How to Manufacture a New Product Overseas

Our Fabulous Fairy Godmother Heather Allard is Founder of Swaddleaze and 2 Virtues and is now a consultant for women entrepreneurs at The Mogul Mom.

Are you completely overwhelmed by the thought of finding an overseas manufacturer?

I was too and that’s why I initially had my product, Swaddleaze, manufactured here in the United States, a decision that cost me thousands and thousands of dollars and nearly sunk my business in the first year.After searching through a gigantic apparel manufacturers directory, I found a mill that specialized in children’s apparel. They quoted me a “cut and sew” price that seemed fair and I contracted them to produce my first run of Swaddleaze.

What I didn’t realize was that I then had to source all the materials for my product and have the goods shipped to the manufacturer before they could begin production. I spent hours researching U.S. companies that made textiles, zippers, packaging, labels and more.I then purchased thousands of dollars of fabric, zippers, Velcro, interior labels, hangtags, packaging, inserts and price stickers and had everything trucked down south. The shipping cost was sometimes more than the cost of materials! My credit cards were practically melting and I had just begun this venture.When the manufacturer had finally finished the production run and had shipped the goods to me, each piece ended up costing $15.85! I had no idea how I would ever turn a profit at this rate. After selling through this initial run and almost going under, I made the decision to find an overseas manufacturer, no matter how daunting that task was.It took me about six months and a ton of “Googling” before I found an overseas manufacturer that was perfect for my needs. So how do you go about finding a manufacturer overseas that’s right for your business?

Here are the steps that will make that process faster, easier and less scary for you.

1. Before contacting overseas manufacturers, take the time to familiarize yourself with the terminology with this indispensable dictionary of trade, shipping and export terms at ExportBureau.com. This will help you feel confident when speaking to foreign manufacturers and will let them know that you’ve done your research. Some of the most common terms are:

Lead time this is the time between placing an order with a manufacturer and when the order is delivered.

Minimums how many pieces of a particular item you have to order. Usually, the more you order, the more affordable the price is.

Terms this usually means how and when the manufacturer will be paid (T/T, wire transfer, net 30 days, etc).

T/T this means that you wire transfer half the amount of the order before the manufacturer begins work and the other half at completion. The manufacturer will give their wiring instructions.

2. Ask around if you know other women who make products, ask them who their manufacturer is and then contact that company about pricing. Be sure to mention who referred you, as this will often get you a speedier reply. (If any of you are looking for a great apparel manufacturer, I’d be happy to refer you to mine. Contact me for more information.)

3. Use Alibaba.com, a global trade website that puts products, suppliers and buyers in touch with each other. Some Chinese suppliers are labeled “Gold Suppliers” which distinguishes them as premium, reputable suppliers. They are required to meet stringent criteria before becoming a Gold Supplier and are usually a safe bet. Once you’ve found a handful of manufacturers, contact them for pricing, terms, lead time and minimums. If possible, look for a manufacturer that will provide you with a complete package (also called FOB package). This means that the manufacturer will source all materials, produce the goods, package the goods, pack the goods, ship the goods and arrange for customs clearance and receipt of goods here in the U.S. and finally, have the goods trucked to you or your fulfillment center.

4. Compare pricing and service and then request samples. If there are any safety guidelines for your product, you must provide the manufacturer with those guidelines/criteria. Most overseas manufacturers are not familiar with US safety regulations set forth by the CPSC. Refer to CPSC.gov for more information. If you’re unsure about your product safety requirements, you can email a CPSC employee and they will assist you.

5. Once you’ve reviewed all samples and compared pricing, choose the manufacturer that’s right for your product or business and begin the production process.

Then, breathe a big sigh of relief because YOU DID IT!If you follow these steps, you’ll find out the same thing I did that manufacturing overseas isn’t so scary or overwhelming after all. It’s an exciting step that can often be the beginning of big success for you and your company.

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80 Responses to “How to Manufacture a New Product Overseas”

  1. Stick Me Designs:Rickina on November 28th, 2007 10:21 pm

    This article is what I’ve been looking for!!! My start-up is looking to do this in the near future, I hope, and it is a scary and tiresome task. But I feel to grow my product that this may be the step I need to take to grow to the next level. What great information@!

  2. Heather Allard on November 29th, 2007 7:26 pm

    Thanks, Rickina…I’m glad it helped! Have a great night!
    Heather

  3. Heather Allard on December 4th, 2007 10:13 am

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to share my BLOG address with you–I offer even MORE info here.

