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Contact Info for International Wholesale Products


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Last fall I had a potentially huge wholesale account fall into my lap. It came through the husband of one of my mom's neighbor's. She had been using my products, especially my lip balms, almost since I first started selling them, and has always been hooked. Well, she got her husband hooked, and he introduced them to one of his business contacts, who is actually a beauty sales rep in Taiwan. All of a sudden, I get a phone call from him, and we're talking monstrously huge wholesale accounts for these lip balms. I'm naturally thrilled, and we've been doing several hundred tubes a month, and the sales rep is placing them in more and more stores throughout Taiwan and surrounding countries.

Well, he's now asking to include HER contact information on the labels and not just mine. I told him this was a possibility, and to get me her information. Two orders later, and he still hasn't gotten me the information. But I'm now having these labels printed professionally for me, and I don't think I want to include her information on there, because that means I'd need to do separate print runs for them and then for mine. Something I really don't want to do, especially since I get discounts on larger runs, something he'd prevent me from being able to do.

Even if it weren't for that, the more I think about it, the less comfortable I am with it. The only reason they want to have her info on there is because she's technically a middle man. And she's worried that if my contact info is on there, they're going to try to by-pass her, and purchase directly from me. And understandable concern, but for me, it's MUCH easier for me to sell to my local contact (he takes care of shipping and customs for me), than it would be for me to sell directly to these stores. Chances are they probably wouldn't, because most wouldn't speak English, and I certainly don't speak Mandarin, or any of the other languages spoken over there. There has been talk about signing an exclusivity contract for selling only to her in Taiwan. It's just getting messy, and I'm not sure exactly what I want to do.

I don't want to be taken advantage of, but I also don't want to get too pushy, as this is a very good source of income for me, especially since they're talking about huge growth. I just don't want to screw myself over in the process.

Any suggestions on how to approach this?

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I had something very close to that happen to me. I met a Japanese exporter who became pretty much my sole client. I made dip n' carves that I would meticulously wrap in cellophane, place my label on the bottom, then stirofoam paper and I would pack them in boxes with foam peanuts and inserts. He used to pick up the boxes and I would never see them again.

This one time I had to go drop off a couple boxes at his warehouse and when I went in I noticed that a few of my candles were unwrapped and just had white tissue paper on them. I was a bit shocked because of the care I would take to wrap them for that long journey to Japan.

I asked him why they were like that. He told me how they shipped better that way and they had to put Japanese information on them anyways in order to sell them. I could not believe that they were writing whatever they pleased on my hard work.

I was choked, so I asked him what happened to my label. He assured me that it was on there and just a label that said cut candle and his shipping company information was on it. I asked to see it and he said he would have to get one sent to him as they were put on in Japan.

I told him that from now on my label would be left on the candle and if he wanted I could get it translated into Japanese, but I still wanted to see the other label going on it. He agreed.

When you have a buyer that is buying a large quatity of your candles that means they are making money and will want to continue that relationship. The fact is, that it is your intelectual property, your blood, sweat and tears and you have every right to claim it as yours.

Subsequently I learned quite a bit from that experience. From that point on my label was always attached to the bottom of my candle itself (a no brainer but I'm blonde), and I always made sure that people would know it was mine. I got the other label and it was as he said it was and I appreciated his honesty, but still.

The thing is that if he had taken off my label from the beggining of our business relationship and he ws my primarary client, then the entire time that I had been selling to him my name was gone. I had no exposure, there could be no other potential clients. Further, this guy would be getting the credit.

Still makes my blood boil.

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I would state it very simply, that you have labeled YOUR products accordingly. Actually after point of sale you have no control over the product...you have sold it. Now, if you are getting part of the profit from Japan (a percentage, then yes, it's a different story), but in my opinion (and God knows, I've been wrong more times than right), once you have sold it to to one party, it's up to them to do with it what they want. Way to go on scoring that huge account!!!

Is there an option for having a subdivision of your business? Similar to a private labeling account? Actually before you sign a contract doing international business (exclusivity rights), you will definitely need an attorney for that one.

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