Many people dream of starting their own business. If they’re going to work, they would prefer it be for themselves. We all have a vision, and it is universally fulfilling to bring that vision to life. Whatever type of budding retail business you dream of owning, one thing is probably true; you want to be in control. You want the most efficient and well-run business you can have, so that the rest of your life may follow suit. Perhaps you’ve already begun to research and create your business plan. You may have found that there are many different factors that go into it. That’s why it’s important to find an experienced, quality sourcing agent to help you manage your needs and set you up for long-term success.
The excitement of starting your retail business comes with a long list of priorities: product design, manufacturing, product sourcing/private label, quality control/inspection, logistics, branding, sales, and marketing. Sourcing Agents can help you with all of this. With the right one on your team, you can be positive that you have a quality product. It will give you the freedom and confidence to promote your brand, knowing you’re delivering grade-A merchandise to your customers — every time.
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What is a product sourcing agent?
Since the dawn of organized civilization, we’ve always needed them. An individual to transport goods around the world; someone who is on top of the demands that the global market presents. The mark of a great one is innovation and solution-based thinking. For example, the first IPA beverage was invented when the early transporters of ale from Britain to India needed a creative way to keep the beers from going flat during the voyage. The addition of hops — a bitter aromatic vegetable — was intended to be a preservative, but the strong flavor turned out to be quite popular. Thus, an innovative new product was thrust into the marketplace. They took what could have been a disaster to their income (and the buyer/supplier’s) and turned it into a major profit that remains a sensation to this day.
While the methods of transporting merchandise have changed and we no longer have to fear our product spoiling on the boat ride over, the fact remains the same. Many of us still need sourcing agents to drive our entrepreneurial goals forward.
Product sourcing agents are with you from the conception of your idea, to the time your goods hit the market. They support you along the way, using their global connections to put you in contact with skilled production manufacturers. This grants you access to a multitude of factories and contacts that may otherwise be far out of your reach. It also saves you a ton of time researching the various different types of people and businesses you will have to interact with to launch your new item. Additionally, they consult you through every step of the process — strategically helping you as you get your products on the shelves.
Any idea for a product — no matter how ground-breaking — can only go far with a good manufacturer to make it real. Otherwise, it’s just a series of pages in your notebook or a file on your computer. That’s why the first thing you’ll want to discuss with your sourcing agent is product design. This is the first of many steps that you’ll take to grow your business. When it is but a budding concept, your agent is there to help bring it to life. This is your time to map out your dream and figure out how to make it possible.
The agent will sit with you and get a clear understanding of what you want the final product to look and act like; essentially, how it works. Their goal here is to verify the design and utility goals you have for your product, so make sure to be clear about what you want. The more detail, direction and excitement you have in making this a reality, the better. Logically, the next step is to find the right manufacturer for you. You’ll want to consider your personal needs and discuss them with your agent, so that they can use their multitude of connections to find the best fit for you. They will then relay to the manufacturer your design and utility goals for the project.
Creating your logo
We all know that branding and image can have a huge impact on the success of your business. So once you’ve chosen the right manufacturer, you will create your own iconic brand logo. In crafting this image, you may want to reach out to any number of digital marketing experts. Likely, you’ll need a graphic designer. Luckily, you’ll have access to your agent’s network of skilled professionals; so you have a multitude of fantastic resources to tap into when you work with one. Once you have a logo design that you’re happy with, you’ll want give the final design plans to your sourcing agent. Then, the prototype for your new product can be brought to life.
There may be an existing product that you wish to have mass produced in your own private label. In this case, your journey with the sourcing agent will begin here. You will describe to your agent what type of product you’re looking for. As always, be as specific as possible. Since you aren’t looking to manufacture a product from scratch, your options may be limited (depending on what you plan on selling). But the more your agent knows about what you want, the closer to that objective they can get you.
You will discuss with them what product you wish to become a wholesaler or retailer for, and work with them to create a logo that you will apply to an already existing product. Branding is a key part of what customer base you may attract, so be sure to make strategic design choices to optimize your success.
