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31 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2009 5:26 PM by bathdesserts RSS

Event:  How to sell your products internationally

SBC Team Master
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Are you thinking of selling your product or services abroad, but not sure how to approach it? Or are you currently working with international distributors but experiencing some cultural differences in how business is conducted? Learn how Lela Barker was able to successfully expand her natural beauty business by developing an international network of suppliers spanning Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Lela will be on SBOC to provide insights and tips on to secure international contracts and expand your business.

With no formal business training and less than $500 in start-up capital, Lela Barker commandeered nearly every inch of her 800 square foot house for the research and development of her naturally focused skincare line. Six months later, in the fall of 2003, the first 18 products made their debut. Lela was home with her children...and she was definitely working. Lela now has 8 full time employees and her luxury products can be found in spas and wellness centers from LA to as far as Dubai. Lela's must recent travels have involved securing a deal to sell her products to an international hotel chain in the Middle East.

Ask her to share her story on how she grew her business internationally.

  • How did you establish your network of international distributors?
  • What are the advantages with international distributors?
  • Have you seen more sales domestically or internationally?
  • Which countries have given you the greatest ROI?
  • What's usually on your agenda when you travel abroad?
  • Was your most recent trip to the Middle East successful?

About Bella Lucce:

Founded in 2003 by Lela Barker, Bella Lucce, http://www.bellalucce.com, was conceived from her frustrating search for sumptuous, natural beauty products. A wide gulf existed between "natural" products and "luxurious." Barker sought to infuse her natural formulas with delicious decadence, resulting in products that effectively bridged the gap between the two industries. The result is a collection of innovative bath and body products that marry exotic ingredients gathered from around the world with pure, naturally-focused formulas.

Post your question here today and then join us on March 3rd at 2:00PM EST for Lela's response.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    nvalue Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hello, here's some questions for Lila

    Q: How did you find qualified/effective distributors/dealers for your product. What resources or companies do you recommend in Asia?

    Q: What incentive/commission structure did you find effective to offer new distibutors overseas?
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    Tori Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Lela, welcome back! I really enjoyed your first event, "Turning a hobby into a full-fledged biz."

    Event: Turning a hobby into a full-fledged biz

    My question, the Middle East has a completely different culture than the United States. How did you prepare yourself for Middle Eastern customs? ...especially being a woman?

     


    ~Tori
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Tori, that's a fantastic question and many thanks for the warm welcome. People are often surprised that I am able to conduct business in the Middle East, as an American and especially as a woman. I admit to being hesitant initially as well, but it's much easier than one might think. I have grown to have a tremendous respect for the Arabian culture, though it can be quite different than the environment I was raised in. Two resources that I love are the forums at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ and http://www.lovelyplanet.com/. Both sites are a tremendous resource, brimming with helpful locals. No matter what country you're preparing to do business in, I highly recommend spending a few hours on those websites reading relevant information. Nothing could be more disappointing for a small business than traveling around the world for an important business deal and losing that deal on a point of etiquette. Luckily, a little preparation usually heads that off at the pass.

       


      Specific to the Middle East, I am not required to wear traditional Muslim clothing in my business dealings. The hijab (head scarf), abaya (robe) and burqa (facial veil) are optional for travelers in the countries I visit. If I was to do business in Iran or Saudi, for instance, they would be requirements. I must, however, be conservative in my dress. Whereas a business suit with a silky camisole beneath may be acceptable in meetings here in the US, it is not well received in traditional Muslim countries. Don't bare your shoulders, skirts of an adequate length, absolutely no midriffs and be mindful of the necklines on all attire. Simple missteps will generally result in the discomfort of males in a mixed setting, avoidance of eye contact and could put negotiations at risk. It can be difficult to dress modestly in the desert in 120 degree heat, but it's a necessity of doing business in this part of the world.

       


      It's paramount that you understand local custom. For instance, in the Arab world, women greet one another with kisses on each cheek. Don't even dream of approaching a man in that manner- he'll accept a casual handshake and nothing more. In the Arab world, it's rude to not accept what is offered. That means drinking a few cups of dangerously strong Turkish coffee and enjoying a few dates, even if you have an aversion to coffee and dates. Never show the shoes of your feet and avoid political discussions. And I am making a note to myself to remember that last one- I am often roped into them; but, thankfully, they have always ended well.