    Just visit http://themogulmom.blogspot.com.

    Thanks!
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  4. kristen quadland on February 1st, 2008 7:50 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I did source an overseas manufacturer for a sandal that I sold on HSN. I was deastated by the quality of the product shipped. It was a trumatic experience, to say the least.
    Anyway, I would be very interested in recomendations for an overseas apparel manufaturer for women’s and children’s clothing.
    Again thank you for sharing…
    Kristen

  5. Heather Allard on February 1st, 2008 9:37 am

    Hi Kristen,

    You’re quite welcome.

    Though the cost to have prototypes and samples shipped from overseas may be high, it’s imperative that you actually SEE and approve the product before it goes into production.

    If you are interested in women’s and children’s apparel resources, please visit my site at http://www.TheMogulMom.com/services.html where you can purchase an hour or two of my Coaching by Email program.

    Thanks again! Have a great weekend.
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  6. lori Edwards on February 29th, 2008 6:56 pm

    I have a product that I want to have a prototype made.This is a common everyday item but done with a twist.What is my first 5 steps?

  7. Heather Allard on March 4th, 2008 8:00 pm

    Lori,
    Congratulations on your product idea. It’s difficult for me to say what your first five steps should be without knowing more about it. I offer a great “Coaching by Email” program that would give you more personalized information. Check out my website for more details.
    Thanks,
    Heather

  8. Diane Smith on May 7th, 2008 11:09 am

    This is ALL great information. Too bad I found it far too late. I did business with a company called Import Traders, Inc. and experienced a disaster. Do yourself a favor, be EXTREMELY careful about the company or agent you consider using and by all means avoid being sunk by:
    1) not being too anxious to just go with anyone because they tell you that *they* can do it!
    2) NEVER pay anything upfront or use a company that expects you to wire anything without a formal contract that has legal ground in *YOUR* state.
    3) Steer clear of companies like ITI (Import Traders, Inc.) that breech the agreement and still hold you accountable for additional expenses that were never agreed to nor in the contract. So, make sure EVERYTHING right down to the ship to location and cost is considered BEFORE putting your signature on any contract. I did all of this and my experience was still a nightmare because the company failed me by making a defective product two months beyond the expected date, then they wanted me to pay for their shipping error and to top it off, breeched our agreement and still wanted more money from me beyond what was already paid.
    Talk to other people, listen to our fabulous fairy Godmother Heather Allard, she knows what she’s doing because I too went down this path and have only just recently been able to say (after learning the hard way) that I’ve since become a success at this process.

  9. julie brown on May 19th, 2008 12:04 am

    Hi there,
    I would love some help, i have a product plan drawn up but dont know where to begin. I dont even know if i need a sample made before i go any further or a plan on paper should be enough.Than i have no idea how to get my product produced.Im thinking of shore wold be cheaper than having it made here in Australia.
    Could you please help me get my idea off the ground
    Kind regards
    Julie

  10. startupprincess on May 19th, 2008 8:46 am

    Hello Julie and others who wish to manufacture,
    I would recommend that before you get to manufacturing you have a prototype made and test, test, test your concept and get feedback, etc. Then when you’re ready talk with someone like Heather Allard who has gone through the stages and/or get pricing from different companies who you trust. One I recommend is Vox Promotions in Utah (who will work with people worldwide) http://www.voxpromotions.com they do 60 containers a month, have 39 employees and are in high volume as well as small scale manufacturing of anything overseas they have offices in China and Vietnam also. Aaron Scott is my contact there but I also know the owner, Kip Rollins well and they are high quality, high standards people!

  11. Veronica on May 20th, 2008 9:02 pm

    Hi,

    As I’ve done market research on my product, I’ve found that there are a few competitor who make similar products to mine. While I suppose mine is still a big improvement over the competition I still want to know how do I find out who manufacturers their products, so that I can take advantage of their leg work & potentially use them or at least price my competitor?

  12. Terri L. Cronin on June 30th, 2008 3:07 pm

    I am starting from the beginning. Can anyone help me with the step by step process? Who makes the prototype?

    I know how to get a business license & patent. You have give me an address for

  13. Kathleen on September 1st, 2008 6:41 am

    Terri wrote:
    “I am starting from the beginning. Can anyone help me with the step by step process? Who makes the prototype?”

    Every product type is different. A note to anyone posting these sorts of queries, be specific so others can advise you better. I only know about sewn products, having worked in garment manufacturing for nearly thirty years.

