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  1. #1

    Default How To Market Freshwater pearls from Bangladesh for adoption fundraiser

    I live in Bangladesh but am an American. We are adopting a child and looking into selling freshwater pearl necklace and ear-ring sets as a fundraiser to help with our adoption cost.
    However, I am not sure what the most popular length, size, and color and would love some advice??
    I've seen beautiful white, black/iridescent and pink freshwater pearls available here.

    Also, we can get them at an insanely low price here, but I'm not sure what the value would be in the states.
    I've been told that folks who have bought a simple white 16inch 9mm set here for around $10, have had them appraised in the states for 3 or 4 times that value. So, I am also trying to decide on a good asking price that's fair, but will also help our adoption cause.
    Any suggestions would be helpful? I was thinking around $30.

    We also had an idea to market a tiny strand and maybe matching bracelet for little girls, but I'm not sure if it would be popular or about the price. I can purchase a 16 inch strand of 5-6mm freshwwater pearls here for approx $4.25-$4.50 USD

    Thanks for any wisdom you can share!!!

  2. #2

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    Wow, I guess either no one knows or no one care...

  3. #3
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I am sorry no one answered. I saw this and the thought of what you must do to accomplish this was so overwhelming, I passed on answering.

    I think you may know more about pearls from Bangladesh than anyone here. I never heard about much pearl farming over there, though this is not the first I have heard of pearls in Bangladesh. Are they really grown there? Or imported from China? The black ones would be dyed. The white ones bleached and the pink/peach and or lavender can be natural occurring colors, but may also be dyed.

    It is not easy to break into selling pearls. The competition must be worse than trying to break into Hollywood as an actor. However, a fundraiser or plural of them, may work, if you have a a good mailing list.

    Would you sell the pearls as is, or turn them into jewelry?Would you make the jewelry yourselves or hire it out? How would you intend to find people to sell too? A pearl business start-up would be extremely time consuming because you would have to be all over it all the time to get the right publicity to sell and so much more. It is no longer a matter of finiding a few made up pieces and reselling in America. You absolutely must exploit your own resources (friends and acquaintences) and unless you have a lot of those.........

    I guess I would rather pass on answering than be so negative.

    Can you prove the pearls are grown in Bangaldesh? If so, do they compete with Chinese pearls of the same quality? In pearls you get what you pay for, and those very inexpensive pearls do not sell for very much in markup. In my experience, they sell pearls in evrey tourist spot in the world and claim them as locally grown, but they are all really from China. You would have to prove to me, these actually were grown in Bangladesh. Like by naming the farm. If they do have such a farm, you need to go right to the owners of the farm or the processors who buy from the farms to know they were really grown there.

    I recommend you look at pearls for sale on ebay and imagine how you would out-compete the Chinese.

    Please feel free to prove me wrong and come back and rub my nose in it. I will be very happy for you, but glad I cautioned you to be knowledgeable. I would be delighted to hear about the reality of home grown Bangladeshi pearls.... Even if so, the competition from China must be overwhelming to the local industry as far as competing in prices goes.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    The pearls aren't grown in Bangladesh. They are Chinese freshwater - imported.

  5. #5
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    I missed your post, but Caitlin is right that it's an overwhelming prospect. Are you bringing the pearls in your baggage to sell in the US? If they are finished jewelry, there would be import duty to pay. Then you would need a business license to sell them and you would need to collect state sales tax. Otherwise, how would you sell them? I'm not sure how you would get "donations" for yourselves and avoid taxes.

    Caitlin is also right that it is unlikely that the pearls are home-grown. Clearly, there are natural pearls in Bangladesh and there have been some efforts to culture pearls, but not in any commercially successful venture, as far as I have heard. That would mean that they are from China.

