The Methods to Finding Products
OK folks, if you have dabbled in e-com (especially selling on Amazon) for very long, you know that there are a ton of commonly-taught methods out there for finding THE products to launch on Amazon.

We have had pretty bad luck doing it that way in the early years, but here is that method in a nutshell:
Product selection method: Looking on Amazon
  •  Sit down on your computer and go to Amazon.com
  •  Hunt around for different products in different categories, using tools like JungleScout to find something that is “in demand” and that you can compete with based on the software verification
  •  Buy 1000, 2000, or MORE units from Alibaba (more on that later) and use a launch system with giveaways, coupons, solicit for reviews, and maybe you can get to page one or two of that hot item search term.
  •  HOPE AND PRAY that 200 other people didn’t see the same ideas and info as you and become your immediate competition (but, that’s probably exactly what will happen…)
Product selection method: Looking on Amazon
(Mainstream Method)
  •  Sit down on your computer and go to Amazon.com
  •  Hunt around for different products in different categories, using tools like JungleScout to find something that is “in demand” and that you can compete with based on the software verification
  •  Buy 1000, 2000, or MORE units from Alibaba (more on that later) and use a launch system with giveaways, coupons, solicit for reviews, and maybe you can get to page one or two of that hot item search term.
  •  HOPE AND PRAY that 200 other people didn’t see the same ideas and info as you and become your immediate competition (but, that’s probably exactly what will happen…)
  •  Sit down on your computer and go to Amazon.com
  •  Hunt around for different products in different categories, using tools like JungleScout to find something that is “in demand” and that you can compete with based on the software verification
  •  Buy 1000, 2000, or MORE units from Alibaba (more on that later) and use a launch system with giveaways, coupons, solicit for reviews, and maybe you can get to page one or two of that hot item search term.
  •  HOPE AND PRAY that 200 other people didn’t see the same ideas and info as you and become your immediate competition (but, that’s probably exactly what will happen…)
The Better Way!
(OUR METHOD for finding Winning products)
  •  LOOK AWAY FROM AMAZON for the initial idea
  •  That idea can be other online sources, but the BEST way is to go STRAIGHT to the source and find products and/or ideas before anyone else even knows they are out there!
  •  We use a system to check demand vs. competition using some really great software tools (but we DON’T use them to give us the ideas or validate! We just use some of the info)
  •  Then, we buy the products we are interested in, but ONLY SMALL QUANTITES (go WIDE, not DEEP)
  •  We consolidate our shipments, get the goods, and set up test listings
  •  We use our complete method for validating and verifying DEMAND AND COMPETITION
  •  We take the winners and jump on that GRAVY TRAIN WITH BISCUIT WHEELS to success!
  •  LOOK AWAY FROM AMAZON for the initial idea
  •  That idea can be other online sources, but the BEST way is to go STRAIGHT to the source and find products and/or ideas before anyone else even knows they are out there!
  •  We use a system to check demand vs. competition using some really great software tools (but we DON’T use them to give us the ideas or validate! We just use relevant info)
  •  Then, we buy the products we are interested in, but ONLY SMALL QUANTITIES (go WIDE, not DEEP)
  •  We consolidate our shipments, get the goods, and set up test listings
  •  We use our complete method for validating and verifying DEMAND AND COMPETITION
  •  We take the winners and jump on that GRAVY TRAIN WITH BISCUIT WHEELS to success!
Do our methods work? YES!! OF COURSE!! And NOT just for us, we have clients and friends using these methods EVERY DAY!   
OUR METHOD for finding products
  •  LOOK AWAY FROM AMAZON for the initial idea
  •  That idea can be other online sources, but the BEST way is to go STRAIGHT to the source and find products and/or ideas before anyone else even knows they are out there!
  •  We use a system to check demand vs. competition using some really great software tools (but we DON’T use them to give us the ideas or validate! We just use some of the info)
  •  Then, we buy the products we are interested in, but ONLY SMALL QUANTITES (go WIDE, not DEEP)
  •  We consolidate our shipments, get the goods, and set up test listings
  •  We use our complete method for validating and verifying DEMAND AND COMPETITION
  •  We take the winners and jump on that GRAVY TRAIN WITH BISCUIT WHEELS to success!
Do our methods work? YES!! OF COURSE!! And NOT just for us, we have clients and friends using these methods EVERY DAY!   
Ok, lets talk about sourcing now..
Everyone knows that sourcing from China can bring you TONS of great product options, low prices, and easy scalability (if you use the right methods).That option is a great one, and this is how the majority of brand owners do it. So let’s briefly cover the mainstream, commonly used methods, and why these may not be the best solution…
Alibaba
Ok, so we covered this sketchy carpet ride earlier, but basically you find a product on there from (what you think) is a manufacturer (who you will never meet), negotiate for a product (that you have not seen and may not even exist yet), wire funds and cross your fingers that your products show up, and are what you expected them to be. 