Whether you plan on creating something from scratch or building on an existing concept, the next step is to start production. Understandably, though, some hesitation might exist about beginning. Particularly when it comes to making sure the caliber of manufacturing is up to standard. As a business owner, you desire the best quality possible. After all, this is the beginning of your brand’s legacy. The first few orders are crucial in starting your new business off on the right foot. A bad review this early in the game could throw a real wrench in your path. On the other hand, a good review will inevitably lead to word of mouth recommendations and more orders rolling in!
Fortunately, your sourcing agent prioritizes quality control and inspection. They’ve been to their share of factories, and know what to look for when it comes to a standard of production. They aren’t going to let you end up with a factory that cuts corners, or tries to save money at the expense of your final product. Your agent will communicate the standard you are looking for to your manufacturer.
Real time quality inspection
During production, they’ll follow up and make sure this standard is still being upheld. This is an important step in making sure that everyone is truly on the same page. When the process is complete, your sourcing agent will do a final inspection and remain in contact with you. This is very helpful, as you will already know what to expect before you have the physical results in hand. It will ensure your satisfaction when the product arrives — saving time and money.
There are a variety of crucial logistical factors necessary for a smooth shipment process. Once the product is made, it is stored in warehouses and shipped safely to its final destination. This is another thing you can count on your sourcing agent to manage for you. They will guarantee that at every step during the process, your valuable merchandise is stored in adequate conditions. You shouldn’t have to worry about weather damage or poor handling, especially during this crucial stage. A sourcing agent is there to make sure you don’t have to!
Having a worthy product is certainly half the battle, but the other half is how you sell it. Imagine if a big, buff wrestler was advertising a local used book store, or a yoga studio. It would be kind of weird, right? That’s because it would be off-brand. It would not match the wrestler’s personal brand to market these businesses, just as he would not fit into the businesses’ brands. This concept can apply to your spokesperson, or your brand image in general. Every decision that you make when concocting your brand image should factor into the greater, cohesive tone that you’re creating around this product.
By now you understand that your brand image and mission statement is just as important as the quality of your product. Your agent knows this too; they have an extensive network of graphic designers, web developers, photographers and copywriters handy. Together, they will work to ensure that your brand matches the vision you have for your product. From your website to your copy to the first ad you post to social media, this can strengthen every facet of your business.
Sales and marketing
Once you’ve solidified your brand image, it’s time to focus on sales and marketing. You want to get your product before the right pairs of eyes (potential customers) and make the most out of your ad investments. It’s important to know that you are working with someone who has the necessary tools and network for this.
Before you get started, you’re going to determine with your sourcing agent what type of sales model is best for your product. You can create a sales model that speaks directly to the consumer, urging them to buy with an evocative slogan. Alternatively, you can sell wholesale to big box stores. The marketing strategy for each of these options is going to look quite different. Perhaps your plan even entails a combination of the two (direct-to-consumer and wholesale). Again, this will require your agent to tailor the marketing strategy to your needs and optimize your chances of making the most sales possible. No matter the case, the ideal agent has a cast of digital marketers and wholesale sales professionals who are ready to work with you.
Who needs a sourcing agent?
There are all sorts of retail companies who benefit from hiring sourcing agents. Here are just a few:
- clothing brands:
It’s imperative to produce high-quality clothing. Having someone vet the production site can save you a lot of headache. Plus, you’re going to want to decide on a standard for the hangers that the apparel will be displayed on. Those, too, must be manufactured and sent from somewhere. These are just a few examples pertaining to the clothing industry.
- metal processing:
You want to be sure that your metal products are built to last, and not quick to rust.
- sporting goods companies:
If you’re starting a sporting goods company, chances are you’re a sports fan. So if you’re manufacturing basketballs, don’t you want the quality of yours to be so good that even great legends of of the game would be proud to endorse it?
The world of electronics is constantly changing. You want to make sure you are working with someone who has the inside scoop on the latest trends and can potentially save you from investing in yesterday’s news.
