them a warning, which often gets them to pay. A bidder that receives a third warning will be suspended from eBay.
There's also another option. In your terms of sale at the end of each auction description, place the statement: “If you fail to pay within 10 business days, this auction is cancelled by mutual agreement.” On the eBay Non-payment Bidder page, there's a button you can check that says 'This auction was cancelled by mutual agreement.' If you check this button, your fee will be immediately refunded without going through all the steps and waiting the full period. EBay will email the bidder and ask if they agree. They usually do so they don't get an 'unpaid item' strike against them. There’s a lot to consider, but eBay is such a great resource it’s worth the time and effort to learn it. How else can you reach so many targeted buyers so easily and inexpensively?
Next Chapter, “The Best Business and Trade Listings.”
Chapter 8 The Best Business and Trade Listings
ere we have compiled a complete list of every resource you need to ship and import handicrafts. From government agencies to international embassy information, all of the contact information you need to legally start your import business is here, with links to every website. From locating products to shipping to networking, these groups can help you lay the foundation for success and assist you every step of the way. (Just click on the links to go directly to the site.) FEDERAL TRADE AND BUSINESS LISTINGS These governing agencies will detail all the rules and regulations of importing and exporting handicrafts into and out of the U.S. They can also assist with small business loans and help locate distributors, shippers, and expeditors. NATIONAL CUSTOMERS BROKERS AND FREIGHT FORWARDERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA http://www.ncbfaa.org/ Through this association you can locate customs brokers and freight forwarders throughout the country that can handle every type of import and export and provide complete shipping servicesâ€”including help with Customs. U.S. DEPT OF COMMERCE Export Counseling Division www.bxa.doc.gov / 202.482.4811 U.S. CUSTOMS Office of Regulations and Rulings 85
202.572.8700 National Commodity Specialist Division 201.443.0367 Trade Programs Division 202.344.0300 FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION www.ftc.com / 202.326.2996 INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION www.usitc.gov / 202.205.2000 U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION www.sba.gov FEDERAL CITIZEN INFORMATION CENTER www.consumeraction.gov/trade.shtml NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS These shipping, Customs, and trade associations can help you with importing into specific areas of the country and some can help secure special trade status, discounts, and or aid for certain imports. NCBFAA Shippers Association American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Baltimore Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association Boston Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) Canadian Int'l Freight Forwarding Association (CIFFA) Consumers for World Trade(CWT) Houston Customhouse Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association (HCBFFA) Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations(IFCBA) 86
Int'l Freight Forwarders & Customs Brokers Assn of Atlanta (IFFCBAA) Int'l Freight Forwarders & Custom Brokers Assn New Orleans (IFFCBANO) International Trade Data Users (ITDU) Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association (LACBFFA) U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCOC) GOVERNMENT AGENCIES These federal agencies can provide all the business, Customs, shipping, and trade regulation information you need, along with specific tools to help the marketing and purchasing of foreign handicrafts. They can also define specific incentives for certain products and lead you to small business loans and other aid. Agency for International Development The Bureau of Industry and Security Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements Census Bureau Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division Consumer Product Safety Commission Export Administration Regulations Marketplace - Regulations for $21 a month Export-Import Bank Federal Trade Commission Federal Maritime Commission FedWorld Fish & Wildlife Service Food and Drug Administration Foreign Agricultural Service / USDA Government Printing Office House of Representatives Int'l Trade Administration Section 301 - Retaliation List Information Int'l Trade Administration Trade Information Int'l Trade Commission Overseas Private Investment Corporation Small Business Administration U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Department of State U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of the Treasury U.S. Government Export Portal
U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) U.S. Senate Trade & Development Agency INTERNATIONAL CONTACTS These international agencies and publications can provide specific contact information to locate embassies, shippers, Customs brokers, and every contact you will need to establish a relationship with a foreign government and ship products into the U.S. Electronic Embassy The Electronic Shipping Guide Journal of Commerce - Today's Headlines (a direct link to the Journal of Commerce's home page) LOGcity Transportation Resources Maritime Global Net Shipping Digest Traffic World Magazine - Published by The Journal of Commerce WWShipNet Broker Power- This firm provides information services for importers, exporters and customs brokers including a daily news service informing subscribers of critical regulation changes and trade news. Conference Copy, Inc.- Audio Cassettes of NCBFAA Conferences
WOMENâ€™S BUSINESS NETWORKS These can facilitate women business owners and put you in touch with women-owned businesses around the world (a primary source for handicrafts). Organization of Women in International Trade Canadian and African Business Women's Alliance The International Alliance for Women American & African Business Womenâ€™s Alliance World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises
Center for Women’s Business Research International Businesswomen’s Network Business and Professional Women International The International Alliance for Women Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales Center for Private Enterprise International Trade Canada – businesswomen’s website Enterprising women U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership National Women’s Business Council Global Summit of Women The Bag Lady FAIR TRADE ARTIST RESOURCES Because not all of us can simply buy a ticket to ride, we’ve come up with a way to start your handicraft import business direct from your kitchen table. That’s right—you can get started using the Internet to tap into resources, make contact, purchase unique products, and start selling right away. By starting this way, you can earn the seed money to travel and establish contact with artisans you want to visit; you can also learn about what products are in which markets to give you an overview of all that is out there and exactly where to find it. Other key advantages of starting this way are that you’ll familiarize yourself with pricing and with Fair Trade practices—plus you can get your feet wet, as it were, without actually getting your feet wet! 89
To get started, simply log on to: http://www.aidtoartisans.org Here you’ll see artisans and crafts listed by type and country. Take the time to read through each carefully and find what piques your interest—chances are, what intrigues you will intrigue your potential customers as well. Also, keep in mind the regions of the world where you wish to travel. By establishing a rapport with artisans in that area, you will already have a leg up in the next step of your adventure. And that next step is to get there physically and find what no one else has, and what is not already on the Internet! Some examples of what you can find: Brahim Zeroual [Woodcarving, Morocco] Brahim Zeroual has been carving since he was a child and is now a teacher to other apprentices in Marrakech. Brahim was one of the first to adapt Berber design to wood carving. (Berbers were the indigenous people of North Africa prior to the arrival of Arabs in the 700s, and make up about 10% of Morocco’s population.) Brahim primarily works with cedar, and creates a variety of products including furniture, doors, windowpanes and shutters, ceilings, and accessories. He has two workshops, one of which is also a wholesale shop. Brahim’s talent has been recognized by the royal palace, which commissioned him to create both a desk and a ceiling.
JC Soulouque [Innovative Blacksmith Work] Forty years ago, a new art form was born in the Croix-desBouquets Village, Haiti. Iron as a raw material had become exceedingly expensive, and blacksmiths began to resort to salvage. Today, oil drums that are no longer usable are bought and transported to Croix-des-Bouquets where they are set on fire, scoured, cut and flattened by hand, then hammered into rectangular and circular metal plates. The artisan traces the design onto metal, which is then cut with chisels and hammers by his apprentices. The master hammers the piece into its final shape to create the relief and details.
Señor de Mayo [Crafts, Bolivia] Señor de Mayo is a non-profit co-operative dedicated to producing goods for local and international markets. It is the only Bolivian member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT). Its products have won prizes throughout the world for both quality and design. Señor de Mayo exports to Italy, Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Japan, and Germany. This directory lists more than 140 artisans worldwide with appropriate contact information and is but one of a host of resources we provide for you at the back of this book. Simply use these resources to find the products you want to sell and set up your e-commerce enterprise. It really is that easy. ADDITIONAL ARTISAN RESOURCES In addition to the resources we’ve listed throughout this book, here are some additional links to locate handicrafts on the Web: Handicrafts from throughout the world: http://www.beadandhandicraftjewelry.com/ Handicrafts from India: www.trade-india.com www.aidindia.org www.ashanet.org www.indiamart.com Handicrafts from Asia: www.business-in-asia.com – includes info on how to set up businesses (forms, legal, etc.) in Asia. Handicrafts from Africa: http://www.womenexporters.com/
Next Chapter, “Traveling and Making Contact.”
Chapter 9 Traveling and Making Contact All You Need to Know to Choose a Destination and Travel Wisely
ou can hear the sound of far-off music, visualize that ancient architecture, feel the warm breeze against your skin, and smell the aroma of exotic spices tickling your palette and overwhelming your senses. But how exactly do you heed that clarion call of distant drums, taste of that fruit, and make your dream a reality? Start by deciding what destination you can afford to travel to and what makes sense logistically and within your time frame. In addition to the time it takes to travel, you want to factor in the season in which you are traveling. Most airlines price their flights seasonally, so you need to know when is a good time to travel where (when the off-season is and what the weather conditions are). By going off-season you will save money on airfare but you may encounter monsoons or other inclement weather that will put a real damper on your travel itineraryâ€”it may even prevent you from traveling to small villages altogether. Therefore, weâ€™ve compiled an overview of the seasons for the major destinations worldwide: REGION Central America China/Far East Europe India Near East Northern
IN-SEASON OFFSEASON JuneNovember June November June November DecemberJune June November June November June 92
Africa Russia Southern Africa South America Southeast Asia
