How to Make Yard Sales Profitable

June 8th, 2011

JUNE 2011 CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH

Rozanne Rosas & Mike Meza of Sazem Yard Sale

 

Have you considered starting a yard sale to make money but aren’t sure about the viability of such a business model?
Do people ACTUALLY make a great profit with yard sales or is it too time-consuming and not lucrative enough?

Rozanne Rosas of Palmdale, CA, proves to us that a yard sale can be not only profitable, but constructive to the economy of a local community. Over the last four months, Rozanne and her boyfriend Mike successfully turned a small merchandise resale effort into a veritable profit-generating business– proof that it can be done with the right approach.

In February of 2011, Rozanne and Mike started “Sazem,” a home-based yard sale business that has become a reliable source of income for this retired couple, and a go-to shopping location for their town’s inhabitants. Retired from their full time careers at the end of last year, they were looking for some type of work that would offer a steady income to maintain their lifestyle.
Finding it difficult to land small jobs in the dismal Southern California market, they decided to take matters into their own hands by starting their own business. One morning while watching the KTLA morning news in January, they saw a featured story on Via Trading and the opportunity that the company offers for those looking to resell merchandise for a profit, and they decided to pay us a visit to see what it was all about.

Their original idea was to purchase goods for resale on eBay but after doing some research, Rozanne found that eBay charged  fees for their service and that they would have to factor this into the price of the products. The deciding factor for them was based on finding a business model that would present the lowest overhead costs. “That turned out to be in my yard!” Rozanne says. And thus Sazem was born.

Once the business concept of a weekend yard sale had been established, they began to look for products to offer their customers. Rozanne explains that this was one of their most difficult decisions, as it wasn’t just about finding the best price on any product. It was about finding items that people need, at the right price. “I tried to think of what would I buy and what would I pay,” she says. “I follow this standard throughout my business – I turn the tables and think like a consumer.” This thinking led Rozanne to try a few pallets of CTC general merchandise that contain a wide variety of products in order to determine what would sell best. “From there I decided that kitchen appliances had a nice appeal to them and after a couple of months I was sure that we had made the correct decision on our product line,” she adds.

Sazem now specializes in selling primarily kitchen appliances – everything from a spoon to a food processor. “Our products range from brand new, like new and used. Cuisinart, Keurig and Magic Chef are a few of the brands we carry,” Rozanne explains. According to her, one of the most important things about running this kind of business is to consistently improve your processes and take risks to promote growth. Recently, they have begun expanding their product lines to include clothing and toys, and they’re planning to expand to tools as well in the near future. “The idea is to have something to offer everyone,” she states. “Last month we bought a pallet of customer return toys just to try it out. I should have filmed some of the kids begging their parents to buy them a toy!” Purchasing the toy pallet was a calculated risk. Dealing with products they had never worked with before put them outside of their comfort zone, but it paid off.

Rozanne and Mike did not go into this business venture blindly. They went to the local college and attended classes on how to start up an eBay business, and then attended a class on California taxes to make sure they had a good understanding the laws at play when starting a resale business. While they prepared themselves as best they could, as with any new venture there was a learning curve early on. “It was like not really knowing how to walk but as we started to build our processes – and believe me we fell down a few times – but it all started to click into place,” says Rozanne. Due to their preparation and attention to detail, they saw great success very early on. “My first day of business I sold over $1,600 worth of products! After my first yard sale I knew I had opened Pandora’s box!” If that’s not a good start, we don’t know what is!

Rozanne attributes much of their success to their strategically placed yard sales. “Location, location, location, boy is that saying true!” she says. They live off of the main street leading to a complex of approximately 3,000 homes in Palmdale. Every inhabitant must drive by their house to get in or out of the complex, making their yard sales very visible to the entire community. While this location is fantastic and guarantees the exposure of their business, it’s not everything. Rozanne stresses that “your business plan is very important to being successful. Plan it out, expect the unexpected and be patient. Never stop trying to improve – improvement means money!”

Thanks to the great location of their yard sales, they do not spend much money or time on advertising. The couple parks their truck on their front yard with “yard sale” flags on each side of the truck, which proves to be an effective way to highlight the exact location of the sale. They do however spend a few dollars on quality business cards. “It looks professional and places a very nice light on your company,” Rozanne says.

At the moment, Sazem focuses primarily on selling customer return products. “We find that the returns are a good risk to buy as some of the items will be brand new in the box!” Rozanne explains. “Just expect that about 75% of the products will be sellable and 25% will not. But don’t get rid of the excess as these are great spare parts for future products purchased!” she says. While not everything will be in sellable condition, certain items can be salvaged for parts that can be used to restore other items to sellable condition in the future. We agree!

