We got many inquiries from people who want to start a small business by importing small quantities of accessories from China since Scent Land started. Most of them do not have much relevant experience, and consider it very simple: find a Chinese supplier, buy the accessories at a low price, ship home, combine their essential oil or labels and sell at a high price in the local market.
But the truth is importing or buy home fragrance accessories from China directly is never that easy. You will face many different problems, such as shipping fees higher than the product’s value, or your order is much less than the supplier’s MOQ. In some circumstances, you may have to give up your wonderful plan of starting a new business.
In this article, we will give a complete introduction to how to buy home fragrance accessories from China in small quantities and explain some problems you may have.
What kinds of accessories are suitable for small-quantity buyers?
a. High-Value or Small Size Products
Shipping is always a big problem for small-quantity importers. Because their shipping volume is always too less for LCL, usually less than 2 CBM, and have to choose air freight or express, which costs 8-10 times higher than LCL sea freight.
Products with large size or large packages, like big size candle jar or diffuser bottles, is not suitable for air shipment, because both express and air freight fee are charged by dimension weight (length height width).
This means your shipping cost is even higher than the product’s value, but your competitors import by LCL sea freight which costs 80% less than you. Then you have no chance to compete with them in the local market.
So for small-quantity importers, high-value, small-sized products are a better choice. Shipping costs won’t be high, sometimes only 10%~25% of the product’s value. Such as diffuser reeds, diffuser bottle lids, candle jar covers, customized aroma stones, etc. Most importers won’t choose sea shipping because of the timeliness, so no need to worry about your shipping cost being higher than competitors.
b. Choose customized products, Instead of normal items
Small-quantity buyers can try to find some special and customized products, and avoid those common products which can be bought everywhere.
If you’re in a highly commoditized market, you need to think about how to be unique.
Such as diffuser reeds, you can add ribbons for 8pcs/set, and use a gift box that prints the logo by gold stamping for 20pcs/box to increase your brand recognition.
For home fragrance branders, Customized diffuser bottles, candle jars, and logo-printed candle lids are perfect items.
Trust me, simple change brings in more sales.
How to ship cargo when buy home fragrance accessories from China in small quantities?
I have to say that the shipping way is really a big problem for small quantity buyers as mentioned in the beginning. Sometimes small quantity has to give up importing from China because express is the only way to ship, and it’s too expensive.
a. International Express and Air Freight
International Express is suitable for cargoes under 300kg, while air freight is suitable for over 300kg. But air freight needs the same import & export processes as sea freight. You also need to pick up your cargo at the airport.
Hazardous articles such as liquid, powder, and products with batteries cannot be shipped by air in cargo. Balancing scooters is also one among them. (You can check another article-Importing Balancing Scooter from China)
b. LCL Companies That Offer All-in Price Shipping Service
This kind of LCL company is the best choice for small-quantity buyers. They usually are specialized in certain ports or areas and offer an all-in-price shipping service. They will handle all customs and shipping processes, and you just need to pick up your cargo in their warehouse, or sometimes they can deliver to the door.
Moreover, their price is very low even you ship 0.5 CBM because the container is shared by 10 to 40 clients.
But this kind of company is hard to find, not existing in every area or city. You’d better ask some experienced importers in your country, and maybe they know.
I know some of these kinds of shipping companies, and I’d like to help you. You can tell us what kind of products and quantity you’d like to deliver and I will contact you via email.
There are companies offering $80/CBM to Malaysia & Singapore, delivering to the door; $280/CBM to Kenya but you have to pick up cargo at their warehouse in Nairobi; $280/CBM to Sydney/Melbourne warehouse, etc. The rate is just for reference.
c. Consolidate Cargoes from Different Suppliers And Ship Together
If you are buying from different suppliers, then you can think about consolidating them into one shipment, and you will save shipping costs. Because even using international express, heavy cargo is charged at a lower price/kg than light one.
It makes more sense for sea freight. If you import 5 different products from 5 suppliers, each product 0.5CBM, then you can consider consolidating them together by LCL sea shipping. By doing this, your shipping cost will be 80% less than express. Or you have to pay for 5 international expresses separately because there’s no cheaper solution.
So you need a person to consolidate your cargo in China. One solution is to find a reliable forwarder who has its own warehouse, then you can use it for consolidation (usually free of charge). However, most of the forwarders don’t have a warehouse, and they just pick up your cargo from the supplier, then send it to the LCL shipping company to load in the container.
Another Solution is you can choose one reliable supplier, and let other suppliers send all the cargo to him, then the forwarder can pick up cargo together in one place.