by Michael Pronk | November 2, 2018
November 2, 2018
Currently, China is the popular girl or guy in high school everyone talks about and/or wants to date with. This attention shows massively in the broad interest shown by foreign companies in the China International Import Expo (CIIE). This first expo dedicated to import into China attracted many more foreign companies compared to availability.
The interest of foreign companies in the CIIE shows the general interest in doing business with China. Besides setting up entities in China, foreign SME’s and corporates around the world are looking for solid business partners in China. A much-heard sentence motivating people to do business in China is: “If I sell one pen to 1% of the Chinese consumers, I will be rich”. Although not wrong, the motivation for doing business in China should be based on different criteria.
Assuming the decision to enter the Chinese market is right and your decision to work through a partnership is the best way forward, that’s when the hard part starts. In order to sell goods or services in China through a solid partnership, finding a business partner is the next step. A challenging process, but by following the next eight important steps, finding business partners in China could prove to be very successful:
1. Consider all your options
Finding business partners in China is one strategy, however there are many other strategic frameworks you could consider. Besides a business partner, there are other ways into the Chinese market. If you are convinced about working with business partners in China, then consider the next step.
2. Determine your “ideal” partner
In order to understand what the right business partner is, describing the requirements needed for a futile cooperation is important. The sector of the potential partner, the company structure, the size of the partner and more.
3. Consider the market demands
Sometimes the “ideal partner” does not exist. One of many reasons causing the partner not to exist could be due to the rules and regulations in China. Or the market segment looked into simply has no business partners with the set requirements. Understanding the market demands will help in finding more potential partners faster.
4. Research potential partners
After understanding your own desires, combined with the demands of the market, looking for a partner is possible. Finding potential partners is harder compared to partners in the West. The simple example of Google being prohibited in China, shows how different finding business partners in China is. To find the partners, one should turn to Chinese online and offline channels. We have assisted many of our clients with finding partners based on their requirements and the potential of the market.
5. Select partners with highest potential
After researching and finding potential partners, selecting the most promising options is very important. By focusing the attention on a couple, you will be able to focus the attention on a few of the most promising potential partners. This simple but effective step will save a lot of valuable time.
6. Gauge initial interest from their side
Before you fly to China and meet with all the potential partners, understanding if they are interested in collaborating with you is important. Perhaps they consider you as a rival, or they are understaffed to give attention to your product or service. To understand the possible interest from the potential business partner in China, the potential partners should be contacted. By having a Chinese person contact them at the right level, you will get an answer explaining their interest in your company. It will save a lot of time invested in business partners which are not interested in your company.
7. Build a relationship
A crucial next phase includes visiting the potential business partner in China. giving enough time to each of the potential business is imperative. Not just a 2-hour meeting, but time for lunches and dinners. Understanding the habits during meetings in China is crucial to find business partners in China.
8. Conduct an initial background check
Building a relationship is a time costly step. During that crucial step, background checks can save a lot of time and wasted energy. In China requesting the business license of your potential partner is completely normal . Checking the partner using the information provided by the business license, is a very efficient tool. We provide business partner checks to our clients in order to make sure there are no prominent legal or financial issues with the business partner.
Even when you take these eight steps to find business partners in China, building a solid partnership is still challenging. Finding a partnership is only the first of many difficult steps in maintaining a partnership with a Chinese company. A solid partnership in China requires investments of time and money to make sure the strategy for the partnership stays on track.
Falling in love with the most popular girl or guy in class is easy. However, if the popular one is the right partner in life is another question entirely. This applies for China as a country to do business with, but also for the business partners you consider in the country. Making sure you find a solid partnership fitting to your needs is key. We assist many of our clients with finding and maintaining the right business partners in China.
Although it may seem that the financial benefits of working with suppliers in China might be waning, the reality is that China is the third largest trade partner of the United States, behind its North American partners, Canada and Mexico . And if the flow of funds and the seventy-four billion dollars that United States companies have sent to China are any indication, your small business will likely offshore some of its manufacturing at some point. There are seventy-four billion reasons why China is a leading trade partner for businesses of all sizes, but particularly for small businesses.
The China advantage: strong U.S. dollar, scalability
According to Entrepreneur magazine , if your company needs a quick turnaround, high output, low costs and the ability to scale quickly and seamlessly, then you can’t ignore China’s allure. Particularly if you have a small business and need the flexibility to ramp up production at a moment’s notice, China makes sense as it accounts for an astonishing one-fifth of the world’s manufacturing output.
As far as costs go, despite Chinese wages soaring in recent years and reports that the manufacturing advantages no longer exist, the reality is that the US dollar is nearly seven times more powerful than the Chinese Yuan.
China: it’s not just for t-shirts anymore
Companies large and small maintain ongoing trade relationships with China. Whether aerospace powerhouse Boeing , electronics maker Dell , heavy equipment maker Caterpillar , or food maker Kraft Foods , China offers a tremendous opportunity to increase margins and boost bottom-line profitability figures–and that includes your small business . What’s more, the short list above demonstrates just how broad in scope that Chinese advantage can be, and it isn’t limited purely to cheap t-shirts and knock-off sunglasses. In fact, it’s quite the contrary, with all of the nation’s largest and highest-revenue companies relying on China to bump revenues.
Made in China gets ‘cool’
When it comes to dealing with any non-domestic supplier, there are risks that small business owners need to be aware of. This is particularly true with China where there have been plenty of reports about issues like poor quality. While quality control certainly seems to be an area that most businesses contend with, in some cases, these instances are often not as dire as originally reported. In fact, ‘Made in China’ has recently become something of a ‘cool’ thing because quality is now viewed as improved to the point where the country’s leading manufacturers are sought-after for their good reputation and supply chain expertise.
Everything you need to do business in China, all in one place.
Navigating Chinese language barriers and payment systems
While quality uncertainties are one area that businesses should be prepared to manage (as with any offshoring relationship), the real obstacles are the language barrier and geographic distance between a manufacturing facility in China and your domestic office. While transportation costs are currently low due to lower energy prices, businesses should plan ahead for when those costs increase. There is also the issue of getting payments to your suppliers in China —a process that can lack transparency and get bogged down in bureaucracy.
Resources for finding your Chinese supplier
Finding a supplier in China is often the first step in establishing a long-term relationship with one of the thousands of businesses looking to help you manage your supply chain needs in a cost-sensitive manner. Since so many companies have already built relationships with China, the resources available to find, work with, and manage those arrangements have grown substantially. Here are five great starting points that will help you find a supplier in China:
- Alibaba – arguably the world’s largest business-to-business (B2B) portal
- China Sources – another popular website that arranges connections between businesses as well as Chinese manufacturers and suppliers
- HKDC – this site offers an extensive directory of suppliers in China with over one million listings and offers other services like business matching.
- Smart China Sourcing – lists 80 sourcing experts and is ISO9000 certified.
- Made-in-China – a leading B2B portal that offers access to sourcing experts and claims quality products and companies.
You need 7 tools to master international trade. Find out what they are.
Here is how we answered a question about how to find and verify for a Chinese supplier for a potential European client. As the answer is applicable to a wide range of products, I decided to blog about the Q&A.
Question about finding a supplier in China
Does your company provide recommendation on reputable companies for purchase of medical machines in China?
Mike’s Short Answer:
Thanks for your email. I am afraid we don’t find suppliers for you, but if you have a list of 1 or more potential suppliers, we can certainly conduct the due diligence to confirm they are legit, and set up the contracts to keep you safe.
Deep Dive Into Chinese Supplier Identification, Verification & Management
- Finding The Right Supplier in China
- What is the Biggest Red Flag When Looking for the Right Type of Supplier at a Trade Show?
- Setting the Right Tone for Cooperation with China Suppliers
- Why should you assume that all potential suppliers are middlemen?
- China Trends (Part 1): How to verify the supplier is stable?
For more Information about finding and managing suppliers in China
Based on your question, I think you would be an ideal candidate to benefit from taking 15 minutes to watch this video tutorial I put together:
If you are interested, reach out to me via https://www.asiabridgelaw.com/resources/ and I’ll hook you up with the free access codes to watch this tutorial.
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike Bellamy moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Recognized as an expert on China sourcing, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.
A featured presenter on China business issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe, Mike is the author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” (available on Amazon). (toggle arrow to read more)
Mike founded a boutique sourcing agency in China with 1 employee working out of his small apartment back in 2002. That business grew quickly and during their best year Mike’s team was responsible for managing a 200 million USD supply chain (per annum) of goods flowing from China to the world on behalf of his clients at the PassageMaker Group.
He received a double degree in Diplomacy and Economics from the American University in Washington DC and went on to gain an International MBA from the University of South Carolina. Mike spent two years as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar researching Japanese factory management & quality control in Tokyo and Osaka.
Before launching his business, Mike studied Chinese in Harbin & Beijing in the 1990’s. He currently spends Spring/Fall in Shenzhen, Winters in Thailand & Summers at the family cottage in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Mike is married & has two daughters.