November June November DecemberJune DecemberJune DecemberJune
June November June November June November
Africa, Asia, India, and South America all experience monsoons, so it is vital to time your trip accordingly and be prepared if you choose to go during this season. The airfare from wherever you are flying will be half-price during the off-season, and rooms will be readily available and inexpensive, but you may have severe difficulty getting to where you want to go. So, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of going inseason versus off-season and make your choice accordingly. To get specific information about every country, including seasons, GDP, local handicrafts, languages, demographics, and history, go to: Info Please - http://www.infoplease.com/countries.html Travel Arrangements The great news about traveling to developing countries at any time of year is that they are extremely affordable once you arrive. Your flight will be the most expensive purchase and after that, local travel can be as cheap as a few dollars for a train or bus. The best thing to do when arriving at a destination is to go to the local tourist office—they will all have them—and locate the train and bus stations. Train service where available is an extremely safe, expedient, comfortable, and inexpensive form of travel. It will not likely be luxury, but it will be smooth and you will usually have a choice between 3 classes: 1st, 2nd and 3rd. First class can range from very chic to very basic, but will usually have air conditioning; second class will generally provide a sleeper bunk and facilitate you getting to know the locals; 3rd class is typically for the hard-core traveler and may or may not be what you are looking for, as there will be no provision for sleeping and will likely be very cramped. Local buses and special tourist buses are also great forms of transportation. Local buses can be very crowded but will be cheap and take you to out-of-the-way places you might not find otherwise. 93
Tourist buses are generally very comfortable, will show movies, provide food, are relative inexpensive (for Westerners), and will allow you swap stories with fellow travelers and gain from their experience. For example, a tourist bus from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Guadalajara—with food—is $35. Before you go anywhere, check with the State Department for travel advisories, and get a good travel guide that details local transportation, lodging, and food. These guidebooks will tell you everything you need to know and provide all the resource material you need in addition to what we provide here. We recommend Lonely Planet (they have an excellent Web site and guidebooks for virtually every corner of the globe), but there are many others available, including Frommer’s, Fodor’s, and Let’s Go! We’ve compiled a list here of the resources you’ll want to consult and our favorite online travel services: Cheap Flights. Finds cheap flights from all airlines worldwide. www.cheapflights.com/ Sidestep. The “traveler’s search engine” that searches 150 travel sites in one. www.sidestep.com/ Cheap Tickets. Finds the cheapest fares, features last-minute discounts and deals of the week. www.cheaptickets.com/ Last Minute. Big discounts on last minute bookings. www.lastminute.com Student Universe. Huge discounts on airfare, lodging and rail for students and faculty w/current student ID. A good excuse to enroll in some classes! (Some have age restrictions). www.studentuniverse.com/ Transitions Abroad. Back-packer focused info, out of the way places and helpful hints. Complete list of resources for making local contact based on country you choose. www.transitionsabroad.com Lonely Planet. Flights, cheap accommodation and restaurants— emphasis on backpacking, tips/historical overview, travle blog, advisory updates. www.lonelyplanet.com
Trading Homes. A house-swapping site where you can swap flats with someone across the world and save on hotel bills. www.trading-homes.com National Geographic. News and info, plus very detailed travel maps of the world. www.nationalgeographic.com. UN Relief Web. Provides United Nations statistics on the current political, social, and health status of all countries, and if there are any travel advisories. www.reliefweb.int Meeting People How Much Money Can You Make? The amount of money you can make using this program is almost limitless. Take Philippe’s experience, for example. He traveled to Southeast Asia and bought semi-precious jewelry from Delhi, India, fine woodcrafts from Chiang Mi, Thailand, and embroidered tapestries from Luang Prabang, Laos. The price he paid for the semi-precious jewelry, which included amethyst, lapis lazuli, moonstone and onyx rings, bracelets and earrings, ranged from $1 to $4 a piece—and the more he purchased, the cheaper the per unit price. When Philippe returned home he sold those items in the U.S. and Europe for between $10 and $80 per item—a 100-200 percent markup! And they sold like hotcakes because at $10-$80, the jewelry was still a great bargain in the West. Plus, all of the items were exotic and unique. He did the same with his woodcrafts and tapestry and has since expanded to a full range of handicrafts from throughout the world. Philippe’s example is just one of many such success stories. What do you think is the concept behind giant retailers like Pier One and Cost Plus? It’s exactly the same idea—except that, though they can buy in very large quantities, the big companies have high overheads, including storefronts, corporate taxes, wages and compensation, which you won’t have. Further, you can find items off the beaten track— “undiscovered” items that haven’t been brought to the attention of Western markets yet. Therefore, your small enterprise has the potential of eclipsing the big players in terms of personal profit. The highly profitable companies Volga River Trading, Sandor Collection, and Groovy Holiday all began small and are all succeeding with this model.
