If you’ve decided to create a product that needs to be sourced (rather than one you, or someone else can make) you may have lots of questions about the process. Here I’ll try and answer as many as I can.
Can I source products myself?
Absolutely! It just takes time, patience and a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
Do I need to source from China, or somewhere else overseas?
My honest answer is maybe. It’ll really depend on your product.
Manufacturing costs can be lower overseas - but shipping will be higher, which may offset any cost savings. You’ll also have to pay customs fees.
There’s definitely an appeal with products ‘made in the UK’ (do you sometimes see that on packaging?) However not all products are made here, so you may have no option but to source from abroad.
I really can’t tell you what’s best for you, without knowing what you’re looking for, but I can tell you that I’ve successfully sourced products from the UK, USA, China and India and all are possible!
I have a detailed blog post with a full breakdown of the pros and cons, which may help.
What do I need before I start contacting suppliers?
You need a really clear product specification, with as much detail about the product you’re looking for as provide.
If you have images (either of your own idea, or of similar products that you’ve seen elsewhere) you can include these too.
The kind of things you might want to include are:
This isn’t a definitive list, but hopefully helps to get you started.
It’s important to be really clear before you start looking, as you’ll get asked plenty of questions and this way you can be prepared for them!
How do I stay safe?
There are definitely ways to verify suppliers. Much of this can be done online, or if you’re looking at a UK manufacturer you can usually visit them in person. If you’re sourcing abroad some of the bigger platforms have their own systems. You can also pay for an inspection if this puts your mind at rest.
How will I know if the quality is any good?
Most suppliers will happily produce a sample for you (which you may need to pay for). Personally, I’d avoid any that don’t, as it’s important to see what you’re potentially going to be paying for.
I recommend ordering 2 or 3, so you can compare. It can also be good to compare next to competitor’s products if you can (perhaps by buying one to use as a benchmark).
If you’d like to go through sourcing products step-by-step, plus have any further questions answered, you can book onto our workshop, Monday 16 March, 11am - 12.30pm. You can also connect Vicki here.
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