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Supplier Global Resource Magazine March/April 2012 : Page 52

SELLING INTO CANADA Quebec is a whole other story. “If someone is interested in going into all of Canada, the French culture and French lan-guage are significant things that would be very important to take a look at and invest in some capabilities,” Turner says. “If they are going to go into Quebec, there are specific language laws they have to be aware of in terms of what has to be in French. If you’re going to do something bilingual, you have to know how big the French text has to be versus the English. Those are sometimes a bit of a surprise to companies first coming into Canada. They’re 25% of the Canadian population, so there’s significant business to be done there, but it’s com-pletely different.” Though there’s even more of a learning curve for doing business in Quebec, there are also opportunities for suppli-ers of more novel items. “They would be much more fashion-forward and willing to try new things more than the rest of Canada would,” Cumming says. It’s also crucial to understand that while the Canadian mar-ket is growing, it’s still small compared with the U.S. promo-tional products industry. Cumming says U.S. suppliers should set their expectations accordingly. “We work just as hard to get the small order as you do to get the big order,” she says. “Sometimes the U.S. suppliers say, ‘Oh, it’s only for 100 pieces.’ Y ou have to respect that that’s a good order.” Many U.S. suppliers may find such orders worth the effort. M-i Line, a Willmar, MN-based supplier that specializes in housewares, recently dipped its toe into the Canadian market. Steven Meyer, vice president of sales, says the company did all of its due diligence before taking the plunge, and recommends other suppliers do the same. “First of all, listen to what people are telling you,” says Meyer. “People ask, ‘Do you have Canadian pricing? Is there a Canadian website?’ Go there and do some investigation. See if you’ve got the right market. Do the road shows that are avail-able and see if there’s some interest. At that point, you’ve got to make the decision on whether you’re going to go ahead, because it is going to cost a little more. But if you have something where you think you can get that half-million, $1 million in sales, it’s probably worth the effort.”  John Moore is an IL-based freelance business writer, who cov-ers financial issues for CNBC and writes frequently for Supplier Global Resource. Reduce Your Overseas Lead Times SGR/8000 From printing to packing, Probtain handles it all under one roof. • Fabric Extrusion • Printing • Lamination • Cutting • Sewing • Pack and load Learn more about how we can help you! Call us today at +86-592-5518177, email: frank@probtain.com or visit www.probtain.com . Address: No. 162 Tongan Industrial Zone, Xiamen, Fujian, China 52 MARCH/APRIL 2012 WWW.SUPPLIERGLOBALRESOURCE.COM

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