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Our Factory-hopping trip in China

Last August 8 to 16th, 2017, we got ourselves busy with our quick trip in different factories in China. Here’s a brief summary of our trip.

1st stop – Shenzhen City just 1 hour away from Hong Kong border where we got to visit a showroom of hotel amenities and supplies. It was like a haven for hotel items and it was breathtaking for my brother who is working on his friend’s hotel supplies.

We stayed for a day in Shenzhen to walk around the Electronic city, Hua Qiang Bei.

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This is the hub for start-ups and you can easily buy hardware parts, mobile device accessories, gadgets, and more. Shenzhen is also home for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs in the tech industry as it houses a lot of talented individuals from different parts of the world. I’ve lived in Shenzhen for 11 years and I still love visiting this city. Now that I am back in Manila, I still miss the convenient and comfortable life in China.

The next morning, we have to get up at 3am as we have to catch up on our 6am flight  to Yiwu City, Zhejiang province, also known as “The largest small commodity wholesale market” in the world. Why? Yiwu Market is like 10 times the size or more as compared to SM Megamall with 5 districts, and it’s like an all year round Canton Fair as different factories has representatives to show their services and products. By the way, you have to prepare a pair of super comfy shoes or else you toes will die walking around this vast exhibition center. On the other hand, some clients can immediately place their orders when stocks are available. The only problem is, not all of them can speak English so most of them talk through calculators and gestures. There has been a big change  in Yiwu from the first time I visited the said city in 2007, where you can see the baggage carousel being pushed manually so you can get your bags upon arrival in the airport. Now it has a more presentable airport for a more convenient flight, specially to foreigners and traders around the world. I lived there for 6 months back in 2009, I was forced to really survive with my very little (yi dian dian = little)  Chinese language skills. It has really evolved a lot and it made a big contribution for China to be tagged as the world’s largest factory.

Here I visited my packaging supplier whom I’ve been cooperating with for 3 years now.  I needed to visit him this time not for a client’s project but for our own brand’s packaging to ensure that it’s being processed.

The next day, we had to run to Tongxiang, bound for Haining to visit a Filipino friend who manages a huge socks factory. Mers (as I call her) and her sister Faye toured us around and taught us a lot about how socks were made. We also learned the different steps, processes, and different key selling points of a good pair of socks. Here are some photos of their socks (branded?… yes they are all famous brands).

 

After the factory tour, we had a quick dinner and then went to the train station bound for Shanghai. Pretty tired but as we want to take advantage the city, we went around the Bund and strolled the Huangpu river. In the morning, we almost missed our train. We were still preparing our stuff at 8:45 then realized our train to Wuxi is at 9:13am. We rushed to the train station and thank God, we made it. At 9:45am we arrived Wuxi and met our new glass supplier, Gary. A very young heir of his father’s glass factory.

Seeing huge machines and how bottles were made is such a great experience for us.

 

After the bottle factory, we had to cancel our Yangzhou trip as we still need to head back to Shenzhen and Guangzhou again for another batch of meetings. Yet, despite a very quick visit to these places, I really enjoyed meeting new people and hardworking company owners whom I idolize.

Their humble beginnings are my day-to-day inspiration and I dream that someday, I will be huge as well in different industries and create more jobs to a lot of people.

To be continued on my next post. Stay tuned!

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On unboxing and branding

Why are unboxing experiences important? photo-1485376026565-375e3f216bbd

Packagings, labels, hang tags, fillers, and everything that completes the unboxing experience of our end consumers play a major role in brand recognition.

As they go around the malls, carrying their paper bags with pride, as it sways while they walk, customers feel a sense of satisfaction with their purchase. What comes next is their unboxing. Aside from providing high-quality items, adding a handwritten or  customized note to thank a shopper gives them a personal touch and makes them feel that the brand treats them like a VIP. When they arrive home or receive an item purchased online, they would want to feel as if it’s a gift from someone or it has value for money. They also want to feel the item’s authenticity with its additional hang drop, dust bag, or custom tissue paper. Choosing boxes, stickers, and small divisions to protect the items, or a custom note hoping for a repeat purchase, entails careful thinking on how you can leave the best impression and a branded unboxing experience to your client. Simple, elegant, classic. Giving your clients the element of surprise in each unboxing will definitely bring them back for more, or an automatic posting on their social media like Instagram and Facebook to name a few, which will spread a good reputation for your brand.

