Ancient Wisdom

Hello ,

Greetings from Yiwu, China - where the search for the next big thing.. continues.
Last week I was telling you about Health & Safety in China, it's not what you might think, you can read about it here.

Since then Tomas has arrived, via Hong Kong from the UK. Tomas is the marketing wizard and much involved in new products and design.
Tomas was instrumental in bringing one of the current big things.. Soap Flowers, he spotted that trend on a previous trip, and of course we are keen to develop this range further, while ever it remains popular.
In our EU operation in Slovakia, soap flowers are the number one best selling item. Even in the UK they are always in the top of the charts.

So yesterday we went to the Soap Flower Factory on the outskirts of Yiwu, (the one we use mostly). Actually the boss picked us up in his smooth 4x4 BMW, and whisked us there. By Chinese standards this is not a huge factory, about one hundred staff, and the key staff seem like a tight family team, the boss a cool self depreciating guy, a designer lady, nervous but incredibly deft, and a small team of helpers. They have this huge showroom, with all the products ever made on display, and a big table surrounded by the available components, then fuelled by coke and moon-cakes we are expected to CREATE.. stick this and that together and magic up the NBT (the next big thing).. no preasure. But we are the magic foreigners, Wàiguó Rén, the outsiders.. that's basically what our job is.. to make THINGS.. with our magic western eyes. I often hear Chinese people, wistfully say they wished they had those magic western eyes. In fact these days more of them do, there are some good young designers starting to come.
On the wall at the entrance to the showroom/creation area was a welcome sign in every language, and plastered all around this was pictures of customers (all Wàiguó Rén) from around the world. I studied the pictures closely, South american people, Indonesian people, Japanese people.. I was guessing.. I asked who the best customers were..??

A couple of weeks ago, in this newsletter I was musing about how one goes about spotting the NBT.. the Next Big Thing. In the mega markets of Yiwu there are a million possible products, how do you know what is a winner or not?
Thanks again by the way for all the suggestions, so many, all of them very welcome!
Well one way is to see where the buzz is.. which showrooms are busy, what people are talking about. But there are two problems with this.. 1. If you see the band-wagon, maybe you have missed it & 2. If every other importer is doing this, then the market can be flooded, and getting stuff just because everyone else has it.. means things just sit on our customers shelf's without moving. We don't want that.

So another secret weapon is Japan. Or more accurately Japanese designers.

So who do you think are the best customers for Soap Flowers.. yes .. the Japanese.. they apparently have magic western eyes as well. Check out what sells in Japan, and you might be on to something.. It's this weeks trade secret :)..
Show us your Japanese customers designs we cried.. and yes it's true.. very nice. From these designs, we could tweak, adjust slightly, make more simple and hey presto.. a product that might just be the NBT..

Mid-Autumn Festival, is a time for moon cakes.. actually they make them from some kind of dates, and they are heavy like lead and I have no idea why any sane person would want to eat them. But this year I have discovered a new variety of Moon Cake.. soft and light in flakey pastry and very lemony. Outside our apartment in the garden there, huge yellow fruits hang like a hundred yellow moons from trees that line the paths. I hadn't noticed them before, and was told they are moon cake fruits, Tomas said we have those in Slovalia, they are called Pomelo. After a bit of google translating we found it was true. This fruit comes in season in this part of China at this time of year... and since they look like a moon, they naturally make a kind of moon cake from them. Delicious!! There was a big party in the park the other night, with locals putting on entertainment and lots of local companies invited to come along and give stuff away.. one was handing out Pomelo Moon Cakes and local red wine.. which was awesome.. and simple because I was a magic eyed Wàiguó Rén my glass was constantly topped up and I was plied with heaps of Moon Cakes. Great fun.

More news next week..

Meanwhile.. I have to apologise on behalf our usually excellent customer service department. A perfect storm, of illness, holidays, dentist appointments, requests for compassionate leave and a series of unforeseen events, meant that our team was severely depleted this week.. and would you believe it, a record amount of orders also flowing in.. whist our hero manager has been working 12 hour days, we have been struggling to cope. Next week I'm assured we are over the hump and back to something like full strength.

Take care.


Our Wholesale Base Oils are studiously selected, bought more often not from primary sources, tested for purity and subjected to rigorous quality control standards.

Sourced from all over the world. For example, our Argan Base oil is sourced from Morocco, Coconut from Indonesia, Avocado from South Africa and many other countries. We are one of the UK's top Base Oils wholesalers.

Supplied in 100 ml glass bottles and all 100% natural. Base oils are ideal for diluting essential oils before using them on skin.

By popular demand, some of the components that make up the hugely popular Soap Flower bouquets. Now the crafty and creative can design your own products.

With the chance to make high-profit margins. For example a simple rose on a stem that retails for about £2 can be made for about 20p. Stems and leaf decor below. Alternatively, if you have a craft orientated client base, you can sell the flowers on a pick and mix basis.

Backflow Incense Cones when they are burned, the smoke flows down the incense tower like a waterfall, creating an unusual and beautiful effect. These cones are only for use with Backflow Incense Burners.
Each tub contains 45 assorted Incense cones with instruction on how to use safely.

These Luxury Lavender Wheat Bags are presented in substantial gift boxes. Notice how the rope handles extend out of the box making a novel and interesting display.
These boxed wheat bags containing wheat, lavender seeds and extra lavender oil are highly fragrant and easy to sell

Wholesale Bamboo Baskets sometimes called bread baskets, made from bamboo strips or awn wood or a combination... A jolly useful thing. They can be used for display purposes, for resale or for gift baskets. Restaurants and hotels might even use them for bread rolls.

Here is a good range of shapes and sizes, good for displaying AW products such as soaps, bath bombs, tumble stones etc. But every kitchen can also use them, so a good saleable item.

These wholesale Deep Box Picture Frames are made from sustainable wood and come in either Black, Brown or White colours.
Each frame comes with an MDF backing board and is fitted with glass or Acrylic ready to hang or stand in portrait or landscape. A very popular and versatile frame, box frames can be used for both prints and deeper 3D objects. The moulding is 45 mm deep and can hold items up to 23 mm in depth.

Molten Glass on Wood - the glass is hand-blown and while still hot it is then relaxed over a piece of Gamal root, the glass then hardens to the shape of the wood ensuring a perfect fit. They are crafted using a natural product by using hand tools in the traditional Balinese way. It provides a one-of-a-kind setting for stones and air plants, cut flowers, a fish tank or a wine decanter.

Wholesale Natural Jute Gift Bags with Cotton Lining and handles. These incredibly popular eco-friendly gift bags are perfect for packaging your products and adding value them.
Create an instant pick up gift by pre-filling them with beautiful items. Ideal for candles, Bath bombs, massage oils etc. They have string handles that give a nice homely feel.

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