Duke of Digital

028 - How to Write a Winning Essay with Vanessa Phan

January 07, 2020 Brian Meert
Duke of Digital
028 - How to Write a Winning Essay with Vanessa Phan
Chapters
Duke of Digital
028 - How to Write a Winning Essay with Vanessa Phan
Jan 07, 2020
Brian Meert

AdvertiseMint scholarship winner Vanessa Phan talks about her essay submission to the Duke of Digital, Brian Meert. Phan was awarded a scholarship toward her tuition for her essay about digital advertising.

Brian Meert
https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianmeert

Duke of Digital
https://www.dukeofdigital.com/
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AdvertiseMint
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https://www.instagram.com/advertisemint

Show Notes Transcript

AdvertiseMint scholarship winner Vanessa Phan talks about her essay submission to the Duke of Digital, Brian Meert. Phan was awarded a scholarship toward her tuition for her essay about digital advertising.

Brian Meert
https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianmeert

Duke of Digital
https://www.dukeofdigital.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dukeofdigital/

AdvertiseMint
https://www.advertisemint.com
https://business.facebook.com/advertisemint/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/advertisemint/
https://www.instagram.com/advertisemint

Speaker 1:

Would you like to know everything about how to source products directly from China? Raise those piggies because in today's episode we're going to show you how everything works

Speaker 2:

presented by advertisement. The juke of digital will guide you through the rapidly changing landscape of digital marketing, social media, and how to grow your business online. To submit a question for the show, text (323) 821-2044 or visit juke of digital.com if you need an expert to fix your ads, the friendly team at advertisement is ready to help visit advertisement. That's M I N t.com or call (844) 236-4686.

Speaker 1:

Grow your business. Here's your host, Brian [inaudible] . All right , we have a special guest today in the studio. Michael Wogan , thank you so much for being here. Brian. Thanks for having me here. Yeah , I am , uh , I'm stoked for today because this is a , you know, we, we have an incredible story. It goes back, you have an incredible story. Um, you know, it's, you, I met you back in MBA school , um, which was a long, long time ago. Uh, and , and now you, you've gone on to build embargo , uh , which is a hugely successful leather bags and accessories company. Um, you know, if , if you haven't anyone listening should go check this out. It's uh , not embargo the way it's spelled, it's a and B, a R, Q, G , O , which is tricky. So you've got to make sure you get that right. Um, but I was just looking through some of the products in like this insuran in black. He is like the coolest little holster. Um, it's like a for men, but you wear it and you can put like your cell phone in it, like you're packing heat. Uh , I love it. And then you have the coolest cardholder , uh, that , you know, I'm such a big fan of like a business card holder. You know, whenever you're meeting someone, there's some people that like pull a card out of their pocket and it's all crumbled or wrinkly or has lint on it. You have like the slickest looking cardholder. We were like , that's legit. Like you bring that out and people are like, Oh, this guy's doing business. So I did. I did. I miss anything. Um, tell me, you know .

Speaker 3:

Got it . Got it. So, you know, embargo. Yup . NBA RQ , geo embark on your journey. Go get what you seek. Um, so yeah, we , uh, it's a funny thing, you know, I actually , um , one of the , uh, principals , like one of the , uh , metrics that I was pushing embargo , uh, Ford with was , uh , can it the, a big comfy on handbag go .

Speaker 1:

No , man, we're going to wave back on that one way

Speaker 3:

back in the day. So him back , Oh , was the, the premier site for handbags and um , started by a special,

Speaker 1:

especially a guy. So I don't think I've talked about that on this show yet. This was a business that I had a , that was like an a kind of like Etsy, but for designer handbags, it was the only one. It was the only one at the time. Uh, this was back. Ah , man. There was like, I'm trying to think what other sites were kind of launching at the same time. Like Groupon was launching. I remember , um, what are some of the big fashion like deal sites we're kind of launching at the same time. There was a couple of, handbag was the only one that did a designer handbags and that's crazy. Yeah. We worked with uh , hundreds of, almost thousands of AMEC designers helping them sell stuff online. My thing was, okay, can I , I have the brand, I started the brand, I have a partner. Yep .

Speaker 3:

Can I get my brand like my production? Can I get my production , uh , tight enough? Yup . To be able to , um, easily, you know, have bags on deck for when cells come. That was one of the, you know, guiding principles as far as when my sourcing came. Yup . And through that sourcing, you know, I went through a lot of hoops and I learned a lot of, a lot of stuff that actually I now share with other people.

Speaker 1:

So I want to get to that in a minute, but let , let's go back one step. Because for embargo, you had it, which is about the journey. Um , and the process, which is the embargo is generally when they put, they stopped goods in transients and your whole mission was about like going beyond that. Right. Is that right?