       


      No matter what country you are visiting, I highly recommend learning a few greetings in the native tongue. Nothing melts cultural barriers faster than an American face with a genuine, warm smile, greeting an Arabic woman in her native tongue. That study time is time well spent...
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    haywire67 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hey Lela!

    Good to see you back here! I've got 4 questions for ya!

    When looking for contacts in other countries, what are some of the things you look for in an international distributor, wholesaler or retailer?
    Are they easily accessible by doing a search online?
    What agreements do you require to be signed?
    How far off retail should distributor pricing be structured?

    Thanks for your help! You are definitely a rock star, especially in this arena!!

    Lisa M. Rodgers
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi there haywire! Always good to see you here. Let's tackle these one-by-one:

       

      1. When I am approached by a distributor, I test the waters with a blend of optimism and necessary caution. Here are the questions I ask:

       

      ● Please provide a full listing of current brands you are importing, along with their country of origin.

       


      ● I'd appreciate the contact information for any principles affiliated with those brands so that I may secure a recommendation.

       


      ● Please outline your distribution model- what types of establishments you sell to, what type of sales force you have employed, a full listing of any office/warehouse facilities you have secured, etc.

       


      ● A brief outline of your background and the history of this distribution company would be greatly appreciated.

       


      ● Any details/statistics you can provide with regards to the (insert country here) personal care/beauty market that you can provide would be helpful.

       


      ● Finally, any details or information you can provide detailing the process of clearing US-manufactured personal care products through the (insert country here) authorities would be appreciated.

       


      That's what I use as a "first pass" response, but it's a good beginning.

       


      2. I am utterly convinced that you can successfully google damn near anything! Give it a whirl and see what you come up with. There are also websites such as http://www.alibaba.com/ that are designed to connect importers and exporters. You can also browse the websites of companies that sell related goods and see if they list their distributors. But please, whatever you do, don't go to your competitor's websites and approach their distributors. Look for complimentary, rather than competitive brands. If I had a dollar for every time my Arabian distributor was approached by a competitor telling her they can "run circles around Bella Luccè"...well, I'd be so wealthy I wouldn't need Bella Luccè. It's poor form!

       


      3. I never, ever enter a distribution arrangement without a contract. I have a general contract that I work off of and then tailor specific details to the region I'm working with. Essentially, I only work with exclusive distributors, which means I am giving you the rights to Bella Luccè within region X for period of time Y. With that understanding, I require annual minimum purchases in order to maintain exclusivity. So my contract covers details such as:

       

      • Region covered
      • Minimum purchase requirements
      • Acceptable methods of payment
      • Anticipated lead times
      • Acceptable selling venues
      • Freight arrangements
      • Confidentiality clause
      • Explanation of any marketing support provided
      • Pricing: is tiered pricing available? How often can pricing be adjusted? Etc.
      • Termination terms

       

      4. I touched on this on my above answer to nvalue. Essentially, 15-50% off wholesale, which is a mind-boggling percentage off retail. Those margins are tough and require an understanding that you're dealing in volume to make money. I find it especially tricky to manage export costs with handmade products, so I think those of us in the indie beauty industry have to be especially vigilant, but it's certainly possible.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    tweetbuddy Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Howdy Lela! First of all, a huge thank you for sharing your knowledge gal! Now right to the questions!

    1. How does one get qualified (or) apply -----to get the "E" symbol for cosmetic product labels?

    2. Do you require payment in full before you ship your products over seas/internationally? (Just thinking how difficult it might be to collect past due accounts)

    3. Do you require the International accounts to pay for shipping or do you factor it into the price per product?

    4. When traveling to other countries for potential distributors etc..., what is protocol on who should pay for expenses ie: airline, hotel etc.?

    5. Do you charge the client for the marketing/display materials/shelf talkers etc?

    A million more, but these were a good jumpstart! Again--you are truly wonderful for helping us!
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hola tweetbuddy!

