The Chinese economy is rising through a time of relatively low output costs compared to other parts of the world. This gives you, as a seller, a great chance to make good profits. You can source your products directly from China at incredibly low costs per unit and translate this into high income in your region or market place.
Initially, hat manufacturers manufactured products for $4 in factories in the United States. This was costing them a lot and causing lots of challenges till they discovered that everything had to be done differently (and quickly) to fulfill customers’ needs and, inevitably, to remain a viable business. Their solution was to then cooperate with Chinese producers who were prepared to deliver what hats wholesale wanted. Best of all, the hat factory was able to manufacture hats for just $2 a device there, far less than the original $4 price. This greatly impacted the company’s revenue scale.
There are four major reasons why this is possible in China and nowhere else:
- There’s easy access to resources.
- Wages are much cheaper in China.
- The Chinese are masters of mass manufacturing and production.
- The Chinese have refined and structured manufacturing lines.
The world has come to admit that the Chinese know what to do when it comes to manufacturing. This write-up will address what you need to know to successfully source your items, goods, or products from China.
Sourcing Chinese Hat Suppliers
If you’ve made your mind up on your perfect commodity, the next thing to do is check for a hat supplier of such items from China. This may be tough, especially because you want to find a renowned Chinese hat supplier. Your choice of hat supplier is one of the most important decisions you need to make in your business, so you’ll have to be careful if you’re to get products of high quality for your buyers.
Realize that your clients and customers don’t know your supplier. So, if your supplier messes things up, you’ll lose money. You want to pick someone who has your back and will deliver. When it comes to locating Chinese vendors, you need good information, so you’ll have to do your homework right. Let’s take a look at some of the most common places to find a major dealer.
Whenever we need information, the first outlet to which we go is Google. Google is the quickest way to locate wholesalers globally, but it has its downsides and risks. When you search for wholesalers on the web, you won’t get exactly what you want without appropriate keywords. You need to use the right keywords when searching.
Another issue is that you don’t know how authentic all of these wholesalers are. You must apply a stringent vetting procedure to each of them. You can find reliable headwear suppliers using Google, but you must be thorough with your scrutiny of the search results because authentic dealers might be hidden deep within the results.
A directory is a document containing contact information and sometimes a summary of particular people. Directories organize and store information concerning specific demography. An example is your Facebook friends list. It is a type of directory for everyone you are connected with on Facebook. You get to see their email addresses, numbers, contact address, etc. There are also directories for suppliers. You can find them online.
The most secure approach to getting dealers from China or anywhere else is using an online suppliers directory, as this is a carefully selected and authenticated list. You might have to pay to get access to one, but it’s worth it. Some of its benefits are reduced risk of cheating, ability to select search results depending on the exact information you need, faster research (you can find commodity goods, and contact details for vendors easily).
- Chinese Online Marketplaces
Marketplaces have existed since trade became a thing. What is new in this sphere is the application of technology, which has created e-marketplaces where suppliers and consumers can meet to do business. There are three major e-marketplaces in China — Alibaba, AliExpress, and Made-in-China.com.
Alibaba: If you are new to the hat business, Alibaba isn’t the best place to start. Hat manufacturers are the bulk of the listings you will find on this site and not distributors. This means that basically, they do not have a website, do not speak good English, and payments have to be paid by wire instead of by credit card. The major downside of using Alibaba is that there is no assurance that you will get the products you are ordering.
AliExpress: On the other hand, AliExpress is a sister e-market to Alibaba. It permits Chinese hat manufacturers and suppliers to market the items produced locally to consumers around the world. It’s is sometimes called the Chinese Amazon, except that delivery takes 2-3 weeks to arrive at your door, and everything is at the lowest wholesale price.
Made-in-China.com: Founded in 1998 and run by Focus Technology Co. Ltd., Made-in-China.com is also a platform in China with a third-party e-commerce network for B2B. It strives to serve international trade and provide Chinese goods and vendors with high-quality knowledge to buyers from around the world. Today, Made-in-China.com bridges the divide between global customers and Chinese quality supplier is recognized as the world’s leading B2B platform.