Quality cookware is worth a lot of money and consumers obviously prefer it. Nobody is trying to cook on a pan that might contain carcinogens. It’s important to work with someone who you can run these concerns by. The last thing you want is to get your consumers sick.
- medical supplies:
This sub-category basically explains itself. A good doctor needs quality equipment. In this particular industry, a poorly made product can result in court cases and malpractice suits leading back to you. For this reason, you REALLY want to make sure to cross those t’s and dot those i’s.
- beauty products:
Do you want to ensure that your beauty products are well-made, won’t cause cosmetic issues on your customers, and aren’t tested on animals? There is much to consider when starting a beauty or cosmetics company, so talk to someone who can simplify it for you.
- just about anything else!
What are the benefits?
So you’ve determined exactly who you are and what your business is all about — but there’s still the matter of doing business with another culture. For several reasons, this may be difficult.
If you’ve never traveled to the country or region you wish to source from, it can be confusing. From making travel accommodations like flight and hotel stay to navigating around the city, these business trips can be quite costly. Although you do pay your sourcing agent, the money that you save in the long run makes it a worthwhile investment. You can enjoy the time you saved on the business trip, plus the money you saved on travel expenses, and treat yourself to a nice relaxing day doing whatever you enjoy most.
There may be a language barrier that prevents you from independently communicating with your peers overseas. You may have every intention of finding the best and most qualified manufacturers for the job, but simply lack the lingual ability. It’s best to have a sourcing agent handy who can make sure nothing gets lost in translation. After all, your new business is your baby. It’s important to nurture it and give it everything necessary for abundance and success.
They’re well-versed in the cultural norms, too!
Aside from language, there’s a cultural gap as well. You may not be personally familiar with the business customs and practices of the region. It would stand to say, therefor, that the whole process would be much simpler and quicker with someone who did. Hiring a sourcing agent guarantees that you are not going to offend your potential new peers or misrepresent your intentions. The agent is comfortable engaging in dialogue and has a basic knowledge of how everyday life functions in the country’s major industrial cities.
This also allows them to form personal bonds and connections with your new coworkers overseas. That can ensure that they value this project and treat it with respect and care. After all, we’re usually more likely to invest our time and energy into something we remember — especially if it’s remembered fondly. An agent with a growing social network overseas is a huge asset to you and your business, and may even prove useful during price negotiations.
First-hand updates from the comfort of your home office
Additionally, you may want to visit the factory and follow up on progress. It can be nerve wracking to be so far away from a production that you’re so greatly invested in. Luckily, a sourcing agent can be physically present for you. If you have a healthy working relationship with yours, you will receive first-hand accounts from someone who is on your team. They will have your best interest in mind, and a personal stake in the end result. This can relieve some of the stress involved in the process. With a quality agent on your team, it’ll almost feel like you’re a part of the action — without the frequent travel back and forth. Your sourcing agent will have experience-based knowledge of how business operates in your region of interest, and an active relationship with various operations on the ground.
Having someone on your team with personal involvement in how things are run will positively impact how your goods are handled and shipped. The success of your business relies on how well you are able to communicate with your overseas contacts. Sourcing agents alleviate your uncertainty and provide you up-to-date information on how production is being handled for your merchandise.
What makes a good sourcing agent
A good sourcing agent will generally be attentive, focused and ask the right questions. The process can be confusing and complicated, or it can be simple. Organized. Your agent can provide you with motivating clarity through every step of the lengthy process of launching your brand. From initial design to the moment a customer opens the slick packaging of the finished product, you want an agent who cares. You want someone who is involved and does an efficient job. Someone who is in this to help you achieve long-term success.
As previously stated, there are a lot of moving parts to the industrial world. You need someone detail-oriented and focused. Someone who can comfortably navigate through the process of creating and manufacturing your merchandise. Before you hire a sourcing agent, you’ll want to know what traits to look for. Some agents may thrive in one aspect of their profession, but not others. For this particular role, the ideal candidate will show skill and promise in a wide variety of tasks.
