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Tips and Tricks for Finding Products to Private Label

The Online Seller's News, September Mid Month 2014 - Volume 14, Issue No. 17

Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
by: Skip McGrath

In This Issue:

Musings from eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web

  1. Tips and Tricks for Finding Products to Private Label
  2. Get Control of Your PayPal Account with PaySketch
  3. How to Improve Your Business and Your Life in 3 Easy Steps
  4. Niche of The Month – Vintage Print Ads
  5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." ~ Steve Jobs

Musings from eBay, Amazon, and beyond

I have been working with Jim Cockrum, John Bullard (My Inventory Team), and a good friend of mine, Jose Calero who is a million dollar plus Amazon seller and an expert on importing and private labelling. We are putting together a training seminar on wholesale sourcing to be held in conjunction with the ASD Wholesale Trade Show in Las Vegas next March. Before we firm up the details we wanted to get some input from readers who may want to attend. So Jim created a short survey (takes less than 2 minutes to fill out) to get more information from any of you who think you might like to come.

If a two-day training event like this interests you, please click here to take our short survey.

Two books I came across this week that I highly recommend to my readers:

Lets get started with this month’s articles:


1. Tips and Tricks for Finding Products to Private Label

Finding products to private label can be tricky. One of the biggest problems you run into is that suppliers insist on very large quantities if you want them to private label for you. But there are some ways around that.

A lot of products from China are either generic or don't really carry a prominent label or sometimes the label is on a card or tag that can just be cut off. That is one thing I already do. I have two products that I can buy in case lots of 24 each. I buy them, cut the label off and replace it with my own.

The manufacturer knows I am doing this and has no problem with it. In fact he has volunteered to do it for me in China before the items are shipped if I order a quantity of 500 at a time. In this case that is no problem because this is a product in the Sports & Outdoors category with a sales rank of less than 4000, so I currently sell 5 or 6 a day.

The other way I do private label in small quantities is through my Hong Kong Trading Company. Trading companies are small to medium companies that you can find all over the Far East from Singapore to Taiwan. They are essentially middlemen. The company I work with will source products for me either specific products that I find -or sometimes they will find products and suggest them to me.

On two of the products I wanted to private label, the manufacturer said I would have to order 5000 each in order for them to do that. Instead, I had my trading company buy small quantities of 500 each. Then they hired a local designer to design a box using the logo and UPC bar code I sent them. They sent me the artwork to approve. I made a few minor changes and corrected language issues and they had the boxes printed for me in Hong Kong. The total to design and print 500 boxes was under $500 -far less than that would have cost me here in the US. Then they sourced the products, inspected them for quality, placed them in the boxes and arranged shipping to me.

Where to find products to private label?

My single best source here in the US is the annual ASD Wholesale Trade show in Las Vegas. The show is held in March and August (and there is also an ASD Show in New York City in September). I have never been to the New York show so I don't know how big it is. The best ASD Show in Las Vegas is the one in March - it is much larger than the August show and the weather in Vegas is much more pleasant that time of year.

The ASD show in March typically has over 2500 wholesale vendors and about 1/3rd of those are companies from China. What I do is walk around looking for products that would lend themselves to private labeling. If I find something where I can just remove a card or label I might buy a small quantity to try them out. If a product has a prominent label on the product itself, I also ask if they would be willing to sell to me without a label. Whereas they might want a large quantity to put your label on their product they will often agree to sell a smaller quantity with no label at all as that is very easy for them to manufacture.

If they cannot do that I get their contact information in China and have my trading company contact them. It is interesting that many of these companies will only sell to us here in the US in very large quantities, but when my agent in Hong Kong contacts them they readily agree to sell in smaller quantities.

Now I know the first question everyone will ask is: "What is the name of my company in Hong Kong and what is there contact information?" I would be happy to give it to you, but they are a fairly small company and are not currently taking on any new clients.

If you find a company, how do you tell if it's a good one? That is the real trick. About the only way to do that is email them, ask what services they provide and ask if they have any American references of companies they currently work with. I would also Google their name and see if any negative info comes up online.

