Episode Summary

In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Gary Huang discusses sourcing products in China and shares his journey into the e-commerce space. Gary is the founder of 80/20 Sourcing and The Seven Figure Seller Summit and has great insight to share into his e-commerce journey.


In this time of the global pandemic, figuring out where to source your products can be a difficult task. It’s even hard to do when there isn’t a global health crisis happening. China is one of the major hubs for Amazon and e-commerce production. Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk discusses how China has bounced back from this international crisis and once again become the center of global production.


In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Gary Huang, the founder of 80/20 Sourcing and organizer of The Seven Figure Seller Summit. 80/20 Sourcing is a website where you can learn all the ins and outs of sourcing in China and get on your way to becoming a seven-figure seller. The Seven Figure Seller Summit is an online seller conference where you can surround yourself with real seven-figure sellers and learn how to up your e-commerce game.


Gary Huang shares his journey into e-commerce starting as a first-generation Chinese American in LA to his time working as a sourcing expert in China to finally creating a unique website and educational platform to help other budding Amazon sellers reach seven figures. So if you’re an Amazon seller with sourcing woes or if you just want to see what it takes to get to that next level, then this episode if for you!


Learn more about 80/20 Sourcing and The Seven Figure Seller Summit!

Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.


Find the Full Trasncript Below

Yoni Mazor 0:04

Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk. Today I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Gary Huang. Gary is a veteran Amazon seller. He is also the founder of 80/20 Sourcing, which helps 1000s of e-commerce sellers source products from China. And also on top of that, he’s also the founder and host of The Seven Figure Seller Summit, which is a leading online seller conference event. Yes, you heard her correctly. Basically, it’s seller conferences for Amazon sellers that was established as an online event even before the Corona days which was really innovative today. Everybody’s kind of doing that. But Gary was kind of the first one to do it in a few years back. So Gary, welcome to the show.


Gary Huang 0:48

Thank you Yoni. It’s an honor to be here.


Yoni Mazor 0:51

Nice having you on. Where are we finding you? Where are you located right now in the crazy times of Coronavirus?


Gary Huang 0:56

Right. So currently I’m calling in from Okinawa, Japan.


Yoni Mazor 1:02

Wow. In the islands? Well, you are usually…you’re based out of the US or China?


Gary Huang 1:08

For the past 12 years, for the past dozen years, since 2008. I’ve been on the ground in China, in Shanghai, I think, Yoni, you’re pretty familiar with it. And, you know, I was, in my prior job I was working in sourcing. So you know, I was, you know, worked up to the director of the sourcing division of a consulting firm. But then, last year, on November, my family and I, we have a, you know, a young child, our son Harrison, he’s 20 months old, we decided to take, you know, like a holiday to go somewhere warm to go to Thailand and Vietnam, and then come back after Chinese New Year, but obviously COVID hit, we couldn’t go back to China. And you know, I’m from the US originally. And you know, I have older parents, I didn’t want to risk them. So we decided to divert to Japan and yeah, so here we are, we’re kind of stuck, you know, on the outside, but we’re very blessed that, you know, things are pretty stable here. And you know, I’m running an e-commerce business, which is, you know, fantastic. In fact, I can keep my business going while, you know, my family and I are here.


Yoni Mazor 2:16

Well, that’s kind of crazy. So to make it short, you went on a vacation, you know, probably a dream vacation. And, you know, instead of going back home, you got stuck in Japan of all places. And you’re trying to, you know, keep business as usual, selling on Amazon having your consulting company and run your online conference event. Okay, so that’s, that’s on its own it’s an incredible tale. We’ll probably maybe get to it from the other end. Because what I want to do with this episode is actually I want to focus on you. I want basically to learn, you know, this is your story. You know, where are you from? Who are you? Where do you go to school? Where did you grow up? You know, the whole tale. And then from that point on, we’ll catch where you entered into the e-commerce space. And where are you now? So without further ado, let’s just jump right into it. Go ahead.