Rozanne has a very admirable approach to business and a philosophy of finding items that will offer the “biggest bang for the buck.” To that end, she goes through every item prior to selling it to make sure it works and is clean. This way, she can be confident that the product is the best it can be for the customer. “I have an open it up and try it out policy,” she explains. “Plus by working on each item educates you on its operation and function which makes you look pretty good when you’re showing the customer how it works and it’s obvious you know your stuff!” It is also important to show the customer the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s no secret that they are selling returns and items that may have some kind of defect or blemish. “If the product has a scratch on it, I show the customer before he sees it. I treat my customers the way I want to be treated when I shop,” she says. This kind of honesty and integrity in business is a key to their success.

One key point when starting a resale business is how to determine the price of the products. Aiming to be in this business for the long-term, Rozanne & Mike wanted to price their items such that they would ensure the items sold, but at a price that would encourage customers to come back again and again. With this in mind, Rozanne developed a formula that she applies to all her products. The key is pricing items low enough that they will present great value to the consumer, but not so low as to price themselves out of business.

As of today, four months after their first yard sale, Sazem continues every Saturday and Sunday, and welcomes up to 300 buyers each day of operation. Their customers have grown to expect them to be there every weekend, and have even begun to request specific items. “We keep a running list of customer wants,” says Rozanne. “We use this list when we make our purchases. If we get multiple requests for an item we make sure that the pallet(s) we buy have some on it. It’s good business sense for the company and a good deal for customers.” Customers can tell she takes personal interest in their needs and strives to offer them products they are looking for. As a result, the products fly off the shelf and on an average weekend they bring in well over $1,000 in sales.

This business started out of a need to make a monthly income to support their retirement. Today, it is much more than that – it provides a service to the community. “We are making a difference in our local economy,” says Rozanne. “It feels good when you see a customer’s face and the smile that erupts when they purchase an item and they know they got a great deal!”

Rozanne has become a believer in this business model and has lots of advice to offer those looking to get started with their own yard sales. “It’s a very gratifying experience to know you are delivering a service to the community. From a financial standpoint it does make money but you have to realize that you have to put everything back into the business for a few months before you start to take a profit out. You need to build inventory and that is the best way to tackle it. Keep perfect records – you need to watch the numbers like a hawk to ensure you are making money,” she advises.

Her best words of advice? “Plan out your business. Take classes, visit your supplier and see what products they carry. Have patience and always look to improve your process which will bring you dollar signs. Good luck!”

Check out their yard sale every Saturday and Sunday off of Avenue S in Palmdale, West Side.
You may also call Rozanne at 818.802.3973 for more details about the location and times of the Sazem yard sale.

Tips for Selling Products at Flea Markets!

May 10th, 2011

By Robert Cyr

Consider the various flea markets available to you. Depending on where you are geographically, you may have access to specialized flea market events as well as more general flea markets. It can oftentimes be much more profitable to sell at specialty markets, rather than general markets where anything goes. The types of specialized flea markets that are available include: arts and crafts, antiques, clothing and accessories and more. So if you’re located in an area where flea markets abound, take the time to do research and see if you can find some that are dedicated to the kind of products you’re trying to sell.

An easy way to find flea markets in your area is to visit greatfleamarket.com

On your mark, get set, go… Having a booth in close proximity to the entrance can help you increase sales since you’ll get more exposure than more remote booths, especially if it is a large market. If buyers need to walk past your booth (well, hopefully they’ll actually stop at it) on both their way in and way out, you will definitely improve your chances for sales relative to other booths that a buyer may only see once and potentially forget about. Furthermore, be ready to sell as soon as the doors open – it is said that the first hour and the last hour of flea markets are when vendors should expect to make the bulk of their earnings.

Keep your table full! If your table starts to look a little sparse, it will turn buyers off as nobody wants to feel like their buying picked over merchandise. Having your merchandise organized beforehand will allow you to easily replenish the products as they begin to sell. You may not need to have all of it out at one time, but it is a good idea to keep your booth stocked throughout the day. An empty booth and sparse tables will turn potential buyers away. A colorful, well-stocked, professional looking table is much more appealing to buyers than one which looks like its on its last legs.

Leave some space! Have you ever been to a flea market where you were bumped and squeezed against the table as foot traffic tried to get by? If people are uncomfortable when they are browsing they will be less likely to stick around and buy, so make sure that your potential customers have room to comfortably view the merchandise without being run over by other customers.

Plan an adequate supply of money as well, so start the day with plenty of change! Don’t rely on change from your early sales to make enough change for later sales, as that usually doesn’t work out. Ensure that you have at least a few hundred in twenties, tens fives and so on, as well as at least ten dollars in the various coins. When you do it this way, you will be confident in your ability to make change for any transaction.