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Sourcing Agent from China for Your Business
8 Ways and 3 Steps to Find Reliable Suppliers in China
In this blog, we will discuss how you can find reliable suppliers and the steps to work with them.
Ways to find reliable suppliers include:
2. Various exhibitions
3. Wholesale markets around the world
4. Introduce friends
5. Sourcing Agent
6. B2B Online Sites
8. Google, Bing, Baidu
Here are 10 ways to find reliable suppliers.
1. Canton Fair
The Canton Fair is China’s largest commodity import and export conference. held twice a year until 2022,
The Canton Fair covers almost all industries that produce physical products. It operates in three stages:
The first stage: machinery, building materials, chemical products, electronic products
Stage 2: Home Decor, Gifts, Consumer Goods
The third stage: leisure products, office supplies, medical equipment and health products, textiles
The Canton Fair is huge, and visiting it without preparation is likely to run out of time. Instead, look up the list of exhibitors and their booth locations on the show website in advance to save time and effort.
2. Local exhibitions
In addition to the Canton Fair, there are a large number of exhibitions in China every year, such as industrial equipment exhibition, consumer goods exhibition, clothing, shoes and hats exhibition and so on. These exhibitions are mainly concentrated in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
An obvious feature of these exhibitions is their strong professionalism. Compared with the Canton Fair, it is easier to find professional manufacturers in these exhibitions.
3. Local wholesale markets
You probably know Yiwu Wholesale Market. It has 40,000 stores selling everything you need in life. It’s famous, but not very professional. If you are new to sourcing from China, it is possible to buy what you need from the Yiwu market. But next, you need to be exposed to a more specialized market, so that you can gain an advantage in the market competition. For example the following markets:
1. Guangzhou’s clothing market and leather market
2. Foshan’s furniture market and building materials market
3. Shenzhen’s electronics market
4. Yongkang’s hardware market
5. Ningbo’s small home appliance market
6. Dongguan’s plastic market
These are some of the better-known markets, and more. If you find such a market, you will not have to worry about finding a manufacturer.
4. Introduction of friends
Your friends may be able to connect you with Chinese suppliers, or know someone who can guide you along the way. Also check with local trade bodies and chambers of commerce. It may be relatively difficult to obtain the required manufacturers in this way, but the obtained manufacturers must be of good quality.
5. Sourcing agent
For general products, if you purchase on a large scale, you only need to find a suitable manufacturer to purchase to meet the requirements. But if you are in one of the following two situations, I recommend you to find a sourcing agent located in China:
1) There are many varieties to be purchased, but the purchase amount of each variety is not large;
2) Products need to be manufactured according to precise technical specifications.
For case 1), the Chinese sourcing agent can handle the inspection of the product before leaving China for you, and arrange the transportation method reasonably to save the freight cost.
For case 2), the Chinese sourcing agent is able to visit the factory, communicate the contract details, and closely check the quality control. But at this time you must pay attention to the expertise of the Chinese sourcing agent in the product method.
And after you work with a Chinese sourcing agent, you will receive comprehensive support throughout the sourcing process; and this support can continue for a long time to come.
6. B2B online website
Many B2B online sites such as Alibaba, Made in China and Global Sources are good ways to find Chinese suppliers and manufacturers.
After you get the supplier’s contact information on these websites, you can contact them as usual.
But be aware that there are scammers on these sites too. To prevent getting scammed, you should ask them for things like samples, photos or videos and keep in touch closely. Remember, when faced with a large amount of payment, you must not hit it all at once! The correct way is to pay according to the node set up by the contract, after seeing the corresponding evidence.
As far as I know, many professional manufacturers will leave their contact information and promotional materials on LinkedIn. Based on this information, you can find the right manufacturer. But at the same time, be careful not to be deceived!
8. Google, Bing, Baid u
Manufacturers can also be found by searching for Chinese suppliers on Google and Bing. Professional manufacturers will focus on promoting their advantageous products. So through the content of the website, you can preliminarily interpret whether this website is made by a factory or a trader.
To find more manufacturers, you can try to translate the name of the product into Chinese and search on Baidu. You will get more Chinese manufacturers results in Baidu. Using the translation tool, you can easily read their website and contact them.
So how do you work with a reliable supplier you find?
1. Request samples
2. Ask the Chinese sourcing agent to inspect the factory
3. Sign a perfect contract
1. Request samples
You might expect free samples, but that doesn’t happen. Because from the supplier’s point of view, you don’t even want to pay for the sample, and it is conceivable that the future business will be very difficult.
However, you also don’t want to accept samples at unusually high prices. Usually manufacturers do not rely on samples to make profits, so the overall cost is not too high.
Your sample fee includes, sample fee, China courier fee and international courier fee; if these are normal.
2. Ask the Chinese sourcing agent to inspect the factory
If you customize a large number of products with strong professional technology, then factory inspection is essential. Ask a Chinese sourcing agent with professional knowledge to inspect the factory for you, so as to avoid big losses in future cooperation with suppliers.
3. Sign a perfect contract
Sign a contract in English and install standard business processes to operate. Payment must not be made before the contract is signed.
A client recently had me source a new Chinese supply chain for injection-molded plastics. In this series I’ll explain how we were able to go from having no contacts in China to successfully receiving quotes from several injection-mold manufacturers. There are many steps to building a supply chain for a product, including design, transport & logistics, due diligence and negotiation. Today, we’ll focus on finding the manufacturers.
1. Start Early And Build Your First Supplier List
Plan on spending at least a month identifying your best manufacturing partner, and several more months finalizing designs, fabricating molds and beginning the manufacturing process.
It can be daunting to start with nothing when you are trying to establish relationships leading to a successful manufacturing partnership. At first, any manufacturer you find seems like your only hope. That’s why I recommend starting out by building a list of 10 suppliers with whom you can communicate directly.
Building a large list helps to reduce the feeling of scarcity as you develop relationships and negotiate with the most promising manufacturers.
Though you could engage a sourcing agent to connect you with their recommended firms, here are some ways to meet suppliers that are accessible to everyone:
Alibaba assists buyers and exporters in finding and sourcing manufactured goods produced by Chinese firms. Use Alibaba’s search bar to find products like yours. Search strings that include the production method work well. I used “injection-mold plastics” and quickly found many pages of manufacturers for molds, plastic components and assembled products.
Contacting suppliers is simple: just click on the orange “Contact Supplier” button on the product page or directly from the search results and start typing. I recommend creating a canned intro that describes who you are, what your product is and what you are looking for.
Here is approximately what I used:
My name is Brandon Green, and my company is looking for plastic injection-molded components.
These components are produced from [polystyrene, polycarbonate, etc.], and are used for ________.
We already own molds / need to have molds created / need help finalizing our designs.
We expect to have a Minimum Order Quantity of ________ units every __ months.
I will be in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from ______ to _____ for Canton Fair, and would like to meet with injection-mold plastics manufacturers at that time.
Allow the suppliers a few days to respond. You can use this time to reach out to other firms, or learn more about the production process and refine your product’s requirements. Don’t fixate too much on choosing suppliers with perfect English. It’s important to be able to communicate, but as long as you’re both able to get your points across with the help of translation software, it’s better to prioritize compatibility with your order quantities and ability to meet the production standards you require.
Commonly known as the Canton Fair, the China Import and Export Fair is a trade expo designed to connect Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers with buyers and exporters. It has been running since 1957 and held its 120th session in October 2016.
Though attending a major trade fair might be intimidating at first, gaining access is easier than one might expect, and allows for meeting a large number of suppliers in person in a short amount of time.
Keep in mind that most suppliers are at Canton Fair to sell their finished goods, not to find clients for bespoke manufacturing. However, I asked many firms there if they perform custom work, and the worst response I received was a polite “no.”
You can apply to visit Canton Fair online here. Though the approval process is typically fast, give ample time for your application prior to your trip. Admission is typically free of charge for advance applications, but not same-day tickets.
2. Reach Out To Your Network
Even if you don’t know any manufacturers, tell people in your network what you’re looking for. Much to my surprise, my (mostly U.S.-based) network was able to connect me with several injection mold manufacturers, both near-shore and overseas.
Being open about your needs and goals can be helpful within China as well. Other business travelers to Shenzhen can be very helpful, given the entrepreneurial nature of the community. I found buyers happy to share their recommended manufacturers. In fact, simply by asking for advice from an expat community in Shenzhen, I received many recommendations of the best suppliers to partner with based on our specific needs.
3. Schedule Time For Factory Visits
A common concern in any new relationship with overseas suppliers is that communicating over such a distance can make it easy for misunderstandings to occur, and meaning can get lost in translation.
I cannot recommend enough that as part of the selection process, you make a point of flying to China and touring the factories that will be used to manufacture your products. Not only will the visit assist in understanding the process itself, it will give you and the manufacturers common visual vocabulary in dealing with any issues that come up. Moreover, it allows you to review the facilities to make sure the procedures and practices are up to the standards you require.
Though it may seem difficult to move from a sales representative’s contact info to a factory visit, I found it as easy as suggesting a day. It’s best to have a firm understanding of your product and needs before beginning the visit. While a sample or 3D model can be very helpful in communicating, many companies have engineers who are happy to work with you to understand your needs and find a solution, or even design a product based on your requirements.