Speaker 3:

So an embargo is a stoppage of goods from one point to another, you know, embargoes get put on you in life, you know, and one of the simplest, you know, more , um, basic levels is how can you carry all the things that you have on your person, especially as a guy. Yeah. How can you carry all the things? You have your cell phone, you have your wallet, you have your keys, you have business cards, you have a passport, travel , uh , ticket. Yup . How do you carry all that stuff and keep it organized, you know, without you losing it or you know, forgetting it. And so we wanted to make accessories that were , uh, functional, but also didn't take away from your style points. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Oh, for sure. You have style points with end gear you have on your website. You don't want to look frumpy. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Frumpy traveler. Like a Mark. You know, like, Hey, he's a traveler, go get him. So , uh, that, that was, those are, you know, there's certain principles that I designed with, is it functional, does it carry all the things that you know, the guy on the go or now also grow on the go? Yup . Must have. And does it add to the conversation of their image?

Speaker 1:

Oh I love it. It literally is what I would imagine James Bond would wear if he was just cruising around being like, Hey, I need to have my cell phone today. It's my day off. What am I not , what am I going to wear as I go sightseeing ? Or something like that. Like, Oh, it's , it's awesome

Speaker 3:

travelers. They want a few things. They want security, they want , uh , also they don't want to think about where their stuff is. They want organization and they also like telling the story about themselves without having to say it. [inaudible] for people to say what is, they want conversation starters. So that's what we give them.

Speaker 1:

I love it. Now before we move on as well, is there, if people wanted to find you a , what is the best way for them to be able to connect with you? I mean they can go to the website for embargo, but is there, can they find you on Instagram or anywhere else?

Speaker 3:

So if you want to Instagram, it's a at M, B a R Q , G O, M as in Michael, B as in boy, a as in Apple, R as in Robert Q as in quickly, jeez . And go, Oh, I love Fargo and that's going to Instagram, you know, send us a DM and

Speaker 1:

that's it. Go follow these guys right now. You got some cool stuff on there. I'm very, very stylish, much more stylish than I am . I always look at it and I'm like, Hmm , I got to step up my game. Like,

Speaker 3:

well, have you seen our new belt? Look at the belt, look at the liberal Carson day , the enchanted buckle. That's what it's called. Oh,

Speaker 1:

it's very cool. Now I want it. I don't need to look it up. I'm just going to order it right now. It looks like everything else. I imagine it's , it's amazing. Well, so this, this brings us to, you know, you've run this successful business and now you have moved on to China sourcing secret.com which is a secondary program that you have, which came out of you going through the process of learning how to source products from China. And there's, you know, I think now with Amazon FBA and with the ability for people to create Shopify websites, you know, it now, you know, they want to be able to create a product to be able to sell it. It's a much more accessible business than it ever was. You know, say 10, 15, 20 years ago. It was much more difficult to get products made and manufactured larger minimums. Um , and so I was so excited to be able to have you here today. Thank you man . Because you are now, you know, working directly with individuals that are like, I want to learn the process of how to work with China directly, which yes , there isn't. Like, I, I've, I've worked a little bit in that arena and I have seen quite a few necessarily landmines , but things that you've gotta be careful for. So I mean walk, walk me through how did this, you know, come to be , um, and, and you'll give me kind of the , the on,

Speaker 3:

you know, the , the program. Okay. Well I'll , I'll go if I go back before I go forward. Let's do it . So how did it happen? How did I even come up with this? Well, I, I had like a life changing paradigm and that was, I went from a failing language student. So it at LA Sierra we had to complete, you know, a year foreign study. Yeah. I was getting C minuses W's absent all my Spanish classes and I went to Costa Rica. I went for one summer, I did two quarters in one summer and came back fluent. So I went from getting an F in Spanish one Oh three. Yup . It's coming back, you know, getting, you know, an a in a, in a a minus and being able to actually speak Spanish. That's awesome. And solving your business partners out there, Dave. Oh yeah . So I come back speaking. So I felt like my, my, my connections and my like influence had like just double. Yeah. And um, I thought, okay , that confidence made me think I was watching the apprenticed okay . In school of business and I thought if I got on this show, what would be my superpower? And I said, huh , well what if I could just index heavy on one of the four P's of the marketing mix product? What if I get that down? So I thought, okay, how can I get product? And at that time I was starting to, from Costa Rica, I saw guys not being able to carry things or carrying little toiletry bags. I said, okay, people needed to carry stuff. And I said, okay, let me start looking in downtown LA. I had a horrible experience looking in Denton late to source materials for embargo. Yup . So I then said, okay, the production capital of the world is China. What if just wishful thinking, what if I went there and what if I could speak Chinese and what if I knew how to, you know, had relationships that were just wishful thinking back then. But I wrote it down on the wall and two years later I ended up in China. So in China, and I'm taking classes there, I'm running through the , uh, you know, running through the circles and I stayed for two years and I come back speaking Chinese now. That was when we started sourcing. That was our first collection of embargo, was sourced in China. I come back and I had some wonderful, like partners who had release , told me the game, shout out to my partners , Jerome. He really showed me a lot of good game on source and he actually works for, he's in Paris now. His last job was the uniforms for all the prison workers and is over, I think 20,000 different skews. Oh wow. So he's, as far as details he got . Yeah. So just being around that, and then when I came back, I, you know, I had some relationships to continue. I had Jerome, but I realized after coming back I said, I still need, I still need tighter relationships. And then I started to do, I started to go back and forth to China. I did that for about three years. So I'd been there for two years. I'm speaking Mandarin. And I started going back for about for three years and building relationships , relationship source in all sorts of things, from children's clothes to e-cigarettes. And when they, when they first came out to other bag and accessory lines for other people to , um, uh, shoes, all sorts of stuff. Um, and then I , I, I took an inventory a couple of years back. I said, man, I really helped a lot of people. Yeah . And I want to be able to share containers with people who I've helped. So that's how I needed help more people. Yeah . So that's how I kind of made it official.

