Note from the Bros: 

Edmund is one of the most knowledgeable importers out there. He spoke with our advanced importing group and blew them away with his importing hacks, wealth of information, and epic stories from building his businesses. We begged him to share this information with our readers. The following post is the result of that begging: a collection of hard-won information that only comes with experience.

Thank you, Edmund. We’re lucky to have you!

-Kyle & Will

Here’s What We’re Covering:

Starting an Importing Business

Starting an importing business can be incredibly overwhelming. There’s tons of obstacles to overcome: finding the right product, customs confiscations, scam suppliers – and that’s just the beginning…

Sending your money overseas can feel like you are sending it into the abyss never to be seen again. Trust me, I know. I have lost a TON of money learning lessons the hard way – and I’m going to show you how to AVOID MY MISTAKES.

It’s actually extremely easy to do and a fun way to make a great living. I know you have heard a million gurus pitch you this nonsense before… why should you listen to me?

Simply put, I’ve already made a ton of money with the knowledge I’ve shared.

I own a multi-million dollar importing company and a multi-million dollar fashion production and design house, both based in China. But most importantly… I am slightly shy of completely retarded, which means 99.9% of the people reading this post are smarter than me and can easily do exactly what I have done. It just takes a little elbow grease.

Without further adieu, let’s get to it:

In this post you’ll learn

  • How to Find a profitable product
  • How to Use Amazon and Ebay to research products
  • How to find suppliers in China
  • How to contact a supplier in China
  • How to get samples (sometimes free)
  • How to place your first order
  • How to transfer money safely
  • How to insure you get what you ordered.

How to Find a Product?

This is my go to product finding and money making formula

First off check out  Amazon Best Sellers or Top Sellers and Check eBay completed listings, pick a category or product that interest you ( I suggest going for something where you do not need to be a name brand to sell for example: Home Improvement, Kitchen Utensils / Appliances, Clothing, Phone Accessories)

Then look through the top sellers and put the products into 1 of 3 categories.

  1. Product I can improve
  2. Product I can piggyback on
  3. Product I can private label

Lets look at these One by One.


Go look at what products are selling and check out the comments, what are people complaining about. Quality, Design, Color, Etc, there are a million things people complain about with a product.

I click on the 1 star, 2 star, and 3 star reviews like below:


So after reading the comments I found a lot of comments saying…

‘Blah Blah Blah, it stopped working’… I saw this comment at least 75 times


Improving the quality of this would not be difficult. Later I will show you how to do this and where we can find this bad boy.


Another option is piggybacking on an already existing product, so creating a product that assist you in using an already existing product or helps to make it better

Some great examples from Tim Ferriss’ blog.

How can you do this? Easy…. Go to Amazon / Ebay / Google  a million places you can do this and then follow this formula.

  1. Search a product that you like (We will stick with the magic bullet blender)
  2. Click on the reviews (same as before, but this time any reviews are good)
  3. Hit Comand F
  4. Search the following phrases ( Wish, Want, Hope, Too Bad, Don’t) phrases such as this.
  5. See what people are asking for

This is what I found with the magic bullet:

First I started looking for the term ‘wish’ and then I noticed a lot of people were making smoothies, so then I searched ‘smoothie’ and BAM!! A ton of people are making smoothies with this product…. So why not make a smoothie recipe book specifically for Magic bullets.

screen shot amazon

Not saying this is the most genius idea ever, but the point of this is to show you that researching ideas can be easy and pretty fun as well. I am not sure I would personally be into making a smoothie recipe book, but I think there is a huge market for it from what I have seen and you can find people on Alibaba or any of the other sites listed above that would gladly print them up for you cheaply.

Private Label/White Label

The last thing I look at is Private label or white label options. Amazon and eBay have a lot of competition, so products like the magic bullet might have hundreds of sellers.


How can you stand out? Easy… Just change the name, it will be listed in the same product category, but instead of being listed in a group of 20 + sellers you will be listed in your own little category. 🙂

Like this:

screenshot amazon product page

This immediately sets you apart from the competition and as I will show you in a minute, making a private label, white label, oem (whatever the kids are calling it these days) is REALLY easy.