Want to know more on branding tools and marketing ideas to help your brand? Feel free to email us at sourceandship@yahoo.com.

KK packaging ideas

 

 

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On Sunnies and Shades

In Wenzhou, I visited a partner factory who makes sunglasses and optical frames. It was a pretty amazing tour in the factory to see how materials are being prepared, putting materials into the metal moulds, painting the frames manually, assembly and polishing of the temples, sanding, QC and a lot more.  I was lucky to have met such very nice people during the trip and made me love to work directly with factories as I get to understand every single process. One thing to always remember during visits, be nice to your suppliers as they will be your partner as you grow bigger and they will be there to help on your production needs. 

It won’t always be easy to find good suppliers in China that will have long term cooperation with you as some might just give up easily if the QC requirement is very strict compared to the price one wants to pay for their goods. But with proper communication and respect, things will be a breeze.

– Havenzen Trading in Wenzhou, China 2017

 

 

 

 

Sending Britney (my pet dog) to the Philippines

I am writing this quick blog as a lot of people asked the process or things that I prepared to be able to bring my pet dog, Britney, to the Philippines from Guangdong province, China.

Below are a few things to do:

  1. Ensure that you have the vaccine records of your pet updated and talk to your vet about your plans of sending your pet overseas. 20170325_164058
  2. Ask the vet to conduct a serological test (CNY 2600 or roughly Ph 18200) which will take around 2 weeks to release and this will serve as the medical certificate of the pet. Also, we put a microchip which costs around Ph3500 (CNY 500). WechatIMG24serological test
  3.  Get a crate that is 1 size larger for your pet as it needs to let it move or at least roll around while traveling. The cost of the crate varies but mine is around 80 x 60 x 60cms, 3-5kg weight. You need to get this info as you’ll be needing this on your flight reservation.
  4. Before getting an export permit, be sure to call the China PAL (Philippine Airlines) reservation office (0900-1800h, Daily) at 400-100-2752 to check the dates you intend to fly so they can check the aircraft if it’s suitable for your pet. After the tentative date of reservation, you have to make a payment either online or through bank using a China debit card or ATM. An email instruction will be sent to you regarding the payment. Note that the date being reserved does not guarantee that your flight is confirmed, so you may have to call days before your flight, as well as one day before your flight to ensure that the aircraft has not changed.
  5. Prepare to bring your dog to the vet to let them process the Export permit. You have to leave your passport, medical cert, and the vaccine records to your vet. It takes around 3 days to release the said export permit and costs around CNY 1600. This expires after 14 days so be sure that your flight is confirmed or it will just go to waste, like what happened to me as the aircraft kept on changing last January 2017 due to the Chinese new year holidays. WechatIMG25
  6. Last document that you need to prepare is the Import permit from the Bureau of Animals from the Philippines. This one’s pretty easy and can be approved in just 1 or 2 day max through online application. Just go to https://www.intercommerce.com.ph/login.asp?home=HOME  register an account and it will walk you through the processing of the permit. The import permit looks like this and you need to print it for the quarantine area in the customs. There is no actual quarantine but the docs should be complete and you have to pay around Ph405. It’s super easy once you’ve landed in the Philippines.

    You are all set for your flight when all these docs are in your hands. I rented a van from Shenzhen Nanshan district to Guangzhou for CNY 800. I can recommend the driver I met if you like (lols!) When I arrived the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, I just presented the export permit to the check-in counter, then it will weigh your dog and crate. Mine was just around 12kgs and I paid CNY 360 in the check-in counter. Then they assisted me to add the strap on the crate for CNY 20 and then send it to the oversize baggage. And off it goes to the baggage section with a specific place for pets and oxygen. There is no need for the dog to be put to sleep as it’s only less than 2-hour flight. When we arrived the Phils, I just saw Britney near the conveyor belt, set aside from the luggages already. We’ll that’s it and everything was a breeze with the customs. wechatimg26.jpeg Hope these info can  help you in your future flight with your pets.