Key Considerations—Keys to Success When making contact with local artisans, you will want to find someone that speaks your language. If you are traveling to a location where you do not speak the language, bring or find someone who can interpret for you. The American embassy may be able to provide a resource for this. Otherwise, consider traveling to destinations where English is spoken or where a primary language spoken is one that you speak as well. Another key consideration is logistical. When you purchase goods from remote places, make sure that they can be easily shipped. The ideal situation is to be near a rail line that has a connection to the airport; a bus line will also work. Relying on truck or other transportation— especially if the country has seasonal monsoons—may be completely impractical. In a report by the ATA, handicraft export businesses that failed did so primarily because of logistical problems—because the orders placed simply could not be filled and shipped in a timely fashion. A final concern is quality control. If you establish a working relationship with local artisans and re-order their wares from the US, you need to hire a quality control person who can communicate well with you and who understands EXACTLY what you need. This can be the artisan or someone who works as a go-between. Money—Changing it and Keeping it Safe Because you will be dealing with local currency and not US dollars, you need to know how to change your money for the best exchange rates and how to guard against theft. First, DON’T exchange your money at the airport, as these are always the worst rates available, and, second, DON’T exchange all of your money the day you arrive. Currency rates tend to fluctuate wildly in developing countries and you could lose money if you exchange all your money at a low rate on day one and by day three the rate increases by 10 percent or more (it happened to us!). For safety reasons, consider carrying American Express Traveler’s Checks. There are AMEX offices nearly everywhere, at all the major hotels worldwide, and, in our experience, provide immediate reimbursement for stolen checks. Just be sure to keep a safe list of the serial numbers somewhere—we suggest keeping it in a folder in your
Web-based email account that you can easily access from a cyber café anywhere in the world. Using an ATM or credit card is another safe option. You can use your card to extract local currency at the current bank rate fairly easily in most cities. Just make sure that your bank doesn’t charge you exorbitant transaction fees and be sure to tell your bank that you will be using your card out of the country before you leave. All the major banks will put a fraud hold on your card if they see an out-of-country transaction if you have not informed them of your travel plans ahead of time. Also, as with traveler’s checks, keep your credit card number somewhere safe in case it is stolen and you need to report it (email is good for this as well). And DON’T carry American Express cards abroad because, unlike their traveler’s checks, very few places accept them. The drawbacks to credit cards and traveler’s check are that in remote villages you will not be able to use them. Therefore, having a mix of local currency, traveler’s checks, and an ATM or credit card is a fool proof way to ensure you have the money you need when you need it. Money is a big concern when traveling to developing countries to purchase handicrafts because, while you want to have enough, you don’t want to have any of it stolen. So, keep it safely tucked away—in a money belt, for example—on your person at all times. NEVER leave money in your hotel room and never have a wad full of cash in plain view. We suggest dividing your money into small amounts (this is good for bargaining purposes as well) and taking out only what you need when you are purchasing something. It’s always better to show that you don’t have much money than you have a bunch of bills ready to spend—or lose! Also, get to know what the local currency is, so that you understand how much each bill is worth. You need to know this when negotiating prices in particular. And, know what local prices are. You can do this easily by going to the market your first day in town and seeing what the price of basic staples are. Also, watch what locals pay for goods and you won’t get overcharged. (Note: there will always be a local price and a tourist price and that is acceptable. You just don’t want to be so ignorant of what the local price is that someone charges you an exorbitant and totally unreasonable tourist price. That is not acceptable.)
Finally, NEVER bring your social security card with you abroad. As with all of your other personal information and excess credit cards, leave it at home! Travel Checklist To help you pack for your adventure, we’ve compiled a checklist here of everything you should take: • • • • • • • • •
• • • • •
• • • • •
Passport Round-trip Ticket Visa (if necessary) Immunization Record (if necessary) – these will usually be stamped in your Passport. Picture ID Roll of Toilet Paper (in most places you stay you will need this!) Toiletries Towel or Sarong (for women this doubles as a towel and a skirt) Minimum Amount of Clothing—clothes that suit many occasions and don’t wrinkle (Jeans, cargo pants, blended fabric T-shirts, sweat shirt, undies). Nail Brush (you can use it for dirty fingers and to clean stains out of your clothes) Backpack Bandana (you’ll find so many uses for this!) Money Belt One Nice Outfit (if you are invited to dinner, a special event or an artisan’s home, this makes a good impression and conveys respect) Good Walking Shoes Flip-flops Hat Multi-purpose Jacket Pepto Bismal (you’ll thank us for this one!)
