About 25 years ago, Anu Sahni came to this country to make a new life. “I started in 1987 by selling at flea markets and fairs,” he recalls. “We were selling all kinds of stuff. People would ask what we sell, and we’d say, ‘Oh, this and that, all that jazz.’ ”
Sahni named his business All That Jazz, and now he does a thriving trade selling wholesale blankets and clothing and more to flea market vendors like he used to be. He remembers his flea market roots very well. “We grew out of the same environment we are selling into now,” he says. “I originally started selling at flea markets. I came here from India with $520. I bought and sold at flea markets in the New York area. We sold in Roosevelt, Aqueduct, Belmont, and Elizabethtown. In the winter we moved to Florida. Every day I worked. Every day I would show up at some flea market or fair.”
Lucky Break Leads To Wholesale Trade
Sahni says his flea market experiences resulted in some really great deals, and that got him started in wholesale. For example, he got a chance to buy top of the line clothing that was the wrong color. “My first lucky break was to get an unbelievable closeout deal on mis-dyed merchandise that had been scheduled to be sold at the Limited,” he recalls. Sahni’s plan was to strip out the bad dye and redye it. But the dye was not defective after all. Instead, the manufacturer did not ship the clothing in the right order. Light peach tops shipped with dark peach bottoms, and Sahni bought them. Weeks later, the light bottoms and dark tops came in, but it was too late. “Some of it actually matched if you figured out the computer codes on the boxes,” he says. “There was so much of this available, I realized I could make some real money wholesaling it.” Sahni would spend about $3 per unit on these garments, that he sold at $6, and flea market vendors sold at $12 or $18, and the Limited was selling at $32. “We started building a wholesale customer base, and a lot of those flea market vendors from 20 years ago are still my customers.”
Now Sahni has a big retail store in Michigan that also serves as a wholesale trade showroom. “Wholesale customers like to come here first and see everything,” he says. “Based on that, they place their order.” However, he is expanding on the Internet, with wholesale prices and photos for retailer buyers to select online. The company is about to launch this wholesale component online early next week. “By Monday or Tuesday of next week, we’ll have another part of our site up. Retailers will be able to click on a tab and then buy wholesale,” he says. “A lot of people have called in, and they want to know the wholesale prices. So we decided we might as well put the wholesale prices out there.”
Two Big Reasons To Buy
Sahni has two main types of customers: vendors at flea markets, fairs and festivals; and sellers at kiosks and small mall stores. These retailers buy his apparel, blankets, and home furnishings because he offers two solid benefits.
First, his shipping is cheaper for Eastern customers than it is for California-based suppliers. “Many distributors store their stock in California, where it comes into the country. We hold ours in Michigan,” Sahni says. “We bring everything in by the semi, and customers can save a lot on freight. East Coast customers save by shipping from Michigan instead of from California.”
Second, his products, especially his blankets, are licensed — not illegal knock-offs. And his product is in stock because he keeps it on hand. “We are a stock holding company, and a main distributor for brands like the NFL, NBA, Nascar, Playboy, and Disney,” he says. “So we actually have stock on hand, in our distribution center.” He says that some customers are leery of buying products that might be counterfeit, but he is adamant. “We do not sell any counterfeit merchandise,” he says. “That is not our thing.”
All That Jazz is a company with deep flea market roots, and its products are known sellers at flea markets and swap meets. The middle weight and heavy weight blankets are always good sellers. Moreover, around Christmas time, the licensed merchandise does best of all. “Theme blankets are a big part of holiday buying,” says Sahni.
Many of his customers have been with him for years, and Sahni remembers what it is like to be out there selling. “It was a long time ago, but I look back at those years much more fondly than I do looking at the years I spend sitting in an office,” he says. “It was exciting, seeing a country for the first time, and making money, and traveling. I had very little money in the early years, but everyone was so accepting and welcoming. This opportunity has been the American dream.”
For more information, contact:
All That Jazz
70513 S. Centerville Road
Sturgis, MI 49091
Web site: allthatjazzonline.com