4. Recognize The Economics Involved
While injection molding is a very inexpensive way to fabricate large numbers of products, the economies of scale are only in your favor if you can handle Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) of thousands of units per batch. Using CNC (Computer Numerical Control) manufacturing to create a product mold can cost from $12k to $60k, and altering that mold can be expensive and difficult. If your product requires complex development and iteration, you will want to use rapid prototyping methods like 3D printing to finalize the design before commissioning a finished product.
5. Caveat Emptor
As with any new business relationship, be sure to perform adequate due diligence before entering any agreements or remitting payment.
6. Achieving Results
By employing these strategies, we identified manufacturing partners and received several quotes within a few weeks of initial contact. These quotes reflect a strong understanding of our product and requirements, and a savings of over 35% from our current domestic production costs. As daunting as it may seem to move from a design to a finished product, results can be achieved rapidly and effectively using these methods to find suppliers who will guide you through the process. Just remember, suppliers are looking for you just as hard as you’re looking for them.
When most buyers plan on identifying a new supplier, they are usually tempted to focus on the best price. However, concentrating only on low costs can hurt you in the long term. That’s because s having a few cents off the price of a product is no help if the quality is below standard, and the component or material does not arrive when you need it.
Instead of solely focusing on cost, focus on quality by incorporating these 13 tips into your sourcing strategy:
1. Check Certifications
Many buyers have minimal requirements when it comes to supplier quality certifications. However, suppliers do not always make it easy to view and verify their certifications. Discover suppliers that are certified to your quality standards, including ISO, QS and more.
According to a recent survey, quality certifications ranked in the top six of all factors that B2B buyers use to evaluate suppliers.
2. Evaluate The Geo-Political Climate
While some overseas resources can provide rock bottom prices, tenuous labor relations or political upheaval can leave you without your required product. Take the time to thoroughly analyze the potential for unrest in the areas you will rely on for your supply chain success.
3. Finding Reputable Suppliers On The Thomas Network
Product discovery tools like Thomasnet.com are great places to find new, quality suppliers. The Thomas Network is the leading sourcing platform for industrial buyers to connect with suppliers, meaning it’s a win-win for both. Engineers, procurement professionals, and designers are easily able to source on the platform for the products and services they need meanwhile, manufacturers and distributors can promote their businesses and win more contracts.
We don’t want to toot our own industrial horn, but if you’re not a quality supplier, we won’t create a supplier listing. AKA, if a supplier’s business can’t provide sourcing professionals quality service, they won’t be listed on the Thomas Network.
4. Gauge Financial Stability
According to an informal Thomasnet survey, nearly half (50 percent) of all buyers have worked with a supplier that unexpectedly went out of business. Don’t be caught off guard — read 3 financial risks in the manufacturing industry.
5. Assess Weather-Related Risk
We have all seen hurricanes, tornados, snow, rain, and drought impact communities worldwide. However, the news rarely covers the impact these events have on the supply chain. You do not have the luxury of overlooking this. As you select potential suppliers, identify the weather-related events that are typical to the region, and evaluate how they could dictate your ability to maintain business as usual.
6. Align Manufacturing and Shipping Locations To Your Needs
Depending on your manufacturing requirements, you should determine your need for a multi-location supplier or a single warehouse. Obviously, shipping capabilities and associated costs will differ by the number of locations a supplier has to offer. You may be able to negotiate a better price from a smaller business with a single location or string multiple suppliers together to meet your needs.
7. Carefully Review Product Information
Detailed product descriptions and related info will help you determine if they have the right products for your application. Suppose a supplier has taken the time to provide easily accessible product specs , charts, graphs, and CAD Drawings . In that case, it shows that they value your time and are willing to be as helpful as possible to win and maintain your business.
8. Ask For Accessible Inventory Information
Having visibility into your supplier’s inventory can be advantageous. It is an indication of their commitment to you as a customer and their ability to provide what you need when you need it.
9. Know Their Scalability
Determine how flexible the supplier is when it comes to providing small quantity and high volume orders. If you are looking for smaller quantities or prototypes to start, you will most likely find suppliers that focus on that volume. If you grow to require extremely large shipments of the product over time, you could quickly outgrow your original supplier selection. Knowing what the growth pattern is for the product you are sourcing before selecting a supplier will allow you to partner with a supplier that can painlessly scale to meet your changing needs.
10. Check Their Commitment To Customer Service
Expect the best and plan for the worst. Evaluate the customer service provided by each potential supplier. If you are working in 24-hour lights out manufacturing capacity that could require a call to the supplier at any time of day or night, work this into your research. A deeper understanding of the contract language about their return policy should be uncovered as well. You do not want to be stuck holding the bag.
11. Get Lead Time and Delivery Statistics
Delivery performance is key to industrial buyers. Ask for their lead time projections compared to on-time delivery rates. If these cannot be provided, then it is a good sign that they are not tracked or are not very good. Either reason is cause for concern.
12. Read Into The Payment Terms
Identify the suppliers that are willing to work with your payment requirements. As the long term need and delivery timelines can dictate PO or Net 30 billing options, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to run your business appropriately.
13. Contact References
Testimonials, testimonials, testimonials! A vote of approval from another business that the supplier is working with can speak volumes about their true abilities. While NDAs can cause difficulties in this area, a supplier should always have a ready list of happy customers or testimonials — even better if they have those testimonials on their website.
Take a look at what some of Thomas’ happy customers have to say.
Learn More About Sourcing Quality Suppliers
While this is not an exhaustive list of parameters you should review before onboarding a new supplier, it will help identify those you can rely on. Learn more about how today’s industrial buyers evaluate you before they contact you in our guide, How To Make The Industrial Buyer’s Shortlist or check out related links below.
If you’re sourcing on behalf of a supplier, advertise your business on the Thomas Network for free to put your company ahead of the competition and get seen by engineers, procurement professionals and MRO managers.
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This is one every of the foremost tough steps of all. in the main because of you will need to seek out an extremely honored Chinese provider. Choosing a provider for your business is one of every of the foremost vital choices you will create.
If your provider screws up, it is your responsibility to create it up to your client, not theirs. you wish to create certain you select somebody UN agency can have your back.
When it involves finding suppliers from China, you would like a decent strategy that consists of awareness, knowledge, and an honest quantity of school assignments.
Online provider directories
Using online provider directories is also the safest thanks to notice suppliers. particularly once exploitation Sale Hoo.
Because we are a provider directory website, we tend to investigate each provider before adding them to our categorized list. the advantages of that include:
- Lower risk—you are not getting to be swindled by our suppliers
- Easier searches—filter search results supported the precise glasses you would like
- Faster research—quickly notice suppliers’ product offerings and call data
Whenever the requirement for finding data arises, the primary supply we tend to move to is sometimes Google. The easiest thanks to noticing wholesale drop shippers on Google is by looking “[Product] + drop carter.”
Google may be a quick thanks to noticing wholesale drop shipping corporations, however, it conjointly comes with its risks and downfalls. Notice however their square measure quite one.6 million results?
Attend trade shows/trade fairs
When you attend trade shows (and trade fairs), you can speak face to face with potential suppliers regarding;
- Their company values
- Their product
- Their production capability
- Their quality-control procedures
Direct interactions with potential suppliers can allow you to visualize their skills up-close and private.
There are many ways to find wholesale shoes suppliers. The first step is to check out their website. Most shoes suppliers in China have their own websites with detailed introductions of their services. You can also ask them for their website links. Once you find a few reputable wholesale shoes suppliers in China, you can proceed to their websites and start a successful business relationship. If you’re still unsure about a supplier, read on to discover more about your options.
A second way to find cheap shoes suppliers is to attend a trade show. Many companies attend trade shows, and you can find more information about their products on a website like Trade Show News Network. You can also visit an e-commerce forum to find experienced sellers. Visiting trade shows and exhibitions is a great way to meet suppliers face-to-face. If you’re not comfortable making a personal visit, a website such as Alibaba can be useful in determining the quality of products.
You can also check online reviews about a shoes supplier. Some companies are less likely to be scams than others. If you have no experience selling online, you can look up forums or trade shows and ask for recommendations. These forums can also provide a wealth of information and contacts. You can also use your contacts in the trade show to find experienced sellers. This is the most efficient way to find cheap shoes suppliers. You’ll be surprised at the level of knowledge and experience you’ll be able to obtain.
In addition to online forums, you can also use a website to locate reliable wholesale shoes suppliers in China. These sites allow you to check their credibility and reviews. You can easily search through their catalogs and select the items you’re looking for. The websites are easy to navigate, and they offer a variety of different shoe styles. If you’re unsure of where to find wholesale shoes, consider looking through the AliExpress marketplace. It’s the best place to source high-quality shoes that you’ll love.
The best way to choose a wholesale shoes supplier in China is to look at their reputation. Some Chinese suppliers will need to have relevant permits and business licenses, so make sure you check this before signing a deal. Most of these sites also offer discounts to help you save money on their shoes. Aside from these, they also offer an app that helps you find the best suppliers in your area. You can also use this app to find shoes in China.
