What to look for in an importer and what questions to ask?


Trends and Tips on developing and operating a tea business.

What to look for in an importer and what questions to ask?

Postby etwan » Apr 26th, '11, 11:40

Hi,

I'm in the start-up phase of my new tea business and I'm trying to find the right vendors to purchase my tea, equipage and other items from. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what questions I should be asking and what services I should look for. The most important part is the tea which will be a private label brand. Any advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Re: What to look for in an importer and what questions to ask?

Postby Chip » Apr 26th, '11, 12:01

Good luck in your endeavor!

I have moved this topic to TeaBusiness Planning and Running where it will be more at home.

I also temporarily left a shadow topic under TeaMerchandiser where it was originally posted. I will delete the shadow sometime today.
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Re: What to look for in an importer and what questions to ask?

Postby IPT » Apr 28th, '11, 13:27

A good way to start, I believe, is to start up a conversation. Just feel the supplier out and see what they are offering and how knowledgeable they are. Another issue that a lot of people have when dealing with Chinese suppliers is that if they run out of something, they will just ship something else. That is an accepted practice here, so you need to make it perfectly clear that you will not accept that. You also need to find out what kind of bulk you need to buy product in. Will the supplier let you buy 4 teacups, or do you have to buy 500? You also need to ask for samples of their teas before you purchase to make sure they meet your standards. Also, save some of the sample to compare with your future purchase, to make sure you are getting the same tea you first tried and liked. Also, find out what type of return policy they have, have they dealt with customs and shipping to other countries before. You need to find out what types of packaging they can offer you. Also find out if you have to pay it all up front, or if you can do half and half. I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, but this is off the top of my head. Good luck in your new venture!
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Re: What to look for in an importer and what questions to ask?

Postby djlau » Oct 27th, '11, 03:58

I think that the most important criterion is: Do you feel a connection with this person(s)? Do you trust him/her? Is this a business relationship that will endure and continue to improve? And of course, you should enjoy being around these person(s).

Life is too short to be doing business with people that make you miserable even if they're a few cents cheaper.
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