Are there success stories from Alibaba? Sure, there are some. But there are also some HORROR stories of products never showing up, items arriving which do not match the picture at all, quality issues, etc. 
Another issue is that it is common for Alibaba suppliers to require a VERY LARGE initial order when you just want to test items (remember our method above?). To find, test, and launch new products, large MOQ’s make about as much sense as traffic roundabouts in a corn field. SO…we are not fans of using the Alibaba-only method.
SOURCING AGENTS FROM UPWORK, FIVERR, OR EVEN WORSE… FACEBOOK
This method is basically a variation of Alibaba sourcing but with a person you meet on a message board (you wouldn’t date that way…wait would you?), or "gig" site.

The potential for problems here is obvious, but understand that ANYONE can call themselves a “sourcing agent”, because there are no regulations or certifications required. It’s the wild west…now are there great sourcing agents out there? 
YES!! But let me ask you this…how will you know a great one from a scammer, or even more likely from an incompetent sourcing agent who means well but has no idea how to validate certifications, factory labor practices, safety, how to effectively handle supply chain and consolidation, etc? You can’t possibly tell good from bad this way…so we aren’t fans of using agents…YET. But there IS a way to find a local, boots on the ground person to help you scale up ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN IN CHINA YOURSELF. Stay tuned, we will cover that in a minute.
So what have we done to solve for these challenges? 
First we went to China MANY times…over YEARS! We began to build strong relationships and trust with vendors, factories, sourcing agents, logistics companies, bartenders, restaurant owners,  hotel managers, and anyone else who could help us learn the most effective way to do business in China! 

We have built a deep and strong network of relationships which we are willing to share with you. When we say deep, we mean people HUG us…and the Chinese are not know for hugging. How did we do this? Years of treating folks fairly, doing honest business, and genuinely caring about creating mutually beneficial relationships with our connections. So, what does this allow us to do? Well, we now have an UNLIMITED supply of items to add to our listing catalogs allowing us to scale infinitely…in fact we couldn’t possibly exhaust this supply in a HUNDRED YEARS because the number of items available is SO VAST.

So, if we have found such a great source, why would we share with you? Simple…statistically, the odds of you finding one of our exact products and launching it to compete with us are less than getting struck by lightning while holding a jellyfish and riding on the back of a three-legged elephant. There are just TOO MANY PRODUCTS out there for us to worry about it. These products are easily customized, replenishable (no more running out of an RA item because TJ Maxx doesn’t have any more) and perhaps the most important point is that we can access millions of items in SMALL QUANTITIES for testing (No more MOQ’s in the thousands). We have used this exact method to find, test, and scale 2 separate branded product lines (along with tons of  other random successful products outside of a true brand) of items which were NEW TO AMAZON when we launched them! Best of all? We now have 6 month terms with suppliers, favorable pricing (40% lower than Alibaba on average), and unlimited customization ability from our suppliers because of the relationships we have built with them! Also, we started these product lines and relationships by buying just 50 or maybe 100 units of each item! Super small investment!
Here’s the truth…. Going to China in the RIGHT FORMAT, with the RIGHT PLAN and the RIGHT TRAINING, can be MASSIVELY beneficial for your business!
So Could you just hop on a plane yourself, go to China, and figure this out? Yes! But it is going to take you YEARS to get to where we are now. Doing that would cost you money, time, and opportunity. Instead, why not just borrow our experience, connections, and knowledge to TURBO CHARGE YOUR BUSINESS!! 

Our methods work, our connections are AMAZING, and our experience is VALUABLE!

So, who wants to go to China with us?
© Hickory-Flats Inc 2018. All Rights Reserved. 
© Hickory-Flats Inc 2018. All Rights Reserved.