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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
When Malik Panjwani was eight years old, he wanted to become a pilot.
The life of a jet setter who could go anywhere in the world was understandably appealing.
Malik and his family emigrated from Pakistan to the United States when he was a teenager. During his junior year of high school, he set his sights on a new career: becoming a CPA. .
This field of work offered stability, security, and growth.
Fast forward a couple decades, and Malik is living the best of both worlds as a US supplier of world-class urban jewelry and watches. He has the freedom to travel and explore as well as the security and consistency he desired.
And, he’s celebrating the 20th year of his wholesale jewelry business.
His story is not unlike many first-generation Americans who see opportunities at every turn. By saying yes to these opportunities, leaning into his support system, and trusting his intuition, Malik became a thriving US supplier providing retailers with high-quality, designer-inspired wholesale jewelry and timepieces to sell at affordable prices.
I interviewed Malik about his entrepreneurship journey and learned two things right off the bat. One, Malik is not one for bragging and will attribute most of his success to his family by his side, and his faith in ‘do good and good will done unto you’. Second, your personal integrity affects your business’s integrity. More on that later.
Malik started using Spocket for his business in May of 2019 and had over 2200 sales to Spocket dropshippers during the first few months of onboarding.
How does a supplier join a dropshipping platform and start to exponentially grow his sales in such a short period of time?
Whether you’re a dropshipping retailer or a supplier, Malik’s story is sure to inspire, empower, and guide you to success.
Well, at the time I was enrolled in school to become a chartered accountant in Chicago. My uncle, an entrepreneur in the retail jewelry business in Texas, had offered me a position as a business development officer to help expand his brick and mortar footprint. I thoroughly enjoyed the deal making process while working with major developers, landlords and leasing agents of shopping malls.
I helped grow the organization to over thirty retail stores across the USA. Simultaneously, I learnt the trade, owned and operated my own retail jewelry stores and established a franchise retail jewelry model earning royalties from 26 jewelry stores across the United States. We sold gold karat jewelry, diamond jewelry and branded watches which is where I learnt the intricacies of the up & coming urban hip hop culture.
Growing up in the jewelry business, I always had an eye for men’s accessories and watches in particular. I was always on the creative side from the very beginning.
I have always been a self-starter and enjoy constructing unconventional solutions to conventional problems.
Being a watch enthusiast, I decided to start a wholesale jewelry business in watches and eventually began designing them myself.
My team and I design almost all of the products we sell. We seek inspiration from the things we see in the world today. We take those inspirations tweak the designs and cater them to our clients’ needs.
We import about 95% of the products we sell, almost all designed by us as a team.
I’ll share something important with you. Oftentimes, at the beginning, I would be up at night working with my partners overseas designing my watches. Sometimes they would get frustrated with me because I’d spend an enormous amount of time on a watch choosing the hour markers, hands, style of crown and type of dial for that watch - the wholesale selling price of the watch would only come out to, let’s say, $10 wholesale. But the enjoyment, the thrill, and the satisfaction was compounded once I received the end product. My team and I feel this sense of pride even today during our product development stage.
Small details like that are what I care about because I’ve never looked at my business simply as a tool to simply make money - I see it as a medium to construct social relationships, instill happiness in our product users and be a credible resource which retailers can depend on. I’ve always appreciated it as a piece of art while creating enjoyment for others.
Having someone as a guide you can trust, particularly in the early years, is crucial to your growth and to your level of confidence.
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that seasoned guidance and timely advice are worth far more than any capital infusion.
I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people whom I have learnt from over the years. Once you form good intentions and a plan to work hard at it, things automatically fall into place seamlessly and swiftly. I firmly believe in the equation; Correct Intention + Quality Energy = Quality Outcome
No matter how trivial or uneventful the circumstance or object, give each and everything its due respect and life will reciprocate by offering happiness, abundance and prosperity.
One of the key traits I attribute my success to is laser focus. I have been enticed with numerous opportunities throughout my 20 year wholesale jewelry career to divest, but the more energy and focus I have dedicated to my vision, the more content and satisfied I have felt along with my team. Thankfully we have remained firm on our mission which is to make luxury timepieces and jewelry affordable for the masses and we have successfully diversified within our domain offering an extensive collection of Men’s Jewelry today than we did a decade agoWe can’t afford to stay stagnant. So, I would say it’s the focus with ongoing evolution within that focus that has allowed us to get to where we are today.