All merchandise needs to display a clear price.
While many folks who shop at flea markets will prefer to haggle, they would also like to know the “starting point”. If you fail to tag certain items with a price, you may find that you lose sales as it will scare off some buyers who speculate the price is higher than it actually is. Tags and pricing signs should look new and sharp as reused or less-than-presentable tags will make the products appear of similarly substandard quality.

Offer a deal – “I’ll give that to you at 10 percent off” “Buy two and you can have thirty percent off”. Leave wiggle room so that you can make such statements – this forces the prospective buyer to communicate with you (whether it’s a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ response) and can help turn casual browsers into actual customers.

Check out the competition – If you’re selling t-shirts for ten dollars, but another vendor is selling similar t-shirts for half that, who do you think is going to get the sales? Make sure to take time to scope out the competition (or have a helper do it) to make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market.

Lastly, don’t forget the bags. Hopefully you’ll start with lots at the beginning of the day and very few at the end!

How to Track Social Media with Google Analytics

April 8th, 2011

If you have a website, you’re probably already connected to social media sites and if you are not, you should be!! The next most important thing after having a social media presence is to track the success of that presence and to find out exactly what it is bringing you in terms of traffic and revenue. Claudia Bruemmer of Top Ten Wholesale teaches us what we need to know about tracking social media using Google Analytics in the following article.

Tracking Social Media Campaigns with Google Analytics

by Claudia Bruemmer

Now that social media is so popular, with sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube leading the way, many wholesalers and retailers are using social media marketing tactics to drive traffic and conversions resulting in a better ROI. But how many of you are tracking your results for effectiveness? If your site has been up for a while, you can use your Google Analytics (GA) data to identify key metrics to monitor your campaign for efficacy.

Your historical data can help you identify the best targets for your social media efforts. First, you need to identify key metrics to track in your social media campaigns. Then, set up benchmarks with custom reports. Lastly, you derive benchmarks for key metrics to be measured in your social media campaigns. You can later compare your social media campaign traffic and revenue to that received from other search marketing campaigns, directory listings, etc.

Identify Key Metrics. Select a time period when your site was generating a lot of revenue. This will serve as your base period to measure campaign results against. Then select some meaningful metrics that are relevant to your business success. For instance, if you select “number of site visits” and “revenue,” you can correlate the number of visits required to reach a specific daily revenue goal.

Set Benchmarks with Custom Reports. To set benchmarks, you can overlay chosen metric graphs in GA. Depending on the metrics previously selected (number of site visits and revenue), you can use the ‘Compare two metrics’ option in Google Analytics. When you select that option, GA allows you to overlay six basic metrics (visits, pageviews, pages/visit, avg. time on site, bounce rate and % new visits. Since you can’t overlay “visits” against “revenue,” you can create a custom report, which is easy to set up. In your custom report, you can add other dimensions if you wish (source, keyword, product, etc.).

Deriving Benchmarks for Site Visits and Revenue. Your Custom Report on Visits and Revenue can help you decide on the approximate daily revenue and number of visitors required to meet your future campaign goals based on your previous benchmark period. Let’s say your lowest revenue during that period was $200 a day with 65 visits. Google Analytics will show that dollar amount on a specific date with the number of visits to make that revenue. So you can establish $200 as your minimum acceptable daily revenue. Then look for a high figure on another date during the benchmark period. Say you made $450 on another specific date and had 90 visitors. This gives you the revenue and number of visits you want to achieve or exceed in your future social media campaign.

By looking at the stats during your benchmark period, you identified the maximum and minimum number of visitors that produced revenue highs and lows, allowing you to deduce that the number of visitors required to achieve specific revenue goals.

Low: 65 visitors – $200/day – lower end minimum acceptable revenue benchmark

High: 90 visitors – $450/day – higher end of revenue benchmark (number you would seek to achieve or exceed in social media campaign)

The above example was very simple. Wholesalers can conduct more complex analyses in Google Analytics or with GA apps that simplify the tasks. For instance, Unilyzer (http://www.unilyzer.com/) collects, stores, trends and presents web traffic from GA and stats from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Digg. You can also enable fanpage tracking if you establish fanpage profiles in GA. Unilyzer compares metrics for traffic from social media channels to traffic from all sources (organic, paid search, etc.) and compares metrics for each social media network so you can determine where your best traffic is coming from and focus your efforts there for the best ROI. You can get a 7-day free trial without a credit card. Pricing is $7/month for Unilizer Lite, $24/month Unilizer Pro and $49/month Unilizer Premium.

A Philanthropic Resale Business – How Sunrise Enterprises Inc. Gives Back

April 7th, 2011

APRIL 2011 CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH

Don Wright of Sunrise Enterprises, Inc.

