Once you have found a product, the next step is to find the best supplier for your needs. Don’t be intimidated by this step! Most manufactures were hard to find before but thanks to the internet, we can easily get in touch with almost any supplier through platforms like Alibaba, AliExpress or Yiwubuy.
Before you create an account on these suggested platforms, we highly recommend creating a separate e-mail for your supplier search. This way you’ll be able to keep everything organized and do not have to worry about getting spammed in the future from all the suppliers you contact.
Alibaba is the leading platform for finding suppliers (B2B). For better search results, switch from “product” to “supplier” in the search bar. Alibaba will most likely give you a large list of suppliers that you will need to filter through. To do this, make sure you select the “Gold Supplier” and “Trade Assurance” box. This will help you eliminate low quality suppliers and potential scammers.
AliExpress is a global retail marketplace for consumers worldwide (B2B or B2C). Order quantities can be as low as 1 item but the prices are most likely higher than what you would find on Alibaba and customization is rare.
Yiwubuy is another option that connects you with the stores in Yiwu, the largest physical wholesale commodity market in the world located in China. We haven’t explored this option too much but have found some lower prices from suppliers. The site is not as easy to navigate around and there is no communication done through the website. You will have to call or e-mail the suppliers yourself and hope they speak your language.
Here’s a template for contacting suppliers. Quick and simple, just copy and paste with the correct information and start contacting suppliers.
My name is _____, I am starting a company in the U.S. and would like to order a large quantity of this item. Could you please provide the following information:
- What is your MOQ and price per unit?
- Are you the manufacture or wholesaler?
- Can this item be labeled?
- Can packaging be customized?
- Could you arrange a sample to be sent to ________?
- What form of payment do you accept? (Paypal, escrow, etc.?)
- Could you provide a product catalog of your products?
Look forward to hearing from you,
Always make sure you order samples from multiple suppliers before placing an actual order. This will allow you to compare product quality, reliability, and customer service. If it’s difficult to get a sample, the supplier will most likely be difficult to deal with in the future.
Unfortunately, samples aren’t cheap. Expect to spend around $30-50 per sample and make sure you use air shipping. Some suppliers provide free samples but the shipping cost (air) is what does the damage. Do not be cheap with samples, it’s a necessary investment to make sure you find the right supplier and the right product.
If you decide to private label your product, you’ll need to create a logo & brand. Keep in mind that this logo will go on multiple products (if you expand in the future). Designing a logo can be a bit difficult if you have no Photoshop or Illustrator skills. Luckily, there are many logo templates you can buy for around $29 here (Graphic River). These templates, combined with free fonts from dafont will make it a much easier process.
If you want absolutely nothing to do with Photoshop or Illustrator, outsourcing is always an option! Here are some websites where you can get custom logos created:
Once you find a product that you are happy with, the next step is negotiating. You’ll want to negotiate on the MOQ (minimum order quantity) and price.
MOQ on most listings are 1000+ units but often may not be the case. Suppliers will usually let you order smaller quantities but for a higher price per unit. Tell the supplier “We are very happy with the quality of this product and would like to see how well it sells. We’d like to first order ____ units and look forward to building a long term partnership with your company in the future.” Just make sure your order is not too low, 100-200 units is pushing it and some suppliers may not want to deal with you.
Price is always negotiable. Make sure you shop around to get a feel for what the right price is. If your order quantity is low, I would not recommend negotiating too much. If you’re placing a large order, you can compare prices and let your favorite suppliers know what your target price is. They will often let you know if this is possible and negotiate with you (unless you hurt their feelings).
For smaller orders we suggest using PayPal. Most suppliers have a PayPal account and are happy to accept. If they bring up fees, ask them to split the fees or just pay for all of it. It is usually around 3% which isn’t much if you are placing a small order. Once you have developed some trust in the supplier, you can pay them through wire transfer (TT). If you’ve never done a TT before don’t worry, it is very easy to set up with your bank and usually cost around $40-50 depending on your bank. These are the only 2 payment options we have done so far.
We suggest shipping all the product to your home first so you can inspect the items before shipping it to Amazon. We’ve caught around 40 units being defected and are looking for a new supplier at the moment. There is also the option of hiring an inspection company in China who will go to the manufacture and inspect for you. Since we are currently in Shanghai, we inspect everything ourselves before shipping it to the US.