As a South African based brand and image building company, we take pride in using as many local service providers as possible and make it our priority to support local entrepreneurs. From textiles to transport, our database reaches many corners of this beautiful country.

But we are where we are because of our ability to think out of the box and to make our creative ideas a reality, no matter how they may look.

This means that our supply chain cannot be confined to the corners of South Africa, but needs to extend to the corners of the globe. One of the hotspots of our supply pool is China – a mega-supplier of pretty much anything that you can conceive. Whilst the vast variety is its strength, it is also its biggest downfall.

Anyone with an Internet connection and a fax line can order from China. It’s neither difficult nor is it rocket science. However, very few can get it right.

The primary reason lies in the colossal culture and language differences.

EXPERIENCE MAKES YOU WISE

Through our years of importing high-perceived value items for a myriad of clients we’ve picked up on the nuances and niggles of importing. You can plan for the costs and the timeframes, but you can never plan for what you’ll find in the boxes that come out of your crate at the dockyard. Not if you’ve never actually been to the factory…

Just because the catalogue, order forms and invoices say one thing, the reality of what you hold in your hand may be something very different.

Every year we send members of our team to the trade-shows and manufacturers in China. We get to shake the hands of our Oriental colleagues, touch and feel the fabrics and we get to know how they operate. Why do we do this? Because experience has taught us that this is the best way to get the products that our clients will benefit from, and to separate the ‘terrific’ from the ‘tragic’.

In the non-official Chinese-English dictionary (our version…), ‘high-quality’ actually means that it simply looks very similar to the original. They are trying to tell you that their factory can make you an item that will closely resemble the catalogue image, but this does not mean that it will work in the same way. Sometimes the item offers incredible value at an unbeatable price, but most of the time this is not the case.

When our team visits China, we get to choose the items that cannot be found by an Internet search; we choose products that will take our clients’ brands to new levels of market penetration and sustained competitiveness. Working with international suppliers has become part of our business strategy and our operational norm; we have the confidence and the experience.