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Need advice please - importing clothes from China - any profit?

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by PandasGoQQ, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. PandasGoQQ

    PandasGoQQ UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 1 Likes: 0
    Hello there :)

    I wish to start an online clothing store, importing clothes, wholesale, from China to the UK. Basically a reseller - but no fakes! So before I go and ask the millions of questions buzzing around my head about the importing fees themselves... I thought I should stop beating around the bush and just ask simply:

    Is there honestly any proft from importing clothes from China? Of course the items themselves are a relatively good price. However (I havent worked it all out exactly) the shipping alone is extremely expensive...and then there are the issues of duty, customs, vat charges etc once it all arrives in the UK.

    So would anyone be able to give me some insight to this question that has been bugging me for a while, because I really would love to continue this little dream some time in the future. :) I am new to the business world, so be easy on me ^_~

    Thanks for your time!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
    Posted: Jun 16, 2008 By: PandasGoQQ Member since: Jun 16, 2008
  2. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 7,782 Likes: 1,652
    I personally don't think so. I can get them cheaper elsewhere.

    The biggest problem is quotas and import licences. Certain products need licences eg. manmade fibres, cotton etc. A lot of Chinese factories send in smaller consignments hoping their parcels get through without them. I had a large box fail to clear customs because the export licence was not in place meaning that I could not apply for an import licence. Sending the box back to China was the only option.

    Second issue is that they don't really do quality control and you can get a high proportion of faulty garments which you can't send back.

    Thirdly you have payment problems because many want at least some money up front before manufacturing and the rest before shipping leaving you no come back. Letters of credit are one way around this but not straight forward.

    Shipping charges are also very high. Also you don't necessarily get charged the right amount of duty even if the forms are filled out correctly. And VAT is added on top too.

    Plus Chinese factories are having to meet rising production costs all the time as their workforce is getting paid more and cost of materials rises so prices are going up quite quickly.
    Posted: Jun 16, 2008 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
  3. Mister B

    Mister B UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 2,326 Likes: 527
    I think that Deniser has summed it up pretty well in that unless you are buying the goods in bulk, then the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and you might as well just buy from a local wholesaler.

    Mister B
    Posted: Jun 17, 2008 By: Mister B Member since: Aug 31, 2007
  4. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 7,782 Likes: 1,652
    I don't think this is quite the case but it certainly applies to the cheapest clothes which are sold in large quantities eg Primark and supermarkets.

    I have a clothes shop and I would say that only about 5% of those in my shop are made in China. About 50% are made in Spain, 10% in Portugal, 15% in USA, 5% in the UK and the remaining 15% from Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam, Italy, India and the Phillipines.

    Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey still all have a very strong manufacturing industry and many of the clothes bought in those countries will have been made there.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
    Posted: Jun 17, 2008 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
  5. consultant

    consultant I Can Help Your Business Staff Member

    Posts: 5,246 Likes: 730
    'the reality is that most of the clothes in the UK and elsewhere in th EU are made in China, I think that says it all'

    Not true. Although there has been a sharp increase from China, countries like India, Mauritius, Indonesia, Vietnam etc hold good shares of the market.

    As for the OP, it probably isnt wise looking for branded goods from China - there aren't many available and what is may be dodgy.

    Unbranded/own branded is the opportunity, but, like most things, only becomes effective in volumes.
    Posted: Jun 17, 2008 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
  6. ItsARiot

    ItsARiot UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 18 Likes: 3
    I think densier has it right. Not that easy to make a big profit on importing from China because by the time you can get it to the UK you'll either break even or be spending more than receiving. It is a good idea though I hope something works out along those lines. Maybe just need to come up with a different idea :)
    Posted: Jun 18, 2008 By: ItsARiot Member since: Jun 18, 2008
  7. Logan

    Logan UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 206 Likes: 11
    Maybe you can help me out on that

    I found the supplier of a big brand in the UK... In Turkey...

    The guy offers to sell me the overproduction...

    I do not know if it is legal to buy them and sell into the UK...

    Loooking for someone to give me an anser on that! :(
    Posted: Jun 18, 2008 By: Logan Member since: May 2, 2008
  8. bargaindoctor

    bargaindoctor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 39 Likes: 2
    I have actually done some business with China. These days it's very hard. The markup has increased drastically even for the locals. Depending on what business you go into it could be difficult. You have to consider not only the supplying powers but also in your local market, what the competition is like. i think it's all down to volume, so you will have to find a less competitive market.

