Recently my partner Steven Selikoff and I had the opportunity to talk with Calliope Sofianopoulos (Calli) of Private Label Australia about our Canton Fair Experience Course, which teaches entrepreneurs to bring new and unique products to the market, source them in China, and expand their reach from E-Commerce channels to independent and big box retailers.
Calli runs a training program called Private Label Australia, where she provides the resources for entrepreneurs in Australia to start an eCommerce business, create a brand, source their products and sell them online, on Amazon, eBay, Catch and their own Website
Check out the interview video to learn what The Canton Fair Experience Course is all about, or read the transcript below:
Calli: Where are you from? Why we here today?
Amy: Where am I from? I’m originally from Wisconsin, a really cold place. I know in Australia, it’s the middle of winter right now. But right now I live in Texas. I’ve lived here for five years. My husband and I were Air Force, and we retired from the US military. We now live in Texas in San Antonio. Then, we have we have Steven, who is my business partner in The Canton Fair Experience.
Calli: Where are you located?
Steven: I am in Seattle, Washington, home of Starbucks and Microsoft and a little company called Amazon.
Calli: You’re close enough to everybody, everybody. techie and everybody in e-commerce. That’s amazing.
Steven: I love it.
Calli: So, guys, tell me something about what you two are doing what you to do when it comes to sourcing, cuz that’s what we’re here for today. I spoke to you a few days ago, Amy, and you blew my mind. So how about we try and do the same thing for those with us today and see if we can blow their minds. You’ve got a whole lot of things to say about on about sourcing from China. And you guys have been doing some wonderful things. Tell me something about that.
Amy: Well, wow, I will try to blow everyone’s mind out there. But you know, I know I’m an Amazon seller myself, I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2007. I’m an inventor, I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a business coach. And let me tell you, when I invented a product, it was tough. I had this idea, and I went out and I talked to design firms, because I didn’t really know how I was going to get it manufactured. I could go to China, but that seemed really far away and kind of complex. So, I just started cold calling manufacturers and I started trying to figure it out. I talked to one of these design firms, but they wanted to charge me $30,000 just to get started. And I didn’t have that kind of money. I just wanted to bring a product to market, I wanted to solve a problem for people. And so, I started calling manufacturers in the US, and sometimes they’d hang up on me. And other times, they would say, “Well, you’re going to want to prototype that”. Or “maybe you should call this person”, “maybe you should look for this”. So I started figuring it out, I started figuring out how to take an idea and turn it into a product.
While I was doing that, I started sharing my journey online. I was just sharing in this tiny little Facebook group that I started, there was just maybe 100 people in there in the beginning. And it just kept growing and growing and growing. I just kept sharing whatever I learned. Since I love search engine optimization, I’m a big techie, I love listing optimization, I’m a total nerd for listings on Amazon. So I would share every time I would learn something, I would learn it in a way that I could teach it. And my community just kept growing and growing and growing. And, and in the meantime, I launched my private label brand on Amazon with a whole line of products. And then I brought my invention to market as well.
So you know, I’m just kind of living the life here figuring things out. And then this guy, Steven Selikoff, he’s always out there in the Facebook groups, and he’s talking, he says all these really intelligent things. He’s always talking about “I source my stuff at this margin”. And you know he’s telling the truth, because he totally backs it up with knowledge. And you’re like, Okay, this guy’s really intelligent. Well, before I knew it, I started getting clients from this Steven guy that I didn’t even know because people would ask him to mentor and he’d say, “I don’t mentor, go to Amy”. So he would send these people to me. He would always post in my group pictures from Canton Fair in China. I thought that was fascinating and seems so cool. I’m over here sourcing on Alibaba.com, messaging back and forth with suppliers, trying to get samples back and forth, you guys know how that goes, right? You’re trying to figure it out. You’re trying to say the right things, you’re trying to get the best prices.
Well, anyway, Steven is posting in Amazing at Home about Canton Fair and he’s going back to China again to visit one of his factories, this and that. And I said, “Hey, Steven, you should take me to Canton fair”.
And he said, “Okay, I’ll take you to Canton fair”. And I was like, “Really? Wait, we’re going to China?, okay.” And then people started chiming in saying, I want to go, I want to go.