Mega Footwear is a popular wholesaler in the US that sells women’s shoes. They are an excellent choice if you’re looking for stylish, affordable shoes. The company ships one pair at a time, and offers PayPal as its payment methods. You can also find wholesale shoes in China from manufacturers who don’t have a large selection or prefer to order a custom pair. If you’re looking for a large number of choices, the Chinese websites in your area can be helpful in finding quality wholesale shoes suppliers.
One young entrepreneur explains what he learned by quitting his job and hopping on a one-way flight to China.
By age 25, Taylor Llewellyn had wanted to start a company for years. So when the light bulb went on with an apparel-sales idea, he quit his job and bought a one-way ticket to China. Within a month, he’d met with dozens of manufacturers and factories. He estimates that making the trip – largely without guidance or planning – saved him at least four months in finding a factory and getting production underway.
Today, his needlepoint belt and accessories line, Tucker Blair, is being sold through online retailer Bonobos.com and in Sperry Top-Sider stores. Llewellyn told his story to Inc.com’s Christine Lagorio. What follows is an edited transcript.
I was living in Washington, D.C., and working for a San Francisco-based private-equity buy-out company that was buying up individual party-equipment rental companies and consolidating them. It was a great thing for me to be working for this start-up company, but I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, and knew I really wanted to do my own thing.
When thinking about what kind of company to start, I kept coming back a unique piece of clothing I already owned. I had a good friend whose mom made me a needlepoint belt when I was young, and I’ve always liked it, and thought it was such a cool product. It’s preppy, and bright, and fun. In the past, a girlfriend or a mom had to make you one, and it would take like 40 hours to stitch. There was so much labor that would go into it. And, if you do happen to find a finished one on the market, it is so expensive. That was the genesis of the idea. I realized that for other accessories, for neckties or even for polo shirts, there’s so much competition. But here, I felt like I had a fondness for the product, and could enter the market really competitively.
At 25, I knew how much I didn’t know. I needed a company that would be small, niche and simple, so I could really control and understand everything from the start.
I looked at the U.S. for production, but then really kept getting turned back to China, both for the advantage in cost, and the quality was high.
I essentially just talked to my boss one day and said: “I’m quitting, and I’m going to take a one-way flight to China and find people to make this product.” Just cashing in some retirement money and hopping on a flight to China, I mean, it worked for me, but I had no idea how naïve that was.
So I set off to head to some factories and trade shows in China. I started off in Beijing, which is kind of northeast China, and worked my way down Guangzhao, where I was primarily. That was a huge manufacturing town. I also spent time in Szenzhen, which is also not far from Hong Kong. The crazy thing is these are cities I had never heard of, and each of them has like 8 million people. There are literally a million factories in that region, the Guangdong province, and the enormity of that is crazy. One day I was at Guangzhao, just walking around and eating a dumpling at a street food stand, and feeling pretty comfortable. Then I thought, “This is crazy, what am I doing?”
I was there in that first trip for a total of three-and-a-half weeks. I had the belt with me that was made for me when I was younger. I was at a trade show, with hundreds of vendors and manufacturers. Some of the factories were like, “We need to keep the belt.” I didn’t want to leave it, though. But with more and more possible manufacturers requesting a sample, I ended up cutting the belt into about 20 pieces and doling them out. Only about six followed through and came back to me with samples.
There was one company I found that had the most experience working with U.S. brands, and the quality was very good. A mentor of mine put me in touch with them, and I signed on for their factory in Guangzhao. I was going with my gut a lot. It’s definitely a perk that it has offices in Hong Kong. The stitching portion of our product is done in the northern part of China, and Dongguan is where the leather factory is where the product is assembled.
I certainly made a lot of mistakes on my initial approach, but you don’t know what you don’t know. And it worked out for me. The only way you’re going to make it work is to go full bore.
A lot of people try to work with China without actually going there. But just going there for me cut at least four months of e-mail delays and communications lags and time difference out of my manufacturing. It got the ball rolling a lot faster.
At the beginning, it was expensive, but really simple, to ship things back and forth. You just get a FedEx account and two days later you have samples in your hands. Now that we’re up to shipping a larger bulk, we’re working with a third-party freight forwarding company, which is trickier, but less expensive.
I try to get back to Hong Kong frequently. One of the most interesting experiences I had, I was sitting in Hong Kong at an American expat bar called the Chinnery, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, eating a cheeseburger or something. This American came and sat down next to me. His company was making little caps for improving the efficiency of beer taps at stadiums. He was coming over to source a product, too, only one more mechanical and technical than mine. It just showed the possibilities of working in China, where two Americans who don’t speak the language, dealing in two products that couldn’t be any more different, there’s just this sense that you can get anything done there.
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A reader recently asked me how to find good sourcing agents in China. Many dark stories involving rogue sourcing agents have shaped my opinion on this topic. My response will probably sound radical to first-time importers.
The way I see it, you have two options if you need someone on the ground to source and follow new suppliers…
How to find good sourcing agents in China?
- You hire a Chinese girl with sourcing experience, who works in your office and that you trust 110%. But that only works if you have a local office with a reliable manager. Note: you should regularly check what she is doing, except maybe if she’s your wife.
- You hire a foreign sourcing agency (who may or may not be based locally), with an established procedure and reference clients that you can call. That agent might or might not take possession of the goods and be your supplier. The most important is that they work transparently and give a quote for their service.
My point is that there is nothing in between.
Of course, there are a few trustworthy Chinese or Hong Kong agents who can help you a lot for a low cost. But your odds of finding them is about one in a hundred.
The other 99% are attracted by the massive sums involved in foreign trade, and are looking for a fast buck.
Doing a good job as a sourcing agent requires smarts AND experience
I found that importers tend to look for an agent that has a lot of past experience, especially in their industry. That makes sense! However, as soon as you project is a little special, setting up the right strategy becomes much more important.
Let’s take a few examples:
- If your expected volumes are very small by China’s standards, you might have to buy from a wholesaler (either in China or in your home country).
- If your expected volumes are very large, you will get better terms and save money in the long run by working with a contract manufacturer.
- If the firmware of your electronic product is highly proprietary, pick a factory that does the reflow & SMT processes, as well as assembly, in-house.
- If you already know the factory will need to be approved by Disney, the best is to find one that is already approved.
- If you need to develop a new product that will go into people’s mouths (strict hygiene is a must), pick a supplier that makes products with similar needs.
- If you need to import items for which fewer than 10 Chinese factories are licensed (e.g. riffles), find out which of those are allowed to export.
Typical bad habits of sourcing agents to look out for
They have lots of bad habits:
- They will be too disorganized—and sometimes too lazy—to follow an objective process where potential suppliers are identified, then short-listed, and then visited in person and carefully checked.
- If they have personal contacts who may know someone who knows a manufacturer of the product you are looking for, that’s the route they will take in priority. If their uncle can supply it, he will automatically be the lucky one. Forget about competency-based selection.
- They will look very hard-working and honest, but in most cases, they will get 5% or 10% from the factory, without disclosing it to you. That hidden commission is on top of what you will give them. Now, which option is really the cheapest?
- As a consequence of the above point, they will be inclined to defend the manufacturer more than your company when things go wrong—and things WILL go wrong at one point or another.
- They will seldom take the pain to draw samples at random and check product quality. And, even if they do it and they find some issues, they will probably not tell you. Remember, a Chinese agent that you are not supervising closely will have more than one boss.
- After you stop working with them, what might happen? Look at this example that I found on a forum for UK importers:
Am I being too harsh? What do you think?
Are you designing, or developing a new product that will be manufactured in China?
Sofeast has created An Importer’s Guide to New Product Manufacturing in China for entrepreneurs, hardware startups, and SMEs which gives you advance warning about the 3 most common pitfalls that can catch you out, and the best practices that the ‘large companies’ follow that YOU can adopt for a successful project.
- The 3 deadly mistakes that will hurt your ability to manufacture a new product in China effectively
- Assessing if you’re China-ready
- How to define an informed strategy and a realistic plan
- How to structure your supply chain on a solid foundation
- How to set the right expectations from the start
- How to get the design and engineering right
If you want to do business with companies in mainland China, like choosing suppliers or selling products, then you have to check up on the Chinese company to avoid business losses. However, the names of companies in mainland China are all in Chinese instead of English, so it is impossible to inquire with English names.
Therefore, if you know an accurate Chinese name of the company, you need to know who is the legal representative? what is the registered capital? and the business scope of this company, company address, and so on.
China is developing into a world market with 1.4 billion customers from a world factory with 1.4 billion labor force. The huge upgrading of consumption power and technological innovation is bringing new opportunities to global enterprises and brands. So, it is very important to do company verification by yourself.
Check the Chinese company in the Public System
To begin with, you should check the information on the company in the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System. If you can’t find related information about the company in the system, you should be cautious. May the reason is the company is probably illegal which hasn’t been registered in the State Administration for Market Regulation(SAMR) .
