What Lights Do You Like the Most & What Should I Sell in My Up Coming Store

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OverlandLight
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What Lights Do You Like the Most & What Should I Sell in My Up Coming Store

Hi Guys, I’ve been a flashlight collector for years and am looking to set up a website for selling various lights. Initially I was thinking to do it mainly for the Overlanding Community (basically car camping with cool off road rigs, led light bars on the trucks, etc), but the more cool flashlights I get, the more I’d like to build out that part of the store. I realize that there is a lot of competition and many places to buy, etc. so I’d appreciate your expertise in what some of the “best” lights to carry would be. By “best” I mean the best value, pure cool factor, or your favorite go to flashlights.

So far I have and like the following, see below. Please let me know of what you really like and would value in a store located in the USA. If you see your lights listed, please still comment so I can gather some data. I’m not asking for sales (my store isn’t working yet) but looking for patterns to see what I should look into by learning what other flashaholics are into. Before I found BLF and /flashlight, I never knew about cool brands like Emisar and Fireflies. So I still have a lot to learn.

I see a lot of value in the Sofirn and Convoy brands. I personally think the Emisar and Fireflies are awesome and a great value too but have not contacted them. It is still early days and nothing is for certain. Once/if I’m set up I’ll have a BLF discount, of course. Probably fairly generous one since this is the only board I am asking, fyi.

Thanks in advance.

Sofirn SP36
Sofirn C8F
Sofirn SP33
Sofirn SF36
Lumintop Tool
Lumintop GT Mini
HaikeLite MT03 TA
Convoy S2+
Convoy BD06 (hasn’t arrived yet)
Nitecore NU25
Nitecore HC30
Nitecore HC65
Emisar D4
Emisar D4S
Fireflies E07

Edited by: OverlandLight on 02/15/2019 - 23:52
koziy
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Well, I guess you could start looking for quality (or high value) flashlights that people are talking about here and elsewhere that can only be purchased new by means of a 3 week wait for epacket shipping from China. I would want to be smart about what I chose if I were doing it, since some models simply might not be popular enough to make it worth it to hold inventory, but there is still a lot of stuff you can’t get domestically. I had a hard time finding any US sellers that had Convoy flashlights with the new firmware or any of the current LED options, for example, and during Chinese New Year, the normal 3 week shipping time turns into twice that. There are other small online stores that import some of these flashlights for domestic distribution at a couple dollar mark up. For example, Mountain Electronics does this with Emisar and Convoy. Many people are willing to pay that mark up to get their flashlight in 1 week as opposed to three, but you’d be competing with them, so I guess it’s all about whether you can get enough profit while maintaining a competitive price. For example, Sofirn has products available through Amazon Prime (selection is limited now, but might not be in the future), so it might be a hard sell to convince people to buy a Sofirn from you and not Amazon.

If you have any kind of technical know-how, then you might take it to the next step and think of ways to provide value without overhead, for example a custom modding/building service or if there’s a certain flashlight that people commonly need some expertise to get running properly or a trained eye to check for QC issues (ahem Fireflies E07), you could offer a QC inspection service for a nominal fee.

OverlandLight
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That makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the advice and the time you took to share that.

DBSAR
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Our upcoming BLF LT1 Lantern when we get it ready & into production would be a good one to add to your store to cover the lantern & area lighting category, ( it will be built by Sofirn) here is the project build topic: >> http://budgetlightforum.com/node/44923

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

Lightbringer
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I gotta second what kosly said. Most “budget” lights are now commodities, and you can get them either from the seller’s own store on AX, from Amazon, or from a variety of other suppliers that offer flash sales, coupons, etc. You’d be competing with all of them.

With the added markup from Amazon, even, returns are a cinch, vs from overseas where you’re pretty much stuck even with a DOA light unless you return it, or maybe get a nice shiny quarter to make up for your woe.

So the question is what you’d need to differentiate OL from all the me-too businesses. Honestly, I don’t know. A strip-down-and-rebuild service, making sure everything’s beyond perfect (switch action, threads lubed, O-rings intact and lubed, centered emitter, etc., etc., etc.), that’s a lot of time to do something which may or may not be worth it (definitely not, with glued-shut lights).

And with out-of-the-box good quality lights, there’s not much to do anyway, so…

You might buy in bulk and sell retail, higher-end and/or specialty lights like Haikelites. The bigger donks that sell well into the triple-digits might be worth the effort to make sure they’re 100% prime beef.

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OverlandLight
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The lantern is not bad idea. But Lightbringer, you are definitely correct. With all the China makers, etc selling directly on all the discount platforms, or the Olights of the world selling from China via their US sales site, its a crazy thin margin environment. On a $50 light you might, and I mean might, be able to make $3 or so after shipping and selling fees, unless you really buy in bulk, and then the risk goes up that a better, nicer led, etc comes out. I definitely can’t run a store on flashlights alone. That’s were the Overlanding equipment might come in. I wasn’t planning on getting rich, just paying for some of my addiction. It’s a good learning project. Anyway, worst case, I’ll just enjoy a bunch of cool flashlights. Thanks.

AlexGT
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How about neutral white SST-40’s and 20’s in 5000K, White flats in 1 and 2mm2 ?

wstrachan
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Astrolux FT02/03
Astrolux MF02
Lumintop ODL20C
Skilhunt S3pro
Rofis MR30
Wuben A21/T70
All the Emissars

light addict....yeah I've got the bug.

Atrolux MF02_O2S
Imalent DT70
Emissar (All Models)
Lumintop ODL20C
Wuben A21 & T70
thrunite tn32 ut
acebeam k60
many, many others...