People that had never been some people that had been before they started saying, we’ll go with you. People were saying “I’ve always wanted to go, and I trust you. I’ll go with you”. So Steven and I get on the phone and we were just talking about all of the struggles people are experiencing and how we just want to help people through them. Steven has this background in retail. And I have a background in e-commerce and inventing and so does Steven, he invents products as well. But, we were saying, “wouldn’t it be great if we couldn’t just take them to Canton, but we could actually teach them how to do this for real”. And so it began, I was in an RV on a camping trip. And I wrote 20 pages of content, if I had to teach someone, this of what I would do if I had to do it over again, here’s what I would teach them. And I pass it to Steven, and he adds 90 pages.
Then I said, “Wow I think we could do this, Steven”. So we come back together. And we start meeting every week. And we decide that we’re going to do this beta. And we’re going to take entrepreneurs with us. And we’re going to turn this into a whole course, a two month long course to fully prepare them. We didn’t know if we could pull it off. But we did. Boy, did we. And we had 21 entrepreneurs come with us on our first trip to China. And it was just so awesome. So I want to let Steven tell his side of the story a little bit maybe I’m making it sound cooler than it is.
Steven: Warning, sometimes she has to muzzle me. I’m pretty opinionated. So I started as an entrepreneur years ago, I came into FBA, October of 2006, one month after it was announced, with a weight loss product. Then soon worked my way into Amazon vendor, which I fell in love with. But I’ve been doing products for a long time. My focus has always been on retail to me, that was and still is a lot easier than Amazon, and Amazon seller central. And there are a lot more stores. I mean, first of all, for Americans, they think, wow, Amazon is huge. It’s tremendous. It’s 4.6% of the retail industry. So there’s 96% that you’re not touching yet.
Calli: And more once you get out of America.
Steven: Yeah. I remember when we’re it wasn’t that long ago that Amazon wasn’t even selling in Australia. I had products where I had distributors constantly contacting me saying, we want to sell you in Australia, can you send us a container because it wasn’t available in Australia.
And, and in January, we’re looking to get into a chain called Woolworths in Australia. So retail is still very, very strong. But there is a huge commonality between retail and successful Amazon. And that comes down to product choice. And Amy and I are both very, very strong about that. There are a lot of people who have really big stories with photoshopped pictures on on YouTube (about their success on Amazon). And they all talk about Amazon and the Amazon method. And it’s the Amazon platform and all the latest things about the Amazon platform. And no one’s really talking about the product other than say “go out to these tools and research them”. Amy and I focus on the product, because if you have the right product to begin with, then you can sell it profitably for 7x or 10x multiplier, that puts money in your pocket. Then you’re not talking about sales anymore, you’re talking about profits. And if you start with that right product, you can sell it and retail you can sell it on Amazon, you don’t have to worry about launch programs and giveaways or PPC you don’t have to worry about sudden changes in the algorithms because you have the product people are looking for. That’s where we want to bring people to and it doesn’t have to be anti gravity sneakers that no one’s ever invented before. I have products I did, I had pillowcases, that we just had cute little things printed on that ended up in bed bath and beyond, which is a big retailer here, just because no one had seen or done what we had done before. So it’s a case of knowing your market, and validating your market that people actually want to buy what it is you’re selling, making sure that you’ve got the right price that people have a value to. And that there’s enough demand that you can make a very good living from this, if you choose a product that has the right profitability, and we take everyone through the steps 1,2,3,4,5.
So when Amy and I first started talking, we went through this, we realized, if we just take someone to Canton Fair, and they start doing the same system they thought was going to work, they’ll save some money, save a lot of money, frankly, but they’re not going to really have a business that they can live from and retire from. And that’s what we want to give people. So we put together two months training to reset people’s baseline of what their expectations are. So they can start talking about profits, not sales. You won’t hear people in our group saying they’re a six figure seller or an eight figure seller, you’re going to hear people in our group talking about profits, and cash flow and business plans. That’s this really is a business.
Calli: Some of the newbies out there, they just don’t understand the difference. I really want to get it out there that there’s a huge difference between what your sales revenue is, what your profits are, or even what your takings are from the business. And that is a here.
Steven: You’re so right, Calli. And it’s not their fault. There are just so many people on YouTube who are purposely trying to confuse them.
Calli: The guy with the Lambo is saying, I have an eight figure business and all of a sudden people are trying to work out how many zeros that is, and how much of that is going into their account. And like just they just automatically assume that that is money in somebody’s account. Apart from the fact that a lot of those figures aren’t even true in most cases.