    I hate to be all doom and gloom, but we are awash with inexpensive pearls here and you could be left holding a cache of pearls that are worth what you paid for them and no profits. On the other hand, how wonderful for you to be adopting a child. I hope it goes well for you.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  6. #6
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Kat,

    Sometimes the posts don't show up as new, so we miss them. You might take a look at etsy.com. Some of us have shops there, an easy format is presented to list your items and show photos. Take a look there and see how your items might fit in. I have no idea what mailing costs you might have, it's just a thought~
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  7. #7

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    Well, I really wasn't expecting a response. Thank you for all the input and patience with my frustration.
    I am pretty sure that they are grown here, although I will need to do some investigating to be able to prove that. I'm not really starting a business, just doing a seasonal fund raiser. I have a really great pearl shop in the capital where they hand string the jewelry and knot it. They've always done a great job for us for friends coming through. I understand that you have to import quite a bit before you must pay taxes on them, so I wasn't worried about that. This won't be mass scale. I have friends taking back a bit at a time in their carry on that other friends will then mail to the buyers. We have a pretty sizable network of friends and supporters that will get the word out for the adoption fundraiser. I think for the price we get them here for, we can make a 50% profit and still offer folks a great product at a great price. I still need to find out the grade of the pearls. I will be visiting the shop next week and find out more. Here's what I know to ask as of now: Where are these grown? What grade? Then I want to get price quotes on the lengths and colors I plan on offering so I can see if the profit will be worth the effort to sell them. I'll let you know what I find out. Are there any other questions you think I should ask of the pearl shop dealers in preparing to sell this product?

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    They will almost certainly tell you they are grown locally, but you should arm yourself with knowledge before trying to do any negotiating with the sellers. The first piece of knowledge you should have is 'what exactly are you buying?' The answer is 'Chinese Freshwater Pearls.'

    Bangladesh is known for natural pink freshwater pearls that are more gold than pink. They pearls can be very expensive. Theoretically pearls could be cultured there on a small commercial scale and some in the government (Google Hasina pearls Bangladesh) have been pushing for an industry, but commercial farming hasn't taken off.

    Chinese freshwater pearls are sold all over the world. Tourists are almost always the target and are almost universally lied to about the pearl origin. I've seen it myself in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Hawaii ...

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    This is a photo of it actually happening in Vietnam. If you can make it out, there is a photograph on a Vietnamese akoya pearl farm on top of the Chinese pearls. The vendor used the photo in an attempt to convince us of the origin.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    It is not easy to cultivate freshwater pearls and since Jeremy knows just about every pearl farm in the world, I would accept his word. I knew there was something going on in Bangladesh, but it is the natural pearls, not the cultured freshwater

    Also we had some folks buy pearls in Saudi Arabia as local natural pearls and they turned out to be freshwater from China. ( And they paid about 1,000 times more than they were worth). A very good friend of mine bought some "local native pearls" in Greece, which were also Chinese Freshwater pearls. This scam goes on in every country in the world that has some ocean front.

    Please do try to find who imports the pearls you are interested in, because you will not find a pearl farm anywhere. You could probably buy the pearls off ebay for the same prices. The finished pieces are also all made in China and were imported to Bangladesh.

    Please do not sell your pearls for the adoption with a fake story; you will never be proud of what you did unless it is genuine from beginning to end.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  11. #11
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Sarah's Avatar
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    If they are nice $10 per strand pearls that can actually be knotted and sold at a profit, it doesn't seem that a Chinese origin is a bad thing as long as it's disclosed. However cheap strands are usually chalky, lusterless or heavily blemished. Otherwise, I do think inexpensive pearl sets are a nice fundraising idea and congratulations on your adoption.

  12. #12

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    Ok, thanks for all the input. I'll find out what I can.
    I appreciate the help and insight.

  13. #13
    New Member coabadsantos's Avatar
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    I have visited Dhaka, Bangladesh several times over the past eight years. On my first trip, I was excited about the "Bangladeshi pearls". I was surprised and disappointed because all the pearls being sold were Chinese freshwater pearls. They had quite a selection from low quality dyed pearls to large near round white pearls. I still bought several strands since, with a lot of bargaining, the prices were cheaper than the ones being sold in Greenhills. It is probably because Bangladesh is nearer China.

  14. #14

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    Interesting story.

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