That means it is the most basic way to verify enterprise information.
This is an example of Chinese company information in the system.
Check the Chinese company’s website ICP
In addition, you should check to see if this enterprise has a website or not. Normally, as the formal Chinese enterprise’s website, it has an Internet ICP record number. In other words, checking the Chinese company’s website is the purpose to prevent illegal website business activities on the Internet.
To avoid creating fake websites that pose as companies, we identified 4 steps to check the website’s ICP License of the Chinese company.
Find the ICP record Number
Log in to the official website of Chinese enterprises and find the ICP record number at the bottom of the page:
Public Search the domain name
Enter the ICP/IP address/domain name information filing management system of BEIAN and click Public Search:
Enter the ICP number and Code
Click the button [record information query] and Enter the ICP number and verification code:
The result of the Company’s name
If the information on the website is correct, that means the website has been put on record with the company’s name. Generally, it can be generally judged to be no problem for the Chinese company:
Check the Chinese company by Company Verification Report
If you are dealing business with a Chinese company without checking, you might be lucky and encounter no problems. However, if it is a false trading company pretending to be a supplier or a company that’s had Judicial disputes in China. If the truth is like this, it can be extremely difficult to apply any legal pressure to companies in China.
Finally, through the China Company Verification Report, you can check the Chinese company’s credibility by our law firm which inquires the enterprise’s judgment documents.
We (GWBMA ) can help you inquire about the company registration and provide overall service for you so that you can fully know your Chinese partners.
Buy directly from China at factory prices: why you should do it
If you have a company that sells products online or a small enterprise, you could make your business more competitive if you decide to buy directly from China at factory prices. If you, on the other hand, already produce your very own products, you might consider buying packaging, components or raw materials from China, which could be very convenient for your business.
Until very recently, only big companies could afford to keep a sales office which could engage in imports and in the sourcing of products abroad. Nowadays, however, thanks to the technological developments, it is all available online and it is no longer necessary to go to China, to organize hard and expensive business trips, to visit Chinese factories and to contact suppliers.
Obviously, eCommerce has got its pros and cons because even though it can be fast and cheap, you could also sometimes incur in nasty surprises. This is the reason why we decided to write down a short guide with some useful advice on how to buy directly from China.
Buy directly from China: useful tips
If you decided to import Chinese products, firstly you must be aware that the quantities play a very important role. The suppliers’ quote will change if you request 50, 1000 or 10000 pieces, and also the shipping method used. In fact, it is possible to ship small quantities of products via plane, it is not possible to do the same for larger quantities.
Normally, buying large quantities is the best strategy to save up some money. The system is quite easy and it depends on the market logics which incur between the Chinese supplier and their manufacturers. Both the manufacturing companies and the suppliers have to follow a minimum order quantity (MOQ) for the production of the goods, if the MOQ is not respected, they will not be able to accept your orders.
Therefore, those who decide to import products from China must know that each sale has got to respect a certain MOQ, below which the wholesalers will not be able to sell the requested goods, if this limit is exceeded, the wholesaler will be able to accept the order because he will be able to make a profit, although minimal (just think that Chinese suppliers have a very small profit margin, which varies from 2 to 4%!).
How to approach Chinese suppliers
Keep in mind that production and delivery times are also important. In fact, when you decide to buy from China, you have to keep in mind to finalize your order in advance, as months could go by before you get your items. Just think that a freight shipment has got a time frame of around 45 days.
A good practice is, therefore, to explain clearly and precisely what you want, the quantities and the timing within which you want your goods delivered.
Many companies often begin their relations with Chinese suppliers by giving unclear information, for example, they require the unit price of the goods and do not give the total or time frames. While it might sound sensible to act in such a way, this attitude will often work against you, because it lengthens the times of the order and irritates your supplier.
Bear in mind just a couple of things:
- The supplier, even a committed one, will not be able to give you a unit price for the goods because the price varies immensely depending on the quantity;
- A quote implies a load of work and the supplier changes radically depending on the production times, therefore if you change continuously your requests you could become an unpleasant client;
- Chinese suppliers receive thousands of requests every day and they are not afraid of losing you as a client, especially if you request small quantities of products.
Therefore, what we recommend is to make up your mind on what you want ahead: what products you want to buy and by what time you need them. In this way, you will be able to send to the supplier very clear and detailed information. Always remember that a quotation is free and it is not binding. The clear communication will make the time frames quicker and will make you a welcome client to suppliers, moreover, it will limit the misunderstandings which could happen when you continuously change your requests to supplies who have limited knowledge of the English language.
How to find the right supplier
Another matter to be addressed is how to search for suppliers. If you are looking for them online, on websites like Alibaba, you will notice that for one product there will be thousands of suppliers: how to decide which one is the best?
- Write down a quotation request with the quantities and the timings by which you need the products and send them to several suppliers
- Ask if such products were sold in the EU or the US in the past
- Request the certificates to sell said products in the EU
- Ask specifically if the supplier can arrange the shipping and what type of method was considered in the quotation
- Read and check out carefully the reviews on that supplier and on the length of his activity (the longer his activity is, the safer your investment you will be).
Customs and Duties
It is also a good idea to check out beforehand what are the custom duties on the products which you want to import, because:
- Custom duties change depending on the imported products and can weight enormously on the final price of the goods;
- while VAT can differ, Custom duties are the same for all EU Countries and cannot be waived, therefore they must be included in the product costs.
Buy directly from China without a single problem
If you have done some research online you might have noticed that the minimum order quantities on websites like Alibaba are quite hi gh.
If one has got a small company, however, high MOQs can be a problem. Indeed, to import big quantities of products from China is difficult for small companies which do not have the necessary funds or the space to stock the ordered products.
How can you buy directly from China at factory prices in small quantities?
Buying with wholesale prices directly from China is very convenient because you can cut down on prices, but it is also true that it is hard to find the right supplier, to arrange the shipping, the customs clearance and most importantly to have a concise and clear quotation.
The answer to your problems is Yakkyofy, the only online platform that allows you to import products from China, swiftly and easily!
Yakkyofy allows yo u to:
- share the specifications of your order in English
- have direct contact with the company
- have small MOQs
- be sure to buy from certified suppliers
- have full control over the quality of the products
- have a clear quotation which will give you the information on shipping costs and custom clearance
- get your goods delivered at your doorstep
The secret to saving up money is Yakkyofy!
Improve Lead Times & Cut Costs by Manufacturing in Vietnam
We’ve helped 100s of companies move their production to Vietnam. Let us help you cut costs, save time, and improve the quality of your production.
Complete Production Analysis
If you’re struggling to find a supplier in Vietnam we feel your pain. Hundreds of companies already using Sourcify have faced challenges finding the right supplier for their production needs.
For most, China is at the forefront of their mind when searching for a new factory. What companies don’t realize is how much they can save with more affordable labor costs when sourcing from Vietnam.
Multiple Options Across Vietnam
Our diverse set of factory partners across South East Asia enable Sourcify to give you the best options when it comes to exploring new manufacturing partners.
Transitions Already in Action
With major brands like Nike already spotting global production trends, most larger retailers already produce in countries like Vietnam. It’s time your business explores other options as well.
When you combine our production management software with our sourcing team in manufacturing becomes a strength in your business.
Pre-Vetted Factories: Don’t worry whether a manufacturer is a factory, trading company, or agent. The Sourcify team pre-vets every factory to ensure they are legit.
Fast Lead Times: Our partner factories are known to have some of the fastest lead times in the industry. Don’t let delays slow down your business or make you run out of inventory.
High Quality Guaranteed: Factories that we work with are known for producing some of the highest quality products in the world at competitive prices. Stop wasting time working with low quality factories.
Just starting to source products? Try our Factory Confirm Chrome Extension that enables you to analyze factories on Alibaba in real time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Sourcify help my company transition production?
With our Sourcify network of partner factories, we start by analyzing your current manufacturing situation. We answer how much you could save by transitioning production to Vietnam. After this analysis is complete and if it makes sense to make the move, our team leads the transition to produce your products in Vietnam.
How much does this cost?
We have custom packages depending on the number of SKUs and production volume you are looking to analyze.
Where are your other partner factories located?
We work with partners around the world including India, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, and more.
Sewport connects you with verified clothing manufacturers in China, making it simpler for clothing brands and fashion designers to reach professional and local fashion production factories when starting a new clothing brand.
Top China clothing Manufacturers
Here, search through our database of verified fashion production professionals and factories to find your ideal business partner.
See our recent customer reviews of some of our top China clothing manufacturers.
We collate reviews from designers and entrepreneurs so you can see what like-minded people are saying about our most highly-rated, professional fashion production factories in China.
From brands with bulk orders to small businesses looking for customised apparel for their clothing line, our customers have found the right manufacturing process for their brands.
Find out how Sewport can help you find a high-quality fashion manufacturing partner in China or anywhere in the world.
Why not make use of the fashion tech that has been created to make your job a lot easier? Find China based clothing manufacturers that are verified and ready to take on your job.
