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.
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 doing. So that was in 2008. So, um, basically, one thing led to another, I found this job with a small consulting firm, and they needed someone to do the sourcing. And then, you know, since I was bilingual, you know, they, you know, I remember my first client, we helped, mainly clients from Brazil. And then my first client was in like, auto parts, he was like, this longtime Brazilian auto parts manufacturer, and then they needed to shift their manufacturing to China to cut costs. So I really, I remember, I took him on a road show, we visited, like a dozen factories from the north of China to the south, you know, like I was translating for him at that time, I was green. But this guy, the Brazilian guy he's an expert, like, has like a lifetime of experience. So he's literally telling me all you know, check for the outer diameter, the inner diameter, use this tool, ask for that, ask for that. And then over time, that's how I learned the trade just like getting my feet wet. And I saw the good, the bad, the ugly, you know, in these different factories. Over time, you know, I was on the phone in Chinese, I was like, visiting these factories, the trade shows, I literally visited like, hundreds of Chinese suppliers, I have to say, you know, the, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So that's, that was kind of like part two, I put e-commerce on the back burner, so to speak, because I you know, I didn't know that it was gonna, like turn around, it's gonna blow up, like what it was today. But you know, I was learning this, this new valuable skill set and being able to apply my language and my culture.
Yoni Mazor 21:57
So who's maintaining the eBay store? Your mother?
Gary Huang 21:59
No, at that time, I gradually phased it out. So when I first moved there, I was still doing it. And then I was still doing, you know, some hours and I have my, my high school, you know, part time employee. So Connie, she would come in after school twice a week to help, you know, do the pick and pack but gradually, I couldn't manage to do both at that time. So I kind of winded it down. And in retrospect, in retrospect, Yoni I, I probably would have sustained it, you know, I wish I would have sustained it. And they could have grown bigger and bigger. I could have expanded but, you know, I was just focused on you know, switching my career to China, so that...
Yoni Mazor 22:37
Yeah, no, I think the time you've acquired, you know, extremely valuable skills, and the most extraordinary times of changing on the human level where there's the migration of the villages, into the cities into the factories that China is phasing in, and becoming a super global dominant superpower. And you're right in the heart of it, which is incredible timing. And you have the ability to...
Gary Huang 23:02
And I was a witness to this, like the contrast because living in my apartment in Shanghai in downtown, on one hand, you had like a Porsche 911 parked on the street. And then on the other side of the street, there's like a bare chested guy just bathing himself with a bucket, you know, I mean, you just witnessed the contrast. It's insane.
Yoni Mazor 23:21
Yeah, it's, it's less and less now. I know, my first time in China was actually 2010. So I was still in Shanghai, you can see a little bit, but last time was like, 2017. You. It's it. It became like, there's no, every, every available ground has been built. And then it's like, almost like a one massive Manhattan. It's beautiful. Yeah, clean, truly high techie. And, yeah, it's, uh, and beyond the fact that you saw the contrast and you were in the heart of the change, you're able to bridge between East and West, because you grew up in the West. But now you've seen how this is catching up and actually getting dominance.
Gary Huang 23:57
It wasn't easy for me to be honest,Yoni, it wasn't easy, because my mindset, I would say it's maybe like 70% Western, so I'm more like Western. And then even though in China, I can communicate. I mean, I speak well enough that they think I may not be like, you know, local Shanghai, but I'm probably from the north. And if I go to the north, they think I'm from the south. They don't think I'm a foreigner. But when, you know, we have different, like cultural differences. And you know, it wasn't easy.
Yoni Mazor 24:24
Yeah, I did notice in China because I went to the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, and, you know, when I see them, you know, the, you know, some factories from different regions, they come and talk to themselves. They don't know where they're at. It's such a large country. We take it for granted, but it is a fairly large country and they're not from here and from there. They don't know. They don't know where it's at even. It’s like saying, I’m from Something-Ville, Kentucky to Something-Ville in Illinois, they have no idea. Different dialects, a little bit different cultures. You see that. It's almost like you know I’m from New York, I’m from Texas, you have more of a twang. So this is Alex. It's a mindset internally in their culture. So it's something we do have here in the US, but you can quickly clearly identify it within China, which is unique because you have the access to the language. We're saying 70%, Western 30% Chinese, but it was hard. Give me a few examples like, what was it like a cultural shock for you that were like, you were like, wow, this is, you know, a bit too much for me, for example?
