This will relate to you if you’ve ever sourced any product in China. You may have encountered this: you order one sample and the factory mixes up the one thing that was very obvious. In this episode, we’ll share the secret on how to avoid this time wasting issue.
The Chinese are copy champions. They can copy and improve anything you give to them. If any trend product comes to the market, hundreds of factories will be producing their own copies in a very short amount of time, and many will be produced even better. However, although the Chinese are copy champions, they are product creation losers. They aren’t great at developing something new based on your sketches. You need very clear plans, orders, and instructions. Every single piece must be completely worked out and on-hand to copy.
(02:15) We’re talking about mentality, not skill. Many of Nils’ clients are unsure where to start sourcing a product with China. These people think they’re going to Walmart to buy a product and label it. That’s not how it works.
(03:15) Nils explains a common restaurant-going experience. He asks a restaurant if they have wifi, they say yes, he enters and orders, but when he then asks for the wifi password, the waiter tells him that they have wifi, it’s just that the wifi is down. This is an example of the mentality he deals with. In a factory sourcing setting, you might ask the factory if they can make a pink basketball but the factory sends a pink football.
(04:15) Nils calls this mentality the Ridiculously Obvious Mentality. When you ask a question of a supplier, be ridiculously obvious so anyone can understand it and not just you.
Here’s another example: you send a supplier a picture of a plush toy that you’re holding in your hand. You ask if their factory manufactured the item, they send yes, and send you some expensive samples. When it arrives, the plush toy is huge in size compared to what you expected. That ties back to the ridiculously obvious mentality.
(05:15) One more story: a custom goes to a factory and asks for a biodegradable bag for 1 dollar when all other factories ask for 5 dollars. Biodegradable means you can throw a bag into a forest, it dissolves and becomes part of nature. However, the factory might mean “biodegradable” as an item where 10% can dissolve and the remaining 90% plastic never decomposes.
(06:40) The lesson is that some things are obvious to us as a customer but that doesn’t mean it’s obvious to the factory. This is the number one reason we have so many headaches when dealing with China. We either don’t supply enough information, or they don’t care about the details.
(07:15) When submitting your inquiry, be 100% certain the factory understands every single detail you supply. Make your requirementidiot-proofof. When Nils’ team writes inquiries, they make sure to make them absolutely clear.
This takes time and effort if you are dealing with several factories early on just to get a sample. You might need to do a Skype call and have everything you need from them written out very clearly.
(08:35) Sometimes, ask the salesperson to repeat what they heard from you, so that you can find flaws or misunderstandings in your requirements.
After they create your sample, have them send you photos and videos before shipping to you. You might catch simple mistakes such as the cap being the wrong color or the logo bring printed upside down, simply because you were not detailed enough in your instructions.
(10:00) Be aware that you aren’t dealing with product development experts. Most people working in Chinese factories have never used your product, and have no clue what it “good” or “bad” when it comes to that product’s functionality. Manage your expectations and be as clear as possible. Some people don’t know better or don’t care.
(11:55) Follow these steps and you’ll save headaches, time (wasting shipments or samples), money (on shipping costs), and hassle. Nothing is obvious. Explain with detailed and over-the-top instructions so your supplier understands exactly what you want him to do.
If you have a question to ask regarding sourcing, go to EasyPeasySourcing.com/ask and send a voice message or fill out the contact form on that page.
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