The story of Lord Alan Sugar is a great one, from selling radio aerials for cars and other electrical goods out of a van, to a market stall, to multimillionaire. Buying and selling really isn’t rocket science and can be hugely rewarding and make you financially successful.
However, as with any business venture, sometimes we need help getting ideas together as a kick start to moving things to the next level. In setting up an import export business, the first question is always, “What can I import and sell?”. Finding a niche or a gap in the market takes some time and research but there’s generally a market out there for everything.
There is literally a world of opportunity and the best part of researching what’s out there to import and sell at home is the chance to travel and discover amazing products from other cultures and countries.
So pack your bags and grab your passport, here’s some ideas to get you thinking from six countries. Once you’ve figured out what you want to sell, check out our guide on how to find buyers for your products.
Leather is a prominent industry in India with leather also being one of the most widely traded items in the world, always in demand and can be considered ageless. Shoes and coats never go out of fashion and can last for years. Leather purses, bags, briefcases, belts, wallets, gloves, the list goes on, there is a huge range of products to import.
There are more than 1000 leather exporting companies in India. Some of the prominent players are Prara Leathers Private Limited, Rahman Industries Limited, Farida Prome Tannery Private Limited, Tata International Limited, Super Tannery Limited and Blue Diamond Leaders.
ABTS Training also has a contact in India that has joined our Facebook group offering leather goods and handicrafts.
For more information and data see IBEF.
Jewelry and Precious Stones
India has long been considered to be the hub of the global jewelry market because of its low costs and and highly-skilled labour. India is the world’s largest cutting and polishing centre for diamonds. The gems and jewelry market in India is home to more than 300,000 players, with the majority being small players, so this is a great opportunity to go to India experience the culture, speak to jewelry dealers and see what opportunities are there.
Jewelry is such a huge market in India with a market size of US$75 billion as of 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025, there’s no reason why you can’t take a piece of the pie.
For more information and data see IBEF.
Egypt is famous for having the highest quality cotton in the world and is always in demand, worldwide. Production using fine Egyptian cotton includes shirts, fabrics for trousers/shorts, worsted wool fabrics, denim, fleece, jersey, flat/woolen knits and much more. Apparel production includes active sportswear, outerwear, underwear, suits, socks, infant wear etc. Production of arguably the most famous use of Egyptian cotton includes a wide variety of bed sheets and bath towels.
Perfumes and Cosmetics
Egypt was once the prestigious center of the international perfume industry. Perfumes were created and mass-marketed elsewhere in the ancient world but it was Egypt that was most renowned and identified with the international perfume trade.
80% of the world’s natural jasmine products, come from Egypt, where specialists in this ancient art extract the aromatic oils from a profusion of flowers, leaves, roots and herbs and export them to perfumers in Paris, London, New York and even Moscow. Egyptian perfumes is a huge export market with some great opportunities.
Locally Made Weaves
According to some estimates, Africa’s dry hair market, this being the market for weaves, wigs and hair extensions, is right now worth over $6 billion a year and growing rapidly. Western countries, particularly the US and UK are in high demand of weaves and will pay top dollar for real human hair. Incidentally, Thailand is also a great source for real human hair, sold in many of the markets for very reasonable prices.
Ginger, Garlic, Sesame Seeds and Nuts
Nigerian exports of nut related produce including oil seed, oleagic fruits, grain, seed, fruits is massive. Sesame seeds are in much higher demand too being that Sushi restaurants are now so popular. Ginger is one of the most traded spices in the world and Nigeria has an abundance. Starting a Trans-Sahara or Trans-Atlantic trade with these products will be profitable but take some research and time to find buyers for your exports. Garlic is also on top of the list and is easily exportable from Nigeria.
In our Facebook group we have suppliers in Nigeria offering tigernuts, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and palm kernal oil.
Exports from Turkey are exploding with 2018 setting a record year of $168.1 billion, demonstrating the high level of demand for Turkish products. Turkey is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knitted fabrics, having the largest share in Turkish industrial production and being one of the first established industries in Turkey. Turkish knitwear is known to be of the highest quality with worldwide competitive pricing making it an ideal product to import. The potential for solid profits within this textile is huge.
One of the world’s most prominent carpet manufacturers, Turkey is continuously expanding its global market share with increasing exports year-on-year. The Turkish carpet industry is renowned worldwide due its superior-quality products and advanced technology in production. Turkey currently holds a 15 per cent world market share in carpet trade and ranks in the number two spot behind China who takes the top spot.
In our Facebook group we have supplier offering carpets from Gaziantep in Turkey.
Mobile Phone Accessories
In every mall, high street and market stall, there are shops selling just mobile phone accessories. From unique looking earphones, crazy and cool phone cases, to selfie sticks and battery packs the appetite for the latest, coolest phone gadget is is enormous, worldwide. Importing these products is a great opportunity and the cost of these products in Thailand are significantly lower than other countries worldwide, coupled with quality craftsmanship.
Shoe shoppers love Thailand! There are a gazillion varieties of shoes available in Thailand and at great prices. Importing shoes is a relatively safe investment as demand is stable and profit margins are solid. Street markets and local retailers are a good place to start when it comes to finding buyers.
South Africa’s wines are held in very high esteem but South Africa is not taking full advantage of and could export more wine to the rest of the world. With a weaker currency, South African wines are comparatively cheaper to those of other countries with stronger currencies. South Africa is currently the 12th biggest exporter of wine, with wine exports of SA bringing in $661.6 million. However, South Africa’s wine exports was the 2nd cheapest of the top 13 wine exporting countries in the world. This is an export market waiting to be taken advantage of and will likely see comfortable profits.
Gems and Precious Metals
South Africa Exports of Pearls, precious stones and metals was US$14.9 billion in 2018. Needless to say there is always a demand for diamonds and gold around the globe. The nations with the highest demand are Japan, USA, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, UAE and Belgium.
Be Your Own Boss
Hopefully this have given you some ideas to starting up your own import export business. Some reports state that around 70% of us are unhappy in our job. This being true, it’s always possible to change career and take the plunge and start up your own business. It’s scary but for those that do it and are willing to take the time to learn a new business, do their research and have the guts to take action, it’s well worth it. For a little inspiration, here’s a story of how one of our students did exactly that and is now exporting Spanish wine to China.