    In apparel, you can work it several ways. First, do you want to produce domestically or do you want to go offshore? If your product is detailed and you want small quantities quickly, it may be best to do it in the US. If it’s a product in a highly competitive market (highly price sensitive) and you want lots of them, maybe offshore is better. If you can sew, see how close you can get to a concept on your own. Your goal is a crude rendition of your idea. Alternatively, if you can generate good technical drawings, that is another option. Either way, domestic or offshore, the better information you can provide to a “manufacturer”, the better.

    If you can’t sew or don’t want to and you want to go offshore, you must have a “tech pack”. Also called a technical specifications package, this constitutes a legal contract of deliverables for your product. You can have one made by a pattern maker (an archaic job title for a product design engineer in the apparel industry) or a technical designer. Btw, if the tech designer was not trained or worked as a pattern maker for years, don’t waste your money.

    If you want more control over the project, you can also provide a prototype instead. This means to your next step is to hire a pattern maker. I know that some people have used home sewing patterns but this can be a grave error. Other than that it’s illegal, you are not protected. Iow, if you used intellectual property that does not belong to you, you don’t have a legal leg to stand on if someone steals your product and copies it. If you have someone to make a pattern for you (work for hire), you own the copyright. A lot of green entrepreneurs run around trying to get patents, spending years and thousands of dollars but a simple copyright on your pattern is nearly always sufficient. If you need a pattern maker, there’s links to some on my site.

    Services vary; some pattern makers will make prototype iterations either in house or they’ll get a sample maker or refer you to one they’ve used and like. After that, having developed a good relationship with a pattern maker, they will refer you to a contractor who can make test samples. This is your production test run so you will see if there’s any problems and get a good idea what your costs will be as well as the amount of needed materials. Once you have samples, well, it’s time to flog it and get some orders. Once you have orders, you hire the contractor to produce them. Of course there’s a lot more to it but this is the skeleton of the process.

  14. Taneka on September 3rd, 2008 12:53 pm

    This site is a Heaven Send! God bless all who are involved with making this possible. I’m in the StartUp phase of my new business and finding this site was a true blessing.

  15. susy on September 4th, 2008 5:47 pm

    After helping many companies to produce their products overseas, I opted to produce my line here in the states.

    I had to ask myself…what is my business all about…and is producing overseas a choice I can live with??

    Turns out, it’s not. I think it’s important to consider the effects of producing items overseas…effects that are less obvious than the dollar expense, potential profit and ease. We have to start asking ourselves what the ramifications are…to our economy, and also…maybe even more importantly, to our environment.

  16. Heather Allard on September 12th, 2008 6:30 pm

    Hi Susy,
    You’re right–you have to ask yourself that question. And MANY others. I initially had my products manufactured here in the US and felt GREAT about that decision. The company I used, Rice Mills, has since gone out of business, as have many US manufacturers. But, I nearly sank my family into inescapable debt.

    Unfortunately, if you are a typical mom entrepreneur with limited financial resources, domestic manufacturing is extremely time consuming, expensive and frustrating.

    While it’s noble to try to make choices based on the impact on our economy, most of us don’t have the business or the financial means to keep U.S. companies afloat. And we can certainly help our environment (both locally & globally) by making wise manufacturing choices, choosing organic fabrics, sustainable materials, eco-conscious packaging and more.

    You raised a great point–thank you! We can all spend a bit more time weighing the pros & cons of our manufacturing decisions and how those decisions affect our businesses, our economy, our environment and our lives.

    Sincerely,
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom
    http://www.TheMogulMom.com

  17. Debbie on October 22nd, 2008 3:52 pm

    This website was heaven sent and so are you! Thank you for taking the time to advise us. I have 2 questions, should I prototype here and manufacture overseas or do both overseas. And is my design protected overseas if I have a design patent pending here. My design is plastic.
    Thanks so much!
    Debbie

  18. William Threadgold on October 27th, 2008 11:05 am

    I just a have question and stumbled across your website. I started my own business ten years ago (after 17 years at a large footwear company) and I have manufactured my own shoes and apparel in in China, Korea and now Indonesia.

    Over these past few years I have seen people get absolutely fleeced by “middle men” and factories. I have helped out a number of people and let them use my contacts to get a good price on all materials. This helps me out at the factories since I get them business and these people instantly have real honest contacts in Asia.

    I just did a line of shoes for a woman for QVC and probably saved her over $50,000.00.

    My question: Are there more people who are trying to get started manufacturing overseas and need help? I know unless I had contacts I trusted from my previous years it would have been difficult.

