Twenty five years ago, Robert Liss recognized overseas manufacturers' need to obtain distribution in the U.S. and buyers' need to gain their products at affordable prices. He formed Robert Liss & Associates Inc. in Atlanta, which he describes as a "conduit" that serves both sides of the transaction and eliminates the middleman.
Every one of his overseas sources has a factory that makes its own goods, Liss says. While his company arranges the transaction, the manufacturer ships directly to the customer and also bills the customer directly. Liss' company charges a modest commission that is built into the price, he explains.
His initial domestic customers were primarily organizations, such as Rotary clubs, Toys for Tots, unions and other groups in search of good pricing. Now, however, the same advantage Liss provided those groups is available to retailers.
"We get price points that allow retailers to get a good markup," he explains. He operates a showroom, so his domestic customers can see the products. Liss will provide samples, and he offers a catalog with price lists and also shows products at the company website. "I'm a service rep for the suppliers," he explains, "so they can please their customers."
While he sells only by the case, he says cases generally contain few units, typically six or 12, with most limited to six. The minimum order is a case, and Liss takes credit cards. While the company will sell by the case, it also sells container loads.
Since founding the company, Liss has significantly broadened the product mix. It includes: toys, novelties, electronics, plush, sporting goods, back packs, karaoke units, drum sets, radio control cars, CDs, boom boxes and other items. As one example, the company has a toy cell phone with a battery that wholesales for 40 cents. The suggested retail is $2, but a dollar store can offer it for $1 and still get a good profit.
In addition, Liss will help domestic buyers fill other needs, such as products for girls, for example. "We are a one stop," he says, "and we try to give the customer whatever he needs."
For more information, contact:
Robert Liss & Associates Inc.
175 West Wieuca Road NE, Ste. B-2
Atlanta, GA 30342
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