In this final in a three part mini-series, we will provide a primer for those who are looking to take an idea and make it into a reality. The process can be daunting—so here’s a roadmap to get you started.

Step III: What’s next?

After you have thoroughly prepared, and sought out a reputable supplier, you’re almost there. This is the home stretch.

First of all, line up a logistics provider. Like so much of the rest of this process, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution here. It all depends on your wants, needs, and capabilities. If it is your first shipment, it may make the most sense to have the factory take care of the logistics for you. The advantage is convenience—you can complete the process without involving additional relationships. The compromise is in price. If you go through your supplier, they will work with a freight forwarder, and you will pay a premium. If that is within your budget, it may be a way to streamline the process and avoid a few headaches. If you would prefer to put in the time find a freight forwarder of your own and find a better price, it is important to understand that freight is tricky, because there are a lot of variables at play. If you decide to go this route, we are happy to introduce you to the freight forwarders we maintain relationships with.

Besides freight, you should have pricing completely locked down. The pricing and terms should be very clear with all involved parties. If this is your first shipment, a reasonable split would be about a 70% down payment, and the remainder paid on shipment. As your relationship with the factory develops, you can expect those numbers to grow increasingly favorable to you.

You should also understand the shipping timeline. This varies from product to product, but at minimum you should expect 6 weeks from placing the order to shipment. That means 3 months, at minimum, between placing your order and receiving it (and then you need to factor in shipping time get your product to your distributors). You need to be strategic and plan ahead. As you establish yourself and the market for your product becomes more apparent, you will be able to plan further ahead.

You will also need samples—at least 3. You should plan on keeping one for yourself, sending one to the inspection/sourcing agency, and one to the factory. This is a prudent safeguard to keep everybody on the same page as far as what the product should be.

The final step before placing the order is to decide what types of services you will need to monitor production. For a first product, if you can afford it, you should really go for a full battery of inspections. If that isn’t possible, we can work with you to triage and choose the most important services. At ABSOLUTE MINIMUM, you should avail yourself of a final random inspection.

And that is it! You can feel confident that the product that arrives will be what you were expecting. We look forward to working with you again on your next great idea!

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