In the last few years, coinciding with the launch of Sunrise Enterprises’ 3rd thrift store, Chief Financial Officer Don Wright reports that customers began to express demand for new and more varied items. To address these growing needs, the company to began sourcing merchandise from Via Trading in March of 2009. “This gave us the opportunity to offer our usual line of quality thrift goods but also new goods at reasonable prices,” say Wright.

Sunrise’s Shop & Save stores differentiate themselves from other stores of their kind for the community service they provide. Their clients are referred to them by local school districts and by Developmental Disabilities Services, a division of the state Department of Health.
COO Don Wright explains that “each of [the] stores is managed by Sunrise staff and supported by several handicapped individuals.” The stores provide these individuals with an opportunity to integrate into society that they may otherwise not have. Wright adds that “working in the stores gives the clients a heightened sense of personal accomplishment because they earn a paycheck based on their performance level. They know that at the end of the day their efforts have been instrumental in the success of the stores. Even those that work at a slow pace earn a paycheck and from that, gain a sense of personal success. Normal retail stores do not allow for this type of employee due to their production demands.”

Twenty years later, community donations still make up the largest majority of the goods they sell. To supplement their donations, the company sources merchandise from Via Trading. They purchase a variety of goods ranging from SRS tools to general merchandise, high end accessories and housewares, towel & bath accessories, seasonal merchandise,  domestics, televisions and hand tools. Wright explains that “general housewares such as kitchen appliances and tableware sell very well throughout the stores.”

Business-savvy buyers, they tailor their purchases to the season and to the demand of their customers. “Prior to Christmas we purchased a large shipment of inexpensive toys that sold very well as stocking stuffers. We recently purchased two loads of SRS products that sold as fast as we could put it on the shelves. ” Now isn’t that a statement every store owner would love to utter! His technique? “It’s about knowing your market. We try to offer a continual variety of merchandise to bring customers into the stores. Our customers don’t support very high end goods and we know that, so we focus on items we know will be more attractive to them – usually mixed loads with electronics, general merchandise and outdoor furniture or tools.”

To further provide their customer base with products at reasonable prices, Sunrise Enterprises source a combination of overstocks and customer returns. “We prefer overstocks,” says Wright, “because we can only perform basic testing on the customer returns and we do try to avoid sending defective goods to the stores.” Most of their best-selling items however, come from customer return loads due to the opportunities those goods present to be sold at a fraction of their original value.

Staying true to their core values and mission of providing employment, training and life skills to disabled individuals, much of the processing of the merchandise is done by their store employees. “We teach them how to follow direction and be productive,” advises Wright. They assist managers in organizing the products, merchandising them on the shelves and pricing them appropriately.  “Those that are more highly functioning are taught to use the cash register and support customers during checkout,” he adds.

While the business is both personally and professionally rewarding for its owners and managers, running a non-profit community-driven business presents its challenges. As the Chief Operations Officer, Don Wright is responsible for the divisions of Sunrise that generate 65% of their total revenue. They get the remaining 35% from state funding to support the clients they bring into their program. In the midst of budget deficits in virtually every state in America, the current Oregon state budget shortages jeopardize that 35%, which puts greater emphasis on operations to make up the difference. In the case of the retail stores, this means generating more revenue by bringing in more product and moving it at a faster rate. “Finding new business in a down economy is difficult,” says Wright, “but working with our clients and seeing the satisfaction they gain by being employed is the best part, and makes up for a lot of the hardships.”

To help alleviate operating costs and to support the nature of their philanthropic mission, the organization accepts financial donations through a new program called the Sunrise Charitable Fund. “We recently started this fund to help keep some clients in our program even if state funding for them is cut or eliminated,” says Wright.
The company’s priority is to continue providing vocational training and support for disabled individuals so they can gain some financial independence and personal growth.

Sunrise has a new website launching on April 8th, that includes information on how people can support Sunrise through community donations, financial donations or contributions to the Sunrise Charitable Fund.
Sunrise Enterprises currently operate four thrift stores in Douglas County and will be opening their 5th this summer.

Visit their website at http://www.sunriseenterprisesinc.com

Stop by their store locations in Oregon at:

2529 W. Harvard, Roseburg OR
1401 Hwy. 101S, Reedsport OR
126 SW Douglas, Winston OR
875 S. Main, Myrtle Creek OR

Surviving the Recession – Selling at Flea Markets

March 17th, 2011

Learn how one of our own customers, Rodolfo Martinez, was able to survive the recession after losing his full time job a couple of years ago. He and his wife started their own business purchasing wholesale merchandise and reselling the items at local swap meets. They now are able to support themselves while being their own bosses and increasing their earnings each time they buy and sell.

Check out this video by Annenberg TV News that will give you the inside scoop!