Amy: Let me just say there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. I want you to dream big, we want you to think big. And that’s why we’re starting this course that is teaching you to have a scalable business. What does that mean? That means you have to have a product that you can sell beyond one channel, and that can actually make you profits. So when I’m talking to Amazon sellers, and what the first thing I do when I take on new client, as I say, All right, let’s break down your costs. Let’s see how much your shipping cost you let’s see how much your Amazon fees are, let’s figure in your advertising all of that. And Calli, it’s sad to say but 90% of the time, they’re actually losing money and they have no idea. I’m so proud of people just for getting out there and putting something on Amazon.
Calli: There are people out there that spend $50,000 on courses, business courses that teach them nothing. Yeah, I know business courses here in Australia, where you can be in their offices and they are hiring and the person that they hiring they want them to know about Facebook advertising and Instagram, and all sorts of things like that. And then you go to their business courses, and you look at the curriculum, and there is nothing in there about Facebook advertising, there is nothing in there about social media, there is nothing in there about how to create a business. So essentially, when you’re paying $5,000 and you lose it in a business venture, to you it’s education, but at the same time, you don’t want that to keep on happening forever and ever. Because at the end of the day, what you’re doing is you’re losing your mortgage, your house, you know all sorts of things.
Amy: So our goal is to provide people with a plan and with a product that they can validate. So, a big thing that we talk about that a lot of people don’t talk about in this business is validation. We focus on validation, it’s on the back of our T shirts. It’s important because we want you to make an investment in a product that you know ahead of time is going to make you money, you have validated ahead of time that it meets a need in the marketplace and people will actually want to buy it
But there’s nothing there’s nothing wrong with the dream. There’s nothing wrong with thinking big. In fact, we want you to think big. And when we teach you how to actually break down the costs. The next thing that we teach you is what you need to know when you choose your products and you validate them, you’ll know what you can sell them at, and you’ll know what you need to buy them at to make money, we will teach you how to do that. So that that way, not only can you sell on Amazon and have plenty of margin for advertising or anything else you want to do to really build your brand up. But also, when it’s time to scale beyond Amazon to the other 96% of retail. And it’s not just brick and mortar, its catalogs, it’s As Seen on TV, it’s QVC, it’s independent retailers, all the mom and pop shops, they have to buy from someone and they can buy from you. And be let me tell you, Calli, when I invented my product, retail was a mystery to me. I was like, I invented this and it meets a need, How do I get it into retail? And then I meet Steven who’s says well, it’s really easy. I’m going to show you. So now I’m backtracking on everything. Because we actually teach you how to do your packaging correctly. So that you can actually, you know, go beyond Amazon, we teach you everything you need to know logistics, shipping, all of the things. We remove the mystery of scaling. It’s just incredible, if I would have had this information before now I’m backtracking now I’m redesigning my packaging, and redesigning my product so it fits on the shelf, I’m going through all of that. And if I had this course ahead of time, I could have saved myself not just like a little bit of money, but a lot of money.
I mean, our participants that went with us, we talked about a 7x multiplier and what does that mean? That’s the retail standard guys. And the reason it’s a retail standard is because a retailer is going to want to mark up your price from whatever you sell it to them at. So if you sell it for $20, they’re going to want to buy it from you for $10. And if you source it at $9, you got problems, right? You don’t have margin to scale your business. That’s why when you watch Shark Tank, and they ask them their numbers. And if they don’t have enough margin, they’re like, no deal. I can’t scale with you, I can’t make millions from you. But if you do have those margins, they’re real interested because they know they can make millions from you. And that’s what we’re teaching you, we’re teaching you how to have a profitable margin, so that you can scale beyond Amazon.
There’s nothing wrong with selling commodity products. I know plenty of seven figure Amazon sellers, eight figure Amazon sellers that sell those types of products. The difference is that when you sell those types of products with small margins, it’s a very large scale game. So you gotta have 700 SKUs.
Calli: You know if you’re essentially making $10 million a year, but you’re taking home a couple of hundred thousand, you could have found a pretty good corporate job and made more.
Steven: Amy found someone on Reddit, and she posted it in her group, who makes $7 million in sales a year and brings home 47,000 dollars. Here in Seattle, I will tell you right now that the supervisor at the Amazon warehouse is making a lot more than $47,000. In fact, they’re making a minimum of $60,000 US dollars, not Australian dollars.
So we’re seeing the people accepting the cartons are making more money than the people who are sending in the cartons!