No doubt, we’ve had our ups and downs, but going through those peaks and valleys has taught us valuable lessons along the way. We have seen trends come and go, preferences change, landscapes evolve but the one thing that has remained true and unchanged is the relationships we’ve forged over those years.
Your assessment about hiring the next associate may not always be spot-on, so consult, delegate and rely on an outside opinion from someone who knows - even your spouse. I have often shared resumes with my company HR strategist, who happens to be my wife, and have asked her to sit in interviews. There is no harm in consultation and seeking help from professionals who are better than you in the specific area you need assistance in, therefore willingness to consult is key to building a solid team.
Integrity, Intelligence and willingness to learn are the three key traits I seek in people when I hire. If the individual lacks integrity, you move on because the other two do not matter.
Rely on people who can do the job better than you. Take good care of your employees - furnish an environment that offers your team, liberty to speak their mind, freedom to make errors, execute well-thought-out decisions on their own and participate in company strategy meetings. Additionally, offer each one a performance plan that incentivizes your team that create efficiencies and increases revenues within of the organization.
20 years ago, on September 18th, 2000 we hired our first employee. Today, he’s our CEO.
Nothing clicks on the first attempt - it certainly didn’t for us. We’ve been through our ups and downs. But, if you vow to yourself that the path you’ve taken and the people you’re with are progressive in nature and the right fit for each other, quality outcome is bound to come your way.
Positive things are bound to happen when you have the right intentions. I’ve always firmly believed in the saying::
“Hard work never goes unrewarded, but hard work with good intention always brings good fortune.”
You know, people always ask themselves what should I do? What business should I get into? What products should I sell and so on and so forth. The most important clue is to pursue what you find the highest level of confidence in - it sets you apart from your competitors by miles.
Confidence and motivation to succeed heightens once you follow what you already know.
Often, people don’t end up pursuing what they are confident in and get caught up in the market noise or simply try to conform to societal norms which leads them astray. Each individual must endure and embrace their journey by being respectful to their trade and stakeholders, maintain core values and principles at all times and continue to learn and develop oneself to simply gain a 10% edge over competitors in your space - that 10% is enough and will set you apart in your trade. .
Perspective, Respect, Client success and Convenience of a one-stop shop are the key factors that distinguish us from our peers.
Perspective is the foremost element that separates us from our peers. We treat our jewelry and timepieces as pieces of art which we value and respect enormously versus viewing it as an object of monetary significance. we spend a valuable amount of time pursuing designs that cater truly to our beneficiaries (our clients) and adapt and ensure highest quality standards until we are truly satisfied. Our aim begins with design in mind, second comes quality standard and thirdly affordability. We have understood that sequence well and we have seen the evidence in our product introductions time and time again.
We have carved a niche for ourselves in our levels of service, our product range, our quality standards and our pricing; therefore it is not uncommon for certain clients to turn away from us for their own reasons, and that is Ok. We wish to establish stronger relationships with clients who love to work with us, appreciate us for who we are and truly understand us to our core. Therefore knowing who you serve is utmost critical as it helps shape who you are as a wholesale jewelry supplier and therefore you learn in the process who you are made for. It would be foolish for us to believe that we can cater to every retailer out there.
Link is the third major component that helps us gain a competitive advantage. Most common example is of a train with several rail cars attached to it; the more rail cars, the more power it needs to pull the weight initially; once the inertia is built, it automatically picks up speed and gains a firm foothold on the track. Similarly, we started with watches only, later added jewelry, then added hip hop jewelry, stainless steel, pure 925 silver, offered wholesale buying online, trade shows, completely stocked up warehouse, and recently added drop shipping - hence we are forming a chain to offer clients the most comprehensive, one-stop shop experience. Our aim is to offer convenience, quality service, quality product, all in a one-stop shop experience and be at top of mind of all the retailers we serve.
Finally, continued education I am constantly reading self-help books and frequently enroll in online courses on Coursera. I enjoy listening to podcasts and perspectives of thought leaders - Warren Buffet, Robert Kiyosaki, Oprah Winfrey, Simon Sinek, James Doty, Jeffrey Sachs to name a few.
Yes, certainly. I think no matter how digital your business becomes, quality human connection will lead to success and lack of it will lead to or demise of your company organization. Human beings have the urge to feel connected and maintain harmonious relationships with their interactions. It’s that relationship that keeps you top-of-mind and encourages your client to call you versus your competitor. Products and pricing play their part, but fundamentally it’s about how valued a client feels which induces their purchase behavior.