A Successful Retail and Wholesale Business

March 10th, 2011

MARCH 2011 CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH

Adedoyin Otunuga of Trendy Clothing, Nigeria


Our March success story is of a woman who started a business out of a need she identified in her home country of Nigeria, shortly after giving birth to her child. Adedoyin Otunuga started a dual-channel resale business in April of 2010 after resigning from a banking job. She had just delivered her baby and quickly discovered that quality kid’s clothing in Nigeria was very expensive, and she then decided to open a business to fill the widespread need for quality apparel at affordable prices.

When first researching products to import from overseas, she realized that shipping small lots would cut into her profits too much, and that the cheaper way to bring goods into the country would be in larger bulk shipments. Finding herself with ample product to resell, Adedoyin opened a small store where she caters to retail customers who are looking for good deals on kids clothing by the piece, as well as a wholesale division where she sells wholesale lots of adult clothing at cheaper prices to Nigerian based retailers. In 11 short months, her startup business is now her primary source of income.

“I decided to focus my primary business on children’s clothing because parents will always think of their kids before themselves,” she says. “I chose clothing and accessories for my wholesale division because they are the types of items that everyone needs all the time. It’s consistent and dependable.” She explains that while she is trying to fill a demand in the market, she doesn’t just source any type of clothing. While offering good prices is clearly a priority, “[she] always makes sure the merchandise [she] buys is either overstock or shelf pulls and of good quality.” Both her retail and wholesale operations depend on repeat business and providing quality items at fair prices is more important than poorer quality items at rock bottom prices. “I make sure the children’s clothing I buy has tags and I sell at half the tag price,” she explains. “The adult clothing I sell at wholesale, with or without tags. I always remove any items that are in any way damaged, stained or torn beyond repair, which is usually around 5% of any overstock load I buy.”

“Taking this into consideration, I expect to make at least 50% profit on my items once I factor in the freight costs from the US to Nigeria,” she states. A tricky part of importing assorted wholesale lots from abroad is that of customs clearance. Most countries place restrictions on certain types of items, or require paperwork that is not readily available when purchasing liquidated goods. For this reason, Adedoyin recommends finding and using experienced forwarding agents, rather than handling the international shipment herself. “I use the internet to find lists of freight forwarders that ship to Nigeria and I make sure they have experienced clearing agents to help me follow up on my goods and their delivery,” she explains. While the forwarding agents to charge a premium for their services, it is still more cost-effective than being hit with potentially exorbitant customs fees once the goods arrive at their destination.

Since its inception, Adedoyin’s business has grown from word of mouth, and she also leverages the use of text messaging to notify her customer base of new arrivals or special offers. “There is a lot of competition but I beat them hands down with lower prices and better quality of clothing,” she says. “I get a lot of referrals from customers who appreciate the quality of the clothing I sell.” Since her store is based on quality items at lower prices than those of her competitors, she does not offer discounts on individual items but rather offers volume discounts to those who buy a certain number of pieces and up. Depending on the item, this “minimum order to qualify for a volume discount” changes. “It encourages people to purchase more items to get the lower price. They walk out happy, and so do I.”

Adedoyin has been working with Via Trading since September of 2010. “I have two suppliers in the US, but my major one is via Trading as they offer excellent customer service and fast shipping. It’s important for me to have my goods delivered to my freight forwarder quickly so I can get the orders forwarded to my store on a regular basis,” she explains. “Customer service is a top priority for me and when I made my first inquiry and got a prompt reply from Via, I knew I was in the right place. I get discouraged when there’s no feedback to inquiries,” she adds. Thank you Adedoyin, we’re glad to be working with you!

Having built this successful business from the ground up by herself, Adedoyin has learned a thing or two about getting started. “If you’re an exporter who already knows what to sell, do thorough research before you choose a supplier. Make sure you’re dealing with honest people who have the products in their possession and can deliver them quickly,” she suggests. She also recommends working with an experienced freight forwarder to avoid negative surprises at customs.

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned,” she says, “is to exercise patience when starting a business and to not expect to hit it big on the first try. You need to nurture it when you’re just starting out and do not ever compromise on quality as it determines whether you will make headway in the business or not.” We agree!!

Adedoyin Otunuga’s store is called Trendy Clothing and is located in the city of Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria.

Now’s the Time for Sourcing Wholesale Sunglasses

March 10th, 2011

Now’s the Time for Sourcing Wholesale Sunglasses

by Claudia Bruemmer

With so many bright, sunny days ahead in spring and summer, it’s the season for buying wholesale sunglasses,  caps and sun visors. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but did you know they are also necessary for good eye health? Doctors give two reasons for wearing sunglasses: health and comfort.

From a health standpoint, it’s important to keep all ultraviolet light from getting into your eyes or on your eyelids and the skin around them. For comfort and vanity, we know it’s not a good idea to squint. Your eyes are sensitive to brightness and glare. By cutting down on glare, your vision is better when you’re driving or doing anything else outdoors. But besides all that, sunglasses can be a great fashion statement. They make you look cool and add pizzazz to any outfit. Ever notice how movie stars always wear sunglasses?