Next Chapter, “Major U.S. Gift & Trade Shows. ”
Chapter 10 Major U.S. Gift and Trade Shows Trade shows are one of the best ways to showcase your products and gain wholesale orders. They are also an excellent way to network and gauge the competition and marketplace. Here are the major shows in the U.S. that take place throughout the year and the links to contact them online. For Stall Bookings and exact show dates and venue, contact: www.biztradeshows.com/usa
ASD/AMD Atlantic City Variety Merchandise Show Date: May ASD/AMD Atlantic City Variety Merchandise Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Of America. Portland Gift & Accessories Show Date: June Portland Gift & Accessories Show, is the first gift market of the summer buying season. Venue: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, United States Of America. California Gift Show Date: July One of the country's largest and most prestigious gift industry events, the California Gift Show features 11 product divisions in over 3,000 booths. The Show is held every January and July and runs in conjunction with the Los Angeles Gift and Home Market at the 99
California Market Center. The California Gift Show attracts buyers from all over the U.S. and the world. Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California, United States Of America. Philadelphia Gift Show Date: July Philadelphia Gift Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Greater Reading Expo Center, Reading, Pennsylvania, United States Of America. San Francisco International Gift Fair (SFIGF 2007) Date: July/Aug This year the San Francisco International Gift Fair (SFIGF 2007) showcases a freshly re-designed Moscone South Hall floorplan, filled with exciting and new product neighborhoods, such as Souvenir/Resort/Toys & Novelties - neighborhoods designed to produce better traffic flow throughout the hall. Venue: Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, United States Of America.
New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) Date: August The New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF), the global marketplace for giftware in the United States, is a colorfully diverse resource unlike any other show in the Gift Industry. The New York International Gift Fair is the industry's leading marketplace in the United States & where you will find all the essentials to push your business forward & ahead of your competition - new products, new trends, new companies, new resources & opportunities. Venue: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, United States Of America.
ASD/AMD Gift Expo Las Vegas Date: August ASD/AMD's Las Vegas Gift Expo is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Of America. ASD/AMD Trade Show Las Vegas Date: August ASD/AMD's Las Vegas Trade Show, where you'll find thousands of exhibitors on two full floors selling great products at terrific prices in key gift, home decor and trend-driven variety merchandise classifications. Then round out your fashion accessory purchases at the ASD/AMD Jewelry Show at the Mirage Events Center, where you will find quality jewelry in all categories. Venue: Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Of America.
Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Las Vegas Date: September Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: Cashman Center., Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Of America. ASD/AMD Merchandise Show New York Date: September ASD/AMD Merchandise Show New York is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. 101
Venue: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Long Beach Date: September Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California, United States Of America. Boston Gift Show Date: September Boston Gift Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States Of America. Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show Date: September Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show is the only show of its kind in the western US dedicated exclusively to the speacialized needs of the souvenir and resort merchandise industry. Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show allows the region's retailers to see the newest introductions and best-selling favorites in a casual, relaxed show environment. Venue: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Ventura Date: October Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows.
Venue: Seaside Park, Ventura, California, United States Of America. San Francisco Cash & Carry Show Date: October San Francisco Cash & Carry Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Concourse Exhibition Hall, San Francisco, California, United States Of America. Galveston Gift & Resort Merchandise Show Date: October Galveston Gift & Resort Merchandise Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston Island, Texas, United States Of America. West Palm Beach Home & Garden Show Date: October West Palm Beach Home & Garden Show will bring over a hundred exhibitions from across the globe to an area long deprived of worldclass antique shows. Dozens of dealers from all over the world will be making their first appearance to the show, giving enthusiasts the opportunity to see the best collections the world has to offer in the comfort of their own city. Venue: South Florida Fairgrounds, Palm Beach, Florida, United States Of America. Portland Cash & Carry Show Date: October Portland Cash & Carry Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent 103
wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Del Mar Date: October Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: Del Mar Exhibition Centre, Del Mar, California, United States Of America. East Coast Resort Gift Expo Date: October East Coast Resort Gift Expo is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Ocean City Convention Center, Ocean City, Maryland, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-San Francisco Date: November Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: San Francisco Exhibition Centre, San Francisco, California, United States Of America. Seattle Cash & Carry Show Date: November Seattle Cash & Carry Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent 104
wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Seattle Exhibition Hall, Seattle, Washington, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Sacramento Date: November Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: Sacramento Exhibition Centre, Sacramento, California, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-San Jose Date: November Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: San Jose Exhibition Centre, San Jose, California, United States Of America. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows-Pomona Date: Nov/Dec Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows is one of the premier art showcases around the world for up-and-coming artists, priding itself on enabling younger, smaller galleries to take part. This year, everything's new at Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Shows. Venue: Pomona Exhibition Centre, Pomona, California, United States Of America. Grand Strand Gift & Resort Merchandise Show Date: December Grand Strand Gift & Resort Merchandise Show is unique among industry shows. Its universe of exhibitors extends well beyond the usual gift category manufacturers found at most other shows to include independent wholesalers and direct gift, decorative accessory and souvenir importers, offering product extension opportunities in all 105
channels of gift merchandise. Venue: Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States Of America. One of a Kind Show-Chicago Date: December The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale is USA's finest craft show, offering you the best of Christmas shopping. Now entering into it's 31st year, it has been an unforgettable shopping experience to thousands of people in search of the unique, the fantastic, and the handcrafted. Venue: Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Illinois, United States Of America. Wholesale Alaskan Gift Show Date: February Wholesale Alaskan Gift Show provides the exhibitor with exposure to more people over a shorter period of time ensuring a cost-effective promotion and selling opportunity. It promotes the opportunity to meet customer's face to face, allowing one on one contact, allowing buyers with the opportunity to see, smell, touch and compare products. Venue: Egan Convention Center, Anchorage, Alaska, United States Of America. Virginia Beach Gift & Resort Merchandise Show Date: MArch Virginia Beach Gift & Resort Merchandise Show is the only show of its kind in the western US dedicated exclusively to the specialized needs of the souvenir and resort merchandise industry. Urban Expositions will launch a Virginia Beach Gift & Resort Merchandise Show, March 46, 2007. Venue: Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States Of America.