Let’s find some products:

Below are the sites that I always use and trust: (in Mandarin so can be difficult to navigate)

I suggest taking your time and exploring all of these sites, so that you can understand the pluses and minuses of each.

Let’s go back to our magic bullet idea and see what we can come up with.

I found a bunch of these guys on Alibaba in about 2 seconds (See Below)

screenshot alibaba product page

Click the contact supplier link on the right side, if it is your first time you will have to register, but it is super easy. After that it will take you to a screen like this.

Use this template for your emails, it is to the point and easy to understand:


Hope you are having a great day. I have a few questions:

1. What is the MOQ for the Mini Blender

2. What is the cost per piece at this MOQ

3. Can you do OEM?

4. What is the OEM MOQ, only change woudl be a simple logo.

5. What is the OEM cost to add a logo to blend and box.

Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to working with you.

Send this out to at least 10 or 15 suppliers and then sit and wait….

Just KIDDING! Go find more products! I usually try to keep these organized in excel.

[Also check out our step-by-step guide to product selection.]


Once you have communicated with the supplier and discussed things like MOQ, whatever changes you may want to make to the product, pricing and shipping, then it is time to get a sample.

Things to know about samples:

1. Samples usually come from a batch ordered by a previous client. So if you get a sample that you love and you tell the factory that you want to order  ‘the same thing’, you could receive a product the varies to a small or LARGE degree from the sample in your hand. Why?

Well, because the factory may or may not know exactly, which sample that you have in your hand and this sample was based off of another clients specs.

Takeaway: Make sure you always have clear specs and a sales agreement before ordering any product.

2. OEM products can be hard to make! Do not just assume a factory can make what you are looking for sometimes it takes several samples and revisions for me to get exactly what I want from the same factory. This often depends on the factories skill level and the extent of my customizations to the product. OEM samples can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars, but the upfront cost will outweigh any issues you may have down the line, by not getting a sample made.

Takeaway: If you are doing OEM, ALWAYS get a sample

3. You almost always have to pay for samples. You definitely have to pay for OEM samples and depending on the price tag on the item you may have to pay for standard samples as well. However, if you sweet talk them a bit and the product is in the $10- $75 range you may be able to get a free one, but you will definitely have to pay for shipping.

Takeaway: You always pay shipping fees on samples

4. Get samples from several suppliers. This is important, because you need to qualify your suppliers and you do not want to get stuck in the all to common game of ‘I have spent months working with this supplier trying to get it right and it is too late to turn back now’. That is a terrible situation and puts the supplier in the drivers seat to lower quality and jacking up the price because he knows he has you by the neck. Get samples from many suppliers and do not stop until you find one that you love! This also give you several options incase you ever need to find another supplier and also has your suppliers competing against one another for your business.

Takeaway: Get samples from multiple suppliers and let them compete.

5. Record your samples. Take a picture, label and date your sample. Always keep a record of where and when you got a sample from a supplier. This will become a library of useful information that you can use in the future. Maybe this is not the right supplier now, but he could be later. Also, if there is a non compliance issue in the future you can use this sample as evidence of the quality you had ordered.

Takeaway: Keep your samples and log them.

Sales Agreement

It may sound boring and ‘too serious’, but get one. Believe it or not the legal system in China is quite strong and most of the problems that do arise are from newbies, lazy people,  or stupid people, who do not get a proper sales agreement and confirmed sample. I

if something does go wrong, these two things will be your defense against anything the factory might say to the contrary and I assure you that 99% of factories do not want to go to court over a signed sales agreement because they will lose! Here is an awesome FREE sales agreement that you can use to get started.

Transferring Money

Transferring money can be done in a number of ways. Some really safe, some pretty safe, and then some just outright stupid ways.

Really Safe

Paypal: With paypal you have the ability to dispute charges, especially when they do not deliver goods or do not deliver what you agreed upon. Furthermore, it is much cheaper than buying a plane ticket to China so that you can go through the legal system.

Credit Card: Same as above

Alipay: The paypal of Asia, extremely safe way to transfer money, but you need a Chinese bank account to open it, the easiest way to do this is open up an HSBC account.