       

      1. The European Cosmetics Directive is mid-bogglingly complex, but you can read more about EU labeling requirements here:# http://www.colipa.eu/labelling.html# and here:# http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l21191.htm

       

      One important thing I believe is worth mentioning: that hip little recycling symbol (known as the Green Dot or Der Grüne Punkt) that you see featured on the links above is actually a protected symbol that must be licensed. I often see it on Indie American products that I am pretty sure aren't of a size to justify all those licensing fees, and unlicensed use is rampant in this country. Essentially, you pay a licensing fee and that fee goes to assist in building recycling efforts inside the EU. That particular recycling logo isn't essential to distribute products in the EU and woe be to those who use it un-licensed.

       


      Scroll to the bottom and read more here: http://www.earthodyssey.com/symbols.html

       


      The official Der Grüne Punkt website:

       

      http://www.gruener-punkt.de/?L=1

       

       

      2. Absolutely. The simple fact of the matter is that collecting a bad debt in a foreign country requires significantly greater exertion of resources and energy than collecting on a bad debt domestically. And I really do not have the time to plod around the planet for payment. Therefore, I ask for payment before shipment and accept only bank wires. Wires are more secure (no worries about stolen credit cards routing through Nigeria) and cost $10-20, rather than the 2-3% of the total. When you're talking about a single transaction running tens of thousands of dollars, those savings add up quickly.

       


      3. International accounts are responsible for arranging their own shipment. Our Scandinavian distributor works through simple UPS Freight, while our Arabian distributor works through a freight forwarder and brings things in via air and our South Korean agent goes by sea. The options are endless, but I leave the ball in their court when it comes to that decision. We carefully pack and palletize the shipment and provide them with pickup details. They're then responsible for arranging (and paying for) their chosen method of shipment. Knowing a thing or two about shipping internationally helps tremendously, as we are often consulted about what method we think is safest/ most cost efficient/ quickest, but the decision is ultimately theirs.

       


      4. I believe this varies, too, according to the nature of the travel and who requests your attendance. I can only speak form personal experience, but I have both paid my own expenses and had my expenses paid. If you're requesting that I come over for a promotional event for your hotel (who is launching our products at your property), I expect you to pick up the tab or at least share expenses. If I am jockey'ing for a big contract, I have to pony up the cash. I attempt to weigh the benefits of such travel (i.e. building my brand and keeping my sanity) vs. the expense of such a trip and go with my gut. As an example, we just finished a Middle Eastern hotel deal that involves opening 17 properties over the next few years throughout the Middle East, India and Africa. I had it written into my contract that the hotel we're working with must put me up for X days and pay all on-property meals, and my agent pays for air travel, so that will be 17 trips at virtually no cost to me, save for my red wine bill. However, the 5 international trips it took to land that deal and bring it to fruition were largely at my expense...such is life. Whatever you do, agree beforehand and get it in writing. That's just smart business...

       


      5. This is part of the "marketing support" I touched on this in haywire's Point #3 above. There is where you can get some bargaining power in...when I reach what seems to be an impasse on pricing with a potential distributor, I generally offer to throw in additional samples, catalogues, aprons, POPs, etc. at no cost to them. Whatever you ultimately decide, it should be clearly spelled out in the contract and is up for debate until such time that contract is signed. Good luck!
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    bathdesserts Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Lela,

    Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and willingness to share your business savy and knowledge with us. I would like to know about shipping. I had a conversation recently with a distributor in Singapore and they asked me about what method of shipping we would use and the costs. I did a little bit of research on the internet, and provided them with that information, but it seemed to me if they were an experienced distribution company, they should already be aware of the shipping options and costs. What is the norm in your experience and how do we watch out for a company that is not reputable? Thanks.

    Christie Wanlass
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      nvalue Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sorry I just had to chime in. When setting up a new product or supplier, the motto is "Assume Nothing!" There are many ways to skin a cat, and when it comes to supply chain one's "ship it" may mean "overnight air it". It's okay, act dumb but do your due diligence. Clarifying this up front will avoid deal breakers or a hefty bill later...

      nv
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Bathdesserts,

       


      I'm largely in agreement with nvalue on this one. There are so many shipping variables and the "best" method depends on their budget, their timeline and the nature of your product. For example, air freight is outrageously expensive. However, the product is there quickly (usually less than 1 week) and there are rarely climate concerns. If the distributor has a bit more time to play with, or less of a budget to play with, they may opt go by sea, which means 4-8 weeks on a boat. But, and it's a sizeable BUT, if your products are heat-sensitive, you'll likely need a refrigerated cargo container, which will elevate the costs significantly when traveling by sea.