Gary Huang 25:27
I wouldn't say it's a bit too much. But you know, it's just like, there's some friction, you know, so it's like, I mean, there's so many. Like working with factories, you know, there's this expression in Chinese, in Mandarin, it’s called (speaks Mandarin) which means like, it's almost, it's good enough. You know, like, in China, this is very prevalent, I mean, people, they're not perfectionist by any...I mean, they just do good enough and they just, you know, go like, you know, just deal with the factories, like quality control, you know, it's like, good enough for China, but it's not good enough for the US. So you kind of have to communicate, you know, there's a a gap there.
Yoni Mazor 26:03
That's the gap. That's where you become people. Yeah,
Gary Huang 26:07
Exactly. Many people don't have that experience, you know, going abroad. So they think in China, if it's okay, it's okay for them. You know, it's, you know, it's almost like there's the same Chinese, it's like, the frog at the bottom of the well. Okay? So if you're a frog at the bottom, well, you can only see up that little piece of the world, right? So they have this perspective. I mean, you can't really blame them. Because, I mean, I don't I don't like to generalize. But some people they're very, you know, insulated in one particular culture. So they don't, they don't like they kind of lack that perspective.
Yoni Mazor 26:33
It's not a genetic thing. It's, like you said, it's a cultural thing where your perspective is limited. So in your, your tunnel vision and everything looks okay, so you see clear skies, but if you look outside of the dark clouds around, then they need to clear up.
Gary Huang 26:46
Yes. So I mean, like, one of the valuable lessons I learned is, I always try to see the issue from the two perspectives, you know, I try to look at it from, you know, the, the western side, and also the Chinese side. I mean, I think that that's one of the valuable lessons that I learned. But even today, I mean, like, you know, even with family and, you know, with my, my in-laws and stuff like that, I mean, that that could be like a whole nother story. But, you know, it's just just a lot of differences.
Yoni Mazor 27:15
We’re gonna get to, I guess, you settling into getting married, we’re gonna get to that point. And so let's go back to the story. So I guess 2005 or eight when you landed in China, 2008 right?
Gary Huang 27:25
Beijing Olympics 2008. That was like a milestone for China.
Yoni Mazor 27:28
So you’re working for a few years ready. Rolling in on the mainland with the factories in learning the trade of sourcing?
Gary Huang 27:34
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So so I did. Yeah. So I did that for a number of years. You know, I gradually, you know, progressed in my career. And then I met my future wife in Shanghai. She's a great girl.
Yoni Mazor 27:49
I know. She's also born and raised in China? Or she’s...
Gary Huang 27:50
Born and raised in China. So we had met in Shanghai. Yeah. Shanghai. So, yeah. So I met her and yeah, and, you know, one thing led to another, I decided to get married. And then I was...So like, in China, like marriages there, they do the paperwork first, and then they do the ceremony later. Okay? So I mean, we signed, you know, we actually we, we do the actual...Yeah, we do the legal document and then we do the ceremony. We did the, you know, we did the legal documents actually in the US. We took a trip to the US and we took... Yeah, Vegas and Grand Canyon. So we did that. And then we went back to China. Then we did our wedding in 2017. So 2017 in Shanghai, we did our wedding. It was a great wedding, with a lot of great friends and family. But then I kind of was like, you know, self evaluating, you know, what's next?
Yoni Mazor 28:54
Hold on, so legally you got married when? What year?
Gary Huang 28:56
Legally, we got married 2016. So we got the paperwork done in 2016.
Yoni Mazor 28:56
So you were together a few good years?
Gary Huang 29:00
Yeah. Yeah, we were dating for about two three years. Yeah. So, yeah. And then we got married in 2017. And, you know, around 2016, I kind of hit a ceiling in my job. And you know, I really was, you know, seeing e-commerce was coming, you know, it was making a big hit, big splash.
