International Sale?

Okay, I need some guidance as I am completely clueless in this area.
I’ve been contacted by a jewelry company in Saudi Arabia who wants
to carry my work. I googled them right away and the business is real
and has ties to a well known American Corp. I’ve told them I don’t
wholesale and that my production is limited to 20-25 pieces. I told
them I’d have to confer with my book-keeper on pricing. They still
want to go ahead and have asked me to hold some pieces pending an

Do you have any experience with international sales to a retailer? I
have to figure out how to price them at a % that won’t make me wish
I’d said no, deal with customs, I know. Anything else? I think I
should ask for a bank transfer or some other prepayment. I can call
Customs and they will tell me what I’m obligated to do (any advice on
working with them?). I’m thinking Parcel Pro and Jewelers Mutual
would be helpful.

If you have knowledge or red alerts you’d share with me, I’d
appreciate it very much, as I told them I would get back to them

Thank you!
Marianne Hunter

hello Marianne

red flags, well i grew up in Lebanon and our family used to do a lot
of business In Saudieh. My dad was the jeweler.

Ahhh lately it seems that they have been looking for beginning /
start up ideas, info education, design and craftsmenship as they are
getting the very best since they can pay for it well, then the cycle
is to send the people home or cut the deal off or stop the
purchasing even if there is a contract. they pay their way out.

i would Say that they may have seen your work liked it enough to
purchase it outright, for once or twice,and then start making it
over there. with out your consent.

the only peice of advice i can give you is charge them as high as
you think you can and then double that. not because they will pay
but because it usually is a one time deal even if they say it isn’t
it comes with a lot of headaches,unforseen, and usually the price
you charge is stil not enough.

to my Knowledge most of the bigger design houses are already there
working their way to the best positions in the feild, best stores
best areas, most exclusive deals at the most expensive Malls, There
is an incredible amount of money there, the Malls i speak of you
have not seen the equals here in this country or europe. but these
are not the Same saudi’s of the 70s and 80s, a whole new generation
of very sshrewd buisness people, with Lots of finnancial back up. in
the past they were employing all foreign goldsmiths the very best
and highest paid, last year when i went home visiting alot of those
smiths had been sent home. in 2005 or 06 there was goldsmithing
positions open for dubai,i was thinking about it; it turned out it
would be similar to go start working and then in 4 to 6 months you
were done since they got the education they needed from you and sent
you home,they would not sign any contracts. and what ever you made
is it.

The Ties with an American corporation,If I were you i would take a
deeper look into that,and not accept it as a good thing, usually
there is more to it then simple trade of buisness. I would also be
very curious to finding out how they found you, that is very
important as to a tell tell sign of how they do buisness.

it probably sounds too good to pass up… for me when it’s like
that,people are telling me of red flags all over, I do jump but with
eyes open to see where i would land and do some damage control as
you go along. because there is going to be damage, it just is the
nature of the beast. Are you trusting them with your disigns? are
you trusting them in their reorders? there deals and contracts?
their payment plans? for how long?

customs is huge there and that is why they will prefer to start
making the work there, it will be cheaper for them,and they will
still charge the same as yours or a little under.

bank transfers are best, not cheapest though. go with the most
secure way and not the convenient way. it is a very far away place
that may be inaccessible for some.

as to the customs ordeal, you will need a broker here and there, it
could possibly be the same company, but all these people will need
to get their fair pay.price of the work goes up.

well hope this helps some what, if it was me I would deffinatly do
it, i also know the chances of succes in this endevor are slim, but
the experience may be worth it if you can afford it.

good luck
Hratch Babikian

call the JBT find out what they are willing to advise on
international business transactions



I’d recommend steering clear of an actual international sale.
Suggest to the Saudi’s that thier stateside agent in the stateside
corporation they are connected to purchase the items from you in the
conventional manner. Then they can have the headaches of transporting
the item to the Saudi’s rather than you.

That way, if things go south, you won’t have to cope with U.S
Customs, Saudi Customs, and Sharia (which is designed to give
"infidels" the shortend).

Andrew Jonathan Fine

If I was contacted out of the blue from across the sea and they
showed up on google I think I would seek out independent verification
and references… Anybody can start a company, anybody can build a

If they want to front the money and wait for the goods…why not? If
they want credit…tread carefully.

I've been contacted by a jewelry company in Saudi Arabia who wants
to carry my work. 

I’ve sold internationally but not enough to matter. All of the
Arabic countries have a radically different world view than America,
in particular. None more than the Saudis. In no way is it bad, just
quite different… Get ready for that…


I consult in this field for money… Red Flags are the beginning…
First, If they want to deal with you they will have to arrange for
your travel to their facility to make the deals in person. you do
not do deals over the wwweb. period. They may elect to come to you-
however, to set up any long term contractual agreement they will
have to incur all expenses for your travel and lodging and expenses
first. Then you need to go armed with a host of documents that will
require an impartial international law firm to execute in perpetuity,
including international rights to non-competition and non-disclosure
which in an Arab country will be hard to enforce, without your
consulate getting involved. In fact you will need your consulate to
that country to become your ally and new best friend to protect your
interests. Or you can simply sell them individual pieces at a 2. 5
retail markup with their sigining clearly written contracts that
prohibit, EXPRESSLY, their reproduction, alteration or otherwise
imitation in any form, material and/or state of expression and not
limited to artistically, intellectually, in print or other media or
otherwise transmitted for public or private sale. You will need good
representation and a license for trade (import/export) for luxury
goods to that country since your pieces command a reasonably high
price as they are one-offs and not run-of-the-mill jewelry

