How To Find a Supplier for Your Private Label Product
You have an incredible opportunity to build your own brand on sell it on the most powerful sales channel in the world; Amazon! Coming up with a product idea, or a private label product, is the first step towards building your own brand. You can get creative with your product idea or you can use the great amount of sales data available to you on Amazon already to get your idea. However, a product idea is not enough and you will need a manufacturer or supplier to help you mass produce and deliver your products to eager customers. Getting from A to Z is the key to a successful business and as soon as you’ve done your research and found a potential winner, it is time to contact a supplier.
Are they going be Local or International?
One of the first questions that I get asked from my students is if they can look for a supplier in the US or if they should look overseas (and typically that is going to be an Asian country). If you’re in the mainland United States, most potential sellers want to choose a local manufacturer or supplier because of the product quality and marketing appeal (not to mention ease of communications). While these are valid concerns and definitely something to consider, I there is one big reason why 90% of my branded products are produced in China: COST. The cost to build something i n China is still considerably cheaper compared to creating them here in America for many products, so if you are looking to be competitive, you are most likely going to end up looking at manufacturers located in China, India or Taiwan. There are some exceptions to this, of course. Some niches do very well with the “Made in USA” branding and it may be important for your target audience to get a US made product. Potential liability is another factor, and so I typically recommend that topicals and indigestible be US made (if you decide to venture down that path at all).
Most suppliers can be searched online now and signing a deal with them has never been easier. Sites like ThomasNet, MFG and Kompass are among the few where you can find USA-based distributors, while Asian distributors mostly set themselves up at Alibaba, IndiaMart and Ali Express. Still not all distributors are found on the web.
Alibaba is the largest and most well known source and is where I personally start most of my searches. There are a number of checks that you can perform on the Alibaba site to help find a trustworthy supplier. I only will work with gold suppliers that have at least 2 – 3 years as a gold supplier on the Alibaba website. You can also filter your search results by assessed suppliers to only see those suppliers who have gone through the steps to be assessed by a 3rd party and provide more information.
There are those who are still doing the business in the old fashioned way (which may open up some opportunities) and you can find them in the North American Industry Classification System or NAICS. Specific keywords used in Google search may also lead you to suppliers such as “wholesale” or “wholesaler” or “dropshipping distributors” etc.
Request a Quote
Once you’ve found a supplier who can potentially meet your product needs and you have completed all the necessary requirements to start your business, then it’s time to get a quote on production price and the minimum order quantity (MOQ). From here you narrow down your supplier search based on price and whether or not the pricing is worth the quality of the products they produce. I always try to communicate with a supplier through some kind of chat system (Skype or right on the website seems to work the best).
Finally, if you’re contacting a supplier from overseas, keep in mind that in many cases, they may be using translating programs to translate your email as well as their reply. Keeping your messages/emails short, concise, well formatted and spelling error free will not only help the manufacturer but it will ultimately provide you with better replies and answers. I highly recommend that you reiterate your specifications numerous times for your supplier to ensure that you are getting what you ask for. It is typical for your representative to tell you that they completely understand what you are saying, but to not truly grasp what you are asking for. This is no fault on their part, as there are obvious language barriers and the fact that they are trying to keep you happy as a customer. Clarifying your needs several times is always a good idea.
Also, when asking your questions, it’s best to number your questions, so that they can easily reply to each number, keeping the questions and communication clean and organized.
Here is an example of the first communication that I might send to a supplier:
My name is Andy and I am from XYZ company.
I am interested in placing an order for ‘Desired item Name’. I just have a few questions beforehand:
1. What is your MOQ for this item?
2. What is your cost per unit if I were to order ‘5,000 – 10,000’ units*? (You don’t have to commit to a large order, but it is good to see
3. What are your payment terms for new customers?
I would also like to order a sample of ‘Desired item Name’ to verify quality. Can you please send me the cost for the sample, including shipping to:
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