Finding a Manufacturer
So today I wanted to give you 3 easy steps to find a manufacturer. Finding the right manufacturer is key to getting the level of quality you want in your product (assuming you need to produce a product and you don't want to do it yourself). It's not easy finding the right manufacturer (you've been warned!), so take your time because you don't want to have to make a change while in production. So here it is;
- Google search! Google is an unbelievably amazing tool for an entrepreneur. You can use it to do damn near everything you could imagine. So I recommend you take the time to do multiple Google searches to find a list of suitable manufacturers. I suggest running multiple search phrases like "Sunglasses Manufacturers" and "Plastics Manufacturers". If a company keeps showing up on the list of different searches, then they're probably worth looking at.
- Check out their current products listed on their website to see if they have experience producing similar products to yours. Also see if they list any current clients, if they don't you can always ask (they'll usually name dropped if you ask them). Also you want to make sure they are OEM/ODM manufacturers. That means Original Equipment Manufacturer and Original Design Manufacturer. This is crucial if you have your own original design you're trying to produce. Also check to make sure they have any necessary qualifications, for example I had to make sure I picked a manufacturer that met all US and EU standards.
- Lastly, it's key that they are willing to ship you samples. Most manufacturers will ship samples of products they currently produce so you can inspect the quality first hand. You want to know what kind of work they do and that it meets your standards. Also ask if they will make a sample of your product and ship it before going into mass production. You want the ability to see your product in the flesh and make changes if necessary. Be careful here, you don't want to be handing over any proprietary designs to just anyone.
Okay lets be honest, these three steps are not the "end all be all" when picking a manufacturer but at least it will help get you started if you're brand new to this. It took me about 6 months to find a manufacturer I wanted to work with and get my product into production. Like I said, take your time, choose wisely and good luck! Below are some pictures of the Rebellion going through the sample phase before production.
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