ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Making Money in the Import Export Business

Updated on March 11, 2013
Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market | Source

The thought of making money selling goods purchased while you are traveling and enjoying different cultures is an alluring thought. Making money in the import export business is more than just a whim, it is relatively simple to do. It requires a desire to travel and make an income while traveling.

There are many different countries that you can travel to and purchase unique items not readily available back home, at remarkably low prices. One can make from three to four times ones initial money invested on imported goods. As an example I will tell my story about being in the import export business.

My wife and I in Quito, Ecuador
My wife and I in Quito, Ecuador | Source

I had recently moved to Colombia, when I decided to try out the import export business. I was living in Cali, Colombia. My wife and I flew to Quito Ecuador. Our plan was to go to Otavalo Ecuador and purchase artesanias and return to Colombia to start our new retail business.

When we arrived in Quito we rested for a day and took in the sites of Quito. The third morning we rode a bus from Quito to Otavalo where we found a quaint little hostel to crash in. Otavalo has the largest open air market in South America. Vendors flock from the Andes Mountains to go to the Otavalo market to sell their wares. There is everything from jewelry to livestock for sale. So we started early on Saturday morning looking for inventory to buy. It was overwhelming because of the vast quantity of vendors and different products available. I had planned on spending $2,000 on products, but by the time I had purchased $1,200 of merchandise we had more than we could carry. We shipped some merchandise and we loaded 4 suitcases and two large carry on bags full of goods to return to Colombia.

A hostal in Quito
A hostal in Quito | Source

We arrived at home after spending a marvelous week in Ecuador. When we arrived at home in Colombia, I immediately set up a store account thru Amazon and I found a fulfillment company in the United States to handle my sales deliveries. I designed my Amazon online store. Shortly thereafter we opened a small store in our neighborhood. I learned a lot about the import export business during this process. I had investigated it well before I started but I learned more from the actual experience. Here are the basics to making money in the import export business.

1- Choose a product that you are passionate about and at the same time is scarce in the United States. It always helps to have a unique product with an international flare.

2- Make sure that this product is in demand back home.

3- Know your price point. Know what it retails for in the United States, and then buy the product for about a quarter of that retail price. If your product qualifies in this price structure, you can then sell wholesale and double your money or retail and collect four times what you paid for the goods.

4- Have a marketing plan. You can sell on line or in a small store or you can become a distributer.

5- Then you need a plan to replenish your inventories without always traveling.

Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market | Source

We sold purses, bracelets, wallets, necklaces, tapestries and rugs. All of our inventory was very unique and very colorful. We had “one of a kind goods.” Everything was hand made by the indigenous indians of Ecuador and Colombia. Our products could not be duplicated.

The merchandise that we sold in Colombia we doubled our money on. Colombians can't afford the same prices as someone in the United States so we had to settle for that return. The products that we sold in the United States we made at least four times what we paid for them. And best of all we had a lot of fun in the process.

South America is a great place to purchase merchandise to resell in the United States, Canada, or Europe. The cost of living in almost all of South America is only a fraction of what it is in the United States. And in every case you can bargain for the best price. We could always buy products for about 50% of what the vendor wanted. That allowed us an enormous margin for profit.

Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market | Source

The list of possible products is endless. Some possibilities are, pottery, textiles, leather goods, jewelry, purses, rugs, tapestries, sweaters, gloves, paintings, trays, wallets, and on and on. The more you travel the more opportunities you will find.

If one chooses to sell products online thru Amazon or on one's own web site, the amount of traffic you have to your site is obviously very important. In the case of Amazon they have a lot of traffic, but you still have to do some optimization. If you use your own site, then you have a lot more marketing ahead of you to draw in traffic. Some people just sell their products on Ebay. There are other sites that will help sell your merchandise also.

As far as replenishing your inventory, you need to establish relationships with the vendors where you purchase your merchandise. That is very easy to do, because every vendor that I have met in South America would bend over backwards to help me so that they could sell me more products. The vendors in Otavalo were real pros at shipping and exporting their products.

Here are some examples of the products that I was selling.

Suede handmade walllets
Suede handmade walllets | Source
Hand sewn and embroidered purses
Hand sewn and embroidered purses | Source
Hand painted wooden trays
Hand painted wooden trays | Source
Handmade ear rings from bulls horns
Handmade ear rings from bulls horns | Source
Hand woven tapestry
Hand woven tapestry | Source
Bracelets made of tagua
Bracelets made of tagua | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • csgibson profile image
      Author

      Craig Gibson 5 years ago from Traverse City Michigan

      I am sure you will enjoy Cali. There are many things here to import as long as you can market them in the United States.

    • profile image

      N3RD 5 years ago

      Great Article! It made me join hubpages just to say thank you and to follow you going forward.

      I hope to move to Cali within the next 12months and have had an idea of importing something to the country from the US, but this article has opened my eyes to so much more.

      Thank you again.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)