Yoni Mazor 29:18
Hold on. Let me stop here. So 2008 to 2016 around 8 years, that was timeframe of you were focused on sourcing and being a consultant for this trading company in..based in Shanghai. And then you feel like there's a limit. 2016 you gotta move on to the next station. So what's the next station show? What was that?
Gary Huang 29:36
Yeah. So I started getting back into e-commerce. Um, I started selling on Amazon. You know, I was listening to a lot of podcasts. That was like my connection to, you know, the outside world and, and then, through my university, USC, we had an alumni group in Shanghai, it was quite active. And I met some cool people there and then one of the guys there, he was interested in launching this new product, we're talking about different things. And we just decided on Apple Watch, okay? Because at that time 2016, that's when the watch first launched, we kind of hypothesized that, hey, you know, if you look at, you know, iPhone, you know, iPad, there's like a huge cottage industry around it, you know, the cases, the covers, the screen protectors, all that stuff. So, probably, there's gonna be, you know, the watch is gonna be a big hit, there's gonna be the same thing. So we decided to create our own private label, and we were doing Apple watch bands. So we're focusing on that. So that was my second foray into e commerce. That's how we got started. And then...
Yoni Mazor 30:38
So you stopped everything and you dove into that or you did it in between?
Gary Huang 30:40
No, I was doing as a side hustle. So I still had my full time job, I didn't want to, you know, just like go cold turkey. So because I mean, I had some time in the evenings and the weekends. So I figured why not, you know, test this out, so. So I was handling the sourcing, and then my partner in the US, and he went back to LA, and he was handling the marketing, printing out the site, you know, talking to some local vendors on the ground. And then we got traction, we got traction. I was, you know, a little surprised, but I wasn't that surprised. And then we ended up hitting six figures in our first year. And then, at the same time, you know, I saw that there were other opportunities as well, you know, at that time, Amazon FBA wasn't as competitive as it is now. So I, you know, I launched a couple other products in different niches, like health, and then we got in outdoors, and then kitchen. And then you know, some of the products, you know, they got traction, but others got too competitive. So I phased them out. But that was kind of my foray back into e-commerce, starting from 2016.
Yoni Mazor 31:46
So it was mainly Amazon, or you guys also did ebay, a dot com, all that stuff?
Gary Huang 31:50
It was mainly Amazon, we had a Shopify store, but it was really hard to get traction on that. And we didn't have the wherewithal to do all that marketing and social. So it was mainly Amazon.
Yoni Mazor 32:00
Got it. But okay, so you had an Amazon business gig that was getting traction, when it gained traction, you left your job or still have it, what's the status on that?
Gary Huang 32:09
I still had it. And then the other thing I wanted to do was, you know, I felt like I was sitting on all this knowledge about China sourcing, and it was kind of like a black box. You know, at that time, there weren't that many, like, you know, gurus and like, you know, YouTube channels about this kind of stuff. So, I started my website 80/20 Sourcing, where I, you know, from my, you know, American perspective,
Yoni Mazor 32:31
This is still 2016 or already in 2017?