When they answer your email the first thing to look for is decent spelling and grammar. I don't expect their English to be perfect but it should be at least good or you are going to have communications issues. Be sure and have several back and forth emails - ask a lot of questions and see how they answer. Look closely for any sort of evasiveness, or answers that seem too general. Be sure and ask how many people they have. There are a lot of solo operators operating out of their apartment, so make sure you end up with a real company that has at least 4 or 5 employees or more. But on the other hand, stay away from really large companies because you will get lost in the noise and not get any individualized service.

Even when you think you have found a good company to work with - there is still some risk. All you can do is try them out with a small project at first to see how it goes.

So there are a few tricks to creating private label products. Hope to see you at ASD in March.


2. Get Control of Your PayPal Account with PaySketch

For anyone even remotely related to online business or shopping, PayPal is by far the most popular and trusted online payment processors, and has been so for years due to the sheer ease of integration and a streamlined purchase process.

For over 8 million sellers though, it is just a black box that relays an email for every received payment. In this era however, sellers need rock-solid statistics backed by analytics and reports to run their businesses smoothly. Reporting capabilities in PayPal are severely limited and time consuming and there is absolutely no analytical sense that comes built into it.

For most, logging into PayPal is limited to viewing the account balance along with the most recent 20 transactions that are shown in a list.

You have heard me say many times that "time is money." PaySketch not only saves you time, it provides detailed business intelligence for merchants using PayPal. It delivers enterprise class analytics and reporting capabilities around sales, payments, products and customers.

The 3 primary platforms that PaySketch combines into a single product are:

  • Analytics - comprehensive analytical capabilities help you stay ahead of competition, keeps a check on your expenses, and helps know your customers so that you can grow your business.

  • Reporting - generate and download reports with zero wait times; no limitations on time span or date selections. (PayPal only lets you download one month at a time, whereas PaySketch lets you download an entire year)

  • Account Activity and Monitoring - monitor account balance, transactions, sales, payments and other crucial events with near real time updates, without having to login to PayPal. Also get the ability to send money and issue refunds in split-second timeframes.

All of this really gets you feeling the pulse of your business, right at your fingertips.

What can you do with PaySketch?

To start with, you get real time access all your PayPal transactions and the analytics around it, with lightning fast speeds. Then you get answers to all the interesting, yet unanswered questions like - how much have you been paying in fees to PayPal over a period of time, which are your best sellers and bottom line products, who are your most valuable customers, what time of the day do you get the most orders, which products receive the most refund requests and so on.

Once you start rolling with PaySketch, you can dive deeper into the dataset and easily analyze important events like a drop in sales, which could have been due to an update in Google's search algorithm, or a new competitor in the market or due to a change in pricing. A periodic spike in business expenses can help you track down unwanted subscriptions, and a strange one will help nail down unauthorized payments.

You also get to know exactly which products make you the most profit and which ones actually add to the business overheard. This helps determine your bestsellers so that you can focus more on growing them and catalyzes bumping off products which actually fetch less than what they consume out of your efforts over a period of time.

Rewarding customers has always helped businesses. Therefore, there is a dedicated Customers dashboard, from where you get the ability to email them, know their loyalty, view their purchase history and sort them by name, orders and the amount they've spent buying products and services from you.

PaySketch is cleanly segmented into dashboards based on the kind of data for which the analysis and monitoring needs to be done. Each dashboard has built in search and filter options, specifically laid-out sections and details relevant to the business aspect.

For example, the Summary dashboard gives an overview of the business with the best possible indicators. The Sales, Payments and Products dashboard show complete historic trends along with highlights to help you analyze them better. A Search dashboard that has all the possible search and filter options to help you quick narrow down to a single/set of transactions, matching a set of criteria. The Reporting dashboard lets you create and archive financial summary and sales report, which can also be archived in PDF and CSV formats. And there is 1 more thing - all dashboards also let you instantly download transactions. This takes hours if done through PayPal's website.