If you’re looking for product development at the beginning stages of your business or you’ve struggled to find a factory for garment manufacturing with a suitable minimum order quantity, get connected with just the right choice, here on Sewport.
How long have you been working in fashion manufacturing?
This is a family business that I have taken on from my father and his father before that so our skilled workers have been with us for a long time and really know their craft. While we do a lot of mass production for bulk orders for brands, we know the importance of good quality work and that’s what’s most important to us.
What do you think is special about China manufacturers?
There’s no denying that Chinese factories are able to take on mass orders, maybe more than any other country in the world. So, I think what makes us special is the ability to do this whilst retaining high-quality assurance at all times.
What is your favourite thing about working with new designers?
Lots of new designers need small quantities from their Chinese manufacturers and they just can’t get that, so we really enjoy providing them with this option, allowing them to start their business small and grow naturally.
China clothing Manufacturers
- Reports from Statista show that as of September 2018, about 4.69 billion metres of clothing had been produced in China.
- Over 10 million people are employed in the garment industry in China alone.
- China is the world’s biggest clothing exporter, however, its market shares value actually decreased in 2017 to 33.7% from 38.6% in 2015.
Undeniably the biggest clothing and apparel manufacturer in the world, China continues to take the lion’s share of the market.
If you’re looking for China based clothing manufacturers to help build your business into a scalable fashion label, there’s no better place to have your designs created than in China. Our carefully collated list of China fashion factories and local manufacturing specialists means that we’ve already done the work for you. We’ve verified each of our China garment production partners, simply leaving you with the opportunity to get in touch and begin your fashion journey, making finding factories easier than ever before.
Our community of China-based production factories is ready and waiting to help your business with anything from technical drawings and pattern grading to full package production, including the highest standard quality control procedures.
Starting a clothing line can be complex but using Sewport makes choosing your production partners in China straightforward and protects you with its completely secure platform and payment system. If you have the vision but need the connections, Sewport can help you find the ideal China clothing manufacturer to team with your new fashion label.
All About China
Located in South East Asia, China currently has a population of over 1.4 billion people, the world’s most highly populated country. Known for its huge cities, such as Chongqing and Shanghai, Beijing is the capital of the country, which itself has a population of over 21 million people. Famed for being the largest manufacturing hub in the world, Shenzhen has made a name for itself in the clothing industry for its vast number of apparel production factories.
As well as business, tens of millions of tourists flock to China every year to visit its well-known destinations, such as the Great Wall of China in Beijing, The Terracotta Army Xi’an and China’s national treasures, the Giant Pandas in Chengdu. With shopping, city hopping and its lesser-known beautiful beaches, China offers a plethora of options for its wealth of tourism each and every year.
Looking for something specific?
You can also browse the best Sewport manufacturer in China by category.
Buying inventory to sell in your fashion boutique is a major investment. It’s crucial to research all your possible options and ask potential clothing suppliers the right kinds of questions. This is a two-part blog, so, in this first part, we’ll cover how to find a wholesale clothing supplier and clothing manufacturer for your boutique. In the next segment, we’ll delve into how to evaluate the prospects you’ve found.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Step 1: Deciding What You Need
There are three ways you can stock your online store or fashion boutique. You can:
- Buy wholesale clothes to sell.
- Design and manufacture your own brand of clothes to sell.
- Do a mix of the above two options.
While you might be tempted to start out buying wholesale only, we recommend starting off your boutique inventory with a mix of wholesale and original brand products. According to this annual report by Deloitte, having a mixed sourcing strategy is the best way to start things out. Then, over the long-term, you can transition to solely designing and manufacturing the products offered in your store. We recommend this approach because, in the long-term, most boutique owners and online clothes retailers agree that designing, manufacturing, and selling your own private label fashion line has the best return on investment.
Locking into wholesalers limits your negotiating power on costs. If a wholesaler raises its merchandise prices, you’ll either lose profit margin or have to raise store prices to make up the earnings difference. You could also always find a new wholesaler, but that takes time, focus, and will require you to learn the ropes of a new buyer-seller relationship.
Buying wholesale products can cost less in the short-term than manufacturing your own fashion line. However, buying wholesale can also limit your ability to quality assure the products you sell. Also, since wholesalers don’t offer you the ability to buy completely unique products for your store inventory, using wholesale alone puts you at risk for competing with other boutiques who buy from your wholesaler in a race to the bottom pricing for shared inventories. This is why private label has been trending not only with local, niche retailers but also with retail giants like Amazon and Walmart.
By starting out with a mix of wholesale and original clothing brand products, you manage the risk of having only one clothing source and buyer-seller structure. Starting with a blend of the two will also give you room to grow your profits before investing heavily in your original fashion brand.
Hot Tip: Worried that a lack of technical design knowledge will prevent you from creating your own fashion brand and leave you hostage to wholesale? Don’t be. Even if you’re not a design wizard, some clothing manufacturers give you the ability to build an original design off of an existing factory sample and pattern. This is called working with white label samples. It’s a practice that even the most Gucci (hint, hint) brands use to streamline their operations and product-to-market timelines.
Step 2: The Search
Once you’ve decided what sort of suppliers best fit your needs, it’s time to seek them out. While it’s always good to have a referral from a trusted source, you may not have easy access to someone with experience sourcing boutique inventory. Luckily, the Internet is always there for a gal.
You’ll likely want to Google three different kinds of resources:
- “Online supplier directories”
- “Supplier matching agencies or networks”
- “Wholesaler or manufacturer websites”
The option that’s most helpful for boutique owners may surprise you. While some domestic and overseas wholesalers and manufacturers do have their own company-managed websites, these resources are oftentimes slower and more out of date than those to which you’re accustomed. The information may be outdated, and you may not get much detail off the site because their main business model focuses more on fulfilling orders than on marketing to new business.
Your better bet when looking for a manufacturer for your clothing line or wholesale supplier is to go with either an online directory or a supplier matching agency or network. The reason for this is because the information you get will likely be more accurate and easily searchable by the specific product information you’re wanting to locate.
Keep in mind, using an online supplier directory will get you contacts, however, you’ll need to be the one to reach out and initiate a relationship or transaction. When you work with either an agency or a matching network like MakersValley, they have a team on the ground who will manage that part for you. This can be especially helpful if you’re manufacturing overseas and do not speak the local language.
Step 3: The Final Decision
Once you’ve found a couple of clothing manufacturers or wholesaler options you like, it’s time to evaluate them individually. Our next blog will feature the 10 questions you should ask your clothing supplier or manufacturer before signing on the dotted line and will be up on the blog in two weeks. Stay tuned, and we’ll see you back soon!
Guest Blog Courtesy of Makers Valley, an online B2B service platform that matches Boutiques & Designers with over 150+ Italian apparel Manufacturers & Artisans, with no minimum orders, no markups (pay factory price), and a dedicated account manager to guide you through the manufacturing process.
Find out more by using this special link for Boutique Hub Members:
Increase Your Profits and Minimize Headaches With a Quality Supplier
Bob O’Connor / Getty Images
Finding a quality wholesale product supplier for your business is essential to your success. If you have a great relationship with your product supplier, you can potentially secure better payment terms, giving you much-needed flexibility in your business. On the other hand, an unreliable product supplier may leave your shelves empty and drive your customers to your competitor’s store.
Choose Your Product
The first step toward finding a superior product supplier is to ensure you’ve chosen the right product for your wholesale product business. Knowing your market first before investing in inventory or selecting a wholesaler will save you a tremendous amount of time, money, and headache. A few questions to think about when choosing your product include:
- Do you know your customer’s tastes and interests?
- Are certain features important to them?
- Will your customers need special financing?
- Are your potential customer’s individuals or companies?
- Do your customers prefer to buy products online or at a storefront?
Determine Your Supplier Type
Once you’ve chosen the type of product, you’re going to buy for your product business, it’s now time to determine which type of product supplier you’ll need to get started. The following descriptions of different product supplier types can help you decide:
- Manufacturers: Some manufacturers will sell products directly to you. Manufacturers tend to request high minimum orders or ordering in bulk. If you’re prepared to buy direct, then this is a fantastic option, as you can save money over the long term. However, if large bulk orders concern you, you might be better off purchasing from middlemen until you’re prepared to purchase in bulk.
- Distributors: These middlemen are typically the businesses many brick-and-mortar and even online stores purchase from. They buy in bulk and resell the products in smaller quantities to local stores.
- Foreign Companies, Importers/Import Agents: Don’t limit yourself; consider sourcing your products internationally. Many import companies are prepared to help you find some incredible deals abroad and act as a domestic distributor for offshore firms. However, if you do your due diligence and are prepared to handle import details, you may want to bypass import houses and deal directly with foreign manufacturers yourself.
- Drop Shippers: Although many Drop Shippers function like distributors, buying in volume and reselling individually, the key difference is they ship products directly to your customer’s door. This is especially important for specialty shops and online businesses that may not have the resources to store products locally.
As your business grows and you sell higher volumes, you’ll be able to move up the supply chain and secure better prices and more favorable payment terms.
