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. (Sorry!) It’ll really depend on your product.
Manufacturing costs can be lower overseas – but shipping will be higher, and you’ll have to pay customs fees, which may offset any cost savings.
There’s definitely an appeal with products ‘made in the UK’. (I’ll bet 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, Turkey, Portugal and India. All are possible!
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.
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 find a supplier?
There are plenty of sites where you can find thousands of manufacturers in one place, search for the product you’re looking for, compare suppliers and get in touch with 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.
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 samples in total, so you can compare quality.
It can also be good to compare next to competitor’s products if you can (perhaps by buying one to use as a benchmark). This is a great way to compare like-for-like, as you can’t assess everything using a photo.
Who handles shipping if I do decide to source from overseas?
You’ll need to arrange your own shipping in most cases, but it may well be that your supplier can help you with this. This post covers the basics.