Gary Huang 3:04

All right. Well, I was born and raised in the US. I like to say that, you know, I was made in the USA, I was exported to China. But if you see me, you know, I’m Asian, right. So if you look back at my heritage, my family’s from Mainland China. They’re from Beijing originally. And they immigrated to the US in the late 70s. And I was born in the US. So I was the first generation of my family born in the US. So, you know, born and raised in LA, I went to school there, I went to USC University of Southern California – go Trojans! And then yeah, that’s, that’s kind of my background. I’m bilingual. So I’m like one of the rare, like exceptions, because most of my Chinese American friends growing up, they didn’t really learn Chinese. But, you know, I like to say, I’m very thankful for, you know, my grandma, you know, like, you may have heard of the Tiger mother, I had Tiger grandma. So she literally was really tough on me. Like she physically forced me to study Chinese after school. You know, like all the extra homework, I didn’t want to do it. But I’m super thankful now because that really, you know, laid down the…


Yoni Mazor 4:16

So hold on. So in the house, right, domestically in the house, your parents spoke to you in Chinese or in English?


Gary Huang 4:21

They only spoke Mandarin. So I was living at home, we were, you know, operating 100% in Mandarin, outside everything is in English, school, friends. 


Yoni Mazor 4:31

But on top of that, the fact that you may be on the speaking level, you are fluent in Mandarin, your grandmother pushed you to, you know, become more framed in terms of, I guess, reading and writing, right? And really the foundations of the language and the logic of it. So you’re really almost as close to a Chinese person as you can be as if you were raised in mainland China because you have the same language level as fundamentals.


Gary Huang 4:55



Yoni Mazor 4:56

You could actually maybe go do business there in a very, very fluent way.


Gary Huang 5:00

Well it wasn’t instantaneous, you can’t just drop me in China. And you know, because there were a lot of differences.


Yoni Mazor 5:06

Ohh plus, yeah, we got the culture plus yourself to be a business person, you know, some people aren’t cut for business, that’s different….


Gary Huang 5:13

Yeah, I mean, I like to put it this way, obviously, I was not like, I wasn’t trained in sophisticated like, you know, like debates in politics and stuff like that like. I like to say it’s more like, you know, kitchen Chinese like it was for dinner, you know, don’t stay out too late come back home by, you know, six o’clock, you know, stuff like that. Right? So, I mean, that really laid down the fundamentals. And then the first time I visited China was actually after high school graduation. There’s…


Yoni Mazor  5:39

Really? That late?


Gary Huang 5:40



Yoni Mazor 5:42

DId you guys have any family or relatives left in China?


Gary Huang 5:44

Yeah, we did. But the thing is in China, in China, you know, my family left, because, I mean, this is something else. I don’t even know if you want to get into this but my family…


Yoni Mazor 5:54

Let’s touch it for a moment. Yeah.



Yeah. I mean, like, they went through a lot during the Cultural Revolution period. It’s so there was a time where, you know, the government, they persecuted a lot of the…


Yoni Mazor 6:05

This is what, which, which decade or decades?


Gary Huang 6:06

This is from 1967 to 1977. So basically, yeah, 10 year period, where the country was very poor. The government was doing some radical things. Basically, anybody that was an intellectual, like both of my grandfather’s who were college professors in China, so they were persecuted. But with my grandfather’s they studied abroad in the US, anyone that had foreign relations, they were persecuted. So my family goes…


Yoni Mazor 6:34

Did they go through the Taiwan route or straight to the US?


Gary Huang 6:36

They did not go through Taiwan, they went straight through the US. We were very, our family was very early, you know, coming from the mainland to the US. And in fact, growing up in LA, I didn’t know anybody else that spoke Mandarin at that time, you know, everything was Cantonese, you know? It’s like, so I thought like, we were just weird Chinese people from, i mean, nowhere. I didn’t hear any of that. And then..


Yoni Mazor 6:59

Like in Guangdong…


Gary Huang 7:00

Yeah Guangdong is Cantonese you know, what they’re speaking in Hong Kong, you know? So, I mean, obviously, now, you know, China’s changed, like 180 degrees, right, because back then China, and people forget back then China, it was like rice paddies. It was, like mousou, it was just bicycles. You know. And then in 30 years time, China went through the fastest economic growth period of any country in history, you know? So they left China for a better life. You know, they thought the US obviously, that’s the place to be. But nowadays, you know, things are kind of, you know, fuzzy, right. I mean, China’s growing stronger, the US is kind of uncertain. And, you know, so like, for me, I think going back to, you know, my first trip to China, it was very, yeah, after high school is very eye opening, because before..