Next Chapter, â€œDefining Fair Tr ade.â€?
Chapter 11 Handicrafts and Fair Trade Defining Handicrafts and the Lowdown on Fair Trade: To Join or Not to Join?
n order to properly import handicrafts, you must define your products according to international and national guidelines. Here’s a brief overview to assist you in that process.
What are Handicrafts? UNESCO defines handicrafts as: Produced by artisans, either completely by hand, or with the help of hand-tools or even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artist remains the most substantial component of the finished product. These are produced without restriction in terms of quantity and using raw materials from sustainable resources. The special nature of artisan products derives from their distinctive features, which can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant. Within that category there are three basic categories of art and craft products that comprise the total market: •
Decorative, High Quality Art and Collector Items—this can include high-end jewelry and clothing.
Utilitarian Crafts, such as everyday clothing, housewares, and toys, which are made from natural materials and are integral to a cultural tradition of their producers.
Distinctive Crafts, such as original items of unique design or workmanship that may or may not be utilitarian outside the culture they’re made. This can include tools, religious and symbolic items, and accessories—all of which may be of varying 107
degrees of quality but are completely unique outside the culture in which they are made. As you can see, the official definition of handicrafts covers a broad spectrum, and there is a near-endless variety of such products throughout the world. You can choose to specialize in one type or mix and match any and all. Just make sure that your products fit into the above categories and you will have no problems with Customs when you import into the United States. Marketing and the Fair Trade Organization To market your products—especially as you begin your business—you might consider joining the Fair Trade organization. As we noted earlier, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this because while you do gain access to their vast marketing network you also lose independence in the way you price and conduct business. The organization does have a solid reputation, by and large, and can be an excellent way to introduce you to this business. Here’s an overview, followed by a list of resources, to help you decide for yourself. History “Fair trade creates the opportunity for businesses to increase their profits through socially responsible business practices, for consumers to vote with every purchase for a more equitable world, and for producers to view themselves not as an anonymous cog in the world market, but as a valuable contributor to a global society,” says Paul Rice, founder and CEO of TransFair USA. Fair Trade is a pioneering concept that actually began with Americans. In the 1940s, church groups started importing handicrafts from developing countries, and their counterparts in Europe soon followed. The first Fair Trade organizations were created in the mid-1960s, opening retail shops that featured everything from Chinese pin cushions to hand-stitched peasant blouses from Guatemala. When the Fair Trade movement introduced ethnic goods to the more socially-conscious market of the 60s and 70s, demand quickly grew. In fact, the fashion trend of the 60s and the 70s coincided with—and was perhaps spawned by—the movement, as Western consumers were exposed to ethnically-sourced goods from throughout the developing world en mass for the first time. Buying and wearing the products they purchased enabled these consumers to not only show their affinity and
respect for other cultures but allowed them to contribute to the welfare of artisans in the developing world. Purchasing Fair Trade goods ensures a living wage to producers and often benefits the most marginalized members of the society. As much as 70% of women, physically-challenged, and illiterate workers in developing countries earn their living via Fair Trade opportunities—a living they could not made without it. Today there are nearly 3,000 Fair Trade shops throughout the West, with some in developing countries themselves. But by far, the biggest boon for Fair Trade has come from the Internet—and it’s an industry that is just beginning. Participants in the Fair Trade movement have been among the most active promoters of e-commerce for arts and crafts from the developing world—and you can be part of it today if you think this is the route for you. The Principles of Fair Trade The principles of Fair Trade are as follows: • • • • • •
Producers must receive a stable minimum price for their products Producers must be democratically organized (if they are in a cooperative) Forced or child labor is not to be used in the production of any product Producers get financial and technical advice as needed There is support for social and economic development projects in the given community Production methods are environmentally friendly Some of these standards may not apply to the handicraft you are importing, as certain criteria are specific to agricultural products. Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) can provide specific information about the crafts you are importing and establish the standards required.
If the standards of Fair Trade are met, the international certification bodies will allow the product to carry a Fair Trade logo, which alerts consumers to the fact that the product meets fair trade criteria. Surveys show that there is an increasingly large group of consumers who look for this label and will pay more for goods that carry it.