Product design & manufacturing
A quality sourcing agent will ask you questions about utility and design so that they can accurately relay a message to the manufacturer. It’s better to get sufficient details from you and have a long discussion about what you want right off the bat. That way, all communication between you and the manufacturer can be concise and necessary. The benefit of this is that it allows you to focus your time and energy on growing your business. An organized agent will cut unnecessary phone meetings and guarantee clarity.
Sourcing Agents should look for a manufacturer that meets your needs. Do you want to mass produce your product, or start smaller with the ability to scale up? Are there any ethical standards or prerequisites that a factory must meet in order for you to work with them? If you have specific requirements, it is important to voice this to your agent so that you can comfortably invest energy and money in your endeavor.
Quality is key
The overall theme is this; you want a sourcing agent who asks the right questions.
You shouldn’t have to worry about sending a prototype back because the label was incorrectly placed. Or the knobs aren’t where you want them — assuming your products have knobs. You get the idea. The right agent will know exactly what you want so that they can keep the ball rolling.
Every sourcing agent claims to prioritize quality; but do they? A good one will have first-hand experience of the factories they put you in contact with. They’ll do the leg work for you, relaying the standard you are looking for to the manufacturer. If you’re bringing your design to fruition, your biggest fear may very well be a lackluster prototype. Nobody wants their merchandise to come out looking cheap, nor do they want a percentage of customer orders to be defective (and therefor, returns). A product that breaks easily or simply doesn’t work can be a huge disappointment to the consumer.
Branding, Sales, and Marketing
The ideal sourcing agent has the capability to tap into their network of graphic designers, web developers, photographers and copywriters. From creating a logo to generating ads and keeping track of how they perform on different platforms, an agent with such a network can be a huge benefit.
These digital marketers and wholesale sales professionals should be skilled and seasoned in their expertise. After all, you’re paying the agent to certify that everyone in the network you are working with is experienced and professional. While trial and error is a necessary part of any new project, it’s best to work with certified specialists. You do not have time for miscommunications.
Finding the best sourcing agent
A good sourcing agent will consider all of this. They will make sure to include you in every step of the process. They will tailor it to your specific and unique needs. Having a product, an image and a marketing strategy that stands out can make all the difference between a subpar business and true success. An idea, no matter how wonderful, cannot stand alone. Execution is everything. You need to work with someone who understands this, and will take your project seriously.
Assure that you have a healthy working relationship — that you understand each other. When you have a solid grasp of what each other’s needs from this dynamic are, you can make sure to keep morale boosted and preserve the longevity of your business relationship. Above all, always have a clear idea of exactly what you’re looking for so that you can adequately explain it to your sourcing agent.
Questions to keep in mind
When communicating with your sourcing agent, there are certain things that are important to discuss. While your sourcing agent will be asking you many questions, communication is a two-way street. You’ll want to prepare a few queries yourself.
Can your sourcing agent provide references from previous work?
This is necessary in today’s world to look out for them in all areas of your life. Especially when it comes to your business. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the agent being upfront with you about their personal history and work experience.
It’s important to make sure that your agent has references. See some examples of their work, get an idea of how long they’ve been in business and what kind of work they do. References are also an excellent way to find out what your agent is best at. From product inspection to price negotiation to overall communication skills, it’s good to know where they shine. This will help you set reasonable expectations and start the conversation about what you desire for the work you plan to do together.
How long have they been in the business?
So you’ve examined your agent’s references. Hopefully you’ve seen enough positive reviews to make you feel comfortable proceeding with this person. Now is a great time to segue into your next question. Asking your agent how long they’ve been in the business is the next logical step, because once again it gives you an idea of what to expect and helps you negotiate pricing.
Naturally, an experienced agent is likely to charge a higher fee. This is because they have built rapport overseas, creating lasting contacts over years of consistency in their field. A newer sourcing agent offers benefits as well. They’re likely to be slightly more cost-effective, while maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for them to succeed. They know better than anyone that a bad review too early in the game can throw a wrench in the path of any business. This makes them work hard and smart to deliver the best possible results.
Does your sourcing agent have an area of expertise?
