A couple of years ago I setup a goal of doing something new everything year on the side that could help me to develop an area of my life. I will try to put these in different blog posts.
In 2016, my wife and I started importing paintings from China since paintings were so expensive in New Zealand and we love arts and paintings. To make this profitable we did some research and found that for Home Staging businesses, they would go and rent paintings to stage up an house for sale. We had my mother in law go to Yiwu China to select hand drawn paintings.
Long story short we had all the paintings shipped over, 76 in total. But when they arrived we found we were not able to rent them since the quality of these paintings were not to the quality of what we ordered. In the end we had to sell them in different markets. It was a fun experience where in some cases we had to get up and be at the market at 5am on Saturday morning. I really enjoyed mingling with other store owners.
Lessons learnt in this venture:
Test the market before starting a business. Don’t just start because you think there is a need.
If you are importing products from China for the first time, make sure you have someone locally checking the quality of the goods before they're shipped.
If you're selling a service, understand your customer first and don't underestimate the difficulty of getting them to buy.
Easier to do business when it’s on something that has rigid demand.
Markets can be a great please to receive feedback on your product.
Being a market store owner you get the opportunity to chat with different people and gain interesting insights in to their lives and cultures.