Therefore, rather than being stuck inside a straightjacket and reacting to high risk business events such as unauthorized charges, false payments, declining revenue, or competition, it helps much more to be pro-active by monitoring and analyzing every facet of your business.

No matter whether you sell on eBay, Amazon or in your own store, if you are individual, a startup or any organization using PayPal - PaySketch lets you manage your business efficiently and helps you save more time and money.

You can view the product features and know more about PaySketch by visiting their website: And, here is a video that explains it in a nutshell:


3. How to Improve Your Business and Your Life in 3 Easy Steps

If you are like me, you have probably read many self-help books like The Millionaire Next Door, or The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. But if you are also like me, you probably read the books, think about them for a while and maybe do one or two things and then fall back into your same old habits. That actually isn't so bad as long as the habits you fall back into are good ones.

I do a lot of things to help me build my business and enjoy life but I wanted to share my Big-3 with you. I guarantee if you do all of these you will see your business grow and prosper and you will be happier in your personal life.

Set Goals - Setting goals in one of the traits that almost every successful person has. But it's not enough to set them; you have to work on them also. Here are some tips about setting goals.

  • You need both long term and short-term goals. And the short-term goals need to be designed to meet your long-term goals. Goals should be highly specific - and most importantly - measurable. Setting a goal such as "Grow my business," is meaningless. But a specific goal such as Find at least 5 new products to source and sell per month," is both measurable and specific. The other thing that is important about goals is that you write them down and post them were you can see them - and, share them with those around you - your family or folks you work with.

    It is also a great idea to set personal goals. For example, not that many years ago I was heavily in debt. We had two car loans, four credit cards and a huge home mortgage. We were so close to just meeting our expenses we could never find the time to take a vacation. By setting specific goals we reduced all of our debts to zero (except the home mortgage) within two years and we have paid our home mortgage down to just about 30% left which we plan to pay off within the next two years. That is just one example, you can also set goals related to doing specific family events, or educational goals (such as learn a language) or even spiritual goals (always a good idea).

  • Share the Wealth -This is very important. I am not talking about charity but that is part of it. We should all try and give back something of what we have earned. Besides giving money to your church or good causes, you can also give back of yourself. For example, one of the things I do is teach a free course at our local Senior College about selling on eBay and Amazon. I am also a member of several Facebook groups where I answer questions and share my knowledge. Yes, I earn money when I sell my books and training courses, but I also make it a practice to share my knowledge for free when I can.

    One of the things I learned many years ago is that you learn when you teach. Using your knowledge to help others forces you to learn new things and gives you confidence in your abilities and ideas -and that will pay many benefits for you personally and in your business.

  • Never Stop Educating Yourself - When I was just 5-years old my Grandmother taught me to read by sitting in her lap and she would read Disney comic books to me out loud and then get me to repeat the words while looking at them. Within a year I graduated to children's books and stories. And, by the time I was 6 ½ I was picking out my own books and reading on my own. About that time my grandmother made me promise her that I would read at least one book a week for the rest of my life. I became such an avid and fast reader that I never once broke that promise and today I read about three books a week divided roughly 50/50 between fiction and non-fiction.

    But it's not just reading; you want to keep learning also. Obviously if you are in an online business there is a lot to learn about your business, but take the time to learn other things as well including new skills, perhaps a foreign language or new ways of doing things you already know how to do. All of this will pay benefits in your business and personal life. And, don't forget that learning something new with someone else such as your spouse or partner or children can also be fun and a great family activity that will bring you closer together.

So those are my Big-3. Please believe me, if you take these to heart and practice them you will see immediate effects on both your business and in your personal life.


4. Niche of The Month – Vintage Print Ads

This is actually something I have written about before, but it has been a few years so I thought I would revisit it. This is an extremely easy niche to get into and believe me anyone can do it.

Vintage print ads are nothing more than ads from old magazines. As you can imagine the older the better but they don't have to be really that old. There are great ads from magazines as recent as the 1970s but obviously those from earlier will sell for more money.

