If you’ve considered importing yoga products from China, you’re not alone.
Sourcing from Chinese factories is attractive because you can get cheap labor, production and raw material costs.
However, if you are importing from China for the first time, the process can be overwhelming and intimidating for new business people.
In this step-by-step guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know to import from China to the United States, including how to find suppliers, how to arrange for the shipment of goods, and how to understand the costs involved in the process.
Why Import Yoga Products From China?
Cheap labor, low manufacturing costs, a simple import process and efficient mass production are the main reasons you should import from China.
Cheap labor and low manufacturing costs
According to Statista, hourly labor costs in China’s manufacturing sector were $6.50 in 2020. By comparison, the average manufacturing labor cost in the United States is about $25 an hour, nearly four times that in China.
Plus, labor costs in the U.S. are projected to hit $28.51 per hour by 2024, meaning manufacturing in the U.S. is only going to get more expensive.
Easy to import into the United States
Since China is the United States’ largest trading partner, many companies like Morgiana can help you with product and factory inspections, compliance testing, quality checks, and more.
You don’t need to go to a Chinese factory to place a bulk order.
You can arrange to ship, pay import duties, and clear customs from the comfort of your home.
Low labor costs and a large population mean that China can always find employees willing to work, even on short notice. Chinese factories are able to perform labor-intensive mass production cheaply.
You can also rebrand your yoga products with your own brand. Most brands on Amazon use Chinese factories for private labeling and customization.
How To Import From China?
There are five steps to import yoga products from China to the United States: finding the imported product (product research), choosing the right supplier, buying the product, arranging to ship, and customs clearance. Here’s a breakdown of each step.
Find Products To Import
You have to find the right yoga products to sell before importing from China. There are several factors to consider, such as quality, profit margins, and demand.
A good product imported from China should meet the following standards:
No violation of trademark law: When you search for goods on Alibaba and other Chinese wholesale platforms, you will find many fakes. Make sure the products you choose do not infringe patents or trademarks, or they will be impounded by customs officials. Even if they cross the border, you may be charged or prosecuted.
It takes a lot of labor to produce: Because China has cheap labor, you can buy labor-intensive products like furniture at a much lower price than in other countries.
Non-perishable or fragile: Certain products, such as food, require special climate control and handling. It’s best to find products that require little transportation and storage and maintenance.
Unrestricted: Imported products such as fruit, nuts, poultry, meat, seeds, toys and pallets are heavily regulated. Importing restricted products requires that you know the regulations and work with experienced suppliers and customs agents.
No licensing requirements: Avoid importing products that require special licenses and permits, such as plant products, medical supplements, and dairy products. Getting the proper permits is expensive and time-consuming.
Editor’s Note: If you plan to sell products on Amazon, Amazon provides a compliance reference tool that lists compliance obligations for all product categories and types. Compliance obligations include import regulations, safety requirements for specific products, and documentation needed to sell products on Amazon.
Find A Chinese Supplier
After researching the yoga products you want to import, you need to find a reliable supplier to source your goods. You basically have two choices, purchasing from the manufacturer or purchasing from a trading company.
What Is A Trading Company?
Trading companies are businesses that work directly with manufacturers to purchase a wide variety of products in bulk for consumers and online sellers. Trading companies usually handle all import and export business and procedures and provide a high level of quality control.
What Is A Manufacturer?
Manufacturers are businesses that use raw materials to produce finished products. Often, manufacturers or factories specialize in specific types of products, rather than producing a wide variety of goods.
Trading Company Vs Manufacturer
Trading companies are suppliers or middlemen who stock various products. A factory, on the other hand, is a manufacturer who makes a product from scratch.
The following table summarizes the differences between a trading company and a factory.
If you’re on a budget, it’s best to choose a trading company because they don’t have a high minimum order size and are more open to small business owners.
For private labels, it is best to use factories as they offer more competitive prices. But you have to buy in bulk.