Yoni Mazor 7:45

What year was that?


Gary Huang 7:47

I’ll go ahead, I’ll date myself. It was 1997. Okay, so 1997 that was the year that Hong…


Yoni Mazor 7:53

First trip to China after high school. Yeah. Oh after Hong Kong changed from the British?


Gary Huang 7:56

Yeah, that was the same year, Hong Kong Handover, you know, from British back to China. But for me growing up, I never thought I would ever go to China, because I mean, they just told me the horror stories, the stuff they went through, you know? And then, you know, 1989 I mean, obviously, with, you know, Tiananmen Square, I think everyone knows about that. I was thinking like, the tank on TV. I’m like, I mean, I mean, who would want to go there? Right? But I mean, we took it in school..


Yoni Mazor 8:21

1997, yeah 1997 where’d you go? Shanghai? 


Gary Huang 8:22

No, we went to Beijing, because my family’s from Beijing, originally. So I have some cousins, I had some uncles, my grandmother on my father’s side. So it was I mean, it was like a really deep connection. Because you know, landing I kind of hear like this familiar dialect. I didn’t hear at all I’m like, hey, do you know there’s something here? So it kind of like, open that curiosity for me like, hey, maybe there’s something here, I didn’t know about any of this, you know, that you didn’t hear any of that. I mean, us, like people have stereotypes about China. And, you know, this is kind of …


Yoni Mazor 8:56

Yeah I think your perspective is incredible as something that, for me, at least is very valuable to hear your perspective, you know, being prosecuted, thinking you reached the promised land, but in 30 years China did the unbelievable, you know, it woke up like into this global giant where like, things are fuzzy and it’s possible that there are, if not the same, maybe more open business opportunities available in China than anywhere in the world. And how do you capitalize on that? How do you explore the opportunity? And you having a roots over there just makes it so much more compelling for you to take action and actually try to, you know, explore the opportunity, so I think your perspective is awesome. Okay, so after high school, what happened? You went to college and let’s take it from there in 1997-1998.


Gary Huang 9:43

Yes, I went to college. I stayed in LA. I mean, my parents, my mom was, like, very protective of me. She wanted me to stay close to home. You know, I was planning on going to San Diego. She’s like, oh, what if you get sick? Who’s gonna take care of you? I think there’s some similarities between Asian parents and maybe Jewish families, very tight knit right? Very protective? So…


Yoni Mazor 10:06

Yeah, I do believe that when I was in China, I was, you know, interacting with the, you know, the locals over there. They’re aware that there’s a few ancient nations in the world, the Chinese are one of them. 1000s of years old, and also the Jewish people. So there’s that level of connection. You know, the reason that we’re able to, I guess, survive for 1000s of generations is maybe the family bonding and family connection, but I guess, overall, everything overall, just education, you know, the value of education is above all, and a good education and being informed. So yeah, 100% connection.


Gary Huang 10:39

Yeah. So I did, I mean, being the obedient son, I did go to USC, stayed in LA. And, um, you know, I started off in the typical, like, pre med track, I was, you know, what, what we call like, a parental pre med, because my, my mom wanted a doctor in the family. And I like to think I could have done it. I did like all the classes like OChem, and all that, but I didn’t, I didn’t love it. I didn’t see myself on a tenure track to do that. And then at the same time, I still had that curiosity, that passion about China. So, you know, for my foreign language requirement. First, I tested Spanish and then they were, you know, I took Spanish in high school, so they wanted to place me Spanish 3 and I was like, Oh, that’s kind of tough. I don’t know if I can do that. And so I just tested Chinese on a whim, right? And then they placed me, it would place me in Chinese 2, because I could speak it very pretty well, but my reading and writing was pretty like, you know, like, elementary school level, because I didn’t have a formal education. So I’m like, okay, you know, Chinese 2. That sounds cool. So, I decided to do that. Um, so I really enjoyed it. You know, I was taking not only the language, but also literature. So I kind of rebelled. I mean, long story short, I kind of rebelled. I didn’t want to get stuck at home anymore. I wanted to, you know, take a trip to Beijing. So I did study abroad in Beijing. So that was like my first like, independent experience


Yoni Mazor  11:58

So what year was that and how long did you stay there in Beijing?