Calli: Absolutely, people don’t understand those kinds of issues. And they do get sucked in by some of those big numbers. We had a chat Amy, and I know the answer to this. But I’m gonna let you answer it from your point of view. So I’m platform agnostic, as well. But I do believe that Amazon is one of the fastest growing platforms, it’s one of those things where you put the right product on. And it’s, it’s easier to do once you know what you’re doing. And you’ve got all your ducks in a row. It’s easier to be sourcing 20 products and just working with those 20 SKUs than what it is with having thousands of products in a warehouse and trying to find what to pick and pack and, and all sorts of things like that. The logistics is just a lot easier and faster to scale. At the same time, though, Amazon does require data and we said that is absolutely not the only parameter. But data is important. What kind of data are we looking at? Are we looking at what people are searching? Are we looking at what people are buying? Are we looking at how much in margins they’re making? What’s more important out of that data that we can get from Amazon, which, amazingly, is the most data that you can get from any platform. I don’t know another platform, you can’t go to Google and get this much data as to what people are doing on the platform.
Steven: As Amy goes into this and talks about the data realizes the data you are looking for on Amazon is historical data, not predictive data. So, you’re looking at how many cell phone dash holders that people have bought, over the last week, month, multiple months and going backwards. When we put together validation, we look at what people are going to buy going forwards. So, when you look at that historical data and 1000 other people are looking at it as well. Everyone’s saying, wow, this is great. You go out you source it, you ship it in, you put it online, and when it’s online, suddenly, you’re in a saturated market, because everybody looked at the same historical data and jumped on it. And the difference for us is we teach you through 14 different methods, including the ones that Dropbox used, how to do predictive data, no one else is doing it. I’ll let Amy talk about a little bit. But I’m gonna let you know a lot of that is proprietary just because we’ve put this together from so many different sources, Eric Reese, Tim Ferriss, Dropbox and their white papers and so on. But we look forward rather than looking backwards.
So, I mean, honestly, Calli data is the problem. When you look at Amazon, from a data perspective, that’s the problem. The problem, when you’re looking at how many of something sold is that you’re not thinking about the needs in the marketplace that are unmet that you can fill with the things people are looking for that you can sell to them. This is the hardest thing for us to break of in our course because they have learned this over and over and over again, “oh, I just need to look at this data”. No, you need to look at the needs in the marketplace and fill that with products. That’s what you need to do. You don’t need to look at products and source more of the same products people are already buying.
Calli: I know that you still need to have people searching for what it is that you made.
Amy: Yeah, that’s true. But you don’t need the Amazon specific data for that. Now, with that being said, Calli, I’m a data nerd and I love data. So we cover Amazon data. In fact, I have a module in our course training where I teach our folks after they’ve done the validation methods to actually go through and predict their profits. And this helps them prioritize their list of products. That’s where you can use the data. You can use the data by going “okay, I have this great idea. Are people searching for this keyword that I’m going to be selling under? Are people looking for this?” What is the trend right and what is the space looking like? So, I love using data for that. What I don’t like, because I’ve seen so many people lose thousands of dollars doing this and completely lose their entire investment, is when you’re going out there and you’re using product research software to try and find a good product idea. That’s not a good way to find a good product idea. And the thing is, Steven says yes, its proprietary. But it’s not proprietary in the fact that we’re teaching you the same methods that every successful brand that’s out there has used to bring unique products to the market.
Steven: I’ll give you a great example of data compared to what we do. The Rio mp3 player. And most people don’t remember the Rio anymore. It was small, it was kind of cute, the rio mp3 player sold really, really well. After the Walkman, this changed the entire environment of how you listen to music, everyone loved the Rio mp3 player, you could download your mp3 is off of Napster, if you remember all the way back then. And everything was great. Apple came along and looked at the Rio and said we want to get into this market because everyone is buying an mp3 player. But they didn’t try to make Rio version two or an apple branded version of Rio. They took the idea of everyone wants an mp3 player that there’s a need in the market for an mp3 player. And with the help of Jack Trout, who was one of the people who we constantly quote, he’s passed away a year ago, they went out and they differentiated. They actually went through the validation process. They went through talking to focus groups, they talked to design engineers, and of course, they had Steve Jobs. And they looked at this and they said, We know there’s a need, what is not being met, how can we do this easier, simpler, more elegant. And they put together a design of the iPod. They didn’t invent an mp3 player, Rio had already done that. They just had their own method that made it easier for people to skip through songs. And they had the one button navigation and everything that everybody wanted, they put it in a differentiated version and they invented the iPod. So, it’s not a case of going out there and putting your own logo on the Rio mp3 player. It’s a case of going out there and saying the mp3 player, we’ve got all this data we see how much it’s selling. And in retail, you could do the same thing. There’s all sorts of ways of getting data other than Amazon. And I’ll let you know right now, when you think Amazon has data, you have no idea what’s awaiting you, there’s so much fun.