       


      My suggestion? Look locally for a freight forwarder. Their entire purpose is to be an agent that facilitates moving shipments abroad. They can help you zero in on the best options available to you and your distributor and price them accordingly. Read more here: http://www.export.gov/logistics/exp_whatis_freight_forwarder.asp

       


      One thing to remember for young companies that may not be working out of a warehouse (I have no idea if that applies to you or not, I am just throwing it out there as I believe it is applicable to some reading): you will likely need to palletize your shipment. Pallets cannot fit through standard-sized doors, so be prepared. Here's a funny little story that you can hopefully appreciate:

       


      The first time Bella Luccè ever had a palletized shipment, we were preparing pallet after pallet of product for our big debut on a national television shopping network. Problem? The pallets wouldn't fit through our doors. Which meant that we had to pack the product into boxes inside the building. On our target ship date, we threw pallets down in the parking lot, and proceeded to haul a hundred or so of the heaviest boxes you've ever seen outside and onto those pallets. Did I mention it was November? And dreadfully cold? And we were then a team of only women? Yes, the staff hated me that day. It took longer than expected and we were exhausted and then we had to stretch-wrap them and- when all was said and done- despite a hearty 6am start, we were too late for a fright pickup that day. Which meant that $100,000 worth of product was going to spend the night in the parking lot, as we couldn't get it picked up and we couldn't get it back inside. In conclusion, I slept in my car in the parking lot, parked next to those pallets and had a slew of hatemail from our landlord the next day about how we were blocking other tenants.

       


      There's a lesson in here kiddies: BE PREPAPRED. Dealing in volume isn't easy, but we survived it.

       


      As for how to properly vet a new distribution company, please see point #1 of my response to haywire (above). Those are my suggestions for quickly "feeling out" any distributors.
      • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
        bathdesserts Newbie
        Currently Being Moderated

        Hi Lela,

        Thanks very much for all the helpful information. I loved your story about the first time you had to palletize your products and how traumatic it was. This is the first time I had attended one of small business online events. I learned a lot and appreciate you sharing your experience with us. You are a great mentor!

         

        I look forward to meeting you in Palm Springs at the Handmade Soap Convention. Thanks again.

         

        Christie Wanlass,

        Bath Desserts
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      DomainDiva,

       


      Hi there. I regret to here that your agent in AbuDhabi is aggressive. In my experience, the Arabian culture can be a bit complex and tragically slow-moving in regards to business matters, but is generally friendly in nature. Forgive me, for I don't know the specifics of your particular company or the proposed partnership and I feel like I'd need those in order to provide an answer which would be fruitful for you. I'll give some general advice and then invite you to contact me directly at lela @ bellalucce.com (please remove the spaces) and I'll be happy to assist if possible.

       


      I have been to AbuDhabi and find the culture not radically different than in other parts of the Arab world. They may be slow to trust Westerners, but I can personally forgive them that given our troubled political history. You say you've met one of the partners, yet you still feel apprehensive. My guess is that the partner came to you. If so, is this deal large enough to justify your traveling to them? If so, I'd seriously consider it. The quickest and most efficient way to appraise new partnerships is to see them "on their own turf", so to speak. If not, and you'd still like more clarity as to their intentions, I'd politely state as much. Explain why you need the information you seek and respectfully request that they provide it, so that you can work cooperatively towards a productive outcome for all. If they still weren't forthcoming, I'd question whether or not the potential business was worth the risk.

       


      Again, it's difficult to adequately answer your query without more details, but I invite you to contact me if I can assist.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:   International business opportunities
    DomainDiva Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    AviaSphere has been approached by a business agent in AbuDhabi. Having never dealt with anyone in the middle east before, we are finding these people to be extremely difficult and agressive. We have only met one principle in the deal and all else is shorouded in secrecy....please advise. What can we do on our end to get some transparency and due diligence?
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    CommunityTeam Novice
    Currently Being Moderated
    Learn how a home based business went global! We are taking advance questions for Lela Barker. And then join us back on March 3 for her response, or check back after the event and read the transcript.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    Global_IT Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Lela,

    How did you handle the international customs and goverment regulations?
    How did you manage receivables & multiple currencies?