Pretty Safe

Bank Transfers: When you start making larger orders you will most definitely have to do a TT or Wire Transfer. This is the standard way of transferring money and typically factories are not looking to rip people off, but it does happen. I only say ‘pretty safe’ because if something does go wrong, your bank cannot actually get your money back, but it can be used as a good tool should you have to go to court.

🧠 PROTIP: Make sure you put your PI (purchase invoice) and basic terms in the little box that says ‘What is this transfer for’ when you transfer your money.

Not Safe

Western Union: Anyone can pick up this money as long as they have an ID and the transfer # that you provide them. Fake ID’s can be bought on every corner in China not to mention that it is extremely corrupt, so bribing someone without an ID would not be very hard to do either.

How to Get What You Ordered

1. Use a sourcing company: Sourcing companies take care of everything from finding the product, inspecting the product, transferring money, and shipping.

2. Use an inspection company: Inspection companies are independent companies that will inspect your order and send you a VERY detailed report about your goods before they leave the factory. I always use this company

Wrapping This Up…

And that’s pretty much it kids! Only thing left to do is ship and you can easily do that with Fedex or DHL, they can help you fill out all of the paper work and the DHL website has a TON of free resources that can help answer most of your questions.

Hope you all enjoyed and KICK ASS with your importing career, if you make lots of money then you can buy me a drink sometime, somewhere 🙂

[If you feel you need more info to get started, check out Will’s famous step-by-step guide.]

Additional Resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Importing from Alibaba and Learning How to Sell on Amazon


Avatar for Edmund Lowman
Edmund Lowman

Edmund Lowman is a former rockstar turned entrepreneur. He's started several successful companies including Kekai Express. He also likes doing anything that he might get hurt doing and has an extremely hard time sitting still for more than 5 minutes...

80 comments add your comment

  1. How come that none of the links to your successful companies you have is working?

  2. Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this short article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  3. I am in Panama and will be ordering samples from China. Once I have sold the samples on E-bay or Amazon I will
    want my next order to go to Amazon’s Fulfillment Center. I understand that I can have FBA handle all the customer service and shipping but where does the first packing and labeling come in? I feel like I am missing a step between ordering from Alibaba and FBA. I cannot possibly import and fill orders from Panama since we have huge duty fees on imported items.

  4. My website is not yet completed. Trying to figure everything out. I would like to know if I buy clothing from China that has an unknown label or no label, will people still buy them from my website? Thanks so much for the information you have posted here.

    Angela Fordham

  5. Hi, that was brilliant. Will you be doing any earlier webinars, only I’m on GMT?

  6. Thanks for the info, i started a mini importation business and your several article that i have read are so helpful, so many people charge as high as $135 in Nigeria to give out these information that you give for free.

    thanks once more

  7. Warning – first timer and totally clueless…

    I am dealing with a manufacturer there designing a “new” product that is patent-pending. We have all the pricing determined, including different packaging alternatives, plus FOB costs to Yantian.

    So my questions are:

    1) How do you get the product from Yantian to US/Canada and who do you deal with on that? I have absolutely no clue what that cost will be and can’t do any kind of business plan without it. Products are VERY light weight but sort of bulky.

    2) If you plan on selling or fulfilling through Amazon, does each individual product have to be wrapped and labeled or can they come in bulk in boxes and get sorted/labeled once at fulfillment centre?

    Any help is appreciated.


  8. Hi, great article. I just have a question about buying from Taobao and then applying private label on apparel myself. It’s not very clear if this is ok. I’ve contacted sellers on Aliexpress who sell items from Taobao (for a marked-up price) who have said that their customers just take off the label and relabel themselves. Manufacturers on Alibaba who sell a particular brand provided an oem service, however these same products are on Taobao (for a cheaper price and no MOQ!). So basically my question is: is it ok to relabel items bought from Taobao?