    I would be very interested hearing your view of this subject.

    Thanks,

    Billy Threadgold
    http://www.disciplinefootwear.com

  19. Lisa Lyke on November 15th, 2008 3:41 am

    Help!!!! I need help so badly! I don’t know if this is proper and I apologize if I am out of turn however, I have many inventions that I have been seeking help with and I am at a loss. I am a disabled mother and I have lost everything, I am looking to find a partner or mentor that would be willing to use me to make money. I need to get my ideas to market and have little or no resources available except my ideas. I just need help and I am willing to partner up and split 50/50 or whatever it takes to make things happen. I really need to provide a home and medical coverage for my family and I know that I can if I could just get some help. If you have any thoughts or know where I might turn please let me know. Thank you for your time and the opportunity to write this.

  20. Polina on November 17th, 2008 9:26 am

    To whom this may concern;

    My name is Polina Misheyeb and I live in Canada, I am interested in producing an idea that I have.

    I have done some research and also put some work into this idea.

    What I am looking for at this point is a manufacturer that is able to make my prototype and sign privacy contract stating that this product can only be made for me.

    My product is a baby bottle and has a few specifics; I wanted to know if I am in the right direction by contacting you.

    I am interested in this product passing Canadian and American standards and making the product super healthy for babies. This means it would have to be free of Lead, PVC and much more.

    Can you help me?

    Sincerely

    Polina Misheyeb

  21. Linda Lednum on December 22nd, 2008 7:05 am

    I am an apparel patternmaker that loves working with new ideas and designs.
    I worked in the industry for 30 years with many company hired designers, but going free lance has been so much fun. Most of my business is with designers who have a great design and want to see it developed.
    With the first pattern I send a fit/design approval sample so you can see your idea “come to life”. After approval I can then grade the pattern into your chosen size range.
    I helped Heather develop her now famous Swaddleaze. I also have good Hong Kong and mainland China contacts for sourcing and manufacturing. If I can be of help to anyone, please contact me.

  22. Pecola Bates on January 24th, 2009 2:27 pm

    I was working with a factor in China who has not been responsive lately. They have only made prototypes for me, however they are not responding tomy e-mails. Can you share your contact person with me? I am interested in making some infants/toddler items?

    I found your information very helpful!!!

    Thanks!

  23. Temogo Tlale on March 3rd, 2009 11:51 am

    I want to know how much it will cost me to get a shoe that i designed manufactured, and where can i get this done ?

  24. Monica Gerald on March 27th, 2009 7:59 am

    I am so glad i ran across this website. I am currently in the process of starting my own clothing line and have found this information very helpful. i have been searching on- line for an overseas manufactoring but it has been very difficult and would really appreciate if someone would refer me to several credible ones. I am a mother of 4 and have been very encouraged by the pouring out of information from this website. Thank You!!

  25. Stacey on March 29th, 2009 1:40 pm

    This post and the follow-up comments are really helpful to me. Thanks for sharing your experience and recommendations.

  26. Sarah Shaw on April 12th, 2009 8:46 pm

    I am so excited to see all these women with a great idea just waiting to be born! I lead a 26 week tele-seminar (on the phone) that will teach you every single step you need to research, prototype, manufacture and sell your product idea. Check out my website and sign up to receive my Ezine and listen to our FREE calls once a month.

    Sarah

  27. Nita M W on May 19th, 2009 1:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing your info. It gives those of us with hopes and dreams of being business owners courage to move forward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Mary on June 19th, 2009 3:53 am

    Hi, I have a new idea and don’t know where to start. Is it better to find a manufacturer first and have them make samples for you before going to stores/companies and introduce your products? or is it better to do the opposite way? Thanks, Mary

  29. levinia on June 26th, 2009 5:32 pm

    hi
    am a single mom of 2 girls and am trying to make something to call my own.
    the only problem is that i need information how to start up my own invention
    with getting my invetion idea stolen from me.
    If you can be so kind of helping through i would appreciate it alot

    thanks
    levinia

  30. Sarah Shaw on June 26th, 2009 9:06 pm

    Levinia,
    If you want to protect your invention then I suggest you see a patent attorney and get a patent. Obviously I don’t know what it is and if it is patentable – but the only way to guarantee it’s “safety” if to file a utility patent. If you don’t feel it is a patentable item and you are not sure how to proceed with making a prototype, manufacturing, selling, and marketing – I can offer you my coaching expertise. Sign up for my free weekly Ezine – you will get a lot of free info and I even have an Ask the Entreprenette column every week. Hope to see you there. Good luck. If you need a good patent attorney I can recommend one to you. Sarah

  31. Q& A with The Mogul Mom on July 9th, 2009 12:31 pm

    [...] Well, Lois, your first question is easy to answer. You’ll know when to start thinking about larger production options when the demand for your product far exceeds your supply. “Larger production” won’t put you into debt if the demand is there. Or, if the “make at home” gig is becoming too much for you, that might be the point where you consider outsourcing production. You will find more information about overseas manufacturing in an article I wrote for one of my favorite sites, StartUp Princess. [...]