    Thank you,
    David Rice
    CEO
    Global IT Solutions
    www.gitsolutions.biz
    1.866.903.4522
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    atlasrelo Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Lila
    So great of you to come back and do another forum~ Thanks so much for all the great information~

    Do you mainly market to the Middle East and if so Why?

    Are their Preservative Requirements very different from the U S or Europe?

    I guess what I'm really wondering is: Do you have to reformulate products for each county or territory and if so
    how do you keep up with their current requirements? Do you just make your base products and then add the
    preservative requirements according to each ones restrictions according to the area they are being sent to?

    • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi there Atlas. Thanks for the welcome back- it's always a sure sign that you didn't blow it the first time around and I am forever grateful. :)

       


      With regard to country-by-country formulation, we generally aren't faced with reformulation for new distributors. Thank heavens, because I am certain that would be a truly maddening endeavor. More often, we must repackage our original formulations to meet the criteria of each country's specific labeling requirements and that is headache enough. Some countries (The EU, especially) do ban specific ingredients, so it's wise to consider where you'd like to distribute when designing the products initially- saves time and money down the line. As an example, the EU does not allow ANY of these ingredients in cosmetics distributed in any member country: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.results&annex=II&search and these ingredients can only be used in specific instances: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.results&annex=III&search

       


      Bella Luccè does, indeed sell a great many products in the Middle East. It's our second-largest market to date, though we have burgeoning distributorships in Scandinavia, South Korea and Europe. There wasn't any rhyme or reason to our "decision" to run amuck in the Arab world...it's just that our Middle East distributor was our first and is our largest and she's a take-the-ball-and-run-with-it kind of gal, so we got our foot in that region early, just by happenstance.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    OrganicMix Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Lela, I visited your website and noticed that your products include ingredients from all over the world. Can you tell us how you sourced ingredients from all those different countries? Did you travel to those places yourself? Or did you identify international partners to help you?
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi there OrganicMix,

       


      Sometimes I travel to the region and score new finds for raw materials. That's my absolute favorite part of this job. Realistically, though, I work with a network of US-based companies that bring many of these materials in. They often visit our facility to present new materials that have been recently introduced and provide us samples for testing. Also, my distributors have been fabulously helpful in helping me identify and understand local beauty culture and the resources within their region.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    devaney Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Does your company manufacture beauty products in the U.S. or elsewhere? If you manufacture your products in other countires, can you share with us how you set up shop, any stories of administrative hurdles, etc.?
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi Devaney,

       


      We manufacture our products domestically. That's my strong preference and I don't foresee Bella Luccè outsourcing production overseas anytime in the near future. A couple of years back, we were engaged in serious talks with a major investor and a deal was put on the table. I ultimately walked away from the deal entirely, because it was contingent on manufacturing our products in China. I had my own control issues and political issues which made that a hurtle I didn't want to jump, but I do know that it can be a successful arrangement. I saw the cost specs on manufacture in China and my jaw dropped- it certainly would have saved us quite a few pennies.

       


      Understanding that, for my particular industry, I chose not to go that route and freely admit my bias. However, consider this: when we were in the throes of that deal, I asked if I could travel to China and see the manufacturing plant myself. I was told I'd be welcomed there and it was a good idea, in order to show that we'd done our due diligence in case of a "Kathie Lee Gifford" incident (their words, not mine). However, I was warned that the factory we see may not actually be the factory making our product and that the people I see likely wouldn't be the actual workers. Apparently, they can put on quite a show for American principles making a visit. When I resisted, my potential investors said that, if I go, I've covered my bases and can't control the rest. Unfortunately, that's not how I play ball and I had visions of girls the same ages as my children in backroom at 3am making sugar scrub. I passed and have not regretted that decision one bit...

       


      I think outsourcing overseas is a very personal decision, with many pros and cons. At the heart of it, you have to scrutinize what you're personally comfortable accepting in the name of your business. Ultimately, I did what was right for me, but I understand that someone else may make a very different decision. Best of luck in whatever you decide!
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    Please welcome Lela Barker to SBOC as she shares with us how she took her business global!