Speaker 1:

And when you say containers, are you talking about shipping containers? They go on the boat . Okay. So yeah , you're doing big orders. So,

Speaker 3:

not yet, but I want to be able to , my goal is to be able to have, you know, like steady containers coming back and forth that we can share.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I'm so fascinated by this. Okay . So , um, walk us through the beginning kind of process. Someone has an idea for a product or they want to start creating their own lipstick line or uh, you know , maybe a new clothing line or something that they're like, I want to create. What are some of the first steps that they would go through to set that up? Okay. Where to start connecting with a factory in China to be able to, to get some estimates.

Speaker 3:

Okay . So , uh, first things, you know, make sure overall you want to have your idea is dialed in as possible. But one thing you want to avoid when dialing your idea is you want to think about it. But if you haven't been the China , don't overthink it too much. Try to get the details as tight, but don't overthink it. Why don't overthink it. Because sometimes when you overthink it, you start to make it smaller and you start to say, Oh , I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to get that part done. You don't know what you don't know. And so, you know, and um, they can, they can do everything in China at all sorts of different calibers. And a lot of people I speak to, they'll say, yeah, I want to do this, but I'm not sure how to do it. So, and then they start thinking about in the psych themselves out or they start talking to their friends. So would say, get your idea, you know, try to get as many , um, as many details on it as tight as possible. That's first. Okay. Yeah. Sam ,

Speaker 1:

you have to know what it is you want to get created.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. Some people will have an idea, but they get into this analysis process. I see that all the , I think I see that the most, I see the most, the majority of who I speak with, they have ideas. They're not always like, you know , um, figure it out. But they start getting into now Asus paralysis. Most people who I speak to. And so that's one thing. Um, second, I would say you have to understand that, okay, you have, you have Ali Baba, Ali Baba, Ali Ali express, two great sources to start from. But if you really want to build your business, especially when it comes to product , especially if it has details, you're going to want to go over there. So you have to get into your mind that you're going to go over there. If you really want to take your product to the next level. Um, it's, it's, if you're buying a house, you've got to go and walk through it. If you're buying a cargo and kicked the tires, you're going to test drive it. You know, your product. If you're dating somebody online, you're going to date them , but eventually you're gonna see them . Yeah . So Ali Baba and Ali express, if this what you really want to do, if, if took maybe a , a promotional product one time, two times, that's one thing. But if you're going to keep doing this for the longterm, you got to go. And so just like if you're going to date that person on eHarmony, you're going to meet him . So you gotta go. So getting your mind that you're going to go over there and when you go over there, all the ideas you thought you knew about your product, you're going to have your , your mind is going to be blown. You're going to see so much more. So that's why you can't really overthink it because you're going to start with this, but then you're going to end with something usually better for packaging, gift, that all sorts of stuff. So you can't, you can't, don't limit your mind by thinking , Oh , I don't know what I'm going to do. Of course you don't know. You have the idea, but you're not, you're not the one who's going to , who knows all the tricks and things to production. Even if you do production here. Yeah , you won't.

Speaker 1:

And what I've found, at least in my experience in working with sourcing is, you know, there's so many options in terms of like every little step where they'll be like, we can do it the way you want, but if we did it this other way, it would cut the price in half. Or if we did it the way you want it with double the price , um, but it would have a certain benefit or maybe different than else in the market. And I think this is especially critical when you're creating something that does not exist at all. So there's one thing to make like, you know , a spatula or a, you know, a wooden spoon that you know, people use to cook with. It's pretty, pretty open or it's pretty much the same. But if you're creating something completely new, I think it is critical for you to have the relationships with the factory. So walk me through this, like how did you pick or how do you come to find the factories? Because, you know, at least in my experience when I started out down this journey, there were hundreds of factories that all said the same thing. Yes, we'll make what you want. Yes. And I would then be like, okay. And what I did was pick about 10 to 15 factories or from Alibaba. I then started to say send me samples and nine out of 10 of them, of , uh , of all the products, they were all different even though they were technically the same product. Um , they were all different. They have different specs on the inside. Some of them were loose. And I worked my way until I found the factory that had the one that was exactly the way I wanted. I'm in my first product was just a private label product. Um, it wasn't even something custom. So it was a matter of, you know, going back and forth. And once I found who I wanted to work with, I then spent all my time and focus on building a relationship with that factory and putting it into a time where, I mean, I , I've never really told anyone this. I wake up at four 30 every morning and go to the gym. When I started working with products, I now wake up at four four 15 and I jump on the computer every morning and talk with my factory in China to be like, here's what's next. Here's what's going on, where are the orders? And they , and we'll talk for 10 to 15 minutes to just get caught up. And any questions that they have, they'll reach out to me. But we now have this talking relationship and it is very much like dating. Yes . Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And so , uh, how do you find the right factory? This same way you find the right girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse or whatever you , you as you said, you start, you start narrowing it down now, now that going back and forth, it takes time. You know, it messes up your schedule . You when I went to the gym in the morning, but you're up late at night, early in the morning, you know, exchanging a few sentences back and forth. Now the way you, if you, let's say you're up against a constraint, you know you have to get ready for this Christmas season. Let's say it's summertime , you're like, I've got to get this three for Christmas, going back and forth online, it's getting me a little bit slow. Yeah, you can, you can start on Alibaba or AliExpress or something and we are already ready to get to the next step. Find someone like myself who can take you there and actually put you in front of a factory. So that conversation that you've been having for about a week, you can go over those details in about a couple of minutes . Yes . An hour. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Like a week of conversations . You can knock out in the by the hour . Yes. And that would be something where I'm at right now is I've yet to take a trip to China and I'm now realizing the importance of it of man , I want things to move faster now than they are. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Also, another thing, you're the decision maker. You're not talking to the decision maker. When you're talking to Alibaba, you're talking to someone who was an English major who represents the decision maker. Got it. Yes. And so , uh , terms and price and sometimes detail might get lost in translation. You know, it's like it's the telephone game. Sure. So you're not talking to your equal on Alibaba, you're talking to the assistant. Yeah. You know, or the rep or someone was a computer in Starbucks, so you're able to, you can't really always do that factory walkthrough. You can't say, Oh, you gotta do that too. Oh, what's that about? So, so you're able to go and touch base, shake some hands and not to become a number, but then they go, that's Brian, let's do his stuff. Good. And then you're able to , um, you're also able to show your potential of why they want to take you serious. Okay . Why ? You know, his order might be a little bit small this first test order, but why do we want to put his head and do it? Oh, because he might have all this juice. He might, here's a picture of him and this famous person, this is him and such and such. And this is his , uh, um, we say Termez face, Brian has a lot of face, a lot of , uh, you know , um, you know, a lot of that thing, you know, a lot of juice. This is why we want to take him serious

Speaker 1:

now in terms of quantities. Right. So if someone's, you know , wanting, I mean, I guess I'm taking this from a getting started standpoint cause there was a year ago I'd never done anything with sourcing. Um, so, you know, once they start to want to do this, what would you say would be like the unit numbers of what ? Like, do you think if they're like, I want to start with selling a single product, the first step should be go right to China and meet the right factories and get it done right. Or would you suggest, you know, tinkering around a little bit and trying to tip toe into the water with some communication back and forth?

Speaker 3:

Well, it depends. It depends, you know, like , uh, it depends what they have on their side. So let's say , uh, if they, let's say they have like ability to get it off. Okay . Let's say they're using advertisement and they have those ears, they have those eyes, they have a lot of, you know, people who can come and see what they're doing. I would say go over to go to China quickly because you have something that's turnkey once you get it. Yup . To get it off to the masses, do it the right way. If you're kind of, you don't know if you're kind of like undecided, I would say get your, your get your um , maybe get your weight up as far as being able to get out to the masses. And um, the, the goal, the goal is to get there because the goal is to have a good product and the goal is to do it for a long term and to have multiple products coming out as the goal. So , um, you know, not everyone can get there initially, but just know that you are going to get there cause you're going to have a product and product and a product line and marketing materials that will go for a long distance. So you have to eventually get there. Um, w me .

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know there's a lot of steps to, there's definitely a lot. I mean when you think about it, there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of factories in China. Yes . So I mean with any specific thing, you take anything you want to make a fruit basket, right. Then you want to sell online. There can be hundreds of factories that can manufacture that exact one. You know, when they, when you work with people and go over to China, do you go into her all hundred or do you automatically know here is the best one with the best price? Cause sometimes there's people that come where they're just starting out where they may not have huge budgets. Yeah . There's other times that it might be, you know, a national retail chain , um , like a supermarket and they're like, we want, you know, a million of these units, or it's Walmart, we want to be able to , to sell this to everyone. Um, you know, how does that kind of change who you go and approach and talk to?

Speaker 3:

