Posted on 10/04/2018 in Sales

Lessons from Manufacturing Overseas

Lessons from Manufacturing Overseas

Maybe you have a fabulous idea for a small business product made overseas such as a fashion garment and want to get it made, probably in India or China.

My pick at the moment would still be China, but in my experience English is far widely spoken and understood in India than China, but the quality of manufacture is still greater in China than India. I've found prices to be relatively the same.

When sending samples to China though, hopefully you wont want to run into the same problem a guy I heard of twenty or so years back.

He ordered 10,000 tunics with Chinese collars on them. When he received the 10,000 tunics, each one had a small burn hole in the collar.

When of course he complained to the manufacturer that every tunic had a hole and was completely unsaleable, they sent him his sample back that he had sent them and then when he saw it he remembered that in the haste to send it to China, someone had put a small cigarette burn in the collar and they didn't have time to remake it.

This depends on the product, but believe me, whatever your product that you want made, no matter how unique it is, there will be someone there who manufacturers it.

Of course unless you know of a source it's going to be hard work finding someone you can trust, but last year we found a garment manufacturer that only made the finest raincoats for a wholesaler in France to make an order of sweatshirts for us. So, unlike Western countries the Chinese will generally turn their hand to anything if they can make a dollar in it.

For sources for small business products made overseas I would turn first to or You'll have to dig deep here as listings on these sites are generally wholesalers, middle men or retailers, but, there still are a lot of manufacturers advertising here too.

Also, if you can't find a manufacturer on these sites, email some of the middlemen who have similar products that you want to source. These guys are so hungry for business that they will generally take control on your behalf and go to the manufacturer themselves as long as there's a dollar in it for them too.

For the record, over many years of dealing with manufacturers and wholesalers in China and India, I never had one problem with either country and I've only dealt with the most obliging, helpful personnel.

I haven't had that many dealings with India, but I did have a business some time back that imported brass nautical items from there.

I did have some communication problems - sometimes I'd have to email them six or so times before I got a reply, but they were always full of apologies when they finally did answer. I understand that there power grid has not quite caught up with modern communications yet.

These nautical items ran into hundreds of different products and were all aged from the nineteenth century. Included were telescopes, compasses, wooden ships wheels, sextants, if you get the picture. They were recycling the brass from a huge ship breaking yard outside Goa.

The quality was such that when they arrived I would generally throw one out of ten items in the dumper bin, but, I came to expect that and the prices were so low that I could afford to do this. Even though I complained of course each time another shipment came through, I knew the quality just would never improve. Also with nine out of ten items been perfect and as I was making 1000% profit on each item, I became quite relaxed about it.

Blog Post Courtesy of John Douglas Wilson, Business Adviser.

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