To easily calculate what a Fair Wage should be, pay at least the minimum wage for the country from which you are buying products. The wage should ensure that workers have enough to cover basic needs: food, shelter, education, and health care for their families. Paying fair wages does not necessarily mean that you’ll need to price products higher. Because you are bypassing middle-people and work directly with producers, you can cut costs, return a greater percentage of the retail price to the producers, and still make money. Added Value All Around In addition to being a good world citizen by participating in Fair Trade, you will gain access to the movement’s vast resources. Your products will carry the Fair Trade label, which lends a distinct cache and adds value to your products, and you’ll have access to Internet resources (which will, in turn, feature your URL and link to your e-commerce site). But perhaps the biggest benefit is the ability to participate in trade fairs supported by the movement. Membership organizations, like the International Federation of Alternative Trade, host and participate in trade shows throughout the world annually. These trade events will not only help increase your sales and establish your business, they will enable you learn about different countries’ national craft heritages, skills, and production abilities. You can network among other Fair Traders and establish wholesale as well as retail opportunities. In short, there is nothing to lose from Fair trade and everything to gain: you help the most marginalized groups, you empower others to gain self-sufficiency, and you provide products that carry a “good conscience” cache that enable consumers to feel even better about what they are buying. On top of that, you join a powerful network that will help you market your products and learn about other opportunities. The Next Step There is a dearth of trade shows and fairs, as well as organizations to facilitate your next step. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a complete listing here. Also, World Fair Trade Day is May 13th, so time your sales accordingly and do good while doing good! FAIR TRADE EXPOS Trade fairs are held twice a year: Summer and Winter (typically August and January), to prepare for seasonal retailing demands. 110
New York International Gift Fair http://www.nyigf.com
Jan & Aug
Harrogate Home & Gift
www.homeandgift.co.uk Tendence Lifestyle Frankfurt, Germany August www.tendencelifestyle.messefrankfurt.com MACEF www.macefautunno.biz
Autumn Fair www.autumnfair.com
Florence Gift Market www.florencemart.it
Expohogar Regalo www.expohogar.com
Aug & Feb
FAIR TRADE ORGANIZATIONS The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) An association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are fully committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide. http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ Fair Trade Resource Network A comprehensive resource for all aspects of Fair Trade. http://www.fairtraderesource.org International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT) The global network of Fair Trade Organizations. Our mission is to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, 111
and speaking out for greater justice in world trade. http://www.ifat.org/ Oxfam International Fair Trade news and information resource. http://www.oxfam.org/en/ PEOPlink Non-profit fair trade organization, Washington-based, that helps artisans set up websites and sell their products through the internet. www.peoplink.org Self-Employed Women’s Association Non-profit women’s trade union, based in Ahmedabad, India with thousands of members, many of them craftswomen. www.sewa.org Traidcraft Fair trade organization, based in Britain, with two parts, a trading company which imports from 30 countries and a development NGO which provides business development services to producers. www.traidcraft.co.uk TransFair USA Nonprofit monitoring organization which certifies that participating traders are following fair trade guidelines. www.transfairusa.org World Trade Net A complete network of resources for world trade: http://www.intracen.org/
Next Chapter, “Words of Wisd om.”
Chapter 12 Words of Wisdom
ow that you’ve got all of the information you need to start your handicraft import business and start changing your life, we thought we’d conclude with some final “words of wisdom” to spur you in the right direction and get you motivated to start today! Remember, the longest journey begins with a single step and you are already well on your way to discovering your true path and a whole new avenue in which to thrive and help others along the way. Though it may be tough at times, just glance over this list and find the motivation you need to go on a succeed. We know you can do it!
Wise Words for Budding Entrepreneurs
There is no better success than Living Room Prosperity
When someone asks you, “What are you doing these days?” you can answer, "Busy making money and helping people at the same time."
Why get started now? Perhaps because you're tired of making your boss rich and having to cow-tow to his wishes and not being able to implement your own good ideas.
You've got to get out of your own way. Stop the subconscious limitations! Instead, start thinking about the path to independence and getting out of the job maze.
Why be a 'wage earner'? Why not put your talent, ability, and dedication to work helping other people and yourself at the same time?
Tired of interviewing for jobs you don't really want in the first place? Going through the grind with the employment recruiters and Human Resources departments? Facing lengthy commutes, layoffs ands perhaps relocation? Life isn't suppposed to be such a hassle—remember, you can do good AND do well at the
same time! Your own cottage business is the answer to all that.
What makes a successful business? Doing something you love and having a product people want and will pay for.
It's a perfect time to start your own cottage business, your 'new age' business.
Work out of your home and make a steady, good income. Every day will increase your contacts and relationships.