Gary Huang 32:33
Yeah, this is about 2016. That's when I started the website. So I started with a blog, you know, a free blog, and then I was blogging about, you know, China sourcing best practices, you know, like, what's, you know, how do you tell the difference between, you know, a factory and a trading company? How do you put together RFQ, you know, like, this kind of stuff, and how not to get scammed, you know, by factories, like, you know, tricks of the trade, you know, stuff like that. So, I started that in 2016. And then I began speaking, so I was invited to a Global Sources Summit in Hong Kong, you know, I spoke, so, you know, on behalf of my own business. So, you know, that's how I got some traction, you know, starting out, and then I networked with some of the other speakers, and people started inviting me on to do guest webinars. You know, I met Jungle Scouts founder, Greg Mercer. And then like, he's like, you know, we kind of chat a little bit. And he's like, yet, you know, sourcing is one of the big pain points for a lot of Amazon sellers. So why don't you come on, you know, maybe you can give like training on that. So, yeah, so one thing led to another, I started doing that, and I got a lot of emails on my list. And then I started building up from there. And then, you know, I started...At that time, when I first started off, I was offering some sourcing services as well, for certain clients. But then after a while, I saw that you know, I'm just trading time for money. You know, it's like, there's a limit to how many people I can help, like, directly. But if I was able to, like teach people, you know, it's like feeding someone a fish versus teaching them how to fish, right? I feel like, if I teach you how to fish, you can do it yourself, and I can teach more people as well. That’s more lucrative for me, and it's, I think it's Win-win. So that's when I started, like, offering training and coaching as well. So that's kind of the evolution. But at the same time, I'm still running the Amazon business. So you know, I have my own private label products, but the Apple Watch business, my partner and I, we kind of had a falling out, because, you know, like, I was still interested, like, he was more interested in going to real estate and he’s younger than me, and he's like, you know, so I mean, like, long story short, we decided to go our separate ways. So we stopped doing that. But I still have, you know, my own private label brands. I'm still selling on Amazon today. So that's, that's kind of the next part.
Yoni Mazor 34:52
Got it. So you have a good triangle, I guess coming up. So you got the triangle of actual e-commerce, you’re selling online. You have your own brand going on. You have your own, I guess, consulting slash educational platform, which is 80/20 Sourcing. And then, so how did that bring life into, you know, the Seven Figure Seller Summit?
Gary Huang 35:13
Yeah. So, you know, so things were going well, um, and then, you know, my wife and I decided to start a family. Okay? So it was 2018. And, um, you know, we decided to start a family, my wife got pregnant in 2018. And then, you know, she was getting ready, getting close to the due date. Okay? Um, so I couldn't physically fly to these conferences like Hong Kong, and you know, all over the world as I could before. Obviously, I have to, I want to be a responsible husband and father. So I decided in 2018, you know, why not invite the Seven Figure Sellers to teach me and then teach everyone else online how they do it, too. So, you know, at that time, I was kind of stuck at home. And then, you know, I really loved that quote by Jim Rohn. He said, You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, right? So I decided to surround myself with these seven figure sellers, these ecommerce entrepreneurs, you know, some of them I met in the conferences, I'm like, Hey, you know, why not do this online? So that was kind of the Genesis behind the Seven Figure Seller Summit. So the first summit we launched in August of 2018. And then we had over 20 speakers, and then our son was born November 13 2018. So yeah, so that's kind of the next step. That's...I'm basically scratching my own itch. God, I mean, like, I'm helping others, but selfishly, I really want to learn from these people. That's why I invited you..I invited you know, all these other people.
Yoni Mazor 36:42
It’s always about the win/win when you’re doing networking and connecting and helping other people, you help yourself. There's a lot into helping yourself when helping other people spiritually, emotionally, on a business level, it is very rewarding. So there is, you know, I'm gonna go a little bit biblical on you, we're gonna take it to Israel, we have a very famous scene in the land of Israel called the Dead Sea. Right? The Dead Sea, the reason it’s dead actually is it's a phenomenon because it receives water from another Sea, from the Sea of Galilee, but it doesn't continue it, that's where it ends, you know, and because of that, everything dies very salty, there's no fish, it’s really dead. And the moral of the story is that, you know, other seas, usually they get, and then they pour to the next sea. So they're alive, there's fish, there's life in it. Once you don't give, and you just take, okay, that's when you know, things die. And it's not, it's not good, it's not a good flow. And also, I believe in China, they have the ying yang effect. So the fact they said, you know, what, they're gonna teach me but also, by teaching me they're gonna teach others because it can be a live event, or recorded event, but it's gonna be open to the public. Everybody's kind of sharing with each other. So it makes a lot of...creates a lot of life, a lot of connections. I guess from throughout the years, a lot of businesses maybe were have been created because of the connections and networking sellers in your events as you created. It's probably in the back burner, you haven't even noticed, but maybe in a few months or a few years, we'll see. Yeah, we actually met digitally on the Seven Figure Seller Summit. So these things that happen also around the background. But yeah, in order to sustain things and create things, good things to happen, you have to be able to receive but also to give. So I think there's an element to that where anybody that creates an event. There is your own self gratification into it, but essentially, you're creating something that gives out and pours out a lot. And by doing that, you give yourself you get out and it's a good process of life. So yeah. Back to modern living.