  9. Hi, thank you for this wonderful article, I really needed it… Just having a question that is holding me up… I have done all the steps – now I cannot chose between 10 different products I have found online … There are so many great products to sell and I can’t decide which one to start with… the samples are not cheap and I would not afford to buy the samples of different product… how do I pick the best item? and one more question, if I find a great product with a design that is recognizable like magic bullet for example… then I look for the supplier, and there is usually just one who manufactures this item.. there are many other items that are in the same category but they have different design and features. In your article you say I should contact as many suppliers as I can, but how do I do this if they all manufacture different products?

  10. Hi Guys,
    I’m considering diving into the importing game. I’ve got an idea to improve upon an existing product – do I need to worry about protecting my idea? Once my improved product comes out, is there any way to ensure I am the only one selling them? I’m worried about being overrun by “big dogs” once they see how simple (I think) my improvement idea is. Love the info; you guys are in inspiration!

  11. I don’t know why you give this stuff away for free, but I’m sure glad you do!

  12. I was thinking big of becoming an import agent rep. Using tradekey to find buyers and alibaba to find suppliers for large scale orders for example. I would follow the steps from this website. Getting samples etc so as not to be burned or burn anyone. Can you help me out with ideas or info on how to do this or is it feasible? BTW I live in Vietnam so any ideas on starting my import empire there would help to.



    • Hi Kurt,

      This would absolutely be possible for you to do! As you read above, that’s pretty much exactly what Edmund did – he moved out to China and slowly built up his trading company.

      I’d imagine many suppliers in Vietnam have a hard time communicating with English-speaking buyers. Your trade company could be the bridge between the two – not only would you have relationships with factories, but they couldn’t rip off your buyers (I’d imagine locals are less likely to be ripped off). You could alleviate the risk of importing, provide better inspection + shipping services/help, etc.

      There are hundreds of thousands of trade companies out there acting as the middle-man, so I’m sure you can do it – best of luck!

  13. Hi Edmund,

    Do you have any suggestios of how someone could get invoved in importing that doesn’t have access to a traditional loan or startup funds? I’ve been looking at something for awhile now I know will sell but having been disabled and unemployed too long a loan is out of the question I’ve tried and tried for over a year now traditional lenders and family are a no go. Something like this I could get back into a career and pace it to an extent as well as keep it within my means while growing with it. Are there any suppliers out there that are willing to provide or chance credit with someone willing to move thier products? If so how can I find them or how would one go about inquiring with one? What I’m looking at there are a number of suppliers yet it’s a smaller list than average I would say…. I appreciate any and all sugestions as to how this could be done, I’m driven to break out of this situation and do it by running my own buisness mainly from the home for now. I see the oppertunity right in front of my face but don’t know how to grab a hold of it in this situation right now.

    Thank You for your time and apreciate the article as it pertained to things I have been researching and desire to venture into….

    Rob S.

    • Hi Rob,

      A lot of our clients actually start their companies with just a few hundred dollars. It really doesn’t take a ton of money to get going!

    • Hi Rob,

      Most suppliers will work out some credit, or at least payment terms with you. There are also new sources of funding, such as Kabbage or Lending Club. Not to mention crowd funding platforms!

      So there are many new ways to obtain funding outside of a traditional SMB loan. But like Kyle said, it’s not that necessary when you’re just getting started! Our most successful clients got started on $100-250 – it’s usually best to start small with a sample order and grow from there.

      The only time you’d REALLY want to take on funding, is if you had back orders and needed the money to fulfill the orders…

      Hope this helps!

  14. Hey Will!

    You might remember me from the Start-up Bus days, I’m a friend of Terry Jones and yours on Facebook. I have a prospective client looking to do some Chinese import business. I was wondering if you might be interested in consulting with me on the project. Let’s talk! 609.760.5855

    • Hey Mark, I most definitely do remember you! Hope all is well 🙂

      Sorry I missed this comment until now – but feel free to send me an email

  15. Hi Edmund,

    “I am slightly shy of completely retarded” this is no way to talk about yourself – I’m sure you’re not ‘completely’.

    Besides that great post – I love when people don’t only write what ‘to do’ but always what ‘not to do’.

    Thanks, Naomi

  16. Very nice article Edmund.

    i’ve seen a facebook post promoting your webinar so I registered to it as I am keen to know more about pricing structures for dropshipping.