Sometimes, a sourcing agent becomes more familiar with a specific type of product manufacturer. It’s good to know up front if this is the case. After all, if you’re trying to manufacture novelty wigs or high heels, it wouldn’t do you much good to work with someone who typically works with sporting goods factories. There are many agents out there for you. Each one has a unique relationship to the global marketplace, each with a set of strengths that they can offer you.
When searching for the right agent, it’s important to communicate clearly what you’re looking for. Feel free to ask them about the different types of connections they have, and get a feel for what their role will be in growing your business. Finding an agent with specific expertise in your industry is a plus, because they may have more connections that are focused on what you need. This can ultimately supply you with more options when making an initial selection. If the agent does not have a specified field, though, one thing is probably certain: they have a standard that must be upheld. This means if a factory is not up to par, a good sourcing agent won’t consider working with them. Especially if the agent has clients spanning across a variety of industries.
Doing the leg work
There is really only one time that you will have to do proper research: when searching for the right agent. Once hired, a sourcing agent will do all of the leg work for you. Finding the right one will save you so much hassle, while giving you an advantage in a highly competitive market. Of course, you will want proof and documentation that your agent has your back, so to speak. They will be able to provide you with contacts and assure you that they truly have done all of the hard work. They have connections, skill, knowledge of business operations, and an ability to think big-picture for you so that your vision can be brought to life — piece by piece.
What is their process like?
You’re about to entrust this person with a lot of highly valuable information, since you’re hiring them to be a part of your business. Not just a part of it, but really the driving force that keeps the gears moving. Chances are, you wouldn’t need a sourcing agent if you had experience importing goods from abroad. You’re probably here because you don’t, and in doing your research have learned that a lot of different steps go into this process. There are many moving parts, and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by it.
That being said, you still need to know what’s going on with your business. Ask your sourcing agent to explain to you what you can expect from the process up-front. There may be an unexpected circumstance somewhere down the line (such is life), but at least this way you can have a general idea. You can know what to expect from the process. This is likely your first experience with a sourcing agent. Being transparent before you get started may actually help you maintain a sense of normalcy and involvement throughout this journey.
Quality control inspections
Does your sourcing agent do quality control inspections? While many of them do, it’s best to make sure right off the bat. Otherwise, you will have to hire a third party to inspect the quality of your merchandise. This can be rather costly and time-consuming. Ideally, you’ll find an agent who is willing and able to conduct quality control inspections for you as part of their service.
More specifically, you may want to ask your agent to explain what the process of communication looks like for them. How often do they travel for work? What does a visit abroad entail for them, and what type of updates might you anticipate when they go abroad? When they are not traveling to examine the situation on the ground, how do they make sure that everything is still on track? Getting the inside scoop on your agent’s process can help you feel at ease before you get started. Ultimately, it will cultivate trust and respect as you let them into your business.
Get more specific
Once your agent is hired and hard at work for you, there may still be some lingering questions about the process. How is it going? What is the factory like? It’s important to put your trust in your sourcing agent, allowing them to thrive in their arena. After all, it’s their expertise you hired them for, and that entails vetting quality locations with whom to do business. It’s equally important that you have all of the information about the factories and locations involved with creating your merchandise. Keep an organized record of who does what for you and how much it costs. This will help you effectively troubleshoot with your sourcing agent if you ever need to. Doing this allows you to feel in control while giving them the space to do their job well.
How will they charge for services?
There is no right or wrong way to charge for sourcing agent services, but it’s worth noting that not everyone does it the same way. Some people will charge a one-time fee up front and then complete the job for you, while others may incur a recurring payment. Others may require an initial fee, but then take an additional percentage based on your order value. This will typically vary between individuals, and be based on what is best for them.
What matters most in this situation is that you know exactly what to expect as far as payment goes. If they charge extra for certain services, you do not want to be surprised by that down the line. In this case, you might want to ask follow-up questions as well. For instance, a sourcing agent could tell you that they charge a one-time fee up front. You might respond to this by asking what services are included in this one-time fee?