Well , I look at the people, I, the client who I take over, I say , okay, how do you see your , your business going in the future? How, and these are the big things from , from a handbag. Oh , how do I want to scale? If I want to go to scale quickly, what do I want to be able to do afterwards as far as scaling? And when they say, okay, I want to be able to scale in this way. And I know , you know, I know China very well, you know, like I know, okay. In this part of the country, they're doing heavy machinery. In this part, they're doing more soft goods, more, you know , uh , smaller machinery . This, this, in this area, they're doing tech. So I know where to go based off of that. And I can see if someone says, Mike, I was talking to this person, that's okay, where? Where's the factory? I can say, okay, that factory, that's a good area because I know that there's all the components that the factory is using. This area has them , let's say for instance, when I was first doing the embargo, the first factory was in a city called Qualen coiling is they have to their hardware, they don't make the hardware, they have to bring it from Guangzhou . Their lining is from Guangzhou and they're about eight hours away. So yeah, they can get it done over there. But I know that those, their ingredients are coming from somewhere else. Yeah , it , Shane's in is tech. So I wouldn't accompany this doing tech. And let's say another city like maybe little dough . I said, ah , I looked kind of off all the different competitors, all the competing factors for tech or in Shinzen maybe you should go to Shinzen. And so that's how I kind of know where to go. And also I've put a lot of relationships. So now if there's something I don't know, I get to lean in my relationships and say I need to get this done and they will, I leverage my relationships that way . This , okay , well , yeah, you can get, you know , uh, here, my friend does this. And all these relationships are people who've done business together, so they're pretty verified. So once you get in, you know, with , with someone who was a , you know, a Chinese production expert, they have a lot of relationships, they have knowledge and they will kind of know where to take it. And , um, but sometimes it's honestly , uh , you know, how do you know who you want to marry unless you go and see everybody? Yeah . You know, so that, that you know, and look, anyone who's been to like a Gwangju trade fair or any trade fair in China, they'll tell you the same thing. They say, man, I thought I knew it. I went over there and I said, I didn't know. And it's, it's a doing that kind of , um, research and going there and get your foot on the ground. It's , you might know this much before you start, which might be a lie and you can make some make this.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. It's, you know, from my own personal journey, you know, I'm very much like when I travel, there's, there are times where I'm like, I want a guide. And then there's times where I'm like, I want to get my hands dirty. Like I'll go into a town and rent a scooter and be like, I'll be back in two hours and I'll go ride around and get lost in the city. Cause the best way . And then eventually I'll come back. I'm like , Oh , I know. Wherever. I know where a lot of stuff's at. Um, you know, having done that. But having gone down this journey of, you know, sourcing our product, I now realize, man, there are some critical points that are really valuable that I think relationships and knowledge of that area can be, which is the one everyone tells you. Yeah, we can do it. Um , and there's a lot that goes into that. Meaning , you know, equipment , um, materials, price, you know, if they have the ability to do it at scale or they're hundreds of thousands of units of what it is that you're looking to do, that's totally different from someone that's like, well, we can make, you know, a couple of hundred a day. You know, the prices are obviously going to be able to scale , um , a lot better with the larger one. And so, but then sometimes the larger factories won't take you because they're like, no, we're working with these other big companies and we don't have time for a small sample order. So you might never even get into the big factory . So there's a lot of like, like a little chessboard , you have to play your moves as you grow and based on where you're at. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 3:

That's, that's absolutely right. You know, and, and you know, getting lost is, is a , is a wonderful thing. It just depends on your time. Yeah . You know, do you have the time to get lost? Do you have the w what are your constraints? You know, getting lost in getting her and getting beat up is the best learning. If you can bend balance back, you know , uh, it's just do you have the time and, and you want to find someone who can grow with you. That biggest factory might not be for you. You want a factory that will grow with you and sometimes you might outgrow the small factory it to move to another one. Or let's say , uh, let's say one of the managers for this factory who really liked you, moves on. And so now there's, you know, a fair who didn't, who doesn't know Joseph, you know, you know, you want to it , you have to keep those relationships. And these things have all happened to me. I had a factory that was great. We did a lot of business together for about five years and then the prototype guy left. He knows all the things that I like to see. The fact it doesn't tell me that he left and I'm saying, Hey, I want you to make you know, this bag the same way you guys made this other bag a year ago. You guys haven't , here's the picture. I need the same leather, same thickness, same stitching, everything. But they didn't tell me, cause you know, the culture is different. You know, here in America we're very straight forward . Yeah, we can do, no, we can't do, Oh that guy left. Oh, you're too small. We're very straightforward . China's kind of circular. They don't tell you things straightforward . At least not traditionally the newer generation yet, but it's kind of circular. So they have to build a read through the lines. And even me being there for like three, four years, this is like , uh , six years ago I didn't know that they had left the, you know, the guy had left, lost the prototypes, all this stuff. They don't want to tell me, can you guys do it? Yeah, we could do it. Pay the deposit. I'm like, but you guys need to show me what I made last time. So , uh, but you know, with doing your know, your experience gets bigger. You know,

Speaker 1:

I love it. I love it. What would be, you know , um, for someone starting out, what would be kind of budgets on what you would think, you know, you know , knowing what you know from embargo and being like, I'm going to build this from the ground, I believe. Right. You started it from scratch and you've grown it up. I mean, when you first started you had to be able to get products made, you have to get collections made, who generally you start with smaller orders, you get sales and then you order more and more and more. And it kind of snowballs from there. Um, you know, what would, what would you, your estimates be on kind of price points for people when they're getting started into sourcing. What should they be prepared for?

