If you really want to push on being an entrepreneur and having your own product and brand, you got to have a lot of patience and will and money to be able to push through, especially in dealing with your potential factory owners. Finding a factory for us is a nightmare.
Our business is vegan shoes and bags, it is our own brand and our own designs. However, we have a factory that does our products for us. Though we currently have a factory, we are still in the quest of finding a better one, better yet, set up our own factory which we know will take a lot of time.
I have classified the type of factories for me to easily paint a picture here:
When we started having a thought of building our own vegan and shoe brand, the first thing we tried is looking for a factory and asking them to replicate existing products we have to check for quality. We found 3 different shoes and bags factories (small, medium and big scale factories). We decided to get a factory from each scale type to determine the quality of the shoes and bags they make. We know that it’s an investment but it’s one way of checking the craftsmanship of the factory and the quality of the products they produced.
We gave the same products to replicate to all factories to see which will come up close to the original design.
- Small-Scale Factory
The cost is really cheap but the quality is very poor. This is due to the lack of appropriate tools and skills. The small-scale factory we went to is built up in the garage with so little tools. As what the people in the town has described this shoe and bag factory charges really cheap so we tried it. At the end of the day, we gave away the bags that this factory did for us. We will never use the shoes and bags they did for us. Here, we wasted $500 for the samples made from this factory.
- Medium-Scale Factory
Samples we had this factory made for us is of a very good quality. Not sloppy and the quality is at par. The stitches are even and neatly done. The glues were spot on. The price compared to the small-scale factory, it is a bit costly. The tools the medium-scale factory has are also limited. The MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) is also reasonable for start-up business like ours. As you can sense, we chose this factory. One downside though is that, since there’s a big number of customers they have, it takes a while to have even the samples done. Ours took 4 months to complete.
- Large-Scale Factory
If you look for potential suppliers through Alibaba and if you are just starting up your business, you may need to consider the following:
Cost of Sampling: Don’t be deceived with what you see. You may see $8 – $10 per pair but that is the actual wholesale price. The actual sample price will be based on the design complexity. I surveyed some factories and the sample prices costs from $20 to $70. You will be asked to pay first and you will give them a sample design.
Minimum Order Quantity: Most large-scale shoe factories require a whopping minimum of 1000 pairs of shoes per type. This is a ridiculous # in a start-up business.
I hope these post will help those potential entrepreneurs who are considering looking for factories to do their products.
Until my next post!