Importing handbags from China is a lucrative business opportunity, but not without its challenges. From language barriers to quality control issues, there are many potential pitfalls that can disrupt your import process and cost you time and money.
However, by knowing these common mistakes ahead of time and learning the correct way to fix them, you can smoothly import quality handbags from China and grab a bigger slice of the market pie.
This article takes handbags as an example, and we will give several useful tips to avoid some common mistakes in importing handbags from China. These methods can not only be used when importing handbags but also can be extended to import other products, such as clothing, toys, etc.
Let’s get started together.
Tip 1: Research Your Target Market
There is an old Chinese saying: Preparedness ensures success and unpreparedness spells failure.
This is why we put research on your target market in the first tip.
So, when researching your market, what points do you should pay more attention to?
- Market Demand: Researching the market can help you identify local consumer demand, trends, and preferences for handbags to ensure that your imported handbags are in short supply and sell well.
- Competitors: You can go to the local market to find out which brands or shops are selling well, visit these shops on the spot, and learn what styles, colors, and prices of handbags are popular in the local market.
- Marketing Channels: Do you know what channels your competitors use to promote their products? Is it TV commercials or social media? Do they have an online store? In addition, you can discuss with local advertising companies to understand specific services and fees, and then formulate your own marketing channels and strategies.
- Consumer Research: Communicate with consumers or your friends to find out what they care about when buying handbags. What are you dissatisfied with? Which needs have not been met?
- Product Differentiation: By researching the market, you may find opportunities for product differentiation, identifying unique features or styles of handbags that are not currently available in your target market. This may be your first step in gaining a foothold in the local handbag market.
Tip 2: Understand Import Regulations
After doing market research, when we find that a certain product is profitable, we must immediately go to understand the local import regulations to avoid mistakes or even crimes. What are the common methods and steps to understand the regulations?
- Know Customs Regulations: Familiarize yourself with your country’s customs regulations, including import duties, preferential tariff policies that apply to certain countries, prohibited items, and documentation requirements.
- Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses: Find out if you need any permits or licenses to import handbags from China. If permits or licenses are required, what documents are required for these? Generally, the answer can be found on the website of the local customs. Of course, you can also go directly to the local customs agency and ask the relevant staff directly.
- Comply with Environmental and Safety Requirements: Make sure that the handbags you import meet the environmental and safety requirements of your country. This may include product outer carton labeling requirements, packaging safety warning labels, and product testing requirements.
- Understand the Shipping Process: Understand the shipping process and various costs and time involved, including freight, insurance, customs clearance fees, shipping time, customs clearance time, etc.
- Cooperate with A Customs Broker: If you find these things troublesome, or want to spend more time and energy on the product, then you may consider cooperating with a customs broker. Customs brokers can help you understand import regulations and arrange import affairs so that your products can pass through customs quickly and efficiently, and can be sold on the shelves as planned.
By understanding import regulations or working with a customs broker, you can avoid some common mistakes when importing handbags from China, ensure your product complies with all legal requirements, and avoid any delays or fines for non-compliance.
Tip 3: Research Your Suppliers
When we first started communicating with Chinese handbag suppliers via email, we often asked ourselves some questions: Is this a real business? How about their production capacity? Are their handbags reliable?
In order to find suitable and reliable Chinese suppliers, supplier research is an essential step, so how to do supplier research?
- Check Documents: A legal Chinese company with import and export rights must have its own business license, registration number, and customs number. You can ask your supplier to provide this information to verify its authenticity.
For information on how to verify Chinese suppliers, please refer to the following blog post: Our 5-Step, comprehensive process to verify Chinese manufacturers
Remarks: In China, it is legal and compliant for one person to own multiple companies. For example, a boss owns a factory and also owns a trading company.
- Request References: Ask your supplier for references from other customers who have imported handbags from them. In general, suppliers will provide some strong evidence with mosaics to prove that they are real companies, such as bank slips, bills of lading, etc.
- Talk to Suppliers Face-to-face: When you have selected a few alternative suppliers and are in doubt, consider flying to China to talk to them face-to-face. While flying to China is not cheap, it is necessary. You can understand the actual situation of those alternative suppliers, such as production capacity, design capacity, quality status, etc. After a comprehensive comparison, you can choose the appropriate supplier from them.
Remarks: Factory is not the only supplier of choice for you. You should consider your actual situation to choose to cooperate with factories, companies, or agents. Refer to our blog post: 3 Main Types of Suppliers in China
Before cooperation, it is indeed necessary to spend some time and money on supplier research, which can provide a lot of help and convenience for your next work. Trust us, it’s really, really worth it.
Tip 4: Get A Detailed Quote
What should be included in the detailed quotation? What is it for? Let’s find out.