    In terms of managing suppliers in Asia. I used to fly myself to asia every 6 months for my business but after getting screwed over several times, now I do all the sourcing and inspection through a german friend who lived in china for 8 years and speaks fluent chinese. He started his company while he was living in china. He has a small team that vet factories and cut out of the loop alot of the middle men trading companies that are normally registered on alibaba representing themselves as the factory and take a cut for passing over the deal to the factory. He then have chinese partner and she is responsible for negotiatins.. she normally get way much better deals than me or him as a native physical person in the country as factories have different treatment and prices when they deal with A) A local company buying of them, B) A Professional in the industry. And he manage the technical since he is german and its much much easier to communicate with a western speaking technical person where they can go to the factory, speak the language and get issues sorted and make sure that they only ship what is been agreed on as alot of the times as you said above, you agree on a sample but then they manufacture and ship for you an item that varies from the sample.. Its easier to not accept them to ship an item till you have them inspected. Or atleast have high quality clean pictures sent to you. As long as it didn’t leave the factory’s floor, you’d have an upper hand as most probably you’ll haven’t settled the rest of the invoice yet. (btw, if you need introductions to those guys, send me an email and I’ll get you introduced)

    I’d suggest if you deal with anyone in china, try to make sure they are actually
    A) dealing with the factory themeslves not middle trading agencies
    B) They have incorporation in HK as this means that your financial transaction is more secure and also means that in case of anything, HK follows the English Law and you can sue them easily.
    C) Have a sourcing partner that can help you through the QA, vetting suppliers, finding products based on your specs and manage the communication with the factories.
    D) You can play with the price through quality levels, and most importantly Packaging!! Yes, packaging change the price… Normally ask the factory about the type of packaging available and difference in price. they range from boxes, printed boxes, box with transparent front view, plastic casing, foam, polyster safeguarding etc.. etc.. etc… And also the boxes printing differs. Ask for the packaging available and price difference.
    N.B. Factories normally buy the packaging from a PACKAGING FACTORY.. The packaging factory normally does the packaging and manual. I find it sometimes better to get the sourcing partner to shop for the product and shop for the packaging as they’ll normally find a better quality, and a better price than the one that the factory deals with (As alot of the time the packaging factory is the cousin’s/aunties son/grand son of the owner of the factory type of relation rather than an economical or quality based decision. In their view at the end of the day its just the Packaging! Duh!!; every little thing counts when it comes to importing!) . Your sourcing partner will make sure the packaging is shipped to the main factory for packing, and QA and final inspection, and shipping!!. (They’ll also make sure that whatever is packed, is what’s been shipped and not something else!!.. It happened to some people I know trust me!)

    Blyme!, I seem to have written an article on its own! thought to share my experience. See you all at the webinar!

    • Awesome to hear you were on the webinar, hope you got lots of value out of it 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve found quite the hook up with your German friend in Asia! Great pieces of advice there – it’s always best to

      1. Start small with sample orders to verify your assumptions (is your supplier okay, is the product quality good enough, what’s the real sell price, etc.)
      2. Use an inspection company for every large order.

      Great advice on the packaging too! All very high-level information…

      Thanks for the comment, I’m sure it will be helpful for others just starting out 🙂

  17. Eddie,

    Hard to say how to tweak it, I do not know what your specific needs are. However, to send is easy just need to Fedex it.

  18. Hello,

    I don’t understand how the sales agreement works. How do we tweak the agreement you sent us? Also, how do we send that agreement and have them sign it? Can you please explain…

  19. Great article! One thing that I’m very curious about are the hidden costs though.. I understand what kind of product I should be looking for and how to try and prevent myself from getting scammed, but what are some other things I should be concerned about?

    For example, let’s say that I contacted a supplier about ordering a toy and decided that I want a sample, so I ask them to send it to me…Now what? I’d assume I’ll have to pay for shipping, but do I have to pay taxes? Duties? Do I need a sourcing company to even make this happen or is it as simple as paying the supplier and getting the product at my door?

    Now lets say I love the samples and put in an order for 50 of them.. Same questions as above apply – what are the other costs i should be worrying about?

