Ok so I never ended up getting many more replies from all the ones that I originally found, but that seems ok. I found 2 that look really solid and am pretty confident they’ll be able to crank out what is needed.
Alibaba is kind of like the wild wild west in some aspects. (I guess actually more like the wild east, ha haaa!) Anyways you always want to make sure and do your due diligence when picking someone. Knock on wood I’ve never personally had problems on there getting burned, but have heard of it happening. A couple things you’ll want to do is make sure they are a verified suppplier, and thay have good reviews & quick response times. All of this can be found on Alibaba.com on the top right of the page you’ll see that breakdown. I will only work with people who have multiple feedback scores and are verified.
Another thing is make sure you hit them up on Skype and talk to them for a bit either chat or voice. Due to the time difference you’ll have to most likely do it at night. Being I’m based in Florida, I usually jump on Skype around 9pm and chat with anyone overseas that needs to be reached. On this initial process make sure you finalize the price, production time, shipping, everything that was in the original email.
Next thing you’ll want to do is order a sample from the different manufacturers. Usually they’ll jack the price up a bit to keep people from ordering one-off items from them. So expect to pay around 50 bucks including air shipping. Believe me you dont want to skimp out on this.
One more side note, if you ever are interested in expanding out your product line, see if they have any other interesting similar products that you might introduce. So like if you’re selling Hockey Sticks, the same manufacturer might make Pucks as well, which would be a good upsell to your customers. One of manufacturers sent over a list of everything he made and one of the things is kind of interesting & I think could make a fun upsell. So I’m having him include that in the package. It’s easier and cheaper now to order samples of other products & have them handy just in case you want to place a full order for them in the future.
This is the reply I just got from one of them:
Samples From Alibaba: -$130.00This is pretty exciting, it’s the first money spent on the project! Catch you guys in the next day or so!