As I've mentioned on my Tumblelog, my dad's been helping me come up with things for an online enterprise/trading biz to start my own corporation.
My mom and I flew to Guangzhou, China last Thursday (April 22)and we attended the 2nd phase of the Canton Fair. It showcased 100 hectares of booths filled with ceramics, furniture, dining/kitchenwares, gifts, home decorations and consumer goods. Twice a year, this event takes place at Guangzhou and it's China's biggest trade fair of the highest level, of the most complete varieties and of the highest attendance and business turnover
So glad mum and I were grouped with Filipino-Chinese people. They weren't first-timers like us, so they offered us some great advice about purchasing, shipping, etc. They helped us a lot with the language barrier as well. Almost all of the workers at the hotel and around the city couldn't speak any English, so they were our translators.
At the fair they don't sell anything per piece. There are only a couple of stalls willing to hand out samples, but you had to wait until the last day of the fair (28th, and we left on the 27th). The typical thing that happens is that you'd have to purchase at least 2000 pieces of something, or fill up a 20-footer container vehicle before they can ship the items to you. So if you go to these things, you have to be serious about foreign trade.
As an investor/buyer (like myself), you have to go there with tons of name/business cards, and collect all the catalogues/brochures/business cards you can from the booths whose products you're interested in. You can then communicate with those people later on and arrange for samples or orders... At the fair, buyers were all over taking photos with item numbers, and a lot were also listing down items and negotiating with the exhibitors about their purchases already. It was so cool!
Entrepreneurship requires great risk... Out of the 5 businesses you'll put up, only 1-2 of those will prove to be a success, and only 1 will survive in the long run. Obviously, the key is perseverance and determination. Again as with all things, in order to succeed, you have to be FEARLESS.
I spent my younger years in a school focused on business and leadership (we had trade fairs each year and had to make our own products, booths, commercials, brochures, business plans, etc). I think it contributed a bit to me being hesitant about getting into merchandising at such a young age. But I know it's always been in me. You can ask my friends- I used to sell a lot of stuff during grade school! Organizers, cards, photos, stickers- all of which I made myself. I bought my own things from my earnings (I think what I'm most proud of was buying my own mountain bike. LOL). But I think I can run a corporation through the guidance of my dad, and of course, patience and perseverance!
I won't be announcing anything official about it just yet, this thing takes time. I haven't made up my mind about what goods/services to offer. This whole thing has to be fun, and another learning experience of course. Going to the Canton Fair was an amazing experience. Planning to go to the Shanghai World Expo next!
"Stress is the spice of life!" - Hans Selye