    Community, we're going to start off with the questions we collected pre-event.

    In the meantime, please continue to post your questions to Lela. She may not get to all of them, but she'll try.

    Lela, I'll turn the event over to you now...
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    LelaBarker Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Nvalue, thanks much for your questions!

     


    We have been very fortunate in that our distributors have come to us. I have never sought out a specific distributor overseas. Without having the benefit of knowing which industry you're in, I can't make any specific recommendations. But I can tell you that each industry tends to have it's own subset of tradeshows which are heavily geared towards international distribution. For you cosmetic folks, look at Cosmoprof Vegas- as it's usually packed with int'l distributors looking for new lines to pick up. I do understand that trade shows can be a significant investment, especially for new companies just getting their legs beneath them. One no-cost way to get distributors is to advertise via your website that you're looking for them. Ideally, dedicate a page of your site to distribution and focus on the SEO (search engine optimization) of that particular page. Explain what areas you are interested in and provide several means of contact. You might be surprised at how quickly interested parties pick up on your query and contact you.

     


    In reference to your second question, I do not offer a commission to distributors based on sales. In most industries (cosmetics inclusive), distributors buy your product outright, stock it within their country and develop sales leads within their specified region. They are then responsible for securing those sales, delivery of the product locally and supporting those accounts. So how do they make money? Companies such as mine sell to them at what's known as "export pricing", or a special price below wholesale that allows to them resell to local wholesalers at a profit. Export pricing varies by industry, but you can expect to have to discount anywhere from 15-50% BELOW WHOLESALE. While that may seem overly generous, it's important to keep in mind that these import companies bear significant costs to bring your product into their country. Shipping internationally is ridiculously expensive, plus there are a host of import taxes and fees that are the responsibility of the exporter themselves. Add in their warehouse and staffing expenses and it's easy to see why a significant discount is necessary. It's a careful balance to ensure that you're still making money at the end of the day, as are your distributors and the accounts they eventually wholesale to. But- done right- can be a very lucrative affair for all involved.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Don't forget to refresh your screens so you can see Lela's latest response.
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    Generation4 Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I hope this is not off topic, but what technology products do you use to keep in touch with all your global partners?
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Generation,

      I don’t travel anywhere without my Laptop and trusty Blackberry. With the Blackberry, I have an international data plan, which is worth every penny. Essentially, I can conduct business from the comfort of a cabana on the Arabian Gulf. There are worse fates in the world…

      I have used Skype (www.skype.com) in Europe to minimize telecommunications costs. Essentially the call is routed through the computer and you speak using a headset, all for just pennies a minute. Unfortunately, its banned in parts of the Arab world, so I don’t get to use it as much as I like.

      That’s pretty much it. We like to keep things low-tech at Bella Luccè!
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Don't forget to refresh your screens to see Lela's latest response!
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    cherylr Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Lela,

    Given how regulations have become prominent here in the US. How is the regulatory market outside of the US? Also are the Arabian regulations close to those of the US, or did you have to retool to meet them?
    • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
      LelaBarker Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Cheryl,

       


      Thanks for your question. The regulatory market overseas truly varies by region. A select few countries require jumping through no more hoops than what is needed for beauty products distributed within the US. Others require all sorts of notarized statements, free sale certificates, registered formulas, embassy endorsements, bi-lingual packaging, etc. As noted in my response to David (above), there are organizations out there who can help, but the bulk of the work is on your shoulders, not the distributors. The EU, in my experience, has been the trickiest. In my opinion, global regulations are tightening around the world, and the GCC (Arab countries), in particular, have new rules in the making. No matter where we export, I always assume 6-9 months after signing the contracts until our first shipment is ready and we NEVER ship until we have all the government clearances. The good news is that you generally only have to jump through those hoops once for any given region. Good luck!
  • Re: Event Mar. 3:  How to sell your products internationally
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    Lela,

    On behalf of the SBOC Team and the members of the Small Business Online Community, we wanted to say we truly appreciated your time today and your detailed and helpful responses. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

    Again, if you'd like more information about Lela and Bella Lucce, visit:

    http://www.bellalucce.com
    http://twitter.com/bellalucce

    Thanks again,
    SBOC Team

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