Speaker 3:

So I, I took a client over this past November. Okay . I'll tell you his story. So he had been in the game for a while . He's mixed hair. Paul made very nice stuff. Um , shout out to cold label. And so he was getting his, his , um, his cans, you know, that he put the pomade in for, I think he was buying them at a dollar. He's buy 10,000 at a time. All right. And um, and he didn't bind them on Alibaba. So we go over there and we really crunch it down. We go and speak to people who are doing know packaging, you know, 10 cam packaging and we were able to get that price below one fifth the cost ways by before. So he's already , you know, he get to start.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . He's, he's already starting a dollar per 10 and then they fill it up with, yeah , he does the filling on this side, but the actual tins. So just the container just continued dollar and you got it down you one fifth would be below 20 cents.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. But not just that screen printed also, which means he doesn't have to buy labels. So he's buying before he's buying a can and it's also by labels. I think it's about the liberals at 20,000 labels at a time. Yup . He's able to get it down and he has it by maybe, I think 25,000 but his cost for 25,000 is now less than its cost for 10,000 ain't on to have the label cost . What else does he see there? He sees we're able to go to the paper box packaging. So now his gift box sets that he sends to his influencers, he gets them lower and they look better. So he's just, he's already been in the game. You have to start out. You have to start to get to get into the market. Yep . But he's able to buy more. Yeah. Get it at a smaller , a lower price. Better presentation for sure. So it's, it always does. It depends on the, on the, on what you're doing. But one of the , um, key things you can remember is whatever you're getting over there is going to be a lot less than just going through Alibaba .

Speaker 1:

So would you, would you say this, that most of the people who are going through Alibaba to source their products are paying more?

Speaker 3:

They're paying more than , they're not getting the details that they want and they're not getting, they're not getting access to the, to that factories, other contacts and other wares that they do that . Remember when you go to a dinner with let's say , um, I go with , um, let's say I have a friend, mr Chun, I go with Chun to dinner. Ton's going to bring his other contacts who are kinda in, in business that other businesses that he's close. Let's say China makes bags, he's bringing this other guy who makes shoes, he's bringing this other guy who makes, he does packaging. We're all going to eat and drink tea and I get access to them and I also get better price and better terms from Chen when I go over there. So what you, what you're going to spend here going over there? Yeah, a lot lower. And you're getting a lot, a lot, a lot. Um , more variety and you're getting something more to what you want to do.

Speaker 1:

Got it. So now, so walk me through this. If I wanted to, if I say Mike, I need some help. I think I've got a couple products. They're up there rowing . I think they might be overcharging me. I don't know if I'm getting the best service. I say I sign up. What happens next? We jump on a plane or I meet you in China. Well how does this work?

Speaker 3:

First schedule a discovery call China sourcing secret.com channel sourcing secret [inaudible] and then I would try to find out exactly what your needs are, what you're doing and what your future goals are so that I can best uh, you know, match you with a factory or you know, like give you some future stuff .

Speaker 1:

And how long is this process like? So usually a discovery call and I want to jump on a plane. I want to go, I want to go see some factories and start meeting people. Are you there for like a day? Are you there for a week? Are you there for a month? How long

Speaker 3:

is this process? Okay, so there's going to be , um, there's a , it can be fast. My, my fastest trip in China has been one day. Okay . I've gone in one day, but I know, you know, I'm , I know what I need.

Speaker 1:

Do you know what you're doing? You're going right in. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I, I, I go in, I have some stuff shipped. It's my friend's restaurant. Go check it out, maybe do a few more orders, bam. Go out, see some friends next day I'm out. So, but you have a learning curve. So in order to make it as beneficial to you, we have to , um, there's time for you to understand things. You're not just meeting and getting that connect and seeing the source, but you also have to learn , uh, a few cues so you don't drop the ball before it's even in your hand. And so they don't also drop the ball, you know, so it's , um, we do a call and then we try to have about a month to three weeks planning before you go over. So you know exactly who you want to see on the appointments. I'm guessing you line them up or the client lines them up. How does that work? Uh , if the client has been in contact with a few, we line up with who they've been in contact with. But then I always like to act my , my job is to overwhelm somebody, like to overwhelm them and give them a lot more , um, uh, contacts and appointments. And so we will, we line up with who they've been with. And then I also line up other ones who I think that they might not even thought of, let's say their packaging or their tags or shipping companies or third party , um, quality control companies. Okay . Now is there a , you know, a lot of times when people were starting out, there's kind of a minimums , right? Yes . There's bathrooms . The factories want you to make as many as possible because they're spending the time to do it. Um, I know a lot of times business owners who are trying to source products are trying to get into the, a marketplace with a product with probably minimal expenses. I mean, you can say that without putting tons of stuff down, they want to make sure it can sell through and then they can order more consistently. Um , is there a minimum quantity that you've found is kind of a sweet spot? There's minimums now . It depends on each, each different , uh, each different , um, industry. But there are minimums. Um, you see for rule of thumb, your smaller products. Okay, bigger minimums, your bigger products, not so you know, not so, but what would be a small product? Like an iPhone? Would that be a small product or let's say like a water bottle cat . I say this cap. Okay. You know that that's going to have a , um, uh , a , um , higher, higher, minimal , higher minimum. Okay . And then also you have , um , now, now one thing, your minimums might be high, but your cost to make each unit might be very low. And what you, a lot of people go to companies in this , Hey , what's your minimum? That's not as the best. It's not the best opener now. Why? Because that's like, let's say if you're dating, it's like, what are you going to do for me? You know, but if you try to convey that you are the right partner for them, you know, you call and say I need a test order first to check quality. But if you're the right partner, you want to convey that you want to convey longterm relationship. Yeah. That's what you want to convey. And you want to make them think, okay, even if this guy's first orders are smaller than the ones in the future will be bigger. Yeah. So that's what now I just always ask, okay, what's the minimum? What's the minimum? You know, especially my , I learned Mandarin. Okay . Uh, you know, how much do I have to do? I ask it in Chinese all the time and they would say, that's what you ask here. And people were really straightforward . But over there it's kind of offsetting and you know, so sometimes I don't even talk numbers if I've already, I kind of know