Whether we interact with clients in person or online, we emphasize treating them like humans versus a sales order. We always want to lead with genuine respect and appreciation. We focus on listening to their needs and offering viable solutions that genuinely address their inquiries. It’s about treating each client like the unique individual they are.
That’s one area we are working on now to incorporate into our overall wholesale strategy without deviating our company vision or business model of being a true B2B company.
Our harbinger was the evolving trends in Ecommerce retail which led us to take a deeper dive into diversifying our sales channels.An undisputed evidence to support our theory was the shrinking landscape of shopping malls around the nation. It's never going to fade away entirely, but it’ll evolve. The number of clients who have added online presence and dropshipping wholesalers to their sales channel is incalculable.
At the beginning of our year, we have a strategy meeting to discuss goals and overall direction for the company. Dropshipping has been on our radar for the last couple of years.
We wanted to prepare ourselves for it and one of the ways we did that was by making sure all of our inventory was barcoded and SKU-ed. Today, thanks to the help of everyone involved from our team to our partners, we are prepared. If we want to cater to 1000 merchants buying wholesale jewelry for resale, we’re able to do that efficiently and seamlessly.
Get to know your dropshipping wholesaler beyond the facade of well-built websites and fancy photos. Essentially, you want your drop shipper to be your gateway into the hearts of the end consumers which you will work tirelessly acquiring through various advertising mediums. You want to make sure they’re healthy, well-balanced and possess integrity. Your investment of advertising dollars, energy, time and resource is on the basis of that supplier - you ought to do all you can to learn about them.
Test your supplier prospects. Send them an inquiry and see how fast they respond to you. Are they professional in their response and timeliness? Do they have well documented procedures and operating agreements? Interview them and learn more about the founder, their team and their operation to gain confidence in your next steps. Contact the Better Business Bureau and other trade agencies about feedback which clients and their suppliers have posted. Inquire if the supplier exhibits at any reputable trade shows, ask for photographs and videos and if you are able, visit their warehouse and showroom. It’s as I said earlier, confidence furnishes better influence over decisions which leads to higher probability of success and happiness.
High quality product photos and their detailed descriptions replace the physical contact a buyer has with a salesperson in a brick and mortar establishment today. I think the description makes a big difference. But so does photography because seeing is believing. We always get attracted to something first by looking. It’s in our nature. So, if something is pleasing to the eye, you will be motivated to engage with that product.
Our team worked hard tirelessly for a year preparing for our professional product photography and details around it, integrating and implementing an internal POS system with UPC codes to offer live inventory to our merchants, incorporating latest technology to ensure seamless integration with merchant websites and constructing a process which is standardized offering predictability to our merchants. We strive to supply at least 4 different angles of every product including an infographic and a lifestyle pose regardless of it’s cost. This gives the buyer the complete user experience so they can confidently make their purchase.
Listen to your clients and critically analyze from their perspective. For us, that’s key because we are customer centric.
I might have 5 products I really want to push, but if I’m seeing and hearing a customer correctly and those 5 products aren’t right for them, pushing them isn’t doing either of us any good. They might buy from me once, but they won’t return. So, our philosophy has been very straightforward and simple. Being ethical and professional are key pillars of our company’s core values.
Let us hear you, what and who you are, who you cater and sell to, and then let us guide you to products that might be a good fit.
This is the culture we have here in our showroom with all our sales guys. If a customer chooses something that we know isn’t really a good seller, we will inform them gladly. We are very honest and very transparent.
One of the ways we are transparent is by being consistent. Whatever products and prices you see on the website are the exact same as in our showroom. It’s the exact same price you will find in our exhibition. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that the customer understands that that’s the level of consistency that they can expect from us and can rely on each time.
We have started to offer private label brand promotional packaging options to our drop shippers who are serious about creating their own brand of jewelry and watch products. We have that capability with our factories in China and can deliver quality product in a timely manner. This will allow drop shippers to gain extra margin and create a name and place for themselves in the vast marketplace.
Introducing newer and trendier product lines within our domain will remain our focus therefore drop shippers can expect larger variety of jewelry and watches from us every month. This will help keep their inventory and website fresh and clients returning for more jewelry pieces.
Interested in dropshipping Malik's products? You can find his products under the supplier name "Lilac Quartz".
Devon is a content writer with experience in writing for marketing firms and green businesses. Her passion for sustainability and ethical businesses makes her an effective writer for empowering people.