Protecting the skin around your eyes with UV-filtering sunglasses is a good way to prevent skin cancer. From a comfort perspective, polarized lenses are very effective for blocking glare. However, they can be inhibiting for people playing golf and other outdoor sports.

It is smart to look for sunglasses that block out 99 percent of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays.  While purchasing your sunglasses from a doctor’s office will guarantee getting a pair of sunglasses that are effective in protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays, some low-cost sunglasses are also effective in screening out ultraviolet rays. Below are the top five reasons for wearing sunglasses and tips for healthy eyes.

Top Five Reasons for Wearing Sunglasses

  1. 1. UV Protection. The sun’s UV radiation can cause cataracts, benign growths on the eye’s surface and snow blindness, which is temporary but painful sunburn of the eye’s surface. Wide-brimmed hats, visors and caps can block about 50 percent of UV radiation from your eyes but for complete protection, you need sunglasses.
  2. 2. Skin Cancer. Cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes is more common than you would think. People should wear sunglasses outdoors whether they are working, playing sports, taking a walk, running errands, driving or any time they’re out in the sun.
  3. 3. Macular Degeneration Protection. Long-term exposure to the blue and violet portion of the solar spectrum has been implicated as a risk factor for macular degeneration, especially for individuals that are sensitive to the sun.
  4. 4. Comfortable Vision. The sun’s brightness and glare interferes with comfortable vision and a person’s ability to see clearly by causing squinty, watery eyes.
  5. 5. Dark Adaptation. If you spend 2 or 3 hours in bright sunlight, this can hamper your eyes’ ability to adapt quickly to indoor and nighttime light levels. This makes it hazardous to drive at night after spending the whole day in the sun without protection.

Tips for Healthy Eyes

  1. 1. Wear sunglasses any time your eyes are exposed to UV light, even on cloudy days and in winter.
  2. 2. Buy quality sunglasses that offer good protection. Sunglasses should block out 99 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
  3. 3. Buy only sunglasses with lenses that are color matched and free of distortion and other imperfections.
  4. 4. Purchase gray-colored lenses. Grey reduces light intensity without altering the color of objects in the environment, thus providing a natural color vision.
  5. Ensue your children have protective sunglasses as they typically spend more time outdoors than adults. Even babies can be fitted with baby sunglasses.

Tip for wholesale sunglasses buyers: now is the time to source for the best choice of styles and colors as well as delivery in time for the selling season.

Claudia Bruemmer Bio

Claudia Bruemmer was the first Managing Editor of ClickZ (1998-2001) and Editor of Search Engine Watch (2007-2008). Claudia’s articles are published on iMediaConnection, Search Engine Guide, BruceClay.com and TopTenWholesale.com. She authored a Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing course for the Search Engine Marketing Organization (SEMPO) and edited SEMPO’s Advanced Search Engine Marketing courses. Claudia is currently Chief Editor of the TopTenWholesale Newsroom and also freelances in writing and editing online at www.claudiabruemmer.com.

What Are the Benefits of Buying Online Retailer Loads?

March 8th, 2011

Have you ever purchased something online and then returned it because it wasn’t quite what you wanted?

Online retailer loads are some of the cleanest loads in the industry since in the majority of cases, people return items they buy online just after receiving them and finding out the item is not what they wanted.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you would most likely receive:

  • a higher percentage of working items than in a store return load
  • goods that are in overall better condition and generally retail-ready
  • items that are in their original brown shipping boxes, which provides an additional layer of protection for the retail packaging of the items that you don’t get with store returns

As a result, online retailer loads can be an excellent choice for business who sell their products online and in retail stores.

What benefits are there to buying online retailer loads?

  • They are typically FULLY MANIFESTED. You know what you’re getting and you can hand-pick the load you want based on what is inside, allowing you to make sure the items will be right for your business and your market.
  • They usually contain a WIDE VARIETY OF ITEMS. One of the tricky things about buying wholesale loads of merchandise is that often times, they will have a higher percentage of one type or category of item that may overload your inventory. A wide variety of items means you can offer more choices to your customers and provide them with a one-stop-shop to find all kinds of items they might need.
  • They are typically CLEANER THAN STORE RETURNS. While you may still need to test and/or repair certain items, the majority may be in unopened boxes, may contain all their parts and may be more resale-ready than store return loads. The less work you need to do, the faster you will start to turn a profit on your investment.
  • They are usually priced at a PERCENTAGE OF RETAIL VALUE. Since they are also manifested, you will know what the original retail value of each item was. This allows you to price your items more effectively, by showing your customers their savings over the original retail value. For example, you may have an item on the load with a $300 retail value. Assuming you paid around 30% of retail value on the load, you will have paid $90 for this item. You can price it at $200, showing your customer that he will be saving $100 off the original price, while you are more than doubling your investment.

