How Do You Buy Handmade Items from the Philippines for Amazon USA FBA?

How Do You Buy Handmade Items from the Philippines for Amazon USA FBA?

Handmade goods from the Philippines are a perfect addition to your Amazon store. Whether you are a US-based Filipino who wants to promote your homeland's rich culture or a non-Filipino entrepreneur who sees potential in Philippine-made handicrafts, you're stepping into a gold mine.


But why bother importing handmade goods when you can flip, whitelabel, or dropship existing products? Aren't those options lucrative, too?


There are a few reasons:


  1. Handicrafts are among the few niches that still enjoy low competition.
  2. There's a fast-growing market for unique products on Amazon.
  3. Unique products stand out and drive organic traffic to your store.
  4. Amazon is building a shop exclusive for genuinely handcrafted goods.


The US is among the Philippines' largest importers of handicrafts, along with the UK and Japan. Entrepreneurs from these countries invest so much in Philippine-made products for several reasons:


  1. Filipino artisans are highly skilled. 
  2. Handicrafts from the Philippines exceed quality standards.
  3. You can find distinctive designs that match various fashion and home styles.
  4. Many options are sourced and manufactured sustainably.


Here are some examples of handmade items to explore from the Philippines:


  • Abaca baskets
  • Casted stone planter bowls
  • Rattan garden ornaments
  • Clamshell bowls
  • Natural bird toys
  • Woven bar stools
  • Wooden trays and server plates
  • Coiled raffia and buri furniture
  • Traditional weaved fabrics


How to Buy Handmade Items from the Philippines for Amazon USA FBA


Importing products is tricky no matter where you are in the world. Besides the strict regulations, you must account for risks, such as transportation delays, loss or damage of goods, product faults, political instability, etc. But it will be worth it once you clear the process and receive your products. 


Thanks to Amazon FBA, buying handmade items from the Philippines to the US is faster and more straightforward than ever. Follow this guide to maximize the opportunity they offer and avoid shipping problems.


Step 1: Do your research. 


Handmade goods are different from everyday essentials people buy no matter what. They appeal to a specialized market that values and demands superior quality. These buyers are willing to pay a high price for products that satisfy their criteria. 


You need extensive market research to find profitable handmade products from the Philippines. Check handicrafts already listed on Amazon and pick the most popular ones. You can also include undervalued products that have the potential to become in demand in the future. Then, find out where the seller gets their supply and how they import it. 


Of course, this can be tricky because no seller would be willing to share that information, especially with a potential competitor like you. A quick Google search of their products can give you valuable leads and even point you to the actual manufacturer.


The best way is to consult with a handicraft expert based in the Philippines. This will take the hard work off research and guarantee reliable results. With the help of a consultant, you can have eyes on the ground and access firsthand information on top-quality products, including those that have yet to be available on Amazon. 


Learning about the products prohibited or restricted by the US Customs and Border Protection is also imperative. This way, you can narrow your choices to products that won't be blocked or need a special license to import. You can find the list of prohibited and restricted products here


You don't always have to start your product search from factories, especially if you don't know which ones manufacture handicrafts. Exciting items can be found in other places, such as local markets, tourist spots, or yard sales.


Step 2: Find a supplier.


Once your consultant finds a product that meets your criteria, they can search for the manufacturer and gauge their capacity to produce and export the amount you require. But searching for a supplier and offering a deal will not be a walk in the park. You will encounter problems.


Here are some of the issues you may encounter with suppliers from the Philippines:

  • If they haven't exported products before, they might ask you to fund the production.
  • Most of them can produce samples and send them to you, but come mass production, they'd back out due to insufficient resources.
  • Some offer products that are not uniquely Filipino.
  • Others offer products that are complex to import and sell, like food.


Many suppliers only sell products locally and don't have the documents for exporting. Either you support them in obtaining these documents and funding the production or choose an established exporter. 


Step 3: Request samples.


Ask the manufacturer to send samples. It's wise to physically see and touch the products before beginning mass production, despite having a consultant available for inspection. Many times, products look different in real life compared to their pictures and videos. 


After receiving the samples, examine them closely and note any areas you believe require alteration, replacement, or repair. You also have the option to cancel the deal if the products don't meet your standards.


Step 4: Hire a freight forwarder.


Some manufacturers, particularly those exporting products to the US, offer to handle the logistics at extra costs. But if you're dealing with a new exporter, you must hire a freight forwarder to coordinate and organize the shipment. A freight forwarder can ensure your products arrive safely at your preferred Amazon fulfillment center. 


Choose a freight forwarder who understands Amazon FBA's packaging requirements. They can help your supplier comply with Amazon's guidelines on packaging to avoid issues with sorting and shipping once they arrive at the warehouse. Failure to comply may result in the refusal, disposal, or return of your goods.


Things to Remember as an Importer


  1. If you or your supplier doesn't want to get involved in the legal process, you should hire an Exporter of Record (EOR) and an Importer of Record (IOR). An EOR ensures your shipment complies with Philippines customs requirements, while an IOR ensures that your shipment complies with the US customs requirements. Neither your freight forwarder nor Amazon can serve as your EOR or IOR.
  2. You need to hire a customs broker, especially when shipping large quantities of products. A customs broker will file the customs entries, arrange payments, and coordinate the release of your shipment. 
  3. Prepare to pay for customs duties, taxes, and fees. Your IOR will take care of this for you. 
  4. Amazon does not return shipments from other countries. If they find grounds for disposal or return, they will look into your Amazon Seller account for a return address in the US. 


Buy handmade items from the Philippines now!


Boost your Amazon Seller journey by adding handcrafted items from the Philippines to your inventory. These unique, expertly-made products can attract more customers and increase sales in your store. Utilize Amazon FBA to connect with buyers seeking artisanal crafts throughout the US.

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