- Included Contents: We have summarized the content that most customers will ask when making a handbag inquiry, and come to the following conclusion: a detailed quotation should include product name (style number), picture, material, color, price, quantity ( or minimum order quantity), estimated weight and volume, payment terms, shipping method, port of departure, sample cost and time, mass production delivery time, packaging method, whether testing is included, and the validity period of the quotation.
- Budget: Through the analysis of the detailed quotation, you can easily calculate the total cost of handbags and shipping, which will help you to budget for the import of handbags and plan your cash flow accordingly.
- Record Keeping: Detailed quotations can be used as negotiation records. If there are any disputes or problems in the later negotiation process, you can use this as evidence and have in-depth communication with your supplier.
So, from the very first inquiry, be sure to ask your supplier for a detailed quote to ensure all costs are included and to avoid any surprises down the road. This will help you budget, negotiate, and maintain accurate records, making the import process smoother and more successful.
Tip 5: Request Samples
Seeing is believing. Before placing an order, it is necessary to ask your supplier to provide you with samples. Samples can be used for many purposes, here are some common ones:
- Turn Design into Reality: In the handbag industry, many fashion brands have their own designs. Samples are the first step in turning a design into reality. After the sample is presented, the designer can modify his design according to the sample to achieve a better design effect.
- Specification Check: For some old styles, before placing a new order, requesting the correct sample can ensure that all the contents of the handbag meet your specifications, such as size, color, material, quality, etc.
- Supplier Verification: Requesting samples can also help you verify the authenticity and reliability of your suppliers. Reputable suppliers will be willing to provide samples and ensure that the handbag meets your requirements.
- Evidence Retention: correct pre-production samples are strong evidence of order specifications, quality, etc. When you receive bulk shipments from suppliers, you can check the quality of the order based on the pre-production samples to confirm that your supplier has produced your handbags in full accordance with requirements.
Tip 6: Negotiate Price
No one wants to spend more money on the same handbag. Every importer hopes to get a more favorable price, which requires you to know more about negotiating strategies.
- Do Research: Before negotiating the price with your supplier, research the market prices for similar handbags from other suppliers. This will give you a baseline of work and help you determine a reasonable price.
- Start with A Low Price: Combine your research and start negotiating for a price that is lower than what the supplier initially quoted you. This will give you room to negotiate and help you get a better deal.
- Negotiate by Quantity: If you plan to place a large order, please tell your supplier the exact quantity. Your suppliers will surely be willing to offer better prices for your large orders.
Remarks: Please do not place a small order with your supplier after negotiating the price with him on the basis of a large order. This will seriously affect your good relationship with the supplier.
- Respect and Professionalism: Respect is mutual. Be respectful when negotiating and avoid making unrealistic demands or low prices.
Be willing to take professional advice from your supplier when some modifications will seriously affect the function or quality of the handbag.
Remember: $1 can’t buy a real LV bag.
While price is important, there are other factors to consider when selecting a supplier, such as a supplier’s service, professionalism, reputation, production capacity, quality control, and delivery time, among others. These factors can also have a major impact on your handbag business.
Tip 7: Safe Payment
Payment is the top priority of buyers and sellers. The transaction is not complete until payment is made. Regarding safe payment, there are the following points to note:
- Check Payment Information: Double-check bank details with your supplier, especially beneficiary name and account, before making a payment. If the beneficiary is an agent of your supplier, ask them to provide reliable proof.
- Pay Attention to New Beneficiary Information: If your supplier provides new beneficiary information that does not match your supplier’s name. Please be careful. It is best to arrange payment after confirming with your supplier via video. Because this may be your mailbox has been hacked.
- About Hong Kong Bank Account: Don’t be surprised if your suppliers in mainland China attach a Hong Kong bank account to their PI. Because mainland China is a place where foreign exchange is controlled. In order to facilitate the circulation of foreign exchange, many companies will hold a bank account in Hong Kong related to their mainland company name and pay taxes in Hong Kong. This is legal.
You can never be too careful when it comes to money. Therefore, double-check with your supplier on their bank details before arranging payment.
Tip 8: Verify Product Quality
The quality of your handbag will greatly affect your business. Especially when working with suppliers for the first time, it is necessary to check the quality and workmanship online. Here are some tips for checking out handbags online:
- Request A Pre-production Sample: After placing an order, ask your supplier for a pre-production sample to confirm that all details meet your requirements. At the same time, the pre-production sample is also referencing the standard for online inspections.
- Inspection Time: Online inspection should not be too early, otherwise only the raw materials can be inspected, but the workmanship cannot be inspected. It’s also never too late to check online. Otherwise, the handbag has already been sewn, and if something goes wrong, it will be difficult to remedy it. While non-compliance is your supplier’s responsibility, it will inevitably impact delivery dates.