Gary Huang 38:41
Yeah. 100% I love that metaphor. That's a that makes a lot of sense. I mean, definitely, you know, I'm not just doing it for myself, but you know, I feel like, especially right now, I mean, like, you know, kind of fast forwarding to, you know, where we are today. A lot of the stuff you see, you know, on TV and online, there's a lot of negativity with all this stuff. So I feel like, at the same time, you know, e-commerce is like one of the bright spots, that's, you know, in terms of business and economy, and then I think that, you know, through business, we can help others as well. So, just, you know, one of the things that I tried to do to give back is, I work with a rural orphanage in Cambodia, because my wife and I, we, you know, we travel Southeast Asia, we really love the culture and the food and then we've met some really good people there. But, um, so there's a rural orphanage in Cambodia we've been working with and I mean, the children they're super bright, they're smart, they're awesome, but many of their parents they’ve left the family for work in Thailand, because Thailand pays a higher wage in Cambodia. So the children kind of left behind with the grandparents but they don't really have the wherewithal so, you know, my wife and I, we visited there in I think it was 2016 And then we went back again for our honeymoon in 2017. And, you know, we like taught some English there, which is cool. Um, so yeah, I try to give back as well, you know, I feel like, you know, there's certain things that
Yoni Mazor 40:12
Actually, yeah, you get back physically, it's not just financially it's physically because when you starting, when you start to teach, I know, because teaching is just, you have to be in front of the person. And that's what you get from yourself. I think one of the highest levels of giving, like you said, you teaching how to fish, and instead of just giving the fish all the way to your mouth, just give money, sometimes it's like fish in your mouth. But if you do something, and then otter fish, and they can get their own fish, but yeah, if you teach them English, that helps a lot with bringing income in any, in any country. That's great.
Gary Huang 40:46
Yeah. So I mean, on one hand, you know, we do have that, you know, that side with our business, just helping out to get back on, you know, I would love to go back, it's just right now, with COVID, we can't really travel. But the other thing is, you know, there's so much like, online, there's a lot of negativity and a lot of darkness, so I'm trying to, like project, a lot of the lights, you know, in terms of what the sellers are doing right in their businesses and what's worth, you might not try to help others as well. Because, you know, you know, some people they may be, you know, with their work, they're kind of, they may be jeopardizing their health, or they may be on the front line, you know, so Amazon or selling online e-commerce can offer, like a way out of that. So I think that, you know, it's not just, we're not just trying to get rich quick, right? Where I mean, this is real life, right? I mean, you know, just the fact that I'm able to, I'm super blessed, I can run my business in Okinawa, Japan, I don't speak Japanese, but I'm still able to sustain myself, you know, I'm able to, you know, connect with you Yoni and your audience as well. I think that's, that's amazing, you know, the fact that even though there's a pandemic going on, there's still a lot of, you know, good things that we can do. So that's kind of pushes..
Yoni Mazor 41:59
Positive human interaction in full force now more than ever, because of, you know, the digital age. And like you said, it creates a lot of positivity, and I believe this is the way that's gonna get us out of this crisis. To get to the next stage of, you know, global commerce and and I guess maybe a global union or companion because you know, you're over there in Japan, I have no no problem whatsoever connecting with you working with projects and you actually getting to know you in digital format. And also partnering with you because you know, full disclosure, GETIDA is a sponsor this year of the Seven Figure Seller Summit, you know, we learned we connected with Gary, we'll learn more about the, you know, what the summit is about, and, you know, for us education, it's a major thing. So any opportunity we can sponsor and promote education for e commerce, you know, we like to contribute, because we do believe this is like you just mentioned, it just creates positivity, it creates a lot of good things and opportunity on such a global level, when you can have a laptop, almost anywhere in the world, and run a business efficiently around the clock, and make a good living for yourself and your family. And this is something that we definitely encourage and promote, we do not promote the get rich quick or, you know, and, and move out. It's really a wall, but in the long term how to do it like a pro, you know, establish yourself and create something that's sustainable for the long term. We do that's kind of the message that we're trying to project with events that we sponsor, if there's an event that is, you make money in and out, it's less of our, you know, the of our, you know, our cup of tea. I want to touch I guess a little bit on the now before we kind of wrap up this episode. So you're stuck in Okinawa, in Okinawa, Japan, your, you know, your main delta of businesses, you know, consulting, selling on Amazon, and right now, the once a year, this big event that you're doing the seller conferences, and this is all enough to sustain you, you know, financially, economically to live in Shanghai, which is not a cheap city at all. And everything's running, like you said, even though Corona is running, so everything's running at full steam, all the businesses?