I see many points that would take me hours to list here that you
need to have in place before the first piece leaves your bench or
collection… It seems a recipe for counterfeiting in the highest
degree if you do not personally make all arrangements and look the
dealer in the eye ( at their expense as they contacted you - you did
not solicit them). You are not dealing with the same culture in this
venture so you must insure your concerns are protected to the fullest
extent possible and as for deposits, etc. They may be legitimate as
far as being a business but you have no personal ties or contacts
within their system to cover your assets and protect against the
inherent dangers of doing business long distance, including but not
limited to the transmission of your banking (you have to
set up a differnt account from any other you have for dealing with
payments, deposits, security bonds, surety bonds and legal escrow

before you ship the first piece), and any other personal information
they may be privy to in creating a trade relationship. If you are
alarmed that is good. It is not like they send you 75% down per piece
and you wait for the items to sell. They must buy you work outright
with your option to retreive your works unsold after “X” period of
time if unsold and design an ironclad contractual agreement that
provides for every detail down to the postage, insurance and
carriers… If you are willing to go international, you MUST realize
the dangers and get reasonable counsel and travel to the facility,
as there may be a full out production facility that they are not
divulging to you in the back of their storefront.

This is not paranoia in any way, just years of experience in
international law, and seeing many get sucked into the prospect of
easy sales. You think you’ll inssure it, send it and collect the
funds and pay your taxes when the pieces sell. It is not that simple
friend…It may be legitimate but you need solid contracts in place
and in person transactions at least in the beginning. We aren’y
talking about $5, 000. 00 pieces here but an inventory worth in the 7
figures- be wise, that demands at least a meeting to set up the
details. It cannot be done through emails with any guarantees that
your interests will be protected in any way. If you would like to
discuss this further I would be happy to help off of this forum. Feel
free to contact me with questions etc., But I urge you not to jump
into this in any way given the caliber and unique nature of your work
that you have spent many years cultivating and branding.

Doing so would be like giving a stranger license to reproduce your
work in any scale they wish and without constraints.


I haven’t had a chance to read Orchid lately or I would have
answered this sooner. To me, it has LOTS of red flags. First you need
to verify not only that this company exists but its reputation. One
way I have checked out inquiries is to put the name or email address,
etc. into google with the words fraud or scam… amazing what will
then show up. Also see if you can find other US companies they have
dealt with and what their experience has been with them. And nothing
should leave your hands until payment has been made and cleared…
at least 2 weeks. Check with your bank with the bank transfer to see
if they can take the money back without your permission out of your
account. Many cashier’s checks look very real and will be accepted by
your bank and it takes a couple of weeks for the fraud to be

Also Parcel Pro does not cover every place and you need to make sure
you can obtain coverage and if there are any restrictions on what
can be shipped into that country. I’ve not checked Saudi Arabia but
some other countries do not allow gold or finished jewelry, etc. or
not over a certain value and we have not been able to ship our work
to a number of countries that had potential clients.

Also ANYTIME someone gives pressure in terms of time, especially
when meeting them is not easily possible, I would be concerned. Even
though we make wedding rings and sometimes people leave getting the
rings to the last moment we are careful about “rush” orders,
especially internationally.

There are companies on the web that have on
companies…usually very basic info for free (number of employees,
etc., address, etc.) but you can obtain more if you
purchase it and that might be worth the price for more
Let us know what you do and how it works out. Good luck!

Mrs. Terry Binnion
General Manager
James Binnion Metal Arts, LLC


A few years ago while working as a corporate manager, I was invited
by Saudi Arabia to travel to Riyadh for the purpose of discussing a
contract for airline travel. There are some wonderful things about
this part of the world. Saudi Air offered to provide all reasonable
expenses for four days. They prepared a detailed agenda with time
scheduled for me to learn about the culture of Saudi so I would
understand customs and laws. They shared with me Saudi documents and
the visa form which states :

Passengers not complying with Saudi conventions of dress and
behavior will not be permitted entry. There are special
regulations concerning pilgrims entering Saudi Arabia. Women and
under-aged children should be accompanied by a Moharram(close
male family member). Unaccompanied women must be met at the
airport by their sponsor or husband and have confirmed onward
reservations as far as their final destination in Saudi Arabia.
If met by a sponsor, it is worth noting that there are
restrictions on women travelling by car with men who are not
related by blood or marriage (women are not permitted to drive).
However, it is acceptable for women visiting for business
purposes to be accompanied and met at the airport by male
business partners: further enquiries can be made at the
centre or embassy. 


  • Business visas do not grant the applicant the right to work in the
    Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • Visitors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must abide by the
    country’s Islamic laws and regulations and respect its society’s
    values and traditions.

  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s laws against drug trafficking are
    strictly enforced. Violators are subject to severe punishment, which
    may include the death penalty.

And, I was told I would be provided a very nice black, hooded robe
to wear during my stay in The Kingdom. Please be sure you are aware
of all conventions and cultural requirements before you make this
type of a trip.

Best wishes, Mary A

Often your nearest Chambers of Commerce can help with exporting
and documentation etc, They have links to the Chambers
in the destination country. Some locations are also covered with
joint ones - for example a USA/Saudi Arabia Chamber - this is likely
in this case due to the large oil and engineering trade between these
two countries. Your local Chamber will have the contact information
and can check on your prospective customer companies credentials,
local regulations and customs procedures.

In some cases in the Middle East and Africa you have to get your
export/import documentation pre-certified by the chambers prior to
shipping or your goods can be held by the destination customs for
weeks and in some cases months and run up big costs. I remember that
one African country insists that all documents are on a special
shade of green paper only obtainable from their agent.

There are lots of mine fields in export/import make sure that you
don’t step on one.

Robin Key
Clavis Jewellery
Aberdeen, Scotland