By this point you should already have a good idea of what goes into the job. If any of your needs are not met by their basic package, there’s a chance that they may charge an additional fee for the rest of the services you require. It is best to be on the same page about this before you begin.
What country or region does your agent source from?
Sourcing agents can operate from all over the world. If you’re looking to start a new company that sells Champagne, for instance, you will obviously need someone well-versed in the operations of that particular region in France. Similarly, there are many regions that people may seek out for their business needs.
It might not surprise you that one of the top places people source from is China. China is a massive industrial hub in the world today. As a result, a large percentage of sourcing agents will place their focus on the Chinese marketplace. As they progress in their field, they make it their duty to stay up-to-date with changes in the economy and business practices of the various regions in which they operate.
One reason this can be beneficial is that China has a fast-growing economy and a very large population. Soon, you’re going to create a successful product there. If your agent has a good rapport with people in various stages of the production/distribution line, then there is a chance of growing your business and one day getting on the shelves there as well.
Guangzhou, China is known for many things: the beautiful scene of the coast and city lights, the unique architecture found all throughout, the delicious cuisine. The bustling metropolitan city was a great harbor for transporting goods during the days of the infamous Silk Road. It should come as no surprise, then, that it is also known among sourcing professionals for its bustling textile industry. A number of large name brands have found themselves doing business here, creating their focus on making ethical and sustainable clothing. From creating the clothing pieces themselves to custom fabric printing, the city of Guangzhou has much to offer.
Additionally, Guangzhou is a great place to find Cosmetic products at a wholesale price. An excellent location to do this is the Guangzhou Beauty Exchange Center (Mei Bo Cheng 美博城). Here, you can find makeup, nail polish, wigs, hair products, skin care, packaging, and so much more. It is essentially a giant shopping mall for buying cosmetics wholesale.
It is important to note that there are regulations for shipping cosmetics from China to the US, EU, and Australia. Certain substances are restricted from being used in any product. They also must be correctly labeled, otherwise your merchandise may be discarded, destroyed or confiscated when it arrives to its destination.
Also a coastal city, Shenzhen is home to various beaches, theme parks and even a safari. More significantly, however, it is the stomping grounds for over 14,000 tech companies. This has earned it the reputation of being China’s Silicon Valley. Shenzhen is also home to numerous start-ups, making it the most famously competitive and innovative city in China.
A few notable places to purchase phone accessories wholesale are Huaqiang Electronic World, Longsheng Phone Accessories Wholesale Center, and SEG electronic market. These places are all conveniently located quite near each other. From cables to cases and all the way to VR headsets, every phone accessory you can think of can be found here. Due to the large amount of suppliers concentrated in this area, a quality sourcing agent will be on top of product compliance and quality testing. They’ll be on the ground to help you secure long-lasting, quality products.
Nearby, there is also the Shenzhen Pacific Security and Protection Market. Here, you can find a wide variety of products including but not limited to: smart home appliances, home security systems, security cameras, safety and fire prevention equipment, alarm systems, bio-identification tech, and any other video or monitoring items you might need. This is really just the tip of the iceberg that is Shenzhen. It’s a city that thinks outside the box so that you can, too.
There’s so much more of China to explore and discuss, but the globe has more to offer when it comes to product sourcing. It’s positively overwhelming just how many options you have when you work with a skilled, professional sourcing agent. All over the world, there are up and coming products, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs.
In fact, Mexico is home to a great deal of incredible products at a fantastic price. It’s a well known fact that hand-crafted Mexican pots, vases, and other functional art are exported all over the world. That’s not all it has to offer! Examples of other products your sourcing agent may procure for you in Mexico are food, tools, toys, sporting goods, apparel, chemical products, and furniture. Perhaps most notable is their large export of textiles and automotive parts to the US. However, one cannot discuss Mexico’s economic innovations without mentioning that they’re among the leading producers of silver in the world. They are also well known for oil, as Mexico is one of the largest producers in the petroleum industry.
