Can anyone share tips about going to India and buying products to sell online?

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Anna Hill , CPA, Co Founder | Accounting We Will Go Industry Expert · Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

How many of you have shopped at Anthropologie or resold their items on eBay?

This is where Anthropologie gets many of their home textiles. It is in Jodhpur, and the building was eight stories, packed full, floor to ceiling.

This particular exporter also provides woven yak wool scarves for Hermès and silk blend throw blankets for upscale hotel chains in addition to cotton/linen/silk home textiles sold to individuals and other well known brands.

The markup on bedspreads from India to the retail store is unbelievable. (This is no surprise!) Most king sized bedspreads were about $10, before negotiations, and anyone familiar with Anthropologie knows the bedspreads are usually at least $250.

There are so many of these home textiles exporters in India, especially Rajasthan. Usually there is no minimum in these places and they will ship to the US pretty inexpensively via DHL.

I have found the challenge with selling home textiles from India is maintaining supply. Everything is made to order by hand and takes anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months once you decide you need more. It’s not the shipping time that is the problem, it’s the production time. Last year I ordered 25 bedspreads that were shipped from Jaipur to Atlanta via DHL and arrived in 4 days. That was pretty amazing! These items are not made in assembly lines, but literally one at a time by hand. They quality is unbelievably good.

Also, because the items are all handmade, the colors and finish are not always consistent. I personally like that, but it’s not great for Amazon. I found these bedspreads did better on Etsy. I also found they sell best after the first of the year, maybe because that is “white sale” season?

The other difficulty with sourcing in India is you really have to come here to India, at least at first. There aren’t catalogs or websites where you can shop from a standard inventory. This is because they can literally make anything, and once you have the relationship, it’s all done through email, but you really need to come here to see what they have and develop the relationship to get started. The only thing limiting you once you work with these places is your creativity!

You don’t use agents or middlemen when sourcing from India, you work directly with the source, which is nice. Almost everyone speaks English pretty well so language barriers aren’t an issue.

They are great about educating you on fabrics and construction of the textiles. They are knowledgeable about trends and colors.

Here are two articles about this place in Jodhpur. I am happy to share contact info but it’s really best to just join me on my next sourcing trip here!

Rajasthan textile house.
Read about Mukesh Jain (last in the list).

Rajasthan really has beautiful textiles, but if that is not your thing, it may not be a good destination for you (except to see a cool part of the world!).
I do think it’s important to sell what you like in certain circumstances. I enjoy reading about textiles, embroidery techniques, and the various types of traditional needlework (all over the world).

In regards to branding/labeling these items I did two things:
1. I sent to Amazon but sold on Etsy and had Amazon fulfill the orders. I had to disclose on the Etsy listing that I had a “production partner” because the items were not made by me.
2. I sold on Amazon and assigned a barcode.

One of my projects last year was to work on a private label brand but didn’t get far after having the logo made. I didn’t really have time but hope to fiddle with it more in 2019.
I don’t have plans to create a course but am happy to share any knowledge I have.

I think Lisa Suttora is a great resource for private label selling on Amazon.

Anna Hill is the founder of Accounting We Will Go, a firm that provides accounting and bookkeeping services along with training for Amazon sellers.