  20. Great article guys! The improve, piggyback, and private label ideas are genius. And thanks much for the Purchase Agreement! Is that for making/protecting larger purchases?

    I am still learning how to tweak my ebay titles, pics, and descriptions to attract more views, watchers, and bids. I have imported 3-4 products using Startup Bros instructions and the products arrived just fine. However, I have been using PayPal and ALL the suppliers want me to pay the 5% fee! It would be nice to have another form of payment. How do I setup TT or wire transfer?

    • Daniel,

      TT or Wiretransfer is just a bank transfer, it is super easy to do. Normally you need:

      1. Bank Name
      2. Bank Address
      3. Swift Number
      4. Account Number

      • When you said, “Make sure you put your PI (purchase invoice) and basic terms in the little box that says ‘What is this transfer for’ when you transfer your money.” What did you mean by that?

        My supplier (this is my first buy) said that not to write down “purchasing clothes” when transferring the money by T/T. He said that it’s a private bank account. Why is this?

        And also, why do most of the suppliers I found don’t accept paypal but only accepts T/T and Western Union. But their factories looks real and are gold suppliers.

  21. This is some of that info your dying to see when ever your stacked in that hay stack trying to find something! I’m South African, been following will for sometime now! Bro you awesom! @edmond can you please give me more clearity or refferals of suppliers of “Human hair eg brazillian, indian, for females” I’m having troubles since I’m in South Africa and just difficult to trust some of this suppliers, the ones down here just cost you an arm and a leg!! Thanks again.

    • You seem pretty awesome yourself Stewart! 🙂

      Human hair is one of those items that you’ll need to test/inspect from a few different suppliers. Since there are high quality standards surrounding that product and niche, you’ll want to do a bit of research and figure out what features and most important to your customers, and how you can verify the quality is up the their standards.

      It shouldn’t be too tough – and luckily that item isn’t expensive to ship 🙂

      Best of luck!

  22. Delondra,

    Maybe I breezed over that part too quickly.

    Improve quality: I would find out what the core issue is with the component or product. ( you can do this various ways) Then contact the supplier and tell them what you are looking to improve, send them a new component drawing or list of the materials that should be used and get a sample from the factory, have it tested. If it passes to your satisfaction, have them repeat. 🙂

    Private label: Most people call this OEM, so if you read the email I sent in the article, I asked the factory about doing OEM. Just email them and tell them what you want whether it be a new logo, design, component, etc.

    Simple as that. 🙂

  23. “Improving the quality of this would not be difficult. Later I will show you how to do this and where we can find this bad boy.”

    How would you improve a product?

    “…and as I will show you in a minute, making a private label, white label, oem (whatever the kids are calling it these days) is REALLY easy.”

    How would you make a private label?

  24. How long did it take to get the ball rolling (actual business, cash flow, etc.)? I’ve already have my supplier. I’m really interested in growing a bigger company.

    • it took about 3 years of HARD work before we really started to make money. We have had the company for about 7 years now. Cash flow, especially in the import game is one of your most important assets that should be guarded carefully and invested with prudence.

  25. i love the work you doing on these blog, have been into importation for quiet sometime now and must commend you have really solved my major problem. thanks

  26. Great and detailed article.

    Reminds me of a lot of the stuff Will showed us at the webinar. Best webinar I’ve ever attended btw.

  27. Great post, Edmund! I was playing with the idea of dropshipping from Asia for a while, I think I might start there before digging into importing. TBH it sounds super-scary – is there a way you could validate your product before investing thousands of $$$ into manufacturing?

    • Heidi,

      I could write a whole book, post, course, bible on validating products. In the interest in brevity I will give you a few tips.

      1. Presell to friend, family, coworkers, people in groups you are in (low hanging fruit)
      2. Use Reddit
      3. Craigslist
      4. Ebay / Amazon ( you can always cancel a listing before it is complete)

      My biggest tip is making money isn’t easy, it requires hard work and hustle, if it were easy everyone would do it. However, once you get it rolling…. Then it becomes easy. 🙂

  28. Interesting RAH, RAH article that does not address the reality of sourcing quality products in CHINA that are actually delivered to the specs your expect. Ordering from a Chinese manufacturer is NOT like ordering from a German manufacturer by a wide margin. I have investigated this and all the people I know have had similar issues. They either had a bad experience that was costly to retrofit or correct and they never would order again. Or they take up a second like in CHina where they have to inspect every single step of every process including loading the containers. China is a razor thin margin manufacturing culture and an inexperienced American is an easy mark to better their margins in numerous ways.