- Utilizing a Sourcing Agency
Sourcing agencies are like middlemen, and dealing with them can be a hit or a failure for you. If you are lucky, you will get a truly invaluable partner. On the flip side, you can deal with a shoddy intermediary with higher unit prices. It is worth noting that it is not a managed sector, which means that there is no regulation by any country. Anyone could pretend to be a fully operating sourcing organization with credentials, only to eventually swindle you or provide you with low-quality goods at a high cost. However, there are some credit agencies you could get in touch with, some of which are:
Importdojo.com: This company, owned by Manuel Becvar, currently has over 2500 vendors in almost all sectors to supply virtually any product you want. You will have the opportunity to choose from several pricing options with various features, such as feasibility reviews and other add-ons. Also, if you are looking for a full-time employee in China, you may hire a dedicated monthly sourcing representative.
80/20 Sourcing: This sourcing firm, operated by Gary Huang, is primarily known for its courses and high-quality coaching facilities. Gary also acts as a sourcing agent for Amazon sellers to assist them in selling Chinese goods.
Easy Imex: Providing various services such as – inventory procurement, ordering, negotiations, shipment and logistics, quality management, and plant inspected goods. Easy Imex, which is operated by Adam Gilbourne, functions as the one-stop import facility. It also helps consumers to use an online portal to navigate the process and track their goods.
- Participating in Trade Exhibitions
Participating in trade fairs and exhibitions is also a good way to get hat suppliers. Usually, vendors will share their principles, goods, manufacturing capability, and quality-control systems with prospective customers during these trade shows. You can evaluate the potential of a successful partnership by interacting with them.
In China, there are two famous fairs every year – the Canton Fair and the East China Fair.
The Canton Fair: The Canton Fair in Guangzhou (near Hong Kong, South China) is the largest trade fair in China, and it is held twice annually. Tens of thousands of visitors attend this show yearly, with various items on display.
The East China Fair: The East China Fair is China’s biggest trade exhibition and is held in Shanghai once a year. In general, this is fair with the most vendors and the largest number of displays and sales. This fair has the largest turnover seen in China annually and is a good place to source for vendors.
If you cannot make it to China for some reason and you don’t think you will ever be visiting the country, there is a trade exhibition in Las Vegas you can attend – the International Consumer Electronics Show. The exhibition allows for Chinese entrants and vendors to showcase their wares. However, the downside to this fair may be that you can only get a limited pool of prospective Chinese vendors (many of them are not involved in these trade fairs, so you can’t get the best deal). You could still be fortunate that the commodity that you want is covered at this trade fair.
Verifying Hat Suppliers from China
There is a need to always verify the dealers and suppliers’ company or firm one is dealing with so as not to run into a scam or bad product delivery situation. The following points will highlight some steps and a few tricks to note when verifying a vendor.
- Google and Background-Check the Company
The first thing people do is a Google search. When you get a page recommendation from Google, click on the page. Click on the commodity you are interested in, then scroll down to the name of the shop owner. Look for rankings or stars from reviews by former customers. If there are none, then that’s a red flag.
The next thing to do is check out Google Maps listings to figure out where the shop is located in China. If you can’t find them, then that’s a total no for your business. These are the kind of vendors you should never use. You need to be able to see where vendors are located and get their contact data, tax ID, and more.
It is not straightforward to perform an onsite inspection. You may have to consult the prospective supplier’s website for their company license, addresses of businesses or warehouses, ownership status, supplier processes images, contact data, subsidiary licenses, partners, or contractors’ certifications. This can be difficult to find (particularly if the supplier is a good fraud).
This step is important for a few reasons and shouldn’t be skipped irrespective of how trusting the vendor’s words sound or who referred you. You achieve three things when you order samples and have them delivered to you:
- You will see how long the shipment takes (in contrast to the average period on the website).
- You will get a feel of the packaging and then decide if your target market will be okay with it.
- You can see the commodity quality. For long-term success, product quality is very critical.
As a general rule of thumb, samples from at least 3-4 firms should be ordered to weigh your alternatives and compare distribution times, product consistency, quality of communication, and, of course, price.
- Chat with Customer Service
Your customer service will definitely be poor if your supplier’s customer service is poor. You will get your support directly from your dealers because eventually, you are only a middleman making buying and selling easy. You must physically pick up your mobile device and contact a retailer before you order anything.
- Contact a Former Customer
It is important to get reviews about a wholesaler or vendor before dealing with them. Healthy wholesale vendors would not find it difficult to supply you with knowledge from former clients. You are also most likely to find reviews on their website. If the service company you are looking at doesn’t supply you with any client referrals, don’t feel like you need to chat with them further. (Although, if it’s a scam platform, bogus testimonies could also be there.)
