Sourcing a product can be quite tricky. There are numerous options; websites such as Alibaba and Aliexpress and local US wholesalers. I found it quite tough to get any decent information on local wholesalers so I relied on the likes of Alibaba to source from China. The pros of going down this path was that pricing was cheap, MOQ was negotiable and there were many alternative suppliers. Cons were the complicated logistics, language barrier causing miscommunication (this wasn’t too bad in my experience), communication was slow.
Couple of tips going down this path; always negotiate price and never go with the first offer, make the manufacturer work hard to win your order (negotiate required changes to product and branding options). In my limited experience, I felt most comfortable dealing with a manufacturer that would make an effort and accommodate changes. Perhaps the most critical tip is to always get a sample and ensure you are happy with it, because after all, this first product is going to set the scene for your brand. First impressions count.
Now here’s the funny part. I was too reckless and rushed to listen to my own advice and went ahead and placed an order without inspecting a sample! :O *extreme shock face*. I went with my gut feel, judging the manufacturer’s quality by communication, price point (I did not go for the cheapest manufacturer) and effort to make a custom product/packaging. This was a massive risk and thinking back on it, I am so very lucky it paid off (so far anyways).
I waited till I sourced a product prior to signing up to a seller account with Amazon to avoid paying the $40 USD monthly fee during my 1.5 months of back and forth with manufacturers. Also, I only sourced 100 units in my first order to test the market and make sure I had a winner. Now I’m in the process of getting a further 300 units ordered. As you may have guessed, I’m dealing with a high priced low turn-over product. Order sizes will vary depending on the product you have decided to go for.
Once your product is sourced and you are waiting for it to be manufactured (which can take about a month), stay productive! Take this time to work on your product listing and marketing.
Post Highlights for sourcing product
- Take your time and contact several potential suppliers
- Do not take the first price or MOQ, this is usually negotiable
- Use convenient websites such as Alibaba and Aliexpress
- Always inspect a sample product
- Wait till after you source a product you are happy with before creating an Amazon seller account to avoid unnecessary fees