    Re: purchasing from Turkey, yes it's 'legal' per se, as long as you sort out the tax and such.

    Again depends on volume you are importing.
    Posted: Jun 18, 2008 By: bargaindoctor Member since: Jun 18, 2008
  9. masterjonny

    masterjonny UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 8 Likes: 1
    Hi all
    if you wanna import anything from china,as a shipping company,I could help you that,save cost,no worries about tax and other fee anymore.we have lots of experience on that,or if you wanna buy anything from china,we also could help you to get cheapper price than you get.
    Posted: Sep 9, 2008 By: masterjonny Member since: Apr 1, 2008
  10. Themewear UK

    Themewear UK UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 2 Likes: 0
    Inflation in China has been on the up for a while, quota's and various restrictions have made them fairly expensive over the last 6 to 9 months.
    We put a quote request out for some 100% cotton workwear, 12000 pieces, and the difference between China and India was significant, Bangladesh and Pakistan are still favourites for cheap but instability and corruption have put us off in the past.

    It's been said, "in bulk, yes there is a profit". Smaller quantities, look to indian sub-continent or eastern europe.
    Posted: Sep 22, 2008 By: Themewear UK Member since: Oct 22, 2007
  11. Mister B

    Mister B UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 2,326 Likes: 527
    It's an interesting situation.

    A few years ago I wouldn't have bothered looking outside of China as it was not really worth my while. After factoring the costs associated with sourcing new factories, it just was not worth it.

    Now, however, I have a different attitude. Currently looking at anywhere basically, as long as the quality remains stable, price is right and the factory has an ethical policy regarding workers:)

    Mister B
    Posted: Sep 22, 2008 By: Mister B Member since: Aug 31, 2007
  12. RetailBusinessConsultants

    RetailBusinessConsultants UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 8 Likes: 0
    Originally Posted by yael [​IMG]
    the reality is that most of the clothes in the UK and elsewhere in th EU are made in China, I think that says it all

    Top 10 EU-27 suppliers in clothing

    mio euros
    % Share

    % growth


    45.052 49.305 55.491 58.079 100,0 28,9 1
    China 11.534 16.961 18.883 21.878 37,7 89,7 2
    Turkey 7.747 8.098 8.238 8.937 15,4 15,4 3
    Bangladesh 3.721 3.538 4.615 4.385 7,6 17,8 4
    India 2.480 3.239 3.811 3.841 6,6 54,9 5
    Tunisia 2.603 2.463 2.468 2.567 4,4 -1,4 6
    Morocco 2.428 2.264 2.368 2.530 4,4 4,2 7
    Hong Kong 1.965 1.705 2.511 1.683 2,9 -14,3 8
    Indonesia 1.338 1.200 1.414 1.202 2,1 -10,2 9
    Vietnam 635 690 1.024 1.122 1,9 76,8 10
    Sri Lanka 814 797 969 1.041 1,8 27,9 Source: Eurostat

    India is an excellent place to have clothing made and imported.
    Shipping costs are less than £1,000 for a 20ft ocntainer from Mubai to any UK port.

    Retailers importing from India include:

    [FONT=&quot]Laura Ashley, Zara, Monsoon, Accessorize, Conran, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, Graham & Green, John Lewis, Liberty and Harrods[/FONT][FONT=&quot] [/FONT]

    Shipping is quicker and very slightly cheaper and the finishing quality is excellent.


    Posted: Jun 22, 2009 By: RetailBusinessConsultants Member since: Jan 28, 2009
  13. shumon_70

    shumon_70 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 2 Likes: 0
    Posted: Jun 30, 2009 By: shumon_70 Member since: Jun 29, 2009
  14. gemd89

    gemd89 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 1,979 Likes: 202
    Excellent informative thread.

    Just a couple of questions
    1. How do you get the container from the UK port to your warehouse?
    2. The best place to speak to indian suppliers and what to look out for to see if they genuine?


    Posted: Mar 20, 2010 By: gemd89 Member since: Oct 3, 2009
  15. skyhi2

    skyhi2 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 854 Likes: 160
    Hi Gem

    1) Speak to Wavecrest,he is a specialist ( just use Search ).

    2) Sorry,never had any dealing with India,only China.

    Posted: Mar 21, 2010 By: skyhi2 Member since: Sep 9, 2009