Gary Huang 44:10
Yeah, everything is running. I mean, I'm unfortunate that, you know, with Corona, there's been more interest in e-commerce.
Yoni Mazor 44:20
So sourcing has cooled off a little bit because of all the resourcing?
Gary Huang 44:23
Actually, I mean, I have some partnerships with, you know, some of my partners on the ground in China. So if people need some help, you know, I may be able to refer them to some partners, but sourcing, I mean, in China, it's still going strong. I mean, China's pretty much back on track. There's been some isolated cases, but it's back on track. With Amazon, I mean, to be transparent, last year, I kind of took my foot off the gas with Amazon because I was focusing on my family first I mean, just having our first kid, the first year I ...
Yoni Mazor 44:54
That is the reason for your business. I believe people should be in business to create a family and have a meaning in life. And then that's exactly just to make a lot of money and then, yeah, you're alone by yourself. Yeah.
Gary Huang 45:07
Yeah. So last year, you know, I was focusing on my family first, but this year, I'm putting my foot back on the gas, you know, Harrison, he's a little bit older, he's past, like the infant stage. You know, my wife does the heavy lifting, you know, all the things to her, you know, she's able to, you know, hold down the fort, while I'm, you know, doing stuff like this before here.
Yoni Mazor 45:26
We’re not starting to get into the power of motherhood. It’s just, they're superheroes. Really.
Gary Huang 45:32
I know, they are, they are. And you know, we're kind of like the butler on the side. We're just doing the best we can, you know what I mean? But, but yeah, this year, you know, I'm putting my foot on the gas a little more, you know, with Amazon, I'm launching some new products. And then at the same time I'm launching a summit, just learn, you know, keep on the edge of things. So, yeah, and then, you know, yeah, I'm able to sustain our family here in Okinawa, which is like, I mean, that's unbelievable. I mean, it's kind of funny, because like, my wife and I, like before, we had a dream, we wanted to live part of the year in Japan, and then through this not exactly what we planned route were able to fulfill our dream, you know, to live here, because we really liked the food here, the culture and, you know, we're really, we're literally like a 10 minute walk from the beach here. I mean, it's not like a resort beach, but it's still nice, you know, we can get, you know, Harrison in the water, just we're very fortunate, but it's not easy. I mean, it's, I mean, I'm not gonna paint a rosy picture, it's not easy. I have my ups and downs, you know, with the entrepreneurial like roller coaster, I think you're very well aware, right? Because, you know, we don't have any, like, family nearby. So we're doing like all the daycare and I'm like, you know, mopping the floor, I'm like, washing the dishes. And I'm like, you know, trying to balance all that.