How to Start a New Successful Retail Business of Your Own

February 22nd, 2011

Successfully Starting a New Retail Biz of Your Very Own
by Rueben Marley

Starting a new retail business can be a dream come true for many; and it can also become a real challenge, if the proper steps are not taken to ensure a smooth take off, and efforts made early in the game to increase all likelihood that the initial concept develops into an end result that works for everyone. Planning is key, and even the most ambitious goals can be reduced to a series of processes, if time is taken beforehand to figure things out prior to jumping into a project. Here are some guidelines that will help anyone with their first-time retail mission, with a set of points to consider, in easy steps:

Is the Law on Your Side?
Believe it or not, the law is not always there to slow things down or make things difficult for entrepreneurs. In fact, business environments that have a clear-cut and definable set of laws are good, since they make things easy to identify and break down, in the event of a dispute or if your company (hopefully!) takes off, and needs to become larger and more robust in its scope and scale. Hiring a lawyer is not always necessary, but this is an area you don’t want to be too frugal about, since it can save a ton of headaches later when things get sticky.

Get a Handle on the System for Yourself
You don’t have time to become a full-blown lawyer for yourself, and that’s okay. Most of us don’t have the time either, and learning the law can be a painstakingly tedious process to get into. However, a lot of mistakes have happened for many would-be entrepreneurial success stories, simply because the stakeholders in the venture didn’t know anything about the law for themselves! Knowledge is power, and even though you’ve consulted a good lawyer (see above) already, it’s never a bad idea to hold a few of those cards in your own hand.

What’s on the Menu?
Since you’re going to be selling something, you should probably know what the product is that you’re offering your customers. In fact, some of the most successful small ventures are based upon products that the owner is passionate about, and it helps out when your customers recognize that you’ve got a deep understanding of their needs, and perhaps even expert knowledge on the product and its characteristics. If you don’t know what to sell, though; no problem. Sometimes a good business strategy will apply to a basket of product categories, and you can simply pick the one that appeals to you after you’ve laid the groundwork for your company.

The Name Game
What’s in a name? Well, actually a lot. A bad name for your new company can have a repelling effect on prospects, and a good one could practically become a household word before too long, if it catches on. Look for unique and unusual, without getting too esoteric and strange. A unique name will come in especially handy  for SEO and Internet marketing purposes, since “Discount Shoes” has nearly zero power compared to a very effective search-friendly name like “Zappo’s.” Go ahead and Google it, and you’ll see what I mean when you count the results on the return page.

Get Hooked Up with Digits
You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to begin operating as a real business, but your lawyer should have already told you that. It usually costs little to nothing to get one, and it registers your company with the Federal Government, so you can have a tax ID number to supply vendors and other businesses with. Most of them, and I do mean like 90% of them won’t even do business with you if you don’t have this number.

There’s No Place Like Home
This is a very important and costly part of the process, if you’re looking to set up a store in a retail space that rents on a monthly or annual basis. Typically, the price is pretty steep for a prime location, an this can easily escalate to nearly ridiculous figures if you’re in a major tourist city or international hub. Before dropping cash on a 40×40 space that costs more every month than your car did when you bought it, consider the power of doing business online, from the comfort of your own home.

Set Some Rules
Store policies are going to make or break you, and now’s the time to figure out what is acceptable and unacceptable for your business. If you want to rule with an iron fist and refuse all returns or damaged shipments, then it might make you less attractive in the face of competitors who are far more forgiving. On the other hand, being too nice will cost you just as much, if you’re constantly bending over backwards to pay for other people’s mistakes and perhaps even neglecting new customers to manage abusive old ones that are taking you for a ride.

The Big Picture, in Words
Time for a business plan. If this sounds like a scary or impossible mission for you, hire a writer who specializes in this area. Like a good lawyer, the person who drafts your business plan will be able to make your idea sound like a good one – especially if  it is a good one – and will benefit you greatly if you’re simply looking for some startup capital from a bank or investors. A badly-written business plan will only serve as a loud and clear warning to others that your poorly-illustrated brilliant concept, is one best avoided.

Go Shopping
Now you’re ready to start looking for wholesale products and other services that fit your company and the goals you’ve set forth! A good wholesaler will become your best friend, since getting the best price on goods from them will mean a bigger and better profit margin for you when you turn them around to your customers. In fact, the better the price is for you, the better the price is for them… and that means they will become loyal REPEAT customers before too long, when they see your commitment to pass the savings along.

