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Treasure Hunt

Hit the mark when you're hunting for products to sell.
December 1, 2003

Q: How do I find products to carry in a catalog?.

Name withheld

A: There are many ways to find products to sell in direct-mail catalogs and on Web sites. But first you need to identify the specific types of customers who will be apt to buy from you. They'll be the market segment for whom you select products. With your customers firmly in mind, your search will be much easier.

The following Web sites can help you identify various suppliers and their products:

To locate smaller companies that produce products but may not have made it onto sites like those above, use search engines like Google and Yahoo! Also, check eBay and other auction sites regularly for closeouts of products that suit your customers.

Offline searching can be productive as well. New products often get their first public exposure at invention shows, craft fairs and swap meets. Sometimes, product producers are testing public reaction and will incorporate changes based on feedback and requests as they roll into production. You can find shows in your area by searching the Web. For example, for arts and crafts shows, check out Enjoy your treasure hunt!

Paul and Sarah Edwards are co-authors of 15 books, including The Entrepreneurial Parent. Send them your start-up questions at or in care of Entrepreneur.