But the idea is to take that data and use it as a launching pad to bring in something that’s innovative, because innovation is what sells and then to touch on that data for one moment. So everyone in America knows about the Nielsen’s because they do TV ratings. What they don’t realize is that every time a product passes by that scanner, and it goes beep, in the store, Nielsen is collecting all of that data. So not only do they know what the product is, how fast it’s selling, what time of the day, it’s selling, what checkout lane in that supermarket? Is it selling as a selling closer to the door or further away? For the pet store or whatever. Amazon people wonder how much inventory should I have for Christmas time? Nielsen for retail will actually tell you based on all sorts of major, what they call big data, all this major analysis, they will tell you how much you need based on what actually sells.
It’s unbelievable the amount of data. These tools like Jungle Scout or unicorn smasher, they’re great, because if you’ve never seen data, you think this is fabulous. Look at all this stuff that they’re telling me. But but once you get into retail, there are companies like Nielsen and others that provide data that will absolutely blow you away. But coming back to it, as Amy said, we’re using data, when we validate we’re used data as a launching pad to how you can do something better. I was talking about pets, we’ve used data for pets, I can tell you right now that 52% of pet owners in the in the United States have the dog sleep on the human bed, I can tell you what the demographics are of the person that buys treats for their dog, I can tell you the demographics of the person that buys toys for their dog, month by month by month. In fact, the American Pet Products Association, prints out a book that is literally two inches thick with this dark red cover on it. So we love data. It’s incredible. And because it’s the American Pet Association, they have everything from dogs to rabbits, the birds to exotic turtles about it is just there’s lots of data.
Amy: We want to say we love Amazon, we absolutely love Amazon, we’re not trying to say we don’t want you to launch a product on Amazon, we don’t
Calli: I noticed in in your group, and I’m a very recent member less than 24 hours I think. I did a flick through on my phone and it was like Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. They do focus a lot on Amazon. That’s where your client base is. And that’s where your target audience is. Let’s talk about these people that whether or not there on Amazon, want to source a product? What I want to go into the specifics of what it is that you’re doing. And I think there’s some time frames that you want to talk about as well. You pretty much starting soon with one of your two month courses, and how does that go?
Amy: Okay, so our course starts in August. Let’s just talk about Canton Fair for a minute because I know when Steven was posting about Canton Fair, I didn’t even know what it was I was sourcing from China, but I didn’t. I was sourcing online. The Canton Fair is an import export exhibition. It’s the largest in the world, it happens twice a year, it happens in April and October. There are three phases. You can go for one or all three phases. Phase One is electronic products. Phase Two is what most people who are Amazon sellers are in the retail market, go for. And that is gifts, housewares, pet stuff, you know, that kind of stuff. And then phase three is medical devices, bags, clothing, textiles, and sporting goods. There’s three different phases. And each phase lasts about a week. And during each phase, there are 60,000 different manufacturers and suppliers. Okay. 60,000! If you had to walk Canton Fair, and we did, it’s 217 American football fields worth of ground that you’re covering. Okay, so just massive in terms of that, now, some say Yiwu market is bigger and it is as far as actual square footage. But it’s a different type of market, it’s not the necessarily manufacturers it’s trading companies, so a different market. What we’re focused on at Canton is meeting with manufacturers, there are some trading companies there as well. But there are 60,000 booths, right? And you will see things at Canton that you will never see on Alibaba. And this was the thing, I was searching for pet specific pet products that I had learned, this will be perfect to launch, there’s a need for it in the marketplace. I was looking for it everywhere in China sites online and couldn’t find it anywhere. And I go to Canton and I find it in three or four booths. And I go in and I ask the manufacturer where are you exporting this to what is going on? And they’re telling me, we’re exporting it to Europe and Japan. And I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, you’re not in the US. That’s why I can’t find competitors with this product. And that’s why I haven’t been able to source it before now. And remember, there’s 60,000 booths. So, these manufacturers are actually bringing their most innovative and unique things to the market, because they want you to come in their booths, and not the other 60,000. How are they going to get you to come in if they don’t put something cool and innovative out there?