Become a Big Mouth

If you’re shy about promoting yourself or your business, then the truth is maybe this is the time for a personality makeover. Marketing and advertising are the only things that will put you in the minds of your customers, and with the level of competition these days; it’s a must-do, not an option. Fear not, however, there are tremendous resources like www.TopTenWholesale.com at your fingertips, and they are all waiting to help you out with getting the products you need at prices you’ll love.


Rueben Marley is the Chief Correspondent in Asia for JP Communications, Inc., and a featured writer on TopTenWholesale.com’s Newsroom. You can also find out more about him by visiting his Linkedin profile.

The Value of Attending Trade Shows to Find Wholesale Suppliers

February 14th, 2011

The Value of Attending Trade Shows to Find Wholesale Suppliers

by Claudia Bruemmer, Guest Blogger for Via Trading

If you are a wholesale buyer or a business owner, you can’t underestimate the importance of attending your industry’s trade shows. It’s where you can find out what new products are being introduced and learn all the latest industry trends. It’s also an opportunity to learn what products sell best and how to sell more product. Another advantage is meeting your suppliers and competitors in person and networking with people who can help you grow your business – not to mention the celebrities and parties. There’s no doubt about the value of attending trade shows, but how can you get the most from your attendance?

There’s a bit of preparation necessary for attending a trade show if you want to do it properly. Actually, it’s hard work. However, the benefits make it worth the effort. Start by ordering your business cards ahead of time and get lots of them. Prepare a little “elevator speech”— a quick summary of who you are and what your company does.

Ask yourself: whom do you want to see, and whom do you want to be seen by? Make a list of these people – two separate lists. Try to set up a meeting with them in advance, but don’t lock yourself into a rigid schedule; trade shows operate in an informal manner.

Always carry business cards and company literature with you when you are walking the aisles of the show. You never know who you might run into. Be prepared to work hard and wear comfortable shoes. Bring along all the necessary business tools: business cards, company literature and a camera.

Your most important asset when representing your company is your knowledge. One of the best ways to improve your worth is by increasing your knowledge. Trade shows are a display case of knowledge. Everywhere you look, you see opportunities to learn about the latest developments and meet the movers and shakers in the field. Trade shows are also a great place to showcase yourself and your company. There are three ways you can take advantage of the trade show opportunity:

1.     Work the floors so you can see who and what is on exhibit. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll come away from the show with a full understanding of who does what in manufacturing, marketing or service and what the latest trends and developments are.

2.     Sign up for the seminars. Most trade shows also have a conferences that feature leading industry speakers. When preparing your agenda for the show, be sure to include one or more conference programs of interest. Introduce yourself to the speaker and ask him or her for a business card.

3.     Networking. The knowledge you’ll gain from meeting colleagues and coworkers away from the office setting can be priceless. This allows you to catch up with who’s doing what, and it also gives you a chance to network in an informal environment. At national shows, you’ll meet the kind of people you might not have a chance to meet elsewhere.

Another great benefit of attending trade shows is the opportunity to improve visibility for yourself and your company. No one will ever know about your company unless you put it in the spotlight. Be prepared to impress. Practice your elevator speech before you attend the show so you can put your best foot forward.

Sign up for or collect as much information as you can. Later, you can sort it out and discard any unnecessary literature. Get copies of all trade publications and fill out subscription cards. Some companies don’t hand out literature, but instead ask for your card so they can send literature later by email or postal mail.

Don’t spend a lot of time engaging in long conversations. Introduce yourself with your elevator speech. Exchange business cards. Write some notes on the back of the cards you collect to remind you about the points of conversation and move on.

If you meet someone important or someone your boss wants you to connect with, use your camera to take a picture of the two of you together. Everyone loves to have his or her picture taken, and it could prove to be a door-opener in the future.

When attending the seminars, go to the room early and stay late. Make it a point to meet the presenter and engage them in a brief conversation. If you have a special interest, ask to follow up after the show.

Introduce yourself at the Show Management booth. Share your opinion of the show and its programs. Volunteer to be quoted, and have a photo taken of you working the show.

When you return to your office, write a summary of what you saw and learned. Distribute copies to those who could not attend the show and to your boss.

Last, but not least, have fun!

Upcoming Trade Shows

ASD/AMD – February 27-March 2, 2011 – Las Vegas, Nevada

National Hardware Show – March 10-12, 2011– Las Vegas, Nevada

Claudia Bruemmer Bio

Claudia Bruemmer was the first Managing Editor of ClickZ (1998-2001) and Editor of Search Engine Watch (2007-2008). Claudia’s articles are published on iMediaConnection, Search Engine Guide, BruceClay.com and TopTenWholesale.com. She authored a Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing course for the Search Engine Marketing Organization (SEMPO) and edited SEMPO’s Advanced Search Engine Marketing courses. Claudia is currently Chief Editor of the TopTenWholesale Newsroom and also freelances in writing and editing online at www.claudiabruemmer.com.