Where To Find Suppliers
Once you have decided on the type of purchasing partner you will use, you need to find a yoga supplier that offers a quality product. The easiest places to find Chinese suppliers are as follows:
Online supplier directory: You can quickly find suppliers through Alibaba, Global Resources, Made in China, 1688.com and other directories. Below is a full list from Alibaba.
Online marketplaces: You can buy directly from wholesale marketplaces like AliExpress, DHgate, Taobao, HyperSKU, Spocket, and Modalyst.
Trade shows: The best way to connect with suppliers is to visit trade shows such as the Canton Fair, the Global Resources Trade Show, or the East China Import and Export Fair.
Import logging tools: Tools like the Jungle Scout supplier database, ImportYeti, ImportGenius, and Panjiva can help you find competing suppliers by browsing U.S. public import records.
When you are looking for a Chinese yoga product supplier, please look for partners in the following areas:
Experience in your product category.
Offer competitive prices.
Hold required permits, certificates, and licenses.
Have the experience of exporting to the USA, can provide a reference.
Offer reasonable payment terms.
Actively evaluate after-sales support.
Note: Be sure to check online reviews on sites such as Alibaba before settling on a supplier. You can also check sites like the Supplier Blacklist to see if other merchants have reported a particular supplier.
Once you find a good supplier, you can communicate with them by sending an email or on platforms such as Alibaba. But once an initial connection has been established, you should transfer all communications to WeChat if possible.
Many suppliers prefer to communicate via WeChat, which is often more responsive than email.
Most Asian suppliers are not fluent in English, so make sure you write in short sentences and don’t use complicated words. Keep your message short and use bullet points to make your letter easier to understand.
Place An Order
Once you’ve selected your yoga supplier, it’s time to place your order. You should start by ordering a sample.
Here are the expected results.
The cost of producing samples will be much higher than the quoted price for bulk orders. Typically, samples will be 10-20 times more expensive, but don’t be put off by the cost.
Sample charges are a necessary cost of doing business in China. After all, to ensure quality, you must touch and inspect the finished version of the product.
If you are worried about money, your supplier will usually deduct the cost of the sample from your first order.
Once you are satisfied with the sample, you can order in bulk.
If this is your first time working with a supplier, you should always order the smallest amount possible to see if the supplier is reliable and can deliver on its promises.
Once you have received a few shipments and are satisfied with the quality, you can gradually start placing larger orders.
Here are 4 tips to ensure smooth business dealings with suppliers.
Create a quality control document that clearly details your product specifications. For example, you should specify weight, color, material type, labeling requirements, packaging, and anything else you can think of. The more detailed you write, the better.
Add product models, references, and images where needed. Record clear shipping terms and payment terms.
Hire an inspection company, such as Morgiana, to inspect your goods at the factory to ensure quality.
Arrange Cargo Transport
Once you are ready to ship your product from China, you must choose a suitable mode of transportation.
To ensure a smooth delivery from China, you should hire a freight forwarder.
What is a freight forwarder?
A freight forwarder is a company that arranges and organizes shipping for your business. They can help you assemble and integrate your goods, find the cheapest shipping rates, and make sure your goods arrive on time.
Your Shipping Options From China
Depending on the quantity, size and weight of the product, your supplier will ship your goods by air express, air freight or cargo ship.
Here’s a breakdown of the three modes of transmission to help you understand the best option for you:
Depending on the quantity, size and weight of the product, your supplier will ship your goods by air express, air freight or cargo ship.
Here is a breakdown of the three modes of transport to help you understand the best option for you: For large volumes of goods, sea transport is the most cost-effective mode of transport as freight is quoted by container volume. But the downside is that shipping time can take 3-6 weeks.
Air express services such as UPS, DHL or FedEx are the fastest way to ship products from China and you can receive your products in less than a week. But the downside is that transportation costs are very high.
Air transportation is a mode of transportation that strikes a balance between speed and cost.
Generally speaking, air and sea freight are booked from one port to another and you need to hire a freight forwarder to arrange the shipment to your warehouse.