Speaker 1:

they're the ranges of what ,

Speaker 3:

no , I won't talk numbers. I'll talk. I'll just build relationship and see if they can do it. And then when it's time to get busy, let's do a test to test quality, test quality and test timing. Can you produce it under the quality and can you produce in the time that you say

Speaker 1:

that's fantastic advice. I I've, I read something like that online and I did, you know, cause I was talking with a lot of factories and they are very good at communicating back and all of a sudden realized I was overwhelmed trying to talk with 10 different factories at the same time who were all sending samples. And I ended up being like let me focus on one to two. And then I spent the time to try to be like, here's what we're doing. This is what we're, we're building, this is the brand here. We're doing a photo shot or a photo shoot today. What do you guys think of the photos? Like I would try to do back and forth. And what happened was they were like, we love working with you. And so right from the beginning they were like this guy is not messing around. He's doing this stuff. He's building stuff. What his website and his social media looks like is he's going somewhere and they were like, what do you need? You know, we'll open the doors. Uh , yeah, we can do that. And you know, questions like, how long would it take? Or I need to get it here by this day. Can we rush it? All of a sudden they're like, yep , let's see how we can work. Or we can't do it the normal way, but we're looking at alternatives and you start to have, you know what, I've used very much a partnership like you and I were , we're going to be working for together for a while . Um, and you know , now they'll tell me, they'll shoot me stuffing , like, Hey, I'm heading out for a holiday. I'll be out for four days. If you need anything, let me know and I'll get back to it. So they're there now, you know, communicating with me in advance about where they are. And so, I mean, now that we're in this, you know, consistent , um, dialogue , it works well. But there's still moments where I've asked them, Hey, I think this one element is too expensive. Like packaging, packaging seems high to me. And they're like, no, we can do. And I'm like, man, I need to get there or I need to start talking with a packaging company.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Cause they do the product, but there's a packaging company, but those packaging companies can show you, okay, if we use this kind of board or use this kind of printing or we do , uh , something like this, it could be less expensive. They can show you the options. Yeah. Because packaging is its own product.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you know what's so funny is, I mean, I went to downtown LA, I mean you talk about that, but there's, you know, a big kind of , uh , there's a big, you know, industrial area downtown. And I was like, I want to look at packaging. So I went down to try to , uh, on a weekend and try to find some packaging places. And I walk in there and it was sparse. And the people, I was like, Hey, I'm looking for the different types of thickness of cardboard for boxes to get some ideas. And they're like, eh , go look in the back corner. And they were like, we don't really care if you're here or not and we have a couple of things and just why would you want? And I was like, man, like I wanted to get into . And I was like, where did the boxes come from? And they're like, they all come from China. And I was like, that's where I need to go to .

Speaker 3:

Yes . And you'll have such a more favorable experience doing business in China versus like , I do business here all the time. I buy things here also. But I'm telling you like doing it over there, it's, it's a wonderful thing. If you look on my Instagram, we'll go winning. You'll see like, like clips. That's w O G U, G, U winning. Winning. If you look on there, you'll see clips of my clients going over there and happy. Look at the stories or in the highlights, you'll see. You know why me ? You , you call it China's sourcing secret.com yes. It should be called save 80% Ali Baba as my grid . But people don't believe it. Look,

Speaker 1:

I mean that's, that's one of the biggest secrets of success is if you can get your products made at the most efficient price, you've already won one of the biggest battles because you will out of the block are more competitive than with anyone else that's trying to sell similar items

Speaker 3:

and for longterm , yeah. So you're, you're , you're, you're looking at price, you're looking at the quality for what you want and you're looking at a longterm partner so that you can make those claims of, yeah, wait, a store says AQI supply . Oh yeah, we can supply when at this time you can say it and actually believe it. Yeah. You know, versus say it and like, I'm not sure they might get it wrong. And you know, so it's, you know, you want to have confidence when you're talking and then also you want to have this thing nailed down so that when you're with a company like advertisement, you can now really index and go hard on the marketing and spend those marketing dollars. Because if your product is crappy, spending those dollars is, is you're going to advertise to everyone. Hey, my stuff sucks. Oh, it's so true. It goes back there.

Speaker 1:

I've been approached by a lot of people that are like, I did the least amount of work on the product, but I know I can spend a ton with Facebook and just make everyone know about it. And usually those ones for the most part, crash and burn. Um , it's the , the companies that take the time to grade , uh , create a great, they take care of their customers. You know , they put the time into actually growing the business. Um, are the ones that get the most value out of Facebook ads. It's crazy how we've just seen it time and time again.

