The importance of integrity – Vadim Fiddle on building a global distribution company across 35 countries

Vadim Fiddle is the founder of Atlantic International, a global wholesaler and distributor for brand name health and beauty products, with clients in the USA and satellite offices in 35 countries.

Vadim believes a true entrepreneur is a person with a very acute sense of self reliance, zero sense of entitlement, and one who considers entrepreneurship as a pursuit of purpose, not just as a business venture. He views entrepreneurial and creative spirit as a sustainable path to personal freedom; freedom which can only be achieved through the creation of an intentional community of like minded entrepreneurs.

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Key insights from this interview:

  • One lunch is worth more than a thousand emails.
  • There is a big difference between being an “entrepreneur” vs “a self-employed person”.
  • Embrace and acknowledge your mistakes; improve and refine your methods constantly.
  • Perseverance is a given… the trick is to benefit from failure, not just “keep trying”.
  • Competition is bad for business.
  • Build relationships first – Unconditionally. You can’t “pretend to care”. Don’t think “what can person X do for me” but rather “how can I help person X and how can we work together”.
  • Look beyond the immediate relationship you have with partners in your value chain. Can your shipping company introduce you to new potential clients? Perhaps future partners that can help you distribute in new markets?
  • Keep your hand on the pulse of your industry, identify risks early and mitigate them through product and geographical diversification.
  • Always retain your integrity, no matter how lucrative a deal may seem or how difficult things can get.
  • Do your homework and take advantage of every opportunity – even if it is 15 seconds on the phone before you get hung up on.
  • Your product is just a widget; a tool with which to conduct business. It has a finite lifespan. However it is the values that transcend through your relationships that are most important, which will help you change with the market.
  • When creating new markets, build from the customer back with a clean slate, address the untapped market with great consumer demand rather than focusing on competition, product offering irrelevant of demand.
  • Adapt your business model to each market, by trying to apply individual models to various markets. The best route for developing international distribution networks is via grass root channels.
  • Shake up your markets by doing something that has not ever been done and by continually innovating.

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Vadim Fiddle is the founder of Atlantic International, a global wholesaler and distributor for brand name health and beauty products, with clients in the USA and satellite offices in 35 countries.

Vadim believes a true entrepreneur is a person with a very acute sense of self reliance, zero sense of entitlement, and one who considers entrepreneurship as a pursuit of purpose, not just as a business venture. He views entrepreneurial and creative spirit as a sustainable path to personal freedom; freedom which can only be achieved through the creation of an intentional community of like minded entrepreneurs.

I met Vadim a few years ago when we were both involved with Exosphere, based in Chile. Vadim was a fellow mentor and we soon realised we share the same entrepreneurial principles in how we do business.

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Vadim’s business philosophy is centered around strong personal relationships and always ensuring any deals between him and his partners and associates are established in a mutually-beneficial way. Integrity is at the core. With this philosophy as a foundation he has built a company that distributes beauty products to thousands of retail outlets around the world today. He is a wholesale distributor for L’Oreal and Maybeline cosmetics, exclusively in the USA, amongst other high end brands.

Vadim is a quintessential entrepreneur. In this conversation you will hear how he builds relationships and how he designs mutually beneficial joint ventures. You will learn how he started his first telecoms business in his early 20s, his experience with taking that business to various Eastern European countries, and how he used his relationships and entrepreneurial experience to pivot into beauty products (L’Oreal, Maybeline and many other brands), footwear and clothing (Levis, Wrangler, Calvin Klein).

Vadim discusses how he landed a major business partnership with a 15-second phone message and how his strategy and resilience was tested in 1998 during a financial crisis in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia.

The interview is packed with business strategies and detailed joint venture examples from his businesses – one particularly interesting strategy doubled sales overnight of a product without impacting its luxury status.

Vadim lives in San Diego and is an active mentor with Exosphere in Chile, as well as the global Exobase bootcamps, in addition to running his global distribution company.

It has been an honour to have you on the show, Vadim. Thank you very much for your time and detailed insights.

Links:

Books – read these in sequence:

Other books mentioned:

Austrian School Economics:

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Vadim Fiddle

Founder of Atlantic International, mentor at Exosphere Chile

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