Types of Chinese Hat Supplier/Vendors
There are a few different types of Chinese hat suppliers you’ll run into – Chinese hat manufacturers, wholesalers, and drop shippers. Let’s go over the differences with each supplier to better understand who (and what) you want.
Using a drop shipper would mean that you cannot purchase large volumes since you have to buy one commodity at a time. A drop shipment model means you don’t pay for the commodity before it is sold while working with wholesale vendors (from where goods are bought). The downside of this is largely the cost of using one. You can’t get the lowest price on the goods because you don’t pay upfront for them. You can get the best prices with wholesale supply.
There are a few other drawbacks like not being able to brand your business and potentially lengthy distribution periods. But it also ensures that inventory, shipment, and packaging are not kept and, in some cases, customer service is not needed.
Wholesale purchase means that you buy hats in bulk. This ensures that goods are sold at a lower price. The more you shop, the better the deal. Hat manufacturers supply wholesalers at cheaper costs because, by doing so, they can get the materials to produce more items and make more profits. That’s the advantage of wholesale. The downsides, however, are the need for large storage space and huge capital.
A manufacturing company produces the items for supply. Since hat manufacturers are the direct source of headwear, their costs are very low. However, they also have very high minimum order limits.
China hat manufacturers typically sell directly to wholesalers, including light and bulk wholesalers and liquidators. Thus, in terms of sourcing, most retailers find it difficult to reach manufacturers. However, smaller manufacturing companies often partner with retailers directly. It doesn’t hurt to find out!
Negotiating with Suppliers
Negotiation is an art every business person must learn. Your overall purpose in your quest for hat suppliers should not only consist of getting your goods according to the desired quality criteria but also building an enduring partnership. You want to be known as a loyal customer as well as someone to be considered worthy of friendship, so you want to find an organization that’ll walk the extra mile.
However, you need to know that price negotiation should be held at the proper time. It will be an outstanding opportunity to bargain if your company is booming, and you need to order more items to keep your clients happy. If you’re just out to get the best deal, it isn’t yet time for negotiation. Also, don’t forget the supplier has to earn money too).
Here are a few tips to use while negotiating with your hat supplier:
Comparing prices is essential. It is the bulk of what influences negotiations. Let’s do this with an illustration so you can get the picture.
Assume you sell earrings, and you feel robbed when you look at the prices of other vendors. Your vendor sells silver earrings for a pair of $20, while another vendor will offer the same earrings for $6. Although you might feel rather cheated, what you must do is ask a few questions. Are these earrings like my supplier’s earrings? Are they both made from genuine sterling silver? Are they made by hand? This is because the time, resources, and energy invested in them will result in varying prices.
However, you should put it up to your retailer if you ever believe that you’re not getting the best value for your money, or you ever feel cheated when buying merchandise. Never conceal your findings from your supplier, or it may get to the point where you find yourself angrily asking about issues that could have been settled amicably. Ask your suppliers questions. They will answer your questions if you put them up early. View your bond as your business partner with your supplier-all of you are there to make money.
- Over-Negotiation Is Not Good
Keep in mind the extremely poor margins that Chinese producers are currently facing. They will cut corners and give you low-quality goods if you decide to negotiate with them for cheaper costs. This does not mean that you are not to negotiate. Just keep in mind that there is a price for the quality.
- Email Template for Chinese Supplier
It may be difficult to communicate with somebody who doesn’t speak your language well. Unfortunately, there will always be a language barrier that you must cross when you work with Chinese suppliers. Many Chinese companies like to speak to English purchasers because it helps them to improve their own English. You just need to be patient with them as they try to enhance their communication skill. When you email your Chinese partner, you will do well if you consider these tips:
- When reaching them, use simple, descriptive words. You will get your message across by using fewer complex words.
- Try to keep it to a few questions as possible while sending a longer text.
- Split your messages into paragraphs to distinctly help the vendors distinguish your points.
Below is an example of an email you can mirror when sending inquiries:
My name is Josh Greg. I am the product manager of XYZ company.
I am very interested in your XYZ product. I just have a few questions:
- How much would it cost to order 50 XYZ items?
- Do you have a minimum order limit?
- How many could you produce in one week?
Thanks for your time,
Now, here are a few take home from the sample above.
The email was friendly, right to the point, and each paragraph/question had distinctly distinct breaks. The tag “product manager” builds credibility and allows you to appear like a legitimate business. Although this is not mandatory, the supplier should take you seriously this way.
Also, don’t limit yourself to email as there are various means of reaching suppliