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Just launched a premium brass door handles / door pulls business. Had a good first sale. (50,000 profit) How to grow?

Hello Rodinhoods,

I’ve just completed the first major step towards launching my own premium “designer” door handles / knobs business by importing 300 sets of these in various designs at a very decent price. Take a look:

I actually have a mix of both premium and economical (stainless steel, plainer design for offices etc) door handles but my main focus is on the premium ones as you see above as they have the highest profit margin.

I also have some product catalogs printed which showcase all of the products my supplier has. However, note that I currently have only 300 sets in stock of 30 different models. The lead / delivery time on these from my supplier is at least 30 days.

So I have the stock, I have the catalog, the door handles look awesome and are well built but now my main question is: I had a good first sale to a personal friend of mine, but how do I grow this business further?

Now I know you must be thinking I’m nuts just importing these and then wondering how to sell these, but let me give you a little background info on how I got started with this business.

I actually run a web design firm and have never done an “offline” business in my life. I had a client and a friend who runs this same exact business since the past 5 years, importing door handles from country X, selling them in India under his own brand.

He does around 40 lakhs+ per month with his business as the margins are great and he has established clients. For example the average handle you see here costs ~ Rs 500 – 700 and sells for Rs 2000 – 3000. Some larger pull handles cost Rs 4000 and sell for as much as Rs 12,000 to Rs 14,000.

I also knew who his supplier is and infact I’ve sourced my inventory from the same supplier as him. I just decided to go ahead and import the 300 sets first because I was getting caught in a lot of ‘what ifs’ like what if they don’t sell, what if I lose my money etc.

I thought to myself if my friend is doing 40 lakhs+ monthly with this business, if he is able to sell these, why shouldn’t I be able to sell some as well? So I just went ahead and placed my order with the supplier, and got the delivery last week. Meanwhile I also got my product catalog and some packaging boxes with my branding designed.

The one thing my friend didn’t share with me, as you can guess, is his client list. 😉

I have a vague idea about his clients from my time in his office listening to him on phone – it seems most of his clients are builders / construction firms, hardware stores, architects in different cities in India.

Now this is where I need your help, rodinhoods.

If you were in my place what would be the next step you take in order to get your first order?

What I’m thinking is I could either hire a salesperson or just try and find out some builders / under construction buildings and show them my catalog and a few samples. 

I could visit some hardware stores and offer them to carry some samples of my stock for free and just keep the money if they sell those – and then if they like they can order more from me as I’m sure they will love the profit margins.

Beyond that I’m really lost on how to go about the task of getting the first order and get this business off the ground.. note that I am a web designer with absolutely no clue about how offline business works – this is my first attempt.

My current inventory of 300 sets cost me around Rs 4 lacs including shipping / customs etc.

So the average cost per set comes to Rs 1330/-

Most of these handles are sold in the Rs 4000 to 5000 range (with lots of bigger pull handles which sell for 10k to 15k). Currently I’m looking at selling these for just 1.5x multiple to get the first few clients.

I have already visited 3 builders who are construction small 4 storey apartments in my city, they loved the door handles — but their apartments are still months away from the finishing stage and they just told me they will contact me once they are near that stage. So no order from them. 

I sold one pull handle for Rs 4,500 which cost me Rs 1200 to a small mid-end restaurant here.. but that’s a guy I know well and the sale kind of happened “by chance” as I was showing him my catalog and he instantly decided he needs one particular handle for his front entrance.. I went to my home came back with the handle and that was my first sale. So in a way I already had my first sale but obviously selling just one door handle to a close friend doesn’t mean anything. Haha.

Update: I had my first proper sale with a total profit of around Rs 50k (see comment below) as of 25/09/14

So guys I think I’ve already written a long essay and don’t want to bore you anymore. Please help me with the sales and marketing aspect of this business.

Also like I told you in the beginning, I currently have inventory of only 300 sets / 10 sets each of 30 different models so what happens if say I get a large order from someone for like 20 or 50 sets of a particular model? My lead time from the supplier is at least 30 days. How can I tackle this problem while still keeping the client and his order?

P.S. I thought of launching a website and selling these online but I think thats a stupid idea – who will buy door handles online? Heh.


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  1. syed,

    i read your post and unfortunately, what stuck out as a sore thumb was – “they loved the door handles and even believed me when I said I imported them from Italy (hint: they look Italian but come from somewhere in Asia ;))”


    all the best! hope others can guide you…

  2. I understand but the thing is my friend with the same business who I mentioned in the post – he always tells his clients that he actually manufactures his door handles in India. He doesn’t mention import at all.

    I figured that was wrong to do to claim an imported product as made in India – so I decided I will let me clients know that they are buying an imported product.

    The country where the product is imported from doesn’t matter because the product quality is EXCELLENT. The brass / zinc / stainless steel is superb quality and the finishing is perfect, the factory has all kinds of international certifications and stringent QA processes etc.

    It is a bit like how modern day laptop / electronics companies market their products. My laptop might be a big American brand that everybody knows – but it is no secret that it was made in China right? Designed by them, but made in & imported from China nonetheless.

    In the same way these door handles are all designed based on a minimum quality level and aesthetic level – which is checked and enforced not just by the supplier himself but my own self as well when I get the delivery here.

    At the end of the day if I say they are imported from Italy instead of country X, I can assure you they really do look and feel and are as strong as Italian ones – just half as costly. And a no questions asked return policy is offered by my supplier to me and also by myself to my clients should there be any problems at all. 🙂

    If I mention the actual country of origin (from Asia) don’t you think the clients would suddenly want to pay a lot less despite the handles actually being top notch quality and on par with their Italian / European counterparts? And the supplier isn’t exactly on the cheaper end even by Asian standards – the product is a niche premium segment in builders hardware

    Do you think I should just not tell the clients about the origin of the product at all? Like if they ask is it manufactured or imported I can just say that I can’t disclose that info or maybe have a better, more ethical answer? Any suggestions?

  3. A quick update guys: I just completed an order today for a newly opened interior design firm in my city – they ordered 10 sets of 4 different door handles (economical / office series) and 2 sets of large pull handles! Here’s the math of my first proper sale:

    Total no of sets sold = 42

    Sales revenue: Rs 78,730 /- 

    Cost of goods sold: Rs 29,200/-

    Total profit: Rs 49,530/-

    Not bad for a first order eh? Again this happened to be a person I personally know but I think this is a very good start, and I’ve also asked him for referrals since they are an interior design firm and he told me he will always come to me whenever he needs to source door handles for his clients. So I’m guessing this is a repeat customer. Lets see 🙂

  4. Hey Syed,

    Can you please enlighten us the legal formalities or procedures to be followed before we can importing products from a different country.

    Would like to know a few more things regarding this. I have sent you a friend request, please add me so that we can continue there.


  5. thanks for sharing beautiful information with us about Brass door handles
    i hope you will share some more info about Brass door handles
    Brass door handles

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