Gary Huang 12:00

I did two semesters. I was there in 2000 and 2001. The second semester was during 9/11. So it was quite impactful. Just observing that from the outside while we were watching…yeah Harrison is up.


Yoni Mazor 12:13

Yeah, Gary is stuck in Japan, it’s quarantining time over there and you can hear Harrison in the background. So if we do it’s just part of the conversation.


Gary Huang 12:20

Yes. That’s one of the key takeaways I’ve learned, you know, from interviewing seven figure sellers, like successful entrepreneurs, they find ways around excuses. So I’m not gonna let that be an excuse. I mean, you’re okay with it. I’m okay with it. We’re just gonna roll with it.


Yoni Mazor 12:36

The sound track. Cool.


Gary Huang 12:38

Yeah. So, so yeah, that, I mean, in college, that was kind of my track. I did two semesters study abroad. And then I ended up switching my major from Bio to East Asian languages, Chinese emphasis, and then I picked up a business minor. So I really wanted to do some sort of business involving China. So that was kind of my college track. And then I did a Graduate Studies program in Nanjing after college at the Johns Hopkins Nanjing center. So this is one of the earliest….


Yoni Mazor 13:05

Where’s Nanjing? Is that in the Beijing area?


Gary Huang 13:09

No so Nanjing is in Jiangsu Province. If you take the high speed rail, it’s about an hour and a half west of Shanghai. So Shanghai is like, you know, the coast and then…


Yoni Mazor 13:19

Got it. Yeah.


Gary Huang 13:20

It’s the former capital of China. It’s like the ancient capital of China. So there’s tremendous culture there. Um, so I did one level one year of Masters, international studies, advanced China studies there. So that really amped up my Chinese. But then this was 2002-2003. We ran into something similar to what we’re encountering today, which was SARS. I don’t know if you guys remember that. That was SARS. It wasn’t…


Yoni Mazor 13:46

Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome.


Gary Huang 13:49

Exactly. So, you know, similar origin, it was like in a wet market in the Guangdong, South China. At that time, China wasn’t as global as it is today. So it was relatively contained within China. But basically, our program was cancelled in April, it was cut short. We were handed our diplomas and then just for liability reasons.


Yoni Mazor 14:08

Off to the races, yeah.


Gary Huang 14:10

Yeah. So I really wanted to start a career in China. By that time, the economy took a hit. I couldn’t find the right job I wanted so I moved back to the US.


Yoni Mazor 14:17

Because of SARS or, or another reason?


Gary Huang 14:20

Because of SARS, because people were not hiring. So it was…it started in April, and it was for about, you know, several months. So firms weren’t really hiring. I really wanted to do…I taught English for a while in Shanghai, I moved to Shanghai. Shanghai is like the most cosmopolitan, the most international city. And then things didn’t work out. So I decided to move back to the US. This was in late ‘03, early ‘04. Okay. And then that’s when I began my career. Because through one of my friends from study abroad in Beijing, she was working at Google in Mountain View in the Bay Area. So she told me that they’re hiring. They have some, you know, in their online AdWords department, this is very early. This is pre-IPO. So at that time, like everybody, their mom was trying to get him because they want a piece of that Google stock, you know, so I was a contractor there and their online advertising division. So basically, I was doing editorial. So I was reviewing all those ads for online poker, like Tahitian noni juice, you know, the porn ads and all that stuff. So that was like my first exposure to e-commerce. Okay? So that was you know, in ‘04. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the full time offer. I was like, pretty devastated. But I think there was a silver lining out of it. Because after that, you know, I moved back down to LA like, my parents, they were going through a divorce. I kind of wanted to spend more time with my mom. Right? So, um, yeah, so I moved back down to LA and then my mom, she’s a retired fashion designer. She’s been you know, she has her own brand. Everything’s made in the US, fashion district, downtown LA. 


Yoni Mazor 15:59

Sounds almost like American Apparel.


Gary Huang 16:02

Yeah. I mean, American Apparel is just like, you know, like a mile away from where she was. She had her own little you know, factory warehouse and American Apparel was doing really well. It was like one of the hottest brands and it’s like, so simple it’s just like basic tees. Yeah. Yeah, but really good marketing, you know? So basically, I decided to start getting my feet wet in e-commerce. This was like late ‘04-05 and then I started selling on eBay. So I started off you know, like I was just working out of my mom’s warehouse. I had a little corner like a desk with a computer with a zebra label print…Zebra printer I have some inventory so I got my feet wet in e-commerce selling women’s shoes so through one of my mom’s connections with China I bought you know from an importer women’s shoes. These really niche type of  women’s like Mary Jane’s and like polka dot cheetah print leopard print. So I like to say I was like the online Al Bundy. I like selling women’s shoes. You know, I had like my own racks and I you know, there was no FBA back then I was doing my own pick and pack I was like a piece of wood like


Yoni Mazor 17:03

This was all eBay? Or already tipped it to Amazon?


Gary Huang 17:05

At that time in ‘05 to, I did that until about ‘08, eBay was the king. Yeah, eBay was like today’s Amazon 800 pound gorilla. Amazon was…they barely started their third party program at that time. But they didn’t offer you know FBA and all that stuff. So I literally hired like this part time high school student come in after school, like two days a week to help with the shipping and stuff. Yeah, that was pretty cool. You know, I was driving to the post office in my car. And so that’s that’s how I got my feet wet in e-commerce. Yeah. Then I did that for a couple years. I felt like something was missing because I really wanted to, you know, do something with China, because I felt like.. 


Yoni Mazor 17:49

Hold on, lemme ask you something. So you did eBay. But did you guys also have a dot com, like your own website?


Gary Huang 17:54

Yeah, we did. We had a dot com. And we had a Yahoo store. So Yahoo was like today’s Shopify. So we had a Yahoo store. And then later we sold on Amazon as well.


Yoni Mazor 18:03

Did you get that storefront back back then? Yeah,


Gary Huang 18:07

We got some traction. I’m just sales were decent. I mean, I think I was in the…Yeah, the sales were decent. I mean, on eBay I sold like, you know us mainly also internationally into like, I think 20 something countries. We sold even to Israel we sold, you know, to Europe. Um,


Yoni Mazor 18:23

Did you use any digital advertising? In the Yahoo store?


Gary Huang 18:27

Yeah, I did do a little bit of Google advertising. Yeah, I did. Yeah. I dabbled in that. Yeah. Adwords.


Yoni Mazor 18:35

That was a sweet revenge. Like, see you guys. Now I’m your client instead of you know?


Gary Huang 18:37

Yeah, I know. I know. I was also getting some tips. Yeah, kind of get some tips from my friends back at Google. But um, yeah. And then I went to like eBay live in Vegas. Like, you know, back then it was eBay conferences, you know, so, um, yeah, that. So that’s so I did that for a couple, you know, a couple years. But I felt like something was missing. Because, you know, I really had a passion for China. I wanted to live in China. It was exciting. LA was like, you know, I lived there 20 plus years. I don’t feel anything. I’ve been in all the places. It doesn’t excite me, you know? So I really wanted to work in Shanghai. And then 2008 was coming along with the Beijing Olympics. I was listening to NPR on the radio when I was doing my pick and pack. I’m like, I know that, you know, I was there. And then I really, one thing led to another. I had one really good friend in Shanghai. So basically, he offered me like, like his couch to crash on just to get my feet in the door. Right. So, in 2008 like in July, that’s when I made a move to Shanghai.


Yoni Mazor 19:42

So you said US, you know, I’ll catch you later. I’m couchsurfing in Shanghai. You know, I kind of live the Chinese dream in a way.


Gary Huang 19:49

Yeah the Chinese dream.


Yoni Mazor 19:51

The reverse of the American dream, right? Yeah, I mean, a few dollars, a few dollars in your pocket or maybe you can see a few RMB is in your pocket. 


Gary Huang 19:59

Well I had, I mean, it wasn’t like, like my parents, they literally had a few dollars in their pocket. But you know, I was a little bit, you know, more well off, but I gave myself a three month plan. So I just, you know, I would just go to Shanghai for three months and do my best, look for a job. Um, you know, at that time, the, the great recession was starting to hit the financial crisis in the US, you know, my business took starting to take a hit, but, you know, I really want to give China like, another shot or my last shot, you know, so that way, if it works, great, I’ll keep going. If not, no regrets, you know, I’ll come back. And I’ll continue doing what I was doi

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