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Leadership Lessons With Edith G. Tolchin, of EGT Global Trading


Get out and vote, volunteer, and also “Give peace a chance!”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Edith G. Tolchin, writer, journalist and owner of EGT Global Trading . Ms. Tolchin has worked with Chinese factories since 1990, holds a U.S. customs broker license and is the author of books on inventing, product safety and sourcing in China, as well as her recent foray into comedic fiction with Fanny on Fire, a Foreword Reviews INDIE Book Awards Finalist. She has been involved in importing since 1973, and currently works with developing textile and sewn products in China, for inventors and is a columnist for Inventors Digest.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Back in the seventies, when a young woman in New York City graduated college, she invariably went to an employment agency. We had no online recruiters back then. I was asked, “Can you type?” without any regard to my course of study. Since I could type with two fingers, I said “Yes,” and was sent to an import company. I had no idea what importing was and we didn’t have Dr. Google to check. Needless to say, I started as a clerk typist, and through employment with various importing companies, after more than twenty years, I worked my way up to import manager at my last employer. After that, in 1997 I created EGT Global Trading armed with my twenty years plus background of importing all sorts of commodities.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Every project is new and exciting because I work with inventors. So, I get to see new inventions before they hit the markets. I actually help develop these new products from idea sketch, all the way through prototype, packaging design, website design, sourcing/product safety issues with China factories, quality control, final shipment inspections and legally importing into the United States.


None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

In 1990, the owner of a small import company in suburban New York City was a wise old gentleman who, when I asked, “How do I do this?” (regarding a technical China import question) simply said to me, “Figure it out.” And I did!

What do you think are the new untapped markets in China that may become the next “big thing”?

Probably any commodities that aren’t cost-effective to be manufactured here in the USA or in other countries. Experts in China have the antennae and knowledge to pick this up and do whatever is necessary to duplicate the products in an economical fashion.

What challenges does that new market face? How would you address it?

Convincing the biggest markets that there is a demand for that new product. I would just begin to sell the new product on Amazon. Great start for any new product. Having PR in your budget helps as well.


Can you share the top challenges of doing business in China and how you overcame them?

Certainly, it’s quality control issues. With every new purchase order, I take my clients’ products through pre-production and mass-production sampling. Then, a final shipment inspection is ordered. Also, a contingency plan along the line of a defective merchandise clause clearly spelled out in a purchase order contract is helpful. If the factory is interested in repeat business, they will comply with your requests.

We keep hearing about the “Trade War”. What are your thoughts about it? Given the unknowns, how do you plan to pivot?

I am hoping, for the sake of my inventor-clients, that this is just a short term, temporary problem. For example, clients might be able to absorb the 25% tariff increase in other ways — hopefully without raising their retail pricing. In these times, importers will certainly be forced to find creative solutions and I’m sure they will. Big box stores will ultimately revolt or go out of business. I read today that approximately 70-percent of Walmart’s products are made in China.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

For the client who (for example) did not want to invest the $200 to have a final shipment inspection done, I said, “Okay, but you will have to deal with defective product — because there always is something that must be fixed before shipment.” I guess, working with Chinese factories since 1990, I have seen so many different issues arise that it has made me much more skeptical in life, in general.


You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Get out and vote, volunteer, and also “Give peace a chance!”

Originally published at medium.com

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