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What can I import from Indonesia to the US?

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  • What can I import from Indonesia to the US?

    I am a small business owner based in the US. I'm visiting Indonesia soon and would like to find new products that I can import from Indonesia to the US and sell online. I am looking at relatively small/lightweight items, such as local masks, souvenirs and clothes, but open to other ideas as well.

    -What products should I consider for importing and selling online?

    -What is the best way to get in touch with local manufacturers and wholesalers? I have already posted on the job forum here to find a local sourcing agent, but maybe there are better ways to do it? I'm going to Jakarta, can also visit other places, such as Bandung, Jokyakarta and Bali.

    -Any other advice - things to watch out for, etc? I've been to Indonesia before, but I don't speak Indonesian and know very little about the culture and business practices.

    -Finally, if anybody is in the same business, let me know here or by PM. Perhaps we can meet and discuss business opportunities. I'll be in Jakarta from Feb 8.
    Last edited by Kolyanych; 31-01-16, 02:13.

  • #2
    I think you're a bit late. With a bit I would guess 20 years.

    The export that (could) have been interesting, teak wood furniture, batik (objects) and silver, are already overflooding the western markets. And currently, Indonesian products can not really compete with countries as Vietnam, India and China anymore.
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    • #3
      I think sarongs will always sell well, easy to make, cheap & not complicated for import/export. Find someone who will make a unique design for your company perhaps?
      The oversize sarong (I forget the name of it) that is traditionally used by the women here to carry the baby/child is a potentially good seller, they are so versatile, unusual & practical that there really should be a good market for them.
      Post the instructions of how to tie one properly and then you likely covered the bases for H&S issues. ( I know nothing of the US rules around such things).
      You know the type of thing- caution this tin of peanuts may contain nuts style warnings.


      Bamboo products too- I already mentioned these in your other thread.
      Cicak Magnet

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      • #4
        The sarong poncho top might sell well for larger women in hot areas, pics in the link

        http://tinyurl.com/jphzhc9

        Thy are cheap, comfortable, colourful, easy wash & wear.
        Cicak Magnet

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        • #5
          As B_A is already alluding to, the US has very strict import restrictions, not only economical on textiles from the 3rd world countries like India and Indonesia, but also on things like hazardous dyes. So you could encounter some unpleasant surprises at the customs counter when they open your boxes...

          If you want to get an idea about possible trinkets and touristic articles from Indonesia, just visit Alun Alun in the shopping mall Grand Indonesia. There they offer (handmade) items from all over the country. Those can be clothes & textiles, wooden decorative objects, porcelain, toys, etc. If you see something you really like, you can always buy it much cheaper at the source.
          Last edited by jstar; 31-01-16, 17:50. Reason: Alun Alun: http://www.alunalunindonesia.com/alunalunlocation.pdf
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          • #6
            To add to what jstar says, the US is also strict about bamboo and wood. As a gamelan player, I know a number of horror stories about imported gamelan instruments that caused a lot of trouble and had to be quarantined and fumigated before they were allowed in. In one case, the problem wasn't even the instruments - it was the packing material.

            I recently brought an Indonesian drum made with jackfruit wood and cow-skin drumheads to the US. It wasn't a problem because jackfruit trees are not considered endangered; the wood was fully treated; and no-one cares about cow leather. But I had to read a lot of pages of USDA rules first to make sure that it was going to work okay.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bad_azz View Post
              The sarong poncho top might sell well for larger women in hot areas, pics in the link

              http://tinyurl.com/jphzhc9

              Thy are cheap, comfortable, colourful, easy wash & wear.
              A Mu Mu by any other name...

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              • #8
                Thanks a lot for your replies.

                I am looking at hand made products, but ideally would prefer to import standard, factory-made items because they are easier to sell online. No need to photograph every item or explain the buyer why the colors are different compared to the photo he saw.

                Anything factory-made I can buy from Indonesia? My understanding is that buying from China is much better for standard products, but maybe there's something I'm missing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                  Thanks a lot for your replies.

                  I am looking at hand made products, but ideally would prefer to import standard, factory-made items because they are easier to sell online. No need to photograph every item or explain the buyer why the colors are different compared to the photo he saw.

                  Anything factory-made I can buy from Indonesia? My understanding is that buying from China is much better for standard products, but maybe there's something I'm missing.
                  Look at any major league football club shirts & you will see the majority of them are made in Indonesia (by football I mean proper football, not that game the Americans play covered in armour & helmets).
                  The place next to our shop is a "bordir" the do embroidery on shirts & tops
                  The other side of our shop is a small new tshirt making business (new brand), the guys that own it are open to new ideas and design suggestions- they have an "outdoors" theme.
                  I don't know anything about the prices- never bought from them.
                  Cicak Magnet

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                  • #10
                    Indonesia consists of 35 provinces and each province has their own unique product. Due to the distance, it is impossible to visit each provice one-by-one to find their product. CRAFTINA is an exhibition which is held in Jakarta once an year. Last year it was attended by 400 exhibitors. This year it will be held on Oct 26-30. This is the right time for you to come to Indonesia and meet with the sourcing agent.

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    What products should I consider for importing and selling online?
                    Product that you can sell from $15 - 200 online, easy to ship, not take up much physical space, timeless, not seasonal goods and not fragile. Example, bag, traditional fabric, hat, jewelry, etc.

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    -What is the best way to get in touch with local manufacturers and wholesalers? I have already posted on the job forum here to find a local sourcing agent, but maybe there are better ways to do it?
                    I'm afraid none of the local manufacturer or wholesalers join a forum like this. The best way is to meet them in CRAFTINA exhibition

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    I'm going to Jakarta, can also visit other places, such as Bandung, Jokyakarta and Bali.
                    You can visit those cities from Jakarta with this plan, Jakarta to Bandung by car about 2-3 hours, Bandung to Yogyakarta by train (8:30 - 16:00) enjoy the rice field, forest and village along the way, Yogyakarta-Bali by plain about an hour. You can buy train and flight ticket online or just ask the hotel staff.

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    -Any other advice - things to watch out for, etc?
                    You are safe here but becareful with the gold digger, rent a car instead of taxi if you have a busy schedule, only use bluebird or express taxi, prepare to go by bike, and use the unlock smartphone where you can use local number to access google map (you can ask the hotel staff to do it).

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    I've been to Indonesia before, but I don't speak Indonesian and know very little about the culture and business practices.
                    What do you want to know or what do you afraid of?

                    Originally posted by Kolyanych View Post
                    -Finally, if anybody is in the same business, let me know here or by PM. Perhaps we can meet and discuss business opportunities. I'll be in Jakarta from Feb 8.
                    Let's see if we can meet.
                    Last edited by Chin Wag; 05-02-16, 06:37. Reason: typo

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jstar View Post
                      I think you're a bit late. With a bit I would guess 20 years.

                      The export that (could) have been interesting, teak wood furniture, batik (objects) and silver, are already overflooding the western markets. And currently, Indonesian products can not really compete with countries as Vietnam, India and China anymore.
                      They don't sell Indonesian traditional fabric like songket, ulos, etc.

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                      • #12
                        Chin Wag, thanks a lot for your detailed reply. Typing on the phone now and can't find the button to pm you. If you could pm me, let's arrange to meet.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chin Wag View Post
                          They don't sell Indonesian traditional fabric like songket, ulos, etc.
                          You have no idea...

                          http://www.aryani.nl/en/

                          There is a huge amount of 'wovens' from Bali, Palembang, NTT, Lombok etc. which are being sold in the west. Songkets etc as well.

                          Secondly, he specifically asks for 'mass production' to avoid unique pieces that are different every time. Those nice fabrics are all hand-woven so don't meet his requirement at all.
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                          • #14
                            BTW, INACRAFT is 20-24 April this year.

                            http://inacraft.co.id

                            http://www.crafina.com

                            There must be a reason you are looking at Indonesia, right? Otherwise you could even do Vietnam or so. So is there anyone you know with an Indonesian background? Sorry to say, I would trust that more than some newbee on a forum who might see you as a walking ATM. Or who just wants to help you. Who knows.
                            Last edited by jstar; 05-02-16, 00:31. Reason: don't be naive
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                            • #15
                              For what it's worth, if you are still in the States check this place out

                              http://www.indonesiaexpousa.com/exhibitor/

                              https://www.facebook.com/Indonesiaex...57680627825654

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