Where do you begin when you want to grow your business to reach international markets? Venturing into the world marketplace can be daunting, from negotiating the labyrinth of import and export regulations, to ensuring that your interests are protected in overseas markets, and more. A recent PBA poll on the challenges of Import/Export (see survey results in this month’s Member Microphone) indicates that half of all respondents feel they do not have the knowledge they need to successfully tackle this activity.

Here are some tips, advice and resources from the Professional Beauty Association (PBA).

Find New Customers

Exhibit with, or attend Cosmoprof North America (CPNA), the largest US business-to-business trade show for beauty industry manufacturers, reps, and distributors. Nearly one third of exhibiting companies and one quarter of attendees are from outside the US. CPNA offers education and resources to help exhibitors and attendees make profitable connections and gain knowledge on international business practices. Organizational members of the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) receive two complimentary three-day passes to this world class event: individual members receive one. Visit cosmoprofnorthamerica.com for more information. Show dates are July 22-24, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here’s a great suggestion from importexport.about.com. Find the Embassy of the country where you would like to do business at usembassy.gov. Learn as much as you can about this country, its markets, its consumers… and then make contact with a key person at the embassy and ask for help locating industry-related customers in their country. They report great success with this technique.

Protect Your Interests

Consult with Beauty Insurance Consultants (BIC), PBA’s manufacturer/distributor member insurance benefit provider. BIC is very knowledgeable about the international beauty business trade and will analyze your business needs and provide education and a customized plan. Contact BIC at 201.566.5608, visit www.beautyins.com, or email info@beautyins.com to talk about what you need to rest easy.

Negotiate Licensing and Regulations

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) in partnership with the trade association for Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) has published the A Guide to European Cosmetic Regulations, 3rd Edition. This new, third edition is updated to include information on the EU’s new legislation, known as the “Recast”. Fully effective June 2013, this 100-page reference provides essential information on several important changes. The Guide is available to PBA and ICMAD members for $150; non-members pay $250. Get details to purchase the guide probeauty.org/research/#resources.

Valuable Links and Resources on the Web

There are many essential and excellent resources available on the internet to increase your knowledge about import-export logistics. Find links to these resources and more on PBA’s Professional Links page.

One of the best sites to learn more about international trade is export.gov, offering Four Essential Resources to US companies:

  1. Export and sales assistance from Commercial Service trade professionals in more than 100 US cities and 80 countries
  2. Trade Data and Analysis
  3. Webinars for a very low registration fee, on topics ranging from export regulations to country-specific information
  4. Industry-specific updates including market research, trade events and leads. Be sure to check out their Basic Guide at export.gov/basicguide.

trade.gov is the website for the US Dept. of Commerce International Trade Administration. They provide additional resources to US companies through export.gov.

Check out the resources available from the trade association for Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD). The organization offers support for member companies in a variety of areas related to import/export activities.

The World Trade Organization (wto.org) offers statistics, documents and resources and is a higher authority on the rules governing world trade.

Have a great link or resource you want to share?  Email Teena Austin at teena@probeauty.org with your suggestions.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Business Organization (www.iccwbo.org) is a member-based, international business organization. In the US, the US Council for International Business (www.uscib.org)  is the national committee for the ICC; companies interested in joining ICC should contact USCIB directly.

Please share your opinions on Company Culture in the May poll! The results will be reported in the June issue of PBA Progress.