We’re going to prepare you to go to Canton Fair with a list of validated products that you want to source. But you’re going to see a ton of stuff there that a you’ve probably been looking for for a long time and haven’t been able to find the source for and that you’ve never seen before. You’ll see that you can deal directly with a manufacturer for instead of wondering if it’s trading company. We don’t just want you to go to Canton totally unprepared. There’s other China trips out there, you can meet them in Canton. But we don’t do business like that, we want to prepare you so that when you go to Canton you know how to talk to suppliers, you know how to talk to manufacturers, and the number one skill you need to have is negotiation. You need to understand how Chinese culture works, you need to understand how to negotiate so that you can get that 7x multiplier that we are training you to get.
So, in order to train you, we start in August. We’re about to go to the October Canton Fair, our course starts in August. For two months, we have three webinars a week. And these webinars are really just videos that you can watch at your leisure. And then every week on top of those three videos, we get on basically a coaching call with you and we directly mentor you. So that way, if you have questions, we follow up on your homework, we try to hold you accountable. We want you to learn these things. We follow up on your homework and make sure you don’t have any questions. We also have live interviews with experts. And when I talk about experts, these are not people you’ll see on YouTube, these are people you’re going to see in Forbes magazine that you’re going to see on TV, these are major experts, we went after the biggest experts in the retail industry, and we got them. You are going to meet people in our course that you would spend thousands of dollars to even have an hour with. It is just incredible. We’re spending two months with you and we are taking you through this process. It’s cumulative. We are starting with how do you come up with these ideas? Then we take you through how do you validate that it’s a good idea and narrow down your list? Then we take you through the whole process of Okay, now I got a list of ideas, what the heck do I do with them? How do I figure out what my cost needs to be? How do I figure out what my pricing needs to be? How do I do all that? We have a series of courses to take you through that so that you can prepare to get moving on it.
Then we teach you about manufacturing, we teach you about logistics, we teach you about shipping, as Calli was saying earlier, about the warehouse pick and pack and how we don’t want to deal with that. That’s why we love Amazon. Well guess what, if you sell wholesale to retailers, there’s a ton of what’s called 3PLs. That’s third party logistics, you’re not picking and packing anything. You’re selling large orders, pallets at a time. But we’re preparing you to start on Amazon. Amazon is a great proving ground. So that is what we’re preparing you to do.
During those two months, we’re preparing you to come up with these unique ideas. And we don’t just invent products, there are lots of things that you can do to enhance products. You can put a unique bundle together, we teach you different ways where you can, kind of like Steven said, “I put a message on a pillowcase and it sold like mad”. We’re not inventing the pillowcase. We’re just putting a cool message on it. So we do that with you for two months, we give you all of the experts, we teach you how to do logistics, how to do prototyping, we have a 3D CAD guy that comes in and talks to you about that about what that looks like, and how would you go about that. But we also want to prepare you for desiging and prototyping with your manufacturer. Because you might want to make a change or enhance your product if you want it to sell well, and we want to prepare you for that.
We talk about negotiation ahead of time. We talk about inspections, factory audits, most importantly, in China, we’re talking about sourcing from China, we talk about protecting your supply chain, because that’s all you have. That’s the one of the biggest fears people say, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to come up with this unique product. And China’s just going to knock it off”. Well, that’s what we teach you to deal with. We have a Chinese attorney on our team that actually talks to you and teaches you, so you can follow the laws in China, and that is going to help you out because let me tell you about my NNN that I use with my suppliers. We had a factory that Steven and I went to they refused to sign it because they knew how legit it was. They said, No, we need to make some changes to this. We’re not signing this. So, we definitely take this very seriously and we prepare you to be successful.
We teach you how to do the 7x multiplier. The funny thing is people I’ve heard so many people tell me that’s BS, you you’ll never get a 7x multiplier in China. That’s crazy. Every single one of our participants got 7 to 10 X, every single one of them. So, the techniques that we’re teaching are going to prepare you for that. Steven is a master negotiator. He’s really good. And you’re going to learn that firsthand.