Speaker 3:

And the cool thing about today is that now even a small company with Facebook ads and with like a , not just Facebook ads , but with a company that understands Facebook ads, like advertisement, a company that knows what they're doing, you can actually like be in your closet, but you really go in and align yourself with this company that these expert marketing companies. Yeah , you can really push it. You can, you don't gotta be, there's no barrier except knowing the right person and then in China, knowing the right person. So now it's just knowing the right person. Yeah, that will take you. You don't, you don't have to have a huge store front and you don't have to have, you know, like the world's gotten smaller. All that. For sure.

Speaker 1:

For sure. And I think that, you know, the thing about sourcing that was so exciting for me is with tools like Amazon FBA, and we went and toured one of the Amazon warehouses where the products get shipped. So I mean, I order stuff from China. It comes, I never see it. It goes into a warehouse and Amazon, a customer orders it and they get into today , yes, they're happy. You know, Amazon takes a big cut. You know, I've got to pay some fees, but there's multiple big players. Yes. And I can do that from anywhere. I can do it from my bedroom. I can do it from a beach. I'm on a computer computer saying, here are the products I want ordered, I send money, they go, they get shipped. And then I just monitor these little processes. And I mean they're , I see a lot of people that just can create one or a couple of really good products and be able to do extremely well and create this either second source of revenue in their life or a primarily a first one where they're like, this is now more than I was making at my job. Being able to connect these dots. And I mean, if you're able to cut costs by 80% , um, uh, I'm going to be signing up to take a trip.

Speaker 3:

And , and also you're, you're, you're cutting your costs, you're getting to the decision maker, you're seeing more options of what they have and you're seeing how to make your prog , uh, uh , prettier. Yup . You're also looking at different shippers, so you have different shipping off options you could have slow or fast, you know, and then also, you know, we have the , um, the whole tariff thing. You have partners, you, instead of you just thinking about how you can get around the tariffs, you have other Chinese partners who are helping you figure that out.

Speaker 1:

We didn't even get into terrorists yet, which is, I mean, that's a big thing that's up and they are able to help you figure it out. I love it all . So it really is trying to source in secret. Uh , you've got the goods. All right, so we're, we're out of time for today, but if you want to learn more , uh, or you want to take a trip with Mike , uh, and be able to go and work directly with the factories and just do it right from the beginning , uh , go to China sourcing secrets.com. Um , man, this has been fascinating to have you here and it's just, it's , I feel like we could talk for hours and hours on this topic because I just, I find it fascinating in terms of how the world is changing , um, for everyone to be able to create products that they want , um, and be able to get into the marketplace and be able to be competitive.

Speaker 3:

Yes. And also , um, um, uh, there's a few things people don't like if they don't get China. A lot of Chinese entrepreneurs, they want their money outside, not inside. So they see it as a big, a good investment. Them , uh, investing in your business. If they think you're a good partner, like the factories will invest. Yeah. Ooh, I'm times as far as better terms. Okay. I'll give him better terms or I'll give them a smaller minimum or we'd have them , they've done more business. Maybe I'll invest a little bit more. That's good to know. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Any, any other kind of final tips ? Good partner. You said you said three teams right before you said that, that was the first one.

Speaker 3:

Did you have some other tips? Um, great. Um, I put you on the spot. No , uh, I love giving tips. Um, when you're there, just think, just think, okay . It's circular. If you could just think circular, everything over there. Circular. Okay. The reasoning circular, that communication's not always as direct. Where you sit in a table is circular. Your questions. Okay, can you do this or not? You're gonna come in a little bit circular. Okay. Also, when they bring friends, they're bringing a circle of their friends. So , um , you, that's why I want to take more people so I can have a circle of my friends when I bring them also , uh , um, you eating food all. So the deal was not done in the office or I get it, see , minted over a mil or over T we go into the office and try to crank this business. You go to the office, go to this firm to see stuff, then you go and you hang out, eat T show family , uh , show pictures of family and stuff and basically kinda out . Yeah. And, and you might think, Oh, this is a waste of time. No, you do this one day, the next day, everything starts to move very, very fast. And so it's kinda like a circle. It's , it's not so straight. It's a circle. But that circle is uh , so powerful. And the word for the circle is, or for relationship is Guangxi. Okay. And so as a business person who wants to build product, you have to build your [inaudible] , your connection things move with connections here, but over there big time. And so if you have a company who could help you with Facebook ads, like advertisement, the next step is build your Guangxi. You'll be unstoppable . Really

Speaker 1:

fantastic. Michael, thank you so much for being here today. It's great to have you on this show. Thank you guys for listening and we will catch you on the next episode.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for listening to the Duke of digital podcast with Brian Mitt . Want to network with other business owners. Join our exclusive group at facebook.com/groups/duke of digital fancy the Duke. Leave a five star review on your favorite podcast app. And you can be mentioned on the show. The Duke of digital was produced by advertisement and recorded in Hollywood, California. All rights reserved.