ORIGINALLY POSTED BY BILL FLEMING
It's taken me a little while to catch up with the forums, but now I'm here...
Your associate has a 'fast growing mail order business' which implies he/she's a new and growing customer for their suppliers. Give them a try - if appropriate, share your business plan with them and do a bit of a selling job on just how much of their product you'll be able to sell on - once you get the money. Maybe some of them would be interested in a degree of exclusivity with you. I doubt theyd actually give you money, but maybe goods on consignment, or a longer line of credit.
At the risk of teaching grannies to suck eggs I remind your associate to test market campaigns before committing large sums - easy to get carried away with enthusiasm for your own good ideas only to discover nobody else thinks they're all that good.