According to the quantity of your handbag order, the best online inspection time is within 5-10 days after online production.
- Inspect Contents: The online inspection of handbags mainly depends on the material, color, size, whether the stitches are neat, whether there are scratches on the surface, etc. All inspections are based on the correct pre-production samples.
Cooperate with A Third-party Inspection Company: If it is not convenient for your employees to travel to China to inspect handbags, then you may consider cooperating with a third-party inspection company to verify product quality. They can inspect handbags on your behalf and provide an unbiased report on product quality and compliance with your specifications.
If you find a problem after inspection, please communicate with your supplier immediately to solve the problem and ask them to correct it.
Tip 9: Pay Attention to Delivery and Shipping Times
When negotiating prices with suppliers, delivery and shipping times should be considered so as not to miss the best sales time.
- Know Shipping Times: Learn about shipping times for different shipping methods, including air, sea, and rail. Plan accordingly and allow enough time for the shipment to arrive before you need handbags.
- Communicate with Suppliers: regularly communicate with suppliers to understand the production progress and ensure on-time delivery.
Delayed Plans: unexpected events will always happen inadvertently, such as public emergencies, customs inspections, weather delays, etc. Add some extra time to your delivery schedule to account for delays from these unforeseen events.
Make more plans. We don’t rush when problems show up in production.
Tip 10: Choose a Reliable Freight Forwarder
A reliable freight forwarder can provide a strong guarantee for your import work, saving you time and cost. Here are some benefits of working with a reliable freight forwarder:
- Shipping and Logistics Expertise: Reliable freight forwarders have extensive shipping and logistics expertise to help you navigate the complex process of importing handbags from China. They can advise you on the best shipping method, route, and carrier for your specific needs.
- Competitive Price: Reliable freight forwarders usually cooperate with multiple powerful carriers and get competitive prices from the carriers, which can help you greatly save shipping costs.
- Handling Shipping Documents: An experienced freight forwarder can guide you or handle complex and time-consuming import shipping documents for you, such as bills of lading, commercial invoices, and packing lists.
- Customs Clearance: Professional freight forwarders can help you complete customs clearance procedures in time, pick up the goods smoothly, and will not incur additional fees due to stacking at the customs, and the handbags comply with local regulations.
Please spend some patience and money to find a reliable and professional forwarder who is an indispensable helper for your handbag import. Trust me, it’s worth the time and money you spend on him.
Tip 11: Check Products Carefully Upon Receipt
When receiving your handbags from the forwarder, please don’t forget to inspect them at once.
- Check The Number of Cartons: Count the number of cartons you received and compare it to the packing list provided by your supplier. Make sure the quantity is correct.
- Check The Packaging: Check the packaging for any signs of damage or tampering. If some packages are damaged, set them aside individually and take photos before unpacking to see if the handbags are in good condition.
- Check Handbag Quantity: Count the number of handbags you received and compare them to the packing list provided by your supplier. Make sure you receive all paid handbags.
- Check The Quality: Randomly select some handbags for quality check and compare them with samples. Look for any blemishes such as scratches, dents, or stains, check the stitching and seams to make sure they are secure, and test the bag for features such as zippers, magnetic buttons, handles, and more. Make sure your handbag is of the quality you require.
Checking the quantity and quality of handbags is an essential step before listing them for sale. It prevents your brand reputation from being damaged by selling inferior handbags to your customers.
Tip 12: Build Good Relationships with Your Suppliers
Several good suppliers are a strong guarantee for you to expand your handbag market share. Customers are gods, but please don’t let them look up to you all the time. You should be in an equal relationship and complement each other.
- Trust: Trust is the bond between the two parties in cooperation. Only by trusting each other can we cooperate for a long time.
- Mutual Benefit: The essence of cooperation is mutual benefit. Your relationship will only go further if it is profitable for both parties.
- Mutual Understanding: There will always be friction in the process of cooperation. With a mutual understanding of each other’s difficulties and more consideration of issues from each other’s standpoint, all friction will be resolved.
Importing handbags from China is a profitable business, but we need to be aware of potential risks and pitfalls and take steps to avoid them.
Through the study of this article, I believe you have mastered many ways to avoid risks and pitfalls, please take the first step bravely to import handbags from China. I believe that in the near future, you will be a new star in the handbag industry in the local market.
If you have any problems when importing handbags, welcome to contact us. We will provide you with fully VIP service to solve your problems.
We are Uncle Nine Leather, a leading handbag company in China, with rich experience in the handbag field, can provide you with professional service.
If you want to wholesale or customize any type of handbag, we can provide you with one-stop design, development, search, production, and shipping services. Please feel free to contact us.