General Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

How might I find manufacturers for someone starting a small business?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7102points) June 14th, 2012

A good friend is looking to start up a new business. He is a long time student, and has some clever ideas for backpacks/bookbags. He has spent the last year planning and saving up starter cash and is in the process of having prototypes made… but he needs a manufacturer that will make special order pieces, and has asked for my help.
Where should we be looking? What should we be looking for? Is there anything we should avoid?

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8 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

If he is small he should not be tempted to have his prototypes and/or products made in china. If the design is unique and clever, it will be stolen the minute he sends out the RFQ. (Request for Quote). Chinese manufacturing companies will make it very easy to work with them. Too easy. The rates will be so low you will not be able to resist. In fact it will be so easy and cheap to work with them you might even think they were subsidized and supported by the government. ;-) Avoid them and alibaba. You will lose everything and have no recourse.

Try to use locally owned shops in your area. Clothing, tent manufacturers, etc and ask where they have their work done. They might be willing to help you.

whiteliondreams's avatar

Before any manufacturing, this “friend” needs to get some copyrights done with their designs. I am also aware that Koreans are very effective at reproducing an original, so you don’t have to go down the Chinese route. A marketing promotion would be to have the product made in the USA. I would love to buy something made in the USA again besides chopsticks!

GeekTOPIA's avatar

To find local sources, a visit to your local chamber of commerce is in order, if you want to patronize another local resource, check with any local universities or colleges. Also most universities have offices for small business organizations which can help with finding start-up capitol and defining a business plan.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@whiteliondreams it’s actually a friend…. I do not dream of a future in backpacks.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will pass them on. Glad that I asked.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@DigitalBlue I apologize, I didn’t mean to be perceived as disrespectful. My sincerest apologies.

DigitalBlue's avatar

… it’s no problem, I was just clarifying.

CWOTUS's avatar

The place to start looking when you get serious is what used to be known as The Thomas Register of Businesses, now “ThomasNet”.

You can find all kinds of suppliers and manufacturers there.

hearkat's avatar

I’ve heard of a company called Quirky that is designed to help people in this situation.

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