Flexport returns to CES: Return of the shipping container booth!

Flexport container booth

Sands Expo Convention Center, Level 2
Booth #44163
(Click here for the exhibitor map)

Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Flexport retrofitted and shipped our own container booth to Las Vegas.

(For a quick 60 second video on how we built the booth at CES, check it out here).

For CES 2017, we’re excited to announce that we are bringing back our container booth to build on last year’s success! We’re looking forward to exhibiting even more of our clients and hosting our Flexport friends.

Come by our booth for a drink on Day 1 of CES!
(Thursday, January 5, from 3 PM – 6 PM).

Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2017?

We’d be happy to connect at [email protected]!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

Flexport Named One of the “Best Places to Work” by San Francisco Business Times

Flexport is named as one of the Bay Area's Best Places to Work.

We’re thrilled and honored that Flexport was named one of the Best Places to Work in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal!

This annual award recognizes companies with outstanding workplace environments that attract and retain happy, engaged, and productive employees. More than 400 Bay Area companies participated in the survey, and were ranked on topics like personal growth, workplace satisfaction, and managerial effectiveness.

“We are honored to be named one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the Bay Area,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport. “Our employees are essential to our company and our customers’ continued success, and we take great pride in cultivating an environment and culture for employees to thrive.”

As our company grows, headcount and physical expansion can put serious strain on a culture. In the last year alone, we’ve grown our company significantly, from 25 people in San Francisco to over 97 employees across four different locations around the world: San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.  

So, what contributes to Flexport’s DNA?

  • Open Lines of Communication: As a fast-growing company, we encourage employees to speak up when they see opportunity for improvement. This includes an ongoing “ideas” email channel, where various initiatives have been conceived and owned. In addition, we hold “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) sessions during each All-Hands meetings, where team members submit anonymous questions in advance.
  • Autonomous Squads: We operate in agile teams called squads. Squads allow us to fulfill both individual autonomy and team synchronicity. Each squad member (e.g., logistics manager, account executive, customs broker) brings their unique expertise to ensure we balance our focus of client success, operational excellence, and driving revenue.
  • A Place to Learn and Grow: With weekly lunch and learns, scholarships for industry certifications, and a sponsored book program for personal and professional development books, we invest in developing a team of continuous learners so that our team grows on the job and beyond.
  • Treating Employees Well: From catered lunches to ordering your favorite snacks, and a dog-friendly environment, we strive to create an environment of comfort that allows our team to do their best work. In addition, we encourage wellness activities (such as weekly meditation) and flexible time off.
  • Financial Incentives: Among other things, we want to invest in our employees’ future. That’s why we offer them a 10-year expiration for stock options, a 401k program, and life/disability insurance.  

We do our best to make sure that we are always guided by employee-centered values. As we continue to grow and expand internationally, we are committed to putting our team members first and open to new ideas to help keep them happy and innovative.

HUAo-26

Learn more about joining our efforts to change the world of trade at flexport.com/careers!

10 Most Helpful Online Tools for Amazon Sellers

With Q1 still in full gear and the holiday rush over with, this is the perfect time to optimize your business. It’s not just enough to private label and sell your products. You have to retain your customers and optimize the way you develop a relationship with them.

Any of these e-commerce applications can give you the edge you need to continue to grow.

Chad Rubin, CEO of Crucial Vacuum, a direct-to-consumer brand founded in 2009, is a successful Multi-Channel seller and also a Flexport customer. Today, Chad Rubin shares with us his top recommended e-commerce applications to automate operations and take your business to the next level.

E-commerce Tools

E-commerce store tools like these are used to research your product, your competitors and then dominate the category. Don’t leave home without it.

Jungle Scout

Amazon.com is a jungle of products and category branches. It’s easy to get lost and assume that your prospective product is better than another. However, due to the size of Amazon’s marketplace, it’s really difficult to gather accurate results when researching your prospective products. Jungle Scout is a paid application that compares product pricings, product performances, calculated fees and display historical data. While Jungle Scout does all this automatically, it also allows you to track your competitors at the same time to ensure you stay at the top. This intuitive tool allows you to purchase smarter and efficiently. Jungle Scout starts at $39/month.

Panjiva

Tired of working with distributors and want to work directly with a manufacturer? A lot of sellers feel that pressure from distributors taking a heavy cut. Then the question becomes “how do I meet manufacturers when most are overseas?” Panjiva is an incredible e-commerce application where they match sellers to manufacturers. You can choose your suppliers based on locations or their top customers. Panjiva also provides you with the top trends in the import and export activities, competitor activities, sales leads, and an intricate risk analysis of trade lanes for supply chains. Panjiva starts at $99/month.

BQool

As customers peruse your products, one of the major deciding factors of whether or not they’ll complete the purchase are honest reviews of your product. BQool is an e-commerce application that compiles all of your product reviews and allows you to contact your customers and resolve their issues with ease. Don’t let a negative review bring your product down. Instead, work with the upset customer and get the review fixed. BQool has a 14-day free trial, but billing starts at $22.50/month.

Skubana

We’re going to do our best to refrain from patting ourselves on the back too hard, but we love our software. Skubana is an ERP platform that handles your entire multi-channel e-commerce operation after the checkout. Skubana tracks shipments, manages your orders, generates your purchase orders, and provides state of the art analytics reports that provide precise profitability reports – and the kicker is that all of this runs on our cloud so you could access your entire business, all through a webpage. Whether it is off of your phone, tablet or computer, manage your business across all of your sales channels, from anywhere, at any time. After our free 14-day trial, we utilize a pay as you use pricing, however pricing starts at $499/month. Check out our pricing page for an estimate.

Productivity Apps

These productivity apps further your business by optimizing the way you communicate with your teams, and conduct business.

Boomerang

As business owners, we’re swamped with important e-mails. Because of this high influx of e-mails, it is easy to have a few urgent ones slip through the cracks without a response. Boomerang hooks up with your Gmail/Google Apps and allows you to set e-mail reminders, schedule e-mail dispatches, response tracking, read receipts and more. This tool revolutionizes your e-mail, and allows you to communicate flawlessly for your business. Boomerang’s basic plan is free, but subscriptions start at $4.99/month.

Trello

There are many organizational tools out there to organize projects. There’s Pinterest for design ideas and there’s Trello for Business collaboration. Trello, like Pinterest, utilizes cards and boards to organize your tasks to do, what’s currently being worked on, and then completion. Trello could be used to organize each of your teams’ tasks while you’re aware of what everyone is currently working on. Trello is a free platform but if you’d like extra business integrations with Salesforce, Slack and more, Trello Business Class starts at $8.33 per User/month.

Customer Retention Tools

It doesn’t end after the customer makes the purchase. You have to sell to them, again and again. These tools ensure that you maintain a relationship with your customer by keeping contact to refrain from becoming their one night stand.

Help Scout

To master your customer retention, you have to optimize your customer interaction. Help Scout is an e-commerce application service that provides you with an intuitive mail service, customizable knowledge base and more – all with the intention of increasing customer interaction. This service will help you convert customers into life-long patrons. Help Scout starts at $15/month.

MailChimp

If you’re looking to have a starting e-mail marketing solution, look no further than Mailchimp. This email application service allows you to create custom e-mail blasts to your customers. You can create lists to differentiate consumer groups so that you could have a focused e-mail going out. Mailchimp is exceptional for customer retention as it allows you as a seller to connect with them on a personal level, while providing them exclusive offers and discounts that they may be interested in. Mailchimp is free to sign up, however if you have over 1500 customer contacts, subscriptions start at $25/month.

Windsor Circle

This e-commerce application service integrates with Mailchimp to maximize your customer retention. Windsor Circle’s system auto generates recommended products for your customers, predicts order dates, predicts replenishment dates, customer analytics, segment your customers into efficient lists, purchase history and more. Windsor Circle focuses on ensuring that your customer doesn’t just leave after the purchase but remembers what they purchased, recommends what should be their next, and sends email reminders. Contact them for a pricing estimate after your free 60-Day Trial.

Klaviyo

Sometimes it isn’t enough to just send out e-mails and newsletter blasts to all of your customers. They aren’t just numbers but rather a unique personality per person. Klaviyo’s service allows you to segment your customers into lists and provide unique profiles to these groups. With customized and unique profiles you can better target your customers to cater to their needs and wants with efficient marketing. Klaviyo lets you set up drip campaigns, recommended products and establish sign up forms to carefully filter your customers into their appropriate groups, thus selling to your customers exactly what they want. Klaviyo starts at $25/month.

This post is contributed by Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana and Crucial Vacuum. Skubana is an all-in-one ERP system that seamlessly integrates with e-commerce businesses, 3PLs and warehouses, provides state-of-the-art profitability reports and more.

The World’s Largest Contract Manufacturers and the CEOs Who Made Them

You might be surprised to learn that most of your electronics—from your iPhone to your laptop to your video game console—weren’t actually made by the company you bought them from. In fact, outsourcing consumer electronics to third-party contract manufacturers (or CMs) is the rule rather than the exception. Often operating out of facilities in developing countries, where labor and materials are less expensive, these CMs save businesses like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft a lot of money.

Despite having never been heard of by the average consumer, the following CMs have come to dominate an industry valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. As some of the most influential enterprises on the planet, the following companies—and the leaders that put them on the map—are worth knowing a little more about.

Foxconn

Mkt Cap: $43B; Employees: 1,290,000

Foxconn is world’s largest electronics manufacturing service (or EMS) and its third biggest employer. It was founded by Terry Gou in 1974 to make plastic parts for television sets. More than forty years later, Taiwan-based Foxconn (the trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd) specializes in the world’s most popular consumer products, as well as in supply chain solutions, industrial automation, and telecommunications. Perhaps best-known as the manufacturer of the iPhone, Foxconn’s CV also includes Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Microsoft’s XBox One. While in recent years its biggest customer, Apple, has shifted a significant portion of its business over to its competitors, Foxconn still managed to move up a notch on the 2015 Fortune 500 list, coming out at #31 in global revenue this year.

Known as much for his business acumen as his idiosyncratic management style, CEO Gou appears to have attained his success through sheer force of will. In the face of his vision and relentless drive—he’s admitted to forcing Apple founder Steve Jobs to give him his business card—perhaps empire was inevitable. Even fierce international scrutiny after the highly-publicized suicides of 14 Shenzhen factory workers in 2010 was met with an almost dismissive confidence. “We are certainly not running a sweatshop,” Gou said in 2014. “We are confident we’ll be able to stabilize the situation soon. A manufacturing team of 800,000 people is very difficult to manage.”

Despite Gou’s polarizing public image, Foxconn has come to be known as one of the best-run CMs on the planet. But rising costs in the manufacturing sector have led it to make a concerted shift towards automating production. Diversification is also an objective: despite its roots in electronics manufacturing—it earns half its revenue from Apple products—plans to expand into software development and telecommunications services, as well as further diversification of its manufacturing capabilities, are well underway.

Flextronics

Mkt Cap: $5.66B; Employees: 150,000

Flextronics International Ltd. began making PCBs for Silicon Valley back in 1969. In the 1980s, it went public and expanded its operations overseas, but went private again in 1990, and then public again in 1994. Rebranded as Flex in 2015, it now provides design, manufacturing, distribution, and aftermarket services to companies like Apple, and makes products like HP’s Notebook laptop.

While nowhere near as dramatic a figure as Gou, CEO Michael Marks is just as iconoclastic. After taking over in 1994, Marks catapulted Flex into the top five CMs of the world almost overnight, doubling its size after winning the bid for manufacturing Ericsson SpA’s telephone network equipment in 1996. Inspired by Toyota’s philosophy of lean manufacturing, Marks bucked conventional management styles by transforming the Flex supply chain, prioritizing the reduction of inventory by reducing waste and focusing on quality of product.

Like Foxconn, Flex has also sought to diversify against loss of market share to competitors, focusing on more profitable enterprises like engineering design, intellectual property, and startup investment. Marks’ legacy will be his repositioning of Flex as the original design manufacturer, or ODM, of the future: one that specializes in a multitude of services far beyond manufacturing.

Jabil

Mkt Cap: $3.78B; Employees: 161,000

Founded in Detroit by James Golden and William E. Morean in 1966, Jabil Circuit, Inc., remains headquartered in the United States a half century later. Today, Jabil—a portmanteau of the founders’ first names—boasts 101 facilities in 23 countries and $17.9 billion in fiscal revenue. In 2015, it was listed as #18 on the Forbes Top Technology Companies of the Fortune 500, and #191 overall. From its humble beginnings as a PCB manufacturer, Jabil went on to be recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the Fortune 500 Most Admired Companies in 2012.

It was Morean’s son, William D. Morean, who brought this small EMS onto the global stage. When he took over the company in 1978 at the age of 24, it was commanding less than $700,000 in annual revenue. An outdoor and motorcycle enthusiast often described as a rebel, Morean helped Jabil clinch a deal with auto parts manufacturer AC Delco the following year, the company’s first step towards becoming the international powerhouse it is today.

Sanmina

Mkt Cap: $1.42B; Employees: 44,000

Like three other companies on this list, Sanmina Corporation was established as a PCB manufacturer in 1980 in San Jose, California. Although its capabilities have grown to include fabrication, injection-molded plastics, and optics, its expertise remains in the telecom, aerospace, and medical systems, with products like ultrasound systems and blood glucose meters. In 2015, it reported $6.37 billion in revenue and marked its fifteenth year on the Fortune 500, with a ranking of #432.

Of Sanmina’s two original founders, only one remains with the company. Croatian-born Jure Sola has been CEO and Chairman since 1991. Serbian-American Milan Mandarić, who as a child was a World War II refugee and has described his financial success as the “classic American dream,” has made yet another fortune buying and selling European soccer teams.

Celestica

Mkt Cap: $1.31B; Employees: 25,000

A product of IBM’s transition from hardware to software in the early 1990s, Celestica was formed as a subsidiary in the early 1990s. Now a world-class EMS based in Toronto, its global manufacturing network services corporations like Sun Microsystems, HP, and Lucent. Until 2012, one of its biggest products was the Blackberry smartphone, accounting for 20% of its revenue. But after deteriorating sales caused Blackberry to outsource its manufacturing to Asia, Celestica reinvented itself, investing in other industries like big data storage, health care technology, and green energy. Its global suite of services continues to include design and engineering, systems assembly, fulfillment, after-market services, and supply chain managed services.

It was IBM’s head of manufacturing, Eugene Polistuk, who engineered the Celestica spinoff. Recognizing what he saw as the weaknesses in the original management structure, Polistuk overhauled it completely. One of his first big changes was offering the same share offerings to everyone in the company, rather than reserving the best prices for executives. Polistuk was looking for a buyout, but Celestica’s growing clientele—thanks to his efforts—made IBM unwilling to lose it. Eventually, however, they agreed to sell to Onex Corporation, an equity investment firm, in 1996. By 1998, Onex had taken the company public.

The Future of Electronics Contract Manufacturing

Advancing technology has always changed the face of enterprise, and by most accounts, the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) is already making its mark. Over the last few years, the IoT has exploded to the forefront of the tech industry, and with it, speculation as to its long-term impact. Many predict that as IoT capability continues to improve, so will demand for the smart devices that support it.

Of course, these capabilities will have significant impacts on production itself: IoT-enabled equipment will optimize efficiency, safety, and agility for manufacturers. The question is, will today’s heavy hitters of EMS capitalize on these advances? While some from this list have already positioned themselves as contenders in this new IoT ecosystem—like Jabil, for example, with its Blue Sky Innovation facility—whether these giants can stay on top remains to be seen.  

Davey Davis is the Copywriter and Marketing Coordinator at Blue Clover Devices, an electronics ODM specializing in the design and manufacture of power, wireless, and IoT products. Follow BCD on Twitter or check out the website for industry updates from San Francisco.

Come see Flexport’s shipping container at CES 2016!

CES-2016-Flexport-Booth

90% of everything you see around you has been carried inside a shipping container like this one. And Flexport is bringing our own shipping container to Las Vegas!

We are very excited about showing some of our coolest clients and their featured products.

Bellabeat – as featured on Forbes, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, WIRED.

Nod – as featured on BBC, TechCrunch, TIME.com, WIRED.

Osmo – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, NBC, Wall Street Journal.

Electric Objects – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, the New York Times, TIME.com.

Ring – as featured on FORTUNE, Mashable, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal.

 

Flexport-Clients-CES-2016


Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2016?

We’d be happy to connect at [email protected]!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

First Round Review: Small Always Wins

Flexport is mentioned in First Round Review today! Tech veteran Mark Leslie highlights how startups like Flexport, Harry’s and Ring are devouring market share of massive incumbents in their respective industries. This cyclical unbundling process, or Leslie’s Law, occurs when giants grow too slow to adapt and fall victim to agile startups.

“Inevitably, by the time the threat becomes compelling, it’s too late,” writes Leslie. “The small company has taken root, developing the advantages of a lower-cost structure with a simpler, lower-friction product. A new ecosystem has already sprung up around its core offerings. It’s here to stay and its inroads into the incumbent’s territory can’t be stopped.”

Small, simple and cheap will beat large, complex and expensive. Check out the full article here.

We’ve raised money to reinvent global trade

Flexport started with the bold mission to fix the user experience in global trade.

Today we’re pleased to announce an important milestone: Weve raised $6.9M in seed funding from great investors including First Round Capital, Google Ventures, Bloomberg BETA, and Y Combinator.

We created Flexport because we think international trade is still too hard for most companies. Global supply chains are characterized by lack of visibility, confusing paperwork, complicated regulations, rampant price discrimination, and unpredictable delays.

To compound the problem, importers and exporters have to the manage entire process by telephone, email, fax, and courier. That’s a tragedy because international trade is one of the most powerful forces for good the world has ever seen.

Our technology platform enables a network of hundreds of the strongest air, ocean and trucking providers to collaborate and coordinate shipments in real time.

Flexport’s San Francisco-based engineering team is building software to improve processes handled by armies of people on the phone at traditional freight forwarders. This automation eliminates errors and delays while driving down costs, allowing us to bring enterprise-grade logistics services to companies of all sizes.

Meanwhile, Flexport’s team of fully-licensed customs brokers, freight forwarders, and compliance experts ensures that our clients and partners strictly follow both the letter and spirit of all relevant trade laws.

Our customers now include companies in consumer electronics, robotics, and 3D printing along with larger e-commerce businesses that each import hundreds of millions in goods.

Flexport’s online dashboard lets these companies check freight prices, book shipments, route cargo, manage inventory, and get notified of exceptions. And by structuring their supply chain data in meaningful ways, we give them reports and analytics they can actually use.

Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator says, “Flexport is one of those rare startups that will not merely satisfy its market, but grow it. There will be more international trade because of Flexport, and international trade is a very big thing for there to be more of.”

This new funding will allow us to invest even more in engineering, partner development, marketing, and especially, customer service.

We are thrilled to be working with some of the world’s best investors to bring our vision of a hyper-connected global trade network to fruition. Because of all they’ve done, we want to thank each of our investors by name. The list is long, but distinguished:

Acequia Capital, A-GRade Investments, Bloomberg BETA, Box Group, Cherubic Ventures, First Round Capital, Fuel Capital, Funders Club, Google Ventures, Hydrazine Capital, Inside Capital, Kindling Capital, Lunch Van Fund, Susa Ventures, SV Angel, TYLT Lab, Winklevoss Capital Fund, and Y Combinator.

Our round was also joined by a distinguished group of angels including Alexis Ohanian, Anja Manuel, Ashton Kutcher, David Lerner, David Lieb, Garry Tan, George Strompolos, Gianni Martire, Gustavo Alberelli, Harj Taggar, Ian Roncoroni, Jarred Colli, Jeff Epstein, Jeff Natland, Josh Reeves, Lee Linden, Matt Humphrey, Mike Cardamone, Mikhail Seregine, Naveen Jain, Paul Buchheit, Paul Sethi, Ram Shriram, Sam Altman, Scott Banister, Scott Belsky, Sean Harper, Sheel Mohnot, Steve Fan, Trapp Lewis, Tyras Bookman, Wesley Chan, Yuri Sagalov, and Zac Bookman.

We take the stewardship of both their precious capital and good names very seriously. Together we‘re going to do everything in our power–and many things not yet in our power–to fundamentally improve the way companies move goods around the world.

4 Aesthetic Concepts Every Non-Designer Should Know

Today we’re excited to share a blog post that our all-star Product Design Lead, Andrew Coyle, wrote for Salesforce! In the blog, Andrew discusses the challenges many non-designers face when approving the final design of an app, website, or feature. Most non-designers know when a design is aesthetically pleasing, but have a hard time explaining why.  Andrew outlines the concepts of typography and layout, and provides tips to help non-designers have a more constructive conversation with their designer.

Check out the full blog post here!

Importing 101 for Crowdfunding Campaigns

Running and completing a successful crowdfunding campaign requires creativity, dedication and maybe even a bit of luck. Importing your products should not.

Check out to the guest blog post we did for Fulfillrite below:

 

Although the logistics and customs clearance process can seem like a bit of a black box, the actual process is pretty simple. We’ve included a few tips below to shed some light on the process for those of you that are new to the importing process.

1) Select the Best Supplier

Finding the right manufacturer is key step #1 that may require some homework. You want quality, reliability and communication – cheaper does not always mean better. It pays to shop around in order to identify which partner will be by your side when you need to meet a last-minute production deadline.

Tips on locking down the right one:

  • Research manufacturers of your products around the world via portals such as Alibaba and Global Sources
  • Check out your competitors’ suppliers on ImportGenius.com
  • Attend an international trade show for the opportunity to meet potential suppliers face to face
  • But before you start your campaign, make sure the product you are importing is actually allowed into the U.S. and complies with all U.S. regulations (the legal stuff can get a bit boring, but we included some tips in section #6 below)

2) Plan to Plan Ahead

Shipping goods internationally takes time. Until the driverless hyperloop is complete, your primary options for moving products will be Ocean or Air.

In terms of timeline:

  • Ocean Shipments: Estimate about one month from the time your goods leave your supplier to arrival at your warehouse in the US.
  • Air Shipments: Estimate approximately one week for air shipments, but keep in mind air freight is significantly more expensive (sometimes up to 3x the cost of ocean shipments).

3) Don’t Navigate the Import Process Alone

Demystifying the import/export business can be overwhelmingly difficult. While big companies have dedicated teams with the luxury of direct relationships with major carriers, small and medium sized businesses will usually book through agents. These middlemen are notorious for poor service and price discrimination, offering far better rates to clients with bigger shipping volumes.

Get a customs broker and freight forwarder on your team during the early planning stages – you can find great ones at NCBFAA.org. Don’t wait until your first shipment is ready to move. These companies have a wealth of information that will help you avoid the most common pitfalls experienced by budding global companies.

In addition, a reputable freight forwarder will help you negotiate the best rates and manage the importing process for factory to final destination. They will make sure all documents are in check and keep tabs on the status of your shipment.

Some key documents you’ll hear about include:

  • Commercial Invoice – Issued by your supplier confirming the quantity and price of your goods
  • Airway Bill / Bill of Lading – Issued by your freight carrier confirming the title and movement of the goods

4) Be Nice to Your Customs Broker

Clearing your shipment through U.S. Customs can also turn into a headache without proper guidance. Depending on what product you are importing and from which country, there are 120 different forms that may need to be filed with more than 10 different government agencies. And the legal responsibility for complying with these regulations lies with the importer (aka you).

We recommend using an experienced customs broker to help ensure compliance with all the various laws (and assist with paperwork!). A strong customs broker will make sure your goods are properly classified and all the right forms are filled out on your behalf. Oftentimes brokers and freight forwarders are one in the same or close partners.

5) Factor Import Costs In Your Estimated Product Costs

There’s a real cost to moving a container to the other side of the world. In addition to the costs of manufacturing your product, don’t forget to include freight, customs and insurance when calculating the total costs of goods.

Painting an accurate picture of your total product costs is crucial in determining your product margin (and your profitability!). Working with a great forwarder and customs broker is invaluable in figuring out your landed cost.

6) Don’t Forget About the Legal Stuff

Like we mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure the product you are importing is actually allowed into the U.S. Certain items, such as furs and ivory, rare or protected goods and pirated designer products may have restrictions imposed on them at the country of origin.

And when importing electronics and some of the great new hardware devices, it’s important to understand there are extra rules around products that contain batteries. Batteries are classified as “Dangerous Goods” and must be shipped adhering to strict regulations. This means you’ll want to make sure:

  • Your supplier has an export license and are willing to declare themselves on all necessary documents
  • Your supplier has all updated documents (like a MSDS and Drop Test Report

But don’t fret too much about the legal stuff – your freight forwarder or customs broker can help you make sure that you comply with all the regulations. Which is why you want them involved early, rather than discovering a potential show-stopping issue once cargo arrives at the port.

Assuming you made it through all the tips above, you are now well-prepared to begin the process of importing your goods after your successful crowdfunding campaign!