When it comes to exporting, the US need not necessarily be the first place on a company’s mind.
“Everyone always thinks about getting into America, but when I looked at other regions, I realised that our closest neighbours in the Asia pacific would be perfect place to launch my brand,” Laura Furiosi says.
“China has such a large population I only really needed to capture a small percentage to make a big impact to my yearly turnover.
“Also, because I was already manufacturing my swimwear in China, it made logical sense to try and sell there too. Asia is now one of our biggest markets.”
My top tips to getting your SME into the Asia market
- Go to international trade shows. I actually met my China distributor at the ABC kids trade show in Las Vegas in the USA. I then had discussions with them for three years until we finally signed a distribution contract, needless to say persistence is key.
- Modify your product to suit the Asian market’s needs. It isn’t a one size fits all world when it comes to your product. So in regards to my swimwear I modified sizing, packaging and even colours in a collaborative effort to ensure sales of my swimwear go well for the distributor.
- Have clear and effective communication. We chat and QQI chat is essential to communicate efficiently and effectively. Always confirm and reconfirm what you understand is the deal. Be careful as the language barrier can sometimes cause hiccups along the road.
- Brush up on your Chinese business traditions. China is very modern in terms of business, but every country has their particular business culture that you should be mindful of, so not to offend or misinterpreted.
- Documentation is essential. There is a lot of emphasis on documentation in the Asian market. Awards you have won, or words you use to describe your product in marketing, need to have documented proof to back it up. Even saying it is the “most popular” or “award winning” needs to have official documents and certificates to prove your claims. Company seals are usually required to authenticate any signature documentation. You must have your company and product name trademarked in China and this can be lengthy, so make sure you get this done in advance before entering the Asian market.
- Tell and sell your story as well as your product. The Asian market loves a good story with a product just as we do — so, don’t be afraid to tell your story.
Laura Furiosi – AusMumpreneur of the Year 2017 and owner of successful swimwear brand Rashoodz, shares her top tips for getting your SME into Asia/China.