Print ad collectors collect almost anything but there are people who specialize. Some collectors buy only ads from foreign magazines with French probably being the most popular. One really popular category is car ads. I once found a year's worth of Road and Track magazine from the 1950s that I bought at a small town auction for $12. I was able to sell over 25 ads from the magazines at prices between $15 and $25 each. I remember that I had on very similar to this one for a poster below:

Another popular category is alcohol and tobacco ads. Today any ad that shows someone actually drinking or smoking is not allowed, but the older ads did not have that prohibition. So those ads can go for big money especially any that feature TV or movie stars.


This is a category where condition is everything. Never try and sell an ad that is stained, faded or torn or even repaired. Try and find the best ads you can. Cut them out of the magazine very carefully using a straight edge and a X-Acto knife. Make sure you get a nice clean straight cut.

Where to find old magazines

  • Garage and yard sales -especially in neighborhoods where seniors live. Don't worry if you don't see them sitting out - just ask the folks putting on the sale if they have any old magazines. Many folks don't realize there is a market for them and don't think to put them out so be sure and ask.

  • Small town auctions -You won't often see magazines at a large auction house, but if you live in an area where there are local or country auctions you will often see stacks of old magazines selling at those venues

  • Flea Markets -Flea markets and swap meets are excellent places to find old magazines. The dealers know what they are worth and you may have to pay as much as $5 each for say an old Life Magazine or Saturday Evening Post. But I find if you agree to buy more than one or two at a time they will usually dicker with you and you can get them for as little as $2 or $3 each.

  • Advertise -Advertise on Craigslist and in local classified papers including the throwaway papers such as the Little Nickel. If you are going to do this you have to keep repeating the ads. There is something about classified advertising (especially in print) that people have to see an ad three or four times before they will act on it. So don't give up the first week. Just keep advertising and you will get results. Try and be specific as to what you are looking for. Name the titles or types of magazines and the years. That will get you much better results and reduce the time wasters.

So there you have it. If you pay $2 or $3 for a magazine and get two or three good ads out of it, you can turn that into $20 to $30 or even more.


5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Remember - A lot of these websites do not show wholesale information. If that is the case use the contact form to request wholesale information and/or access.

EZIZ is an award winning baby product company with a unique line of products.

5 Oceans International Corp designs and distributes Baby Products, Children Products, Kitchenware and Outdoor Products

Delux Jewels is a source of high quality kids jewelry to look & feel like the rich without breaking the bank

1 ABC Closeouts sells Closeouts and salvage goods, offering overstock, liquidation merchandise, Department Store returns merchandise, and surplus merchandise for pennies on the dollar.

Kelli's Gift Shop Suppliers is a Wholesale distributor with 3,500+ items representing 700+ vendors. Categories include Gifts, Baby, Breast Cancer, Animated Plush, Toys, Inspirational, Balloons, Candy & Snacks, etc.

Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (HNA) is a preeminent American publisher of high-quality art and illustrated books.

Daughter Nature sells various Wholesale Products, Affordable Gifts, Family Figurines, and Collectables, and they are also Wholesale Dropshippers

Next Innovation sells the original EyCatcher Wind Spinner as well as other products.

Precision Products Online sells a line of hobby tools, sport knives and magnifiers! Lowest wholesale prices! All customers welcome large and small. Very easy online ordering.

Itin Scale Co . sells and stocks all types of scales for all types of weighing applications. Most of our orders can ship within 24 hours.

Wellington Fragrance Company sells wholesale fragrance oils, essential oils, Candle Making Supplies, Soap, Incense and Wellington Fragrances.

Comfort Click Ltd is the Authorized UK Wholesale Distributor of Herbal Health & Beauty Products such as Beauty Products, Hair Care and Skin Care Products, Weight Loss and Digestive Health Products in UK and Europe.

Well that is it for this month. See you in a couple of weeks.

Skip McGrath
The Online Seller's News

P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.

 The Online Seller's News is the oldest & largest newsletter for eBay, Amazon & Online Sellers. Get news, tips, tricks & learn online selling strategies.
New Wholesale Sources in every issue.


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