Yoni Mazor 46:48
Running the business on a global level, but you're still scrappy, you still gotta, you know, clean your own house and around the clock in the household, in a different country with a different culture and a different language. I salute you for that, you know, keep strong, I have a good feeling that hopefully sooner than later things will get back on track, you'll be able to go back home in Shanghai. Okay, so first of all, you know, so let me do a real quick recap on the story. You know, born in the US, born in LA, to a Chinese family, after high school visited China for the first time, you know, you captured...something, you know, stuck. There was a bug, a Chinese bug was into because you saw something that is on the rise, and you're right. And then you're able to have another stint in China for your schooling. And then 2008 after you did a few years in LA, we're doing e-commerce many on eBay with clothing, and apparel, you jump to China, for steam for gear, that's where you basically establish yourself as a person and also as a family, because you got married around 2017-2008 illegally then party, you know, officially with the party. And along the way, eight years of being in the heart of the rise of China really to global dominance sourcing, you learn to trade deep from the inside, you're able to spin off a business out of it, you know, the sourcing business, 80/20. It started as you know, direct consulting, but now it's really an educational venue platform for anybody that wants to start sourcing products from China, on a global level. Plus, you're adapting, you know, you jumped into, you know, creating an educational platform for e-commerce sellers with Seven Figure Seller Summit. And of course, you had experience with ecommerce. But once you tasted the taste of Amazon, you had a good run. And now you are going to hopefully you're going to put the pedal back on the metal and keep running this one up. That's a quick recap on what we had. So thank you for sharing that. That's quite a journey. It's, it's quite a perspective. And that was great. And I guess two last things I want to ask you before we set off, where can people learn more about, you know, you and they can contact you and you know, give them a give my handle? And what's your I guess message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there, we kind of touch on inspiring stuff, but you know, last messages of hope. So go ahead, lay it out.
Gary Huang 49:02
Definitely. Well, first off, thank you Yoni, for reaching out to me. And I also appreciate GETIDA for sponsoring the summit, the Seven Figure Seller Summit, um, you know, it's, you know, through partners like us, you know, we really can be like a stronger summit, you know, just do better things. So I appreciate that. And thanks for the recap. I don't think anyone's ever recapped my life story like that. I gotta, you know, get you to be my publicist. Okay, so if you guys want to learn more, number one: www.7figuresellersummit.com. Okay, so we have a summit where I've interviewed over 30 7-figure sellers, e-commerce experts to show you how you can learn to do it too. Okay. So definitely check it out and you can even grab a free pass as well. So it's a time limited free pass if you want to level up your ecommerce business. Number two, you'd like to learn more about sourcing, www.8020sourcing.com, that's eight zero two zero sourcing dot com. Sign up for the free newsletter. I have a weekly e-commerce newsletter, you know, news about what's going on in e-commerce, sourcing, and other best practices to help you. And if you want to reach me by email, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org, okay, that's how you can contact me. And the message is: right now, you know, we're going through tough times, everyone is going through tough times, right? There's a lot of uncertainty. I feel that again, you know, having talked to so many seven figure sellers, observing them, one of the keys to their success is they find ways around excuses. They find ways around problems, setbacks. So even though you know, like, I'm stuck on the outside, I can't go back to Shanghai, I can't go back to LA, you know, I'm still able to take care of my family. You know, I get frustrated, you know, I had some downs, but I gotta, you gotta ride it through, right? It's like the roller coaster. If you jump out, then you lose, right? But yeah, it's game over, but you go through, then you go up. And I noticed a lot of entrepreneurs, you know, it's just you got to hit like, you know, what do you call it like bedrock, like, you know, the worst time if you push through it, that's when you can get the goal. You know, so I encourage you guys, I know, some of you guys are struggling, you know, you gotta just keep digging, man. I mean, that's like, the goal is going to be that don't give up. And then and then there's still I mean, there's still a lot of positivity, you know, through our community and you know, with your podcasts, and GETIDA and you know, there's a lot of good people out there so just continue to surround yourself to keep you to keep you motivated.
Yoni Mazor 51:51
Yeah, I like what you said you're the sum of the people you're connected to, so connect to the ones who project positivity and organizations that project positivity, you know, educating and education is a very very extremely positive thing to surround yourself around with. So you know, go you know, if you can always check out Seven Figure Seller Summit, it’s evergreen, the content is always there. So reach out, you know, learn from this year's participants, last year's, and then the year before that. And it just, you know, keep educating yourself and connecting to positivity. So Gary, thank you so much for that. That was awesome. You know, wish you all the best, much health success, happiness and hopefully to get back home safely. Until we meet again, all the best.
Gary Huang 52:33
Perfect. Alright, thank you so much, Yoni, I thank you everybody for watching and listening. Good luck out there. Take care.