    • Jim,

      There have been books, seminars, training’s and college courses taught on this subject. I have read many books and attended many seminars on this matter and you know what… I did not learn much. However, what I have learned a TON from is being on the ground and doing it myself and teaching others.

      Anyways here are 5 tips (quick version)

      1. Know what you want

      Most suppliers are not ‘out to get you’ or rip you off. 9 times out of 10, it is either a buyer who doesn’t really know what they want or miscommunication (sometimes a combination of both). By knowing what you want I mean.
      – 3D cad drawings
      – Component make ups and material make ups (percentage of material used to make component)
      – Bill of Material

      Basically specs of every piece and part you can think of. The problem most ‘newbies’ have is they assume the factory knows what they want and they don’t.

      2. Get multiple samples:

      I suggest asking the factory to hold one and you hold one as well, so that you both (in theory) are looking at a similar piece from the same production run. Once you have one that works, have it tested by an inspection company. Inspection companies can do aging test, stress test, performance test etc. again this confirms that what you have in your hand is actually what you want. If the sample passes all of this to your satisfaction, then agree with the factory that this is what you consider an acceptable production run and this is the minimum quality that you expect.

      3. Get a production, purchase, sales agreement in place

      Make sure you outline all of the above in your agreement. The legal system in China is actually rather well developed and 99% of the problems arise from people assuming and not putting things on paper.

      4. Manage production

      Have an inspection company, sourcing company, or do it yourself, but have someone watch the production process. For example for an order of 1,000 piece I would have them produce 30 and then inspect and test, if all is well I would then do 100 pieces and repeat, if all is well then I would do 500 and repeat. If at 500 everything is correct I would give the OK to finnish the order at which point I would again have a company (or do it yourself) come in and inspect the goods.

      5. Shipping

      Any reputable company in China is going to handle your goods with care, however some companies do suck and some forwarders suck as well, but this is when the shipping terms and insurance come into play.

      I could really go on about this stuff forever, but I hope this addresses at least some of your questions. I can say this…

      Production in China is getting better and better. Cost and competition in China are rising and the internet is making it very easy to get info about suppliers. Often times I do not have to do any of the above and instead ask a lot of questions and qualify them based on my own knowledge.

  29. Will , you are an angel with a million dollar wing . Thanks for this information .

  30. Some great info here thanks!

    Quick question about the purchase contract…would it have to be physically signed for it to be worth anything in court?

    • No problem, glad you enjoyed it!

      It wouldn’t make much of a difference if it’s physically or digitally signed. However, the purchase contract is largely ceremonial – it’s incredibly difficult and expensive to sue a Chinese company from the US, and even more difficult/expensive to actually enforce any judgement… It’s more to show the supplier that you’re a legitimate business person.

    • What Will said is 100% correct…

      However, If you want a legit contract that will hold up in court it needs to be / have the following things.

      1. Be written in simplified Chinese
      2. Be Signed in person
      3. Be Signed by a witness
      4. Have the signees and witness’s fingerprints over the signatures.

      In most cases it is not necessary to do all this.

  31. Do you have any recommendations for kick-ass sourcing agents? Ones that are actually in it for the long haul and not a short-term gain?

    • I would suggest Edmund, the man himself! I believe he helps companies source product at Kekai Express – just follow the link in the article!

    • Agrius, hey buddy!

      It would really depend on the size of the project, but even if it is something that does not work at Kekai Express, I can point you in the right direction.

  32. Woah, a seriously badass guide from a serious badass dude! Thanks for sharing, and im glad to see there will be more impirting training soon! I thought I missed it for good, I became a ‘StartupBro’ right after the past webinars 🙁

    I already signed up for it, can’t wait!

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