WOTR
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I don’t want to come off as negative- I am hoping that you know your intended customer better than I do. However, I would think that most “regular” customers (read not on this forum) are unlikely to be understanding of some of the slight quality issues that can arise from some of the Chinese brand lights.

I would also think that most “normal” people do not have a charger capable of accommodating a 26650 battery. I have done a ton of offroading, and I can honestly say that if your customers are anything like the guys I would go out with, they are likely to destroy an average light in one trip. I don’t know if the brands you listed are as robust as they might expect (can they be thrown against a rock, dropped in a creek and then run over and still work?)

With that said, I manage to take various lights out, have a charger, and manage not to destroy them- so I’m not saying that somebody with a raised truck is incapable of owning a decent light. Wink

Finally, the only light that I own more than one of is an Emisar D4S. I tell you this to demonstrate my love of that light… But you would either need to stock 100 lights to compete with the others who handle that light or limit what your customers can get (3 colours of bodies, 4 of the auxiliary LED’s, and then a dozen emitters = a very large inventory to supply every combination.) It might not be the expectation of your customers that they are able to order the grey body, red LED with the sst-20 in 5000K… But that is what I wanted, and my expectation was that I should be able to order that exact light.

I really don’t want to be discouraging- but my advice (FWIW) would be to start with two or three of your favourite lights (that don’t come in 100 configurations) that are well known to survive water and drops from heights. Sell one or two brands of batteries to power those lights, and a “budget” charger with a “premium” option as most of your customers are unlikely to have half a dozen 18650’s laying around and a charger. Provide the complete package with a spare battery and a holder to keep them from burning their truck down while bouncing down the trail. (Or sell lights with built in charging…)

I honestly do wish you luck and success- whatever you decide.

clemence
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First, and this is most important thing if you want to sell something: you must know what you are selling. There is a big difference between toys and tools, yet these days both of them can looks very similar.
Put more time in the research. Only sell stuff you have used for a reasonable period of time to make sure it works.

- Clemence

RobertB
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OverlandLight wrote:
The lantern is not bad idea. But Lightbringer, you are definitely correct. With all the China makers, etc selling directly on all the discount platforms, or the Olights of the world selling from China via their US sales site, its a crazy thin margin environment. On a $50 light you might, and I mean might, be able to make $3 or so after shipping and selling fees, unless you really buy in bulk, and then the risk goes up that a better, nicer led, etc comes out. I definitely can’t run a store on flashlights alone. That’s were the Overlanding equipment might come in. I wasn’t planning on getting rich, just paying for some of my addiction. It’s a good learning project. Anyway, worst case, I’ll just enjoy a bunch of cool flashlights. Thanks.

You just hit the nail on the head right there. One DOA flashlight, and profits are screwed for several more lights. You will be responsible for making that customer whole. And if you think for a moment one of these chinese companies will reimburse you for the profit lose, you’ll be sadly mistaken.

Don’t get me wrong, some of these chinese companies are great to deal with from a customer’s perspective, but from a retailer’s perspective, not so much. If they see you making in-roads into a certain market segment, they will undercut you in a heartbeat. Sad truth, it’s just the way they do business.

discharged
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[quote=WOTR] However, I would think that most “regular” customers (read not on this forum) are unlikely to be understanding of some of the slight quality issues that can arise from some of the Chinese brand lights.

Logic should lead one to conclude that since all makers use Chinese parts to some extent that any issues would present themselves regardless of the brand name; or perhaps I should post that logic leads me to make this conclusion with regard to led flashlights.

As for my experience, the brand that I only purchase and of which I have more than just a few has never given us any issues/concerns/disappointments at all-other than a business model which involves obvious price fixing.

bikenber73
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I would work something out with Simon to be the only USA distributor of Convoy brand products also add some batteries and a few chargers.

Spartan
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Lightbringer wrote:
I gotta second what kosly said. Most “budget” lights are now commodities, and you can get them either from the seller’s own store on AX, from Amazon, or from a variety of other suppliers that offer flash sales, coupons, etc. You’d be competing with all of them.

With the added markup from Amazon, even, returns are a cinch, vs from overseas where you’re pretty much stuck even with a DOA light unless you return it, or maybe get a nice shiny quarter to make up for your woe.

Agree.

I can NOT see anyone making money selling flashlights that anyone can buy from the large sellers.

Moses came from the mountaintop carrying a tablet. The Words were....WITH GREAT LUMENS COMES GREAT REPONSIBILITY.

Agro
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Folomov EDC C4 – very good for the size. I would add most of Folomov stuff. One exception: 18650S fails with high drain batteries.
DQG 18650 Tiny 4th – one of my all time favourites. I would add all DQG stuff. It’s not something with perfect quality in general but I find them great tools – within about any size / weight limit DQG provides the longest runtime.

discharged
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One light purchase from ‘Amazon’ who were the ones that stated selling/shipping was by them (not) was quite enough-delivery time from the mid west (US) took about two weeks-it was doa and we were positively not the first people to have received this light-money was refunded – never-ever again only one of two US sources get our money now and we only get brand new lights in brand new packing.

Lightbringer
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Not to sound snarky or anything, but Punctuation Is Your Friend.

Recently, I had something non-FBA sent to me, no tracking number or anything, but I got it fairly quickly. About on par as ordering something FBA and having it sit for 2wks and then be overnighted to me.

No idea how returns might be accomplished, but imagine with their a-z warranty it’s doable.

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