  32. Getting products manufactured - Mum Inventor on August 4th, 2009 2:50 pm

    [...] How to Manufacture a New Product Overseas by Heather Allard – another very useful article which condenses the process into 5 steps.  Be sure to read through all the comments, there is some very useful info hidden in there. [...]

  33. natalie on September 5th, 2009 2:05 am

    NEED HELP! I have a product in mind and need to know what steps are needed in going forward with the idea the right way. I read about the invention company scams and I dont know if i want to work with a company. I am willing to put in my own time to get this product out.

  34. startupprincess on September 5th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Hi Natalie, what’s your contact info, you didn’t leave an email. You should contact Heather Allard of The Mogul Mom about your questions. ;)

  35. natalie on September 6th, 2009 2:07 pm

    Im sorry about that. Please email me at talinilat@yahoo.com

  36. nisha on September 9th, 2009 8:51 pm

    This site is so much help. I am a self starter too. Even though i have already started my own business i am still struggling to get to right spot to right person. need help to get through the right person to sell my products. I am looking for fashion designer who can design a sample garments for free or in low cost.

  37. Melissa on September 22nd, 2009 10:22 am

    I have an idea for a new product that actually combines two existing products with a few tweaks. This product involves electrical components but the end result would be very usable by millions of people. Where do I start? For little cost I may be able to produce a prototype myself. If not, who or where can I present my idea and have this product manufactured? Can any of this be done without licensing or patent costs? Thank for any help.

  38. Heather Allard on September 24th, 2009 6:26 am

    Hi Melissa,

    It’s difficult for me to answer your questions about licensing or patent costs without knowing more about your product. Products involving electrical components aren’t my forte, but I’d be happy to try to point you in the right direction. Feel free to email me at themogulmom [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Thanks!
    Heather
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..32 Dinner Ideas For Mom Entrepreneurs =-.

  39. Sheila on October 1st, 2009 12:00 pm

    What a grat site to find! I have a new company and need to find overseas manufacturers to produce my home linens. I keep finding just sources of already made stuff – where is the link to view sources that can produce my designs??
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..Threadless Tshirt Giveaway at jaypeeonline.net =-.

  40. Heather Allard on October 6th, 2009 6:22 pm

    Hi Ladies!
    I just wanted to say that you can always reach me with questions through my blog http://www.TheMogulMom.com or directly at themogulmom [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Thanks y’all!
    Heather
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..Lessons You Can Learn About Strategic Alliances from the GM/E-Bay Experiment =-.

  41. Tom Reeves on December 15th, 2009 2:36 pm

    can you please give me a phone to speak to someone for advice on Patten my invention?

  42. Justin Mills on December 17th, 2009 2:54 pm

    hey there,
    we are based in Miami and own a apparel manufacturing facility in India.
    we are producing for other clothing lines( dress shirts , tees, uniforms etc) as well our own high end women’s clothing line http://www.sayafashions.com
    feel free to contact us at the email address.

    Thanks

  43. Anna on December 27th, 2009 6:58 pm

    Does anyone know anything about getting products – such as picture frames, step stools, canvases, etc. reproduced overseas? I would paint originals and then get someone to print the image on the products???? Thanks – any help would be great!

  44. nar on December 28th, 2009 10:25 pm

    hello i want to find name brand fragrances from china to import to another country to sell. if not i want to manufacture something mabe some shirts of good quality for tourist
    nareshmara@yahoo.com
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091228210020AAlaPAb

  45. Bradley Zieve on January 7th, 2010 4:22 pm

    Hi Everyone!

    I am the Owner of Global Consumer Products, LLC here in Atlanta, Ga. I would welcome anyone who is interested in developing product Overseas, with no obligation to you.

    I have been in the Industry for ten years sourcing and developing for companies such as Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Party City, etc. And from 2007 until present I lived in Mainland China working directly in the factories. I have a contact list like no other person you will meet, with experience in developing Toys, Furniture, Apparel, Make Up Sets, Home and personal care Appliances to name a few/

    Email or call me, and I would be more than happy to discuss your vision.

    Best Regards,
    Bradley Zieve


    Global Consumer Products, LLC
    Principal

    3121 Piedmont Road NE
    Atlanta, Ga. 30305 USA
    Office: (404) 239-9800
    Fax: (404) 262-8202
    Cell: (404) 909-7194

  46. Sheena Repath on January 19th, 2010 9:25 am

    Manufacturing is necessary for the success of your idea, finding a manufacturer is only 1 piece in the idea process. If you haven’t qualified your idea/concept you may spend unnecessary time and money on development.
    In business it’s imperative that you ‘OWN THE IDEA’ make sure you have consulted experts and have spent time to build your foundation.
    Here are 3 critical points every entrepreneur should answer before proceeding with their idea:
    WHAT IS YOUR IDEA/PRODUCT/CONCEPT
    -be specific and outline the details clearly (this will help with manufacturing later)
    WHO IS YOUR TARGET MARKET
    -you can’t be everything to everyone, do a little market research to figure out who would want and use your product
    WHY IS YOUR PRODUCT DIFFERENT
    -having identified what makes you unique will allow you to market it differently, sometimes the most obvious trait is your specialty.

    An idea can be qualified quickly and easily, giving you confidence & certainty and reducing overwhelm of the unknown! I’m here if you have any additional quesitons & good luck.

  47. davidbaer on February 3rd, 2010 2:07 am

    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  48. Brett on February 16th, 2010 4:02 pm

    Great article Heather, thanks for sharing. What are your thoughts on copyright. I emailed a manufacturer through Alibaba my plans which he then said he could not produce. Now I’m worried he could be developing it for himself. I previously looked into patenting the idea, but the cost is simply unaffordable. Is there some affordable way to protect ideas? Thanks Brett

  49. Heather Allard on February 17th, 2010 1:47 pm

    Hi Brett,
    I wouldn’t worry too much about the manufacturer stealing your ideas but going forward, you might feel more comfortable having manufacturers sign a non-disclosure form before discussing production with them. You can Google non-disclosure form and find free copies online. :D

    Hope that helps!
    Heather
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..Weigh-In Wednesday: What Plan Do YOU Need Most Now? =-.

  50. Cassandra Hendricks on February 18th, 2010 11:31 pm

    Hello, this website is wonderful! Have a question for Heather or whomever may offer great advice. I would like to design and manufacture hair ties. It would require utilizing plastic parts as well as fabric ones. Please put yourself in my position–how would you approach getting this off the ground? I imagine I could try to make the fabric designs myself, but what about the plastic designs? After making crude drawings, how do you economically get the plastic parts molded for a prototype? Any idea about the expense for this sort of thing? I know this sounds so basic, but I do have a target audience, please help. Any referrals also welcome!

  51. Cassandra Hendricks on February 18th, 2010 11:33 pm

    Forgot to leave contact info. sorry, I can be reached at sandywilms@yahoo.com. Thank you!!!

  52. Paul on March 2nd, 2010 5:12 am

    Hi Heather, thanks for the great advice. I was wondering, I have found a manufacturer from China and talked at length to the CEO at a trade fair about a product that I would like manufactured. The CEO signed my NDA there and then. I sent an email with my request.The CEO said he would work on my product after the Chinese New Year holidays. My question is this: No contracts have been drawn up, when should this happen? How do I go about arranging things formally as I do not wish to find a nasty surprise later. Also, where can I find information about shipping costs etc to the UK? Thanks

  53. Gerchen on April 13th, 2010 2:45 am

    Hi there,
    I’ve got a manufacturing company based in South Africa. We produce dress tees shirts etc. As well as women’s line. Feel free to contact me via email at gerchenherold@gmail.com

  54. Julie on April 13th, 2010 10:38 am

    Has anyone ever had any business relationship with syxiuqiu in china as a manufacturer? If so, was it positive? Any response would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks.

  55. Cindy on August 28th, 2010 4:15 pm

    I have an idea for a glove that arose out of a need at my work. At first, I thought to do it all myself and get it manufactured in China. Through the Alibaba website, I contacted various manufacturers who sent samples. So far, I have been underwhelmed. I am finding it difficult to get the proper fit and exactly what I need. I thought perhaps to license my product idea to someone in the business and contacted the founder of glove guru. He was receptive to hearing development ideas. He told me to send a confidentiality agreement which he would sign then call and pitch the idea. Can you give me advice how to write it up a mini script to best sell my idea or to direct me to a book that can help? Also… if I choose to do this directly all myself, how do I get a proper prototype. I have been unsuccessful so far in manifesting my vision. Thanks for any help.

