By this point you have probably made a prototype, done some preliminary market research, shown the product to a few folks, found a few sheckles lying around and are feeling confident your “big idea” is going to sell. Let’s get it made already!!
There are many steps in this process so it is going to take time. Manufacturing (making things) is the easy part. Finding a the right manufacturer is the challenge. Think of this process as a treasure hunt with the finished product as the pot of gold at the end of a long journey. This will be fun, frustrating, enlightening, challenging and rewarding.
So where can you find this magical person?
If you want to keep your manufacturing in the states:
1. Start at your local chamber of commerce and seeks referrals. They usually have loads of information on local companies.
2. Reach out on the internet (e.g. social media) for other companies already manufacturing products, and as them for a referral.
3. Ask for referrals in your local community, ask someone at your place of worship if they know anyone in your industry, and be sure to check with trade tech schools in your area or nearby.
4. Ask your local supply vendors. If you want to make leather handbags and have a leather supplier, ask them who everyone else is using. Suppliers get friendly with their clients to further trust and insure future sales…….they are sort of like a hairdresser in that sense… and a good one knows more about your life than your BFF!
If you want to manufacture overseas:
1. Alibaba is a well-known referral website for manufacturers. They cover every country so if you know where you want your “big idea” made you can select it there. Be sure to get plenty of references before you decide on a manufacturer – anywhere!
2. Ask someone you admire who has a product line that is similar but not competitive for a referral. For example: If you want to make a line of women’s coats, you might ask someone whose clothing line you admire who does not make coats. Chances are that her factory (or more likely her agent) overseas can find you a factory to make your coats. Obviously you need to ask someone who manufactures overseas……you can usually find out that information on their website or on a tag inside the clothes (or on any item as it is required by law). This is how I found mine.
3. Again, reach out on social media to your trusted contacts. You will be surprised at how many people you are connected to know someone in manufacturing.
By Sarah Shaw, Founder of Entreprenette
|Sarah Shaw is the founder of Entreprenette.com, a consulting company that works with entrepreneurs in bringing their product to market. Sarah grew her own million dollar company with her famous “Pinked” handbag and has applied her expertise and knowledge to her consulting practice. Sarah has been featured in the LA Times, WWD, Oprah Magazine, as well as on Access Hollywood and regularly speaks to inventors and entrepreneurs nationally.|