Feel like a winner with your own business. After struggling with useless job searches regain your self-confidence. Walk around knowing that you are providing for people in third world countries who need and appreciate what you are doing.
Know that you can run things your way and build and grow your business as you see fit. Work when you want and as much as you want and know that the more you work the more money you will make.
Wealth and success are mental. You have to know that you were made for the right thing and that the right thing can help you live the lifestyle you want. There is absolutely no reason you have to go to an office, store or bank to work.
Productivity is the result of your ability to get things done. You can do it from home once you find the right thing.
Need help? Get your friends or relatives or perhaps some of the members of your church or social group.
You can travel and expand your horizons, make new friends and find the fulfillment you’ve always dreamed of!
Increase tolerance and understanding by facilitating the sharing of cultures. Be an entrepreneurial ambassador of good will!
Combine good business with doing good works.
Wage wealth from your kitchen table!
For personalized help, please call 1-800-591-5621. We will serve as 114
your personal business advisor for just $3/minute and answer any specific questions you have. Plus, we’ll coach you and help you learn from our experience. We’ve succeeded and we want you to succeed too. And with this business, we know you will!
Testimonials “Thanks for your incredible book. I am doing phenomenal and plan to buy copies for all my friends!” Douglas Browning, Palo Alto, California “I was quite skeptical at first, but with your book in hand I was able to navigate myself into a wonderful money-making business. Good-bye Monday morning traffic, hello independence! I can't thank you enough!” Jennifer Jungia, Oklahoma City, OK “To say I've been enlightened would be an understatement. I am no longer intimidated starting and operating my own business. It was easier than I thought and my new income is proving how right you are about markups and profits - I’m happy!” Barbara Martin, Miami, FL “Hello Mrs. Powers and thank you for your book about making money with ‘village imports.’ I am traveling now and meeting some wonderful people and finding the treasures you discuss in the book. I am selling them for very nice markups.” JoAnn McBride, Helena, Montana “I've tapped into many of the resources you've recommended, and I now have a business presence on the web. I've got a good marketing strategy and I'm just about to quit my day job. It was easier than I thought to get going and start making good money.
My appreciation for inspiring and teaching through your excellent book on how to do this.” Mr. Ranju Gupta, Eugene, OR “Not only am I making great money, but my home is filled with beautiful products. I am finding wonderful treasures all over. Again, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Peg Johansen, Alberta, Canada "The money I'm making is nice, but my newfound freedom is even nicer! No more 9 to 5, thanks to you! I always wanted my own home business - now I have it! Your book is an incredible value, I'm surprised it didn't cost more.” Thomas Johns, Cleveland, OH "I'm very grateful for your excellent book. I printed it out, read it cover to cover then read it again! It's easy to understand and has so much valuable reference material - I keep it on my desk and use it all the time. I'm making great money - it's the best investment I have ever made!” Chris Jacobs, Eagleton, CO ___________________________________________ COPYRIGHT © WARNING:
Importing Village Treasures
is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and all countries throughout the world. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, sold, distributed or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, including duplicating, scanning, uploading, or reselling without the express written permission of the publisher. Copyright law will be strictly enforced, and any unauthorized copying, exhibition, or distribution of
this book or any part thereof will result in severe civil and criminal penalties.
RETURNS: ClickBank, our payment processor states: ClickBank will, at its option, replace or repair any defective product within 8 weeks from the date of purchase. After 8 weeks all sales are final. If you’re not delighted with Importing Village Treasures return it with your purchase receipt number for a refund. In the interest of providing excellent and increasingly better customer service, we call purchasers to determine the reason for their return. ________________________________________________ PHONE ASSISTANCE: We provide individual, one-on-one phone assistance during normal business hours, Pacific time. This specialized counseling is normally billed at $5.50 per minute, but we offer purchasers of Importing Village Treasures a significantly reduced charge of only $3 per minute. What are the advantages of a telephone consultation? * It's more efficient - a phone call focuses on your exact question. * Less costly in the long run - correct answers will have you making money faster and more of it. * Safer - Talking to an expert will help you do it right. * More effective - a phone call gives you individual attention * Convenient - select a good time with no distractions * Cost-effective - having your questions ready means shorter calls. Here's how it works:
Make a list of your questions to get right down to business. Call 1-800-591-5621 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment, Mrs. Powers, (or her assistant), will answer the phone, or if she’s 117
busy you will get her voice mail. Please leave your name and phone number. She will call you back and verify your credit card, advise you that the call costs $3 per minute, note the time and begin the conversation. At the end of the call she will let you know time and charges. Business hours – 9 am to 6 pm Pacific Standard Time.
Every aspect of your conversation is completely confidential. Under no circumstances will we ever reveal any information about you, your questions, plans, contact information or your business with us. Best of luck, and we hope your new business Importing Village Treasures brings you as much happiness and prosperity as it has to so many others!