Find the Right Supplier
Although there are thousands of suppliers, choosing one appropriate for your business will be much easier once you know exactly which product you want to buy and which type of supplier you need to buy from. The next step is to comb through the different resources to find one.
- Trade Shows: One of the best places to find quality wholesale product suppliers is at a trade show. You’ll have the opportunity to see which product suppliers take their market seriously, glean valuable information from the one-on-one conversation with the sales representative, gain insight into the company, and be able to instantly compare a variety of competitors.
- Trade Publications: Magazines specific to your industry or market is another terrific source of potential suppliers. Although you can’t judge a company by its ad, you can learn a lot from their marketing messaging and can gain some insights on certain companies in the publication’s articles.
- Peers: Other people in the trade may be willing to steer you towards first-rate suppliers. You can start by attending trade shows or contacting other non-competing businesses similar to yours. Online forums are another place to swap stories, ideas, and experiences.
- Search Online: Most quality wholesale product suppliers will have a good website and make it easy to find. However, you can also go through sites such as NREL, Alibaba, goWholesale.com or Wholesale Central.
When evaluating potential product suppliers, do your homework! Ask for references, get opinions from your peers, search for reviews online, and contact organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or an appropriate Chamber of Commerce.
Negotiate Favorable Terms
Once you’ve picked your product supplier, make sure you understand the terms of the agreement (and don’t be afraid to negotiate better terms). Quality wholesale product suppliers want great relationships, so if the one you’re dealing with doesn’t have time for your questions or concerns, you may need to keep shopping around. Consider these questions:
- What are the shipment terms?
- Do you have to pay for shipping, or do they?
- What are the payment terms?
- How much credit are they willing to extend?
- How quickly can they ship the product?
- Do they offer expedited shipping if you sell out of your products?
Go through a few what-if scenarios and see what terms are applicable in that situation. You don’t want to wait until an emergency happens to find out.
Build Long-Term Business Relationships
Developing a good rapport with your supplier is a key ingredient to securing a quality wholesale product supplier. The better the history you have with them and the more loyal they see you are, the more leverage you’ll have. You may be able to secure more favorable terms, negotiate flexible payment schedules, have input in future product development, or receive preferential treatment.
Most importers find their suppliers on online marketplace searches. For Chinese suppliers, Alibaba is the biggest marketplace, but Global Sources and 1688.com are also very large. This chapter assesses these three marketplaces, and also covers the first two steps in the supplier process, namely Search For Suppliers on Alibaba and Request Quotes.
Search For Suppliers On Alibaba
Alibaba is rather like the yellow pages, a listing and grouping of businesses. You want to find trustworthy suppliers who can manufacture your product at the quality, at the right price, and deliver it on time. Here’s a great way to do this:
- Enter search terms. Start by entering the same search term your customers use, and then consider synonyms and other phrases. Remember, too, that English is a second language for most Chinese suppliers so you may need to think creatively to find the right keywords.
- Sift search results. Skip past the first results. Like Google, these are sponsored ads. You can filter down to “gold suppliers” if you have too many results.
A better way to filter suppliers is to is find established suppliers (filter for gold suppliers with more than two years standing).
- Search visually. Scan through images in the search results to find products similar to what you’re looking for.
- Apply the “common thread” test. If you want to work with factories rather than trading companies, check their catalog of products. If there’s a common thread running through them, for example, they are selling products in a certain material like silicone, then that usually means they are a factory. But, if they selling everything under the sun, they are probably a trading company.
- Create a request for quotation (RFQ) letter. The Further Reading section at the end of this chapter includes a link for a free RFQ template.
- Structure the letter for success. The following is a great way to structure your RFQ letter.
- Start with a short company introduction telling them about your business, where it’s located, how long you have been doing business and anything else that would make you look more professional.
- Then, include product details such as measurements, material, specifications, pictures, packaging, and any modifications you’d like to make.
- Provide volume estimates in your RFQ letter, so that the supplier understands that you have a purchasing plan. You should provide an attractive annual purchase volume, and the initial trial order should be for at least 500 units. Otherwise, if they think you are just trying to work out the cheapest price and the smallest order, they may skip past your email.
- Ask for their price quotation.
- Track responses. Use a spreadsheet so you can see the price spread, who is responding quickly and who’s slow. You can also use this sheet to make sure that you quickly follow up.
Don’t Just Look On Alibaba
Many suppliers search on Global Sources instead. There are fewer suppliers on this marketplace, but they tend to be better in terms of quality, company reputation, and service.
Another large supplier marketplace is 1688. This Alibaba-owned platform is targeted towards the domestic Chinese market. Here’s why you will probably find it difficult to find suppliers:
- The platform is entirely in Chinese.
- The suppliers there are catering to the domestic China market, which may mean lower quality standards.
- Most suppliers probably don’t have an export license, and therefore can’t legally export to the US. You can get around this, at a cost, if you use a trading company as an intermediary. Trading companies also list on 1688.
- Alibaba and Global Sources online marketplaces are great sources of suppliers and products.
- Follow the steps outlined in this chapter to use Alibaba to shortlist quality suppliers for your product.
- Be specific in your requests to look more professional and improve the response rate.
80/20 Sourcing helps importers scale and systemize their online businesses, saving time and money when sourcing products from China. It offers video courses, masterminds, coaching, and free content, and has been featured in NPR, Bloomberg, Global Sources Summit, Webretailer.com, and Jungle Scout’s Million Dollar Case Study.
- START HERE
- Types Of Suppliers
- Sourcing Channels
- Attending Trade Shows
- Supplier Marketplaces
- FREIGHT QUOTE
- AMAZON FBA
- THE FINAL WORD
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Choosing the right supplier for your business is vital. If your supplier isn’t reliable or doesn’t provide high-quality products, your company will struggle to deliver well-priced goods and services that meet your customers’ expectations.
So how do you choose the right supplier? Here are five key steps to ensuring you’re finding the best possible suppliers for your products, components, or raw materials.
How to choose the right supplier for your business
1. Set your criteria
Create a list of criteria your supplier will need to meet in order to provide what you need. Here are a few things to consider:
- Ideal lead time: How long you want to wait between placing a purchase order and receiving your goods
- Maximum and minimum order quantity: Your parameters for how much you can order at a time
- Dropshipping capabilities: The ability of your supplier to deliver quality products directly to your consumers
- Quality assurance processes: The steps your vendor takes to ensure product quality
- Payment terms and conditions: The ways and means by which you pay for your items
- Return policy: The conditions that allow you or your consumer to return products
- Communication standards: The responsiveness of your supplier and your ability to communicate past language barriers (especially important when working with overseas suppliers)
Setting the criteria in advance will enable you to evaluate potential suppliers on each of the listed items and ensure that you don’t overlook any important requirements.
At the same time, you may want to identify which of your criteria are flexible and which are must-haves. Suppliers in every industry operate a little differently, so there’s always the chance you won’t be able to find a supplier that perfectly checks every box. Just like with dating—knowing which traits are dealbreakers and which are expendable can help you quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.
So you have your design concept. You know the gap you want to fill in the footwear market, and now you want to find a shoe manufacturer who can make your designs. Finding a shoe factory seems like it should be easy, but you feel as though you are coming up against a series of brick walls.
Your messages to footwear factories are being ignored. When you find a shoe manufacturer who seems keen, they end up ghosting you. So how do you get them to take your shoe startup seriously?
I am going to tell you some truths which might be difficult to hear, but if you want to find the right shoe factory it is better to be armed with this knowledge. In fact, by the end of reading this article, you will be in a much better position to plan your shoe factory approaches.
Here are my shoe manufacturer finding tips:
Are you ready to speak to a shoe factory?
For most shoe entrepreneurs, design is the exciting part, so you naturally want to skip straight to designing. Your next thought is “I need to find a shoe manufacturer now”. If you want to save money, time, heartache, and get shoe factories to take you seriously, you need to first assess the business opportunity. Sounds dull? It really doesn’t have to be.
Make sure you have explored the following areas in-depth before even beginning the design process, and definitely before approaching a footwear manufacturer:
- Your customer – Who are they? What drives them to purchase shoes?
- Your competitors – Of course you are planning to create something unique, so may not think you have direct competitors, but your customers are buying their shoes from somewhere. Who are they buying from?
- Your sales model – How are you going to sell your products?
Still feeling a bit lost? My How to Start a Shoe Brand course guides you through the research you will need to complete to be clear on each of these elements.
What does a shoe manufacturer need to know?
Trying to get a shoe manufacturer to work with you is a bit like pitching to an investor. The shoe factory representative needs to believe in you, and your ability to develop a commercial shoe business. Some entrepreneurs are surprised when shoe makers don’t jump at the chance to work on their exciting project. In reality, most shoe manufacturers have worked with some difficult shoe startups in the past, and feel cautious about repeating that experience.
Some shoe factories simply don’t have the capacity – or perhaps the inclination – to work with entrepreneurs such as yourself.
