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International Distribution Partners

The selection of a distribution partner can be an excellent option for entry into a global market. Distribution agreements can be complex depending on

Distribution Partners include local and regional distributors who manage the sales of brands that have no business entity locally or regionally to support the distribution and management of their business.

Distributors function as an extension of your business so it’s important that you have a global strategy before selecting a distribution partner. Because your distributor will function as the gatekeeper for your business you want to make sure that they are aligned with all your brand strategy. However, one reason why distributors can play a key role in the growth of your brand globally is their understanding of the market, supply chain, retail channels, and eCommerce so it’s important to be open to suggestions and recommendations to make sure your entry into the market is successful. Distributors’ agreements are not standard contracts, although some brands do have standard distribution agreements that cover the use of trademarks, visuals, and approvals. However, pricing, day to day management of the business are negotiated. Always have a legal body familiar with the region review your distribution agreement as it is a legal and binding document so governance is important.

I worked with a distributor in France who managed the distribution for IMAN Cosmetics in Europe and parts of Africa through subcontractors. Unfortunately, the distributor went into bankruptcy because the contract was governed by French laws; we were not able to cancel the agreement until the company went through the legal bankruptcy procedure. We lost several months of sales and some retailer partners in several markets. That circumstance led us to change our international distribution strategy.

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