  56. Maisie on February 28th, 2011 11:00 am

    I am looking for company to manufacture Apparel
    made from linen with afrocentric design if anyone can help
    I would appreciate this

  57. pascal on May 12th, 2011 3:54 pm

    hi
    great article, did you use any kind of confidential contract and protection about your product?
    thanks
    p

  58. ada on July 1st, 2011 8:42 am

    Hi, Heather I was reading some of the comment you have there are very intrested. My question for you that I have an invetion made already and have a prototype also. I sent my idea to Davison company. things did not work for me. I spend so many with this company. that I finally took my own idea and my prototype away from them. Now I am staring to find a investor or manufacturer my prototype. please give some idea where to start. I hate to scammed again. thank you

  59. Jimmy Flores on July 21st, 2011 3:02 pm

    Hi, i need a manufacturer in China do you have any body in mine or recommend. THKS……JIM

  60. James on August 4th, 2011 7:25 pm

    This article is very insightful, very helpful too, but I have only one single objection: don`t you ever, EVER rely on Alibaba.com, because you are pretty much left to your fate there. This “good supplier” thing is completely, totally, entirely deceptive.

    I once ordered a MacBook Air from a supposedly “good supplier” (I wanted to resell it locally at a higher price, simple trading) and all they shipped was three knock-off mobile phones, pure garbage! One was a HTC knock-off, the other a Nokia one. The other, well… The other was a hideous “wristwatch cell phone” with a Apple-ish logo on it (without the bite). I felt angry and embarrassed.

    When I complained to their customer service, things got worse. Their response was basically “Just keep it. Oh, and nobody else complained, so why are you? Just sell these crap and get over it”, can you believe it? And when I escalated the case to Alibaba.com, all they said was the “We just intermediate the negotiation, we are not liable for anything” stuff.

    Then I tried to order something else from another “good supplier”, and this time, I would “do the homework”, check the reputability of the supplier and so on. I ended up giving up trying to find a trustworthy company, do you know why? Because when I asked for documents like articles of incorporation or business tax ID number, and they said it was “confidential” or simply denied my request. Hello? How can I do business with a company that refuses to provide BASIC information? Would you do business blindfolded like this?

    So, do yourself a favor, and JUST AVOID ALIBABA.COM AT ALL COSTS. If you do find a good Chinese supplier there, consider yourself lucky, because odds are you are not going to. Just Google “alibaba scam” without quotes and you will know what I mean.

  61. startupprincess on August 5th, 2011 8:28 am

    James, thanks for your insights, we definitely don’t want anyone to get scammed!! Thanks for sharing.

  62. Lewis S. Sims on September 4th, 2011 6:30 pm

    hello my name is Lewis Sims and im a patent designer and im also having the same problem trying to find a Manufacture in the USA to have a prototype made . But when i came across your blog in Google and read what you have done to get started on your prototype Manufacture in china, It made me see that dream dose come true !
    So if i may ask you the name of the Manufacture company you’ve done business with in china to have your prototype made it really means alot to me and my mind would be at easy.
    thank you !
    P.S
    my email address lewissims@yahoo.com & lewissims@gmail.com & shadon122@hotmail.com just need a little help again thank you

  63. Corinne on September 20th, 2011 8:45 am

    Hi :)

    I have a design for a pair of earrings that I made in the past bit can no longer make the same one due to the fact that I can no longer find the same materials used ;( I want to know what company would you recommend for this project that I want to take to the next level ?

  64. rjaber on September 27th, 2011 2:10 pm

    thank you

  65. Carlie Pinder on October 6th, 2011 12:09 pm

    I have a sandal I want to make in several colors. They are pretty simple and I have one to show the people who would make my sample to present to the manufacturer. There are a few things that I want to change with the sandal though. then I want to start to wholesale the line. Eventually, developing other styles. I had someone who I thought was helping me and was a manufacturer in China and I haven’t heard from him and he had several of my other samples. What i need to find is someone who can help me produce these sandals at a cost effective price. Not sure what my first step should be for this. Help!

  66. Suzie Rabii on October 12th, 2011 7:40 am

    I am starting a new business & need help to find a manufacturer overseas. Found a rep here in US for India but dishonesty destroyed that relationship. Could you give me the name & number of your manufacturer? The product is a backpack/bedroll which requires sewing.