A shoe factory or footwear sourcing agent is more compelled by the size of your market, than by the tiny details of your customer’s lifestyle. These are the elements they will be most interested in at first:
- What your product looks like, and its construction and materials
- How many styles and colours you will require
- Projected volumes – how many pairs you think you will order from them in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth seasons
- Target cost price – they don’t need to know your retail price – but they do need a properly calculated price to work to
If the phrase “projected volumes” fills you with horror, don’t worry, you are just making educated guesses. There is a startup-friendly template for this included in the How to Start a Shoe Brand course. You also get a range planning guide to help you decide how many styles and colours to start off with, and a cost price calculator for wholesale and direct to consumer pricing.
Great, but how do I find a shoe manufacturer?
You need to know which country you want to manufacture in before starting your search. This will be based on your retail and cost price.
As a rough guide:
- Luxury or premium = Europe, USA
- Premium or mid-market = China, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Brazil, Mexico
- Value = Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ethiopia
Of course there are many exceptions; there are luxury factories in China and mid-market factories in Cambodia etc.
LinkedIn is a good place to start. Sourcing Playground and Find Sourcing are good options too.
Should I use a sourcing agent or go direct to the factory?
The How to Start a Shoe Brand course goes into much more detail on finding a shoe manufacturer including:
- How to decide between using a sourcing agent or going direct to the factory
- Interviews with shoe brand founders who share their tips on how to find a good shoe factory
- A downloadable checklist of essential points you will need to find out about a manufacturer
I also recently recorded my How to Find a Shoe Manufacturer masterclass with special guest Marion Ayonote. To access the recording of this masterclass and get exclusive invites to live masterclasses, apply to join The Shoe Community.
Back to Shoe News | The Shoe Consultant
About Susannah Davda
I am a professional shoe consultant providing shoe consultancy to startups and established businesses. I enjoy nothing more than working with businesses on a one to one basis and helping them achieve the success they crave. Learn more about how I can help your shoe business.
michael brooks says
Hey I have developed a tech pack for my sneakers and look to have the idea brought to life, so I can further my business. I am having a hard time finding a manufacturer and I need help.
Well done for getting to this stage. I’d love to help you build your product and business. I’ll send you an email shortly.
With best wishes,
Hi I’ll also app your help in building my brand. It’s hard to find manufacturing companies in South Africa, I’m hoping to get all the help that I need from you.
June Smith says
Hello, happy to find this information online. I too am interested in finding a shoe designer. I would love for you to assist.
Thanks for your comment.
I will send you an email now.
I found your web page. I have a shoe business, I’m looking for manufacturer and I need help. Is it possible you could share information?
I’ll send you an email now.
I have a design and am looking to find a shoe manufacturer, can anyone help?
This is exciting! I’m going to email you now.
Amy Brooks says
Want to sell idea for fashion shoes for woman. There isn’t any out there yet n I truly believe its one of the best ideas No doubt it would b a huge success but don’t know how to create it just want to sell the idea help
Thanks for your message.
The best way to sell an idea is to start a successful shoe brand. This way, you prove that it is a commercial idea.
I will send you an email with details of how I can help you.
Benefits of global dropshipping suppliers
▪ Fast Shipping (3-6 days)
▪ Great Quality
▪ Reliable Return Policies
▪ Good Customer Service
▪ More Product Categories
Reliable US, EU and Global suppliers with fast shipping on high quality winning products.
Warehouses located in China, US, Europe, and Southeast Asia!
Unlike International shipping, local delivery only takes around 3-6 days.
Although dropshipping Aliexpress products may seem like the cheapest option, you often have to compromise on shipping times. It’s not uncommon for products from Aliexpress suppliers to take several weeks to get to your customers. And in the era of Amazon Prime, where consumers expect next day delivery, you need to stay competitive.
So, by using US suppliers to ship to your American customers, it stands to reason these products don’t have to travel as far or rely on foreign logistics. Therefore, they can get to your customers quicker than an international supplier could.
3 warehouses in Yiwu, Shenzhen, and Jinhua. Yiwu warehouse is the largest warehouse of CJ, with a storage area of more than 12000 square meters, in which there are one million pieces of general cargo in stock.
2 warehouses located in both the East Coast and the West Coast. The maximum order processing capacity of each warehouse is 20,000 orders per day.
1 warehouse in Germany. It is located in Frankfurt am Main. We will plan to open a UK warehouse and a French warehouse.
2 warehouses in Indonesia and Thailand. Indonesia Warehouse was put into use in 2020, with a storage area of more than 9500 square meters.
by Chris Malta
Last updated 7/21/2018
Finding genuine, factory-authorized wholesale suppliers is an absolute must for anyone selling physical products online. Your online business will never become truly profitable, if you’re sourcing your products from middlemen or fake wholesale sites. But tracking down legitimate wholesale sources will take some legwork on your part.
Talk to the Source
So how do you find suppliers who are the real deal, and avoid worthless posers? You go all the way to the top – of the supply chain that is. One of the most reliable ways to locate factory-authorized wholesalers is to talk to the manufacturer. You can usually find the manufacturer located on the product’s serial sticker or in the warranty papers or owner’s manual.
Once you find them, just call them up and ask for their sales division. Tell their sales rep that you’re a retailer interested in carrying their products, and ask for a list of their authorized wholesale suppliers. The manufacturer knows who their authorized wholesalers are, and they shouldn’t have any problem sharing that information with you. When you begin calling the suppliers on that list, you’ll have complete confidence that you’re talking to real wholesalers.
There’s More than One Way.
Of course, there are more streamlined methods for tracking down real wholesale product sources. (Big sigh of relief.)
Wholesale trade shows bring thousands of wholesalers, within a single industry, together under one roof. The larger, more reputable shows vet the suppliers they allow to exhibit, which means you’ll only be talking to real wholesalers and manufacturers. Wholesalers also advertise in industry trade publications; you can often find valuable contact info and website addresses intended for retail use only there. Another option is to visit a permanent wholesale mart – these are basically long-standing trade shows; you can find them in most mid-sized to large cities.
A Word of Caution
When you’re dealing with trade shows, you need to make sure that they are, in fact, wholesale trade shows. In other words, you want to attend a business to business event, open only to industry insiders. The suppliers you’ll find at a public trade expo, such as a car or boat show, are often retailers themselves and are not offering wholesale pricing on their products.
The same holds true for any permanent gift mart or trade mart that admits the general public. Wholesale marts are only open to legal retail businesses, and will require proof before allowing you to register. If you can gain entrance without providing your sales tax ID and legal business name (at a bare minimum), you’re not in a wholesale merchandise mart, which means you’re not getting wholesale prices.
Legitimate Product Sources
Authentic wholesale suppliers won’t come knocking down your door – finding them takes a real, concerted effort. It’s not always the most exciting job, but the results are easily worth the work you’ll put in. Sourcing your products at true wholesale prices will enable you to effectively compete in the Internet marketplace and make the highest possible profits on every transaction. And isn’t that the point of selling online?
- How to Appraise a Victorian Sofa & Chair
- Oneida Pattern Identification
- How to Appraise Rookwood Tile
- About Markings on Fine China
- How to Identify Dishware Patterns
Antique fine bone china can be worth a lot of money, especially when it’s a rare piece from a renowned manufacturer. But knowing where to start to determine the value of your china may seem, at first glance, a hard or impossible task. You can use one or all of several methods to value your family heirloom. Discovering its true value may make you want to keep it on display so that it stays protected. To make sure it’s fine bone china, hold it up to the light. If it has a translucent, almost see-through quality, then it is.
The first place to start when establishing a value for bone china is to look for the manufacturer’s hallmark. Turn over a dinner plate, a saucer or the sculpted item and look at the bottom’s center. You might find a country of origin, initials, an image or even a name. Each manufacturer often marked their works with an identifying symbol, series of letters and numbers, the country of origin, or their name. The hallmark may be impressed, painted, incised or printed onto the item.
Take a picture of the hallmark with your smartphone or camera, and use the image to compare it to other hallmarks in porcelain and pottery books, or visit online sources that provide this information. Once you have identified the hallmark, it can lead to the manufacturer of the china and also establish its age. The piece’s condition, age and rarity are the set points that determine how valuable it is.
Country of Origin
Most valuable bone china originates in England, as the process of using bone ash in the porcelain mixture started in that country in competition with China’s unknown porcelain recipes. But fine bone china was also made in other parts of the world. Look for a crown or other similar symbol on the back of the piece to determine if it’s from England. Current manufacturers use modern colors, such as lime green, teal and even purple to color their china, so these pieces won’t be as valuable as older, more traditional patterns.
Identify the Pattern
Look for a series of numbers inside or near the hallmark. Bone china manufacturers typically identified their patterns by a series or three or four numbers. The manufacturers and collectors maintain websites with lists of these numbers on them. Once you have identified the pattern and the year, you can compare your china against pieces previously sold on auction sites, from the manufacturer’s site or companies that offer replacement pieces to determine its value.
Collectors and Appraisers
Visit local antique collectors and appraisers when you fail to determine a piece’s value. Collectors or appraisers can establish its value for insurance purposes to protect it or the price if you want to sell it. Also check with the Appraisers Association of America for appraisers that specialize in porcelain and china.