Air Express shipments do not require a freight forwarder, your goods will be sent directly to your warehouse.
In general, you should use air express for small cargo transportation speed is of Paramount importance. But to save money, most of your goods should be sent by sea.
Customs clearance is a crucial step in importing from China to the United States. It usually takes less than 24 hours for CBP(Customs and Border Protection) to clear your cargo.
However, incorrect documentation can delay the release of your shipment by several days to several weeks.
The good news is that you can import your goods and have them delivered to your warehouse without having to visit the port.
If this is your first time importing goods from China by sea or air, you should hire a customs agent.
What Is A Customs Agent?
A customs agent is an individual or business that helps you fill out all the necessary customs forms and ensures that all the necessary taxes are paid when importing from China.
For orders over $2,500, customs forms and other requirements can get complicated, and a customs agent will walk you through the process.
How Do Customs Work?
Here’s a breakdown of the customs clearance process, cost of goods, and requirements for different shipment values:
Goods worth less than $800 are exempt. For shipments worth less than $2,500, you do not need to go through formal customs clearance, which means your shipping company can clear you for a lower fee.
For bulk purchases of more than $2,500, you will need to buy surety bonds, also known as import bonds or customs bonds.
What Is An Import Bond?
An import guarantee is a contract between you, the guarantee company, and CBP guaranteeing that you will comply with all customs regulations and pay any applicable import duties, taxes, and penalties.
Bonding companies basically provide an insurance policy, assuring Customs and Border Patrol that you will follow all the rules and pay all the necessary fees.
If you fail, the bonding company must pay the CBP on your behalf. You can expect a customs deposit of at least 10% of the total amount of duties and taxes paid.
If you are using air or sea, CBP will notify you of the estimated time of arrival of the goods 5 days prior to their arrival. You or the customs broker must then submit an entry form at the port.
You need the following documents for customs clearance:
Certificate of origin
Bill of Lading (BOL) or air waybill (AWB)
CBP Form 7501 Summary of Entry
If special permission is required.
CBP can flag certain shipments at random and conduct intensive inspections, for which you may be charged anywhere from $100 to $1,000. This may delay the release and delivery of your goods.
After customs clearance, the goods will be delivered to your destination by the freight forwarder.
Using a freight forwarder is the easiest way to handle traffic from the port of entry to the warehouse or any other location.
How Much Does It Cost To Import From China?
The total cost of importing yoga products from China is about 25-30% of your commodity cost. The specific cost of goods imported from China can be divided into transportation fees, commodity inspection fees, customs clearance broker fees, agency fees, import tariffs and so on.
Here’s a breakdown of each cost:
Shipping charges: Shipping charges for imports from China will vary according to the Incoterms used and the weight of the goods. In addition, there will be another shipping charge for the goods from the port to your location.
Inspection and port of Entry fees: CBP does not inspect cargo regularly. Fees can range from $100 to $1,000 or more, depending on the type of test. In addition to the inspection fee, there may be additional entry fees, such as port maintenance fees.
Customs broker’s fee: It is easier for customs to exercise the import process. They guide you through the process, help you get special permits and clear customs at the port. They may charge around $100 to $300 or more, depending on the number of goods and documentation needed.
Inspection agent Fee: When importing from China, you may need to hire an inspection agent such as QIMA to inspect your goods at the factory. You can also use an agent in the United States once the goods arrive at your warehouse.
Import duties and fines: Import duties are levied according to the category of products and their value. Also, if there are any delays on your end, CBP may levy a penalty.
Is Importing From China Worth It?
If you want the lowest possible price, it is 100% worth importing from China.
While the process can be daunting, it becomes more manageable if you start with small orders and build up over time.
Importing products from overseas is not complicated or risky. You don’t need to buy a lot of goods. You don’t need to risk a lot of money. You just have to be willing to take a little risk.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to import products from Asia, consider signing up for my full course. I will teach you how to find suppliers for your shop and help you throughout the import process.