  67. Miss Connie Suen on October 15th, 2011 2:26 am

    We are manufcturer as well as exporter over twenty years in Hong Kong, Production location in China and our products are exported to U.S.A. mainly any kind of babies/infants/boys/girls apparels (such as woven and knitted pants,dresses,jackets,overalls,
    T-shirts hats, booties etc…)
    If you want to find supplier to work to start business in China, let us try and have this opportunity to make your ideal products.
    thanks a lot

  68. Jenn on November 26th, 2011 9:17 pm

    I need to send my specs to manufacturers for quotes. It is a baby bedding item. I have a non-disclosure and am patent pending. I am worried about sending the specs overseas because I am not protected. Does anyone know of any manufacturers overseas that use organic materials and have sustainable practices? My product is eco-friendly and organic and I am trying to find a manufacturer that matches well with my product.

  69. Riri on December 4th, 2011 5:34 am

    Hi Heather,

    Thank you for your sharing such an informative blog with us. I can’t even describe just how helpful this has been to me! I dropped out of university a few months ago and have since been a “disappointment” to my family. I had to drop out so I could once and for all follow my dream in life and become a fashion designer! I have come up with a brand name, designed my first collection, and have got in touch with a company who want to sell my clothes. I have contacted several, several overseas manufacturers but all have failed me. I was beginning to doubt my choices and starting to believe that I was in fact nothing but a huge disappointment :( but I am not going to give up on my dreams! If only I could find a good, reliable manufacturer who gave reasonably priced quotes… Please, is there any way that you could help me?
    Thank you

  70. John on January 15th, 2012 8:01 pm

    Hi there Heather,
    What a great article and thank you for writing it. Although I do have one question and that is regarding what you have said in step number 5. When you say “review all samples” do you mean the designs that we have sent to manufacturers and they have made it and sent a sample back or an off the shelf sample?

    Thanks for clarifying, I await your response.

  71. australian clothing manufacturer on February 6th, 2012 10:35 pm

    We are garments Makers in Sydney, australian clothing manufacturer, garments manufacturer, Garments Manufacturer in Australia, Garment maker in Brisbane, Clothing maker, australian clothing manufacturer, Clothing manufacturer in Australia and clothing maker in sydney.

  72. Parisriv on March 5th, 2012 5:27 pm

    This is such helpful information!
    I’ve been looking at manufacturers overseas. Whats an OEM does it mean that they can’t do my specific design and I would just have to get their design?

  73. Gwendolyn on March 19th, 2012 10:34 am

    first I want to thank you for all the help,this is a blesssing. I want to know if our products ares protected over sea to an extent.or if we will have to get it protection over there also

  74. Katja on July 16th, 2012 9:55 pm

    Thank you so much, looking into Indian Manufacturing possibilities….your shared information is mighty useful

  75. Pete on September 18th, 2012 11:16 am

    I just used Ultrasource International to create a new yard game. They were able to send me a sample within a month and ended up tweaking the design to make it more durable. It took about 3 months for me to get my first shipment in. I think they can manufacture just about anything…

  76. Personalized Cloth on December 11th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Always ensure that you deal with trustworthy, professional and legit companies by seeking references from those that have worked with them before. These manufacturing businesses should also offer secure payment methods and a sample of clothes should also be inspected before any agreement of purchase is to be confirmed. With the advent of social media you have the ability to also check references through these avenues.

  77. penelope whiteley on January 11th, 2013 3:56 pm

    Hit the wrong button on the phone! Will you b kind enough to mail me with anything that may be helpful that isn’t in the article? Thank you so much.

  78. Blanca Castro on January 13th, 2013 10:14 pm

    Could you please email me or contact me with your manufactors info please..I am very interested in getting my clothing and designs out into the market and your experience and satisfactory is very peace minding :)

  79. Eva on February 14th, 2013 4:47 pm

    Hi, please I need some help. I am looking for a chinese manufacture to produce one product according to my design and specifications. Basically it would consist of a metal spring of a certain shape and characteristics, covered by plastic and with certain specifications. Has anybody faced a challenge like that before? I am in Europe, and whils I can get a good product here, there is no chance I can get a competitive price. Help!

  80. Daisy Christina on February 22nd, 2013 1:14 am

    While Reading this post me i have got some diplomatic ideas related to manufacturers who design the products to export overseas because the only they can produce through is quality it will enumerate the exact need of products in industrial manufacturing thanks for the share.

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