Then we meet you in China after two months of the course online. When you meet us in China. before we even go to Canton, we do this cool ceremony and product reveal. We have a traditional tea ceremony, we want you to get into the culture of China, we take you on a river cruise. We are fun, too. We’re not all business. We take on a Pearl river cruise, we have a good time. And then Steven and I do a product reveal. We actually come up with a product alongside of our students during the course. When they get to China, we reveal all the steps we went through from start to finish. What that does is it gives them a review of everything they’ve been through in the course. It helps them realize “Oh, that’s how I validated that. Oh, yeah, that needs to be my cost”. It gets their mind set so that they’re ready to go to Canton. The next day before attending Canton, we take them on a factory tour. We take them to two different factories. These are big factories, it’s just it’s so cool.
So why do we take you to a factory? Because what most people don’t know is negotiation is not done at Canton The price you get at Canton has nothing to do with negotiation. I mean, you’re getting a little bit of a price. And you might talk to them about enhancements and design options and things like that. But that’s not a price, the person you’re talking to at Canton is somebody who speaks good English that they hired to work that week. That is not the factory owner and the person that you need to be talking to in order to make a deal. So that’s why we take you on a factory tour, because we want you to do this business for real. We take you on a factory tour, we show you what a factory tour looks like. We have lunch with the factory owners and the staff. We go to their showrooms, everything that you would experience with a factory tour on your own, we take you to do with us.
We want you to see how molds work, we want you to see how molds are made, we want you to see how manufacturing retail packaging works, how a line works. And most importantly, what should you be looking for when you’re walking through a factory? What questions might you have? We want to give you the confidence to request a factory tour when you go to Canton.
Then for the next week, we actually go to Canton with you. We hold your hand the first couple days, you’re prepared, you have a workbook, it has all the questions you need to ask, you’ve had courses before this, you know exactly what you should be asking, but you’re still probably a little shy about it. This is a big Vulcan mind meld kind of thing that we’re doing with you. We get that. What Steven does, which is really cool is he does one on one negotiation sessions. When we call them negotiation sessions, we just mentioned, negotiation doesn’t necessarily happen at Canton. But there’s a lot of important first impressions that do happen at Canton and questions that need to be asked. So Steven will take them one on one into random booths. And he will let them watch and participate if they want to and then they learn firsthand how to do this. It’s really a neat experience for them. We had some Australians that came with us that had been selling on Amazon for years had been to Canton before and they used the tips that Steven gave them to actually go to their original factory and get 30% off their price. So, it does work people! We’re not just selling you, we really do care about this. And we really are passionate, and we really are teaching you things out of experience. We didn’t go copy another course, we came up with this course based on experience and based on our knowledge of what you need to know to be successful, to grow a scalable brand that you can actually retire from.
If you check out our website, that’s what you’re going to see that our goal for you is to be able to leave your job and retire within two years to do this for real, that is our goal for you to make real money in this business. That that is what we’ve set you up to do. That is what our goal for you is, so you can stay at Canton with us after the fair every day, we come back to the hotel. And we provide beautiful paid dinners, and we invite experts, and we just let you ask them questions. We have a Chinese attorney to dinner, we have the inspection companies that we trust, because there’s a ton of inspection companies, when you go to Canton, they’re just all over the place. We have vetted professionals that we trust. Most of them you’ve met before and webinars, and they meet us again in China. You just get to ask questions, because when you’re out there, and you’re dealing with suppliers and stuff all day, you get to come to dinner with a Chinese attorney and go “Oh, wait, I didn’t think about this, when should I show them my designs”, you’re going to be thinking of things like that, and you’re going to have these questions. So we provide experts for you, we pay for your dinners. We definitely want you to have this unique experience.
This hotel has been wonderful to us, and we have private rooms every evening in the western buffet. And the other people that are there for Canton are looking at our group and asking, “Who are you guys? What are you doing?”
The other cool thing that I wish I could just bottle it up and sell it is the relationships that are made. Our folks work together for two months before they go to the fair. When they meet each other for the first time in China, they’re hugging and saying to each other “it’s great to meet you finally”, and they’re sourcing across the fair together, everybody signs a NDA. So toward the end of the course, they share their products and they’re in a WeChat session across the fair chatting “hey, come over here, you gotta check this out”. It was so cool to see them just lifting each other up and supporting each other.