It may not come as a surprise that India is a huge exporter of goods to destinations all over the world. Their economy is constantly growing to accommodate more production, allowing them to remain a large player in the global market. One category you can source for in India is home décor and furnishing. This can be anything from kitchen/table ware, lighting accessories, tiles, ceramics, wood, carpets, tables, bedspreads, lawn and garden accessories, and so much more.
There’s even a subcategory for iron and steel products. They sell metal doorknobs, screws, locks, tubes, pipes, tools, etc. These are things that people buy all year long, and having a dependable source for them can provide consistent profits.
India is also a huge exporter of fashion items. You can buy high quality fabrics or fashion apparel. Besides clothing (which they produce in spades), they produce a lot of accessories. This includes (but isn’t limited to) purses, wallets, belts, jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, gloves and hats. They’re also known for their beautiful stationery. Not only are there tons of wonderful gift items that you can sell to families all over the world during the holiday season, the Indian marketplace supplies festive decorations as well. They can even take it a step further and supply food items for the holiday meal! They have many crop fields and farms which produce all kinds of food: from rice and lentils to coffee and tea.
We briefly discussed Champagne, but this country has more to offer. Perhaps a surprise to some, France is a contender in the sourcing game. In 2020, their top ten exports were listed (in order) as: medication, space/aircrafts, cars, car accessories or parts, turbo jets, wine, cosmetic items, bags and suitcases, blood fractions (used for medical purposes), and trucks. So if you wish to get into the business for any of these, you might think about talking to a French sourcing agent. Maybe you’ll even go to France one day, touring the French wineries and quaint cafes while your agent does all of the organizational work for you.
Many of the items that can be found in Vietnam have been named. They include apparel and accessories, home décor and furnishing, electronics, and jewelry. Other notably sourced Vietnamese products include children’s products. Toys, puzzles, creepy little dolls that sit on the shelf and never blink (just kidding), all of these things can be supplied from Vietnam. The country also has a growing supply of construction materials.
Of its various exports, the Vietnamese marketplace is perhaps most known for its packaging industry. It may sound odd, but every item in the whole marketplace must be packaged neatly, and to standard. There is a wide array of options to choose from as far as material, thickness, lamination (for glossy affect), dimensions, color patterns, and adding logos. Even if you source your product from somewhere else, it may be worth looking into the packaging options in Vietnam. You may just find the most classy, cost-effective way to display your product on the shelves.
So why is it important to know where your agent sources from?
By the time you seek out an agent, you know exactly what you’re looking for. The world is a big place full of exciting options, but you want a sourcing agent who can provide exactly what you want. Your safest bet is China, as the Chinese economy is truly a one-stop shop for…well, everything. They have a bustling and lively marketplace, so your potential for innovation and creativity is truly limitless.
There are many wonderful cities all around the world keeping the global market alive and well, and there’s something special about all of them. We wanted to leave you with a real understanding of just how many different things a sourcing agent has to learn and look out for when deciding where to source from.
Does your sourcing agent have your back, really?
When your agent is inspecting a factory to determine if it is right for you, what is their process really like? You want to make sure that they’re going to be open, transparent and timely with communication. This is important for a couple of different reasons. For one thing, you need to be kept up to date so that you can make the best decisions for your business. For another, you want to make sure they’re conducting themselves the same way with the manufacturer. You need to make sure that the schedule and production time is valued and respected. Overall, it’s important to have transparency right from the beginning and know that your agent is consistent with you.
When you have consistently high quality, you feel supported and empowered as you launch your new endeavor. With a good manufacturer, quality branding and marketing, consistency, and healthy working relationships, you’ll build a business that will last.
Although this should be the very first communication with your new sourcing agent, it seemed appropriate to put it at the end. Now that you know all there is to know about product sourcing and how hiring an agent can benefit you, here’s an email template for making that first contact with your new agent.
Hello, _________. My name is ____________, and I am looking for a product sourcing agent to assist me in the manufacturing for my __________ business. I’m curious to know what resources you have, in what part of the globe, and what you charge for your services.
To speak further, please contact me at ___-___-____.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
You can edit this template to add any personal touches or specific questions that you may have, but this is a launching pad to get you started on your path towards making your goals happen. Good luck!