Then last but not least, you’re put in a private Facebook group to watch all these webinars. Well, at the end of that at the end of Canton Fair, you come back and you have this huge list of suppliers and you’re thinking “Okay, what the heck do I do now?” You’re in that private group for all of your life, however long you want to be in it, and it’s free of charge. We’ve created this family, the support network for you, and that is your family and your support network for as long as you need them. And they love you, they’re like family. When we left China, they were all chatting how much they missed each other.
Calli: Maxine Stevenson is saying the whole experience was amazing. Maxine sounds like you went and you had a great time.
Amy: Yes, we loved having Maxine. Maxine is newer to the Amazon community. We love that we could help set her up with a solid foundation.
Calli: Sounds amazing. There’s a lot. I’m trying to think what you haven’t covered and I think you’ve just blown us all away. What do you think the most important thing to share with people when it comes to what your plans are between August and October, this year?
Amy: I think the most important thing is if you are either looking to start a business in retail, or you are looking to move your business model to a more scalable approach, then really consider this opportunity, We want you to shop around, this is serious to us. We put a lot into this and we really care about the success of the folks in our program. We do this because we absolutely are just passionate about business. So if you’re one of those people that’s thinking “I’ve had this idea forever, that I really want to figure out how to get from A to Z”. Or “I really just want to change the way I’m doing things and learn how to do this right way”, then really consider this. We don’t have a lot of time before August course starts. So definitely take the time to consider it, and take a look at what we’re offering, take a look at what we’re teaching, the curriculum is on the website. Reach out to us if you have any questions, we’re not going to put you through a funnel, we are going to talk to you.
Calli: So, it’s not a course, and it’s not a sourcing trip. It’s a combination of both. And one kind of supports the other. And that’s essentially something that you do differently to what anybody else does today. Because there are sourcing trips to China. There are courses that teach you how to source from China. You’ve kind of put the whole thing together in one package. And, and it sounds like people are having a great time at the same time. And learning a lot that they can actually use and maybe we can cover one last thing I know right now people are considering sourcing from other places.
I wanted to ask about the tariffs. There’s nothing wrong with sourcing from Australia, the USA, India or Pakistan? What is the difference from sourcing from China? What has actually happened now to make that more expensive?
Amy: We know that there’s been some tariff increases. I was just checking Google keywords the other day, and there was a ton of searches for sourcing from India. It’s very huge right now. Meghla’s got a trip going to India coming up. It’s a big thing, people are considering sourcing other places. We did a podcast on tariffs, where we talked to a licensed customs broker to cover some of this. But the bottom line is, we’re teaching you to source at margins that are large enough for you to have space for increase. China is still a really affordable place to source from, and I’m not discouraging you from going other places. If there is a product that you want to bring to market that is the main export of another country? Well, you should probably check that out. We actually have a lady who’s coming with us this time, and she is having her product manufactured in the United States. Maybe you’re thinking “why would she come on a China thing”? Well, because we’re teaching you how to actually get a product manufactured, we’re teaching you about design and the whole business structure, and now when she goes to China, and she goes on a factory tour, and she meets all the suppliers, and she sees everything… How well do you think she’s going to be prepared to come back to the United States, and source the heck out of her product, and talk to manufacturers and be prepared to do that? I just want to stress that we are preparing you not just to source from China, we are preparing you to develop a sustainable business. So that that is what it’s all about. It’s about the business skills that you need to get to the point to put the product out there.
Calli: That’s amazing information. I think you’ve explained everything so well to everybody, including myself that nobody’s actually asking any questions. So where should people go? What should people look for? You’ve got a group that you’re the admin of, you’ve got the website where people can sign up.
Amy: We’re excited to have you guys definitely come check us out at thecantonfairexperience.com and if you want some Amazon nerdy data skills definitely come visit us in Amazing at Home, my entrepreneurs networking group on Facebook. We’re a tight knit group there, we support each other. We have a large Australian presence and we love them. They’re amazing.
Calli: I know that, I learned of you from other Aussie migrants. So it sounds like you’ve made a good following there. It sounds like Aussies loves you and anybody who’s getting ready to do some Amazon business.
Amy: Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for allowing me to be here and inviting us. I definitely look forward to seeing you guys and what you do in the future. And please, I look forward to seeing you in China.
Calli: Absolutely. Absolutely. Alright guys. So there’s a link in in the page. Click on it. Check it out. If you have been looking to do a sourcing trip, this is not just any sourcing trip is it comes with a lot of support and has just blown me away when it comes to how she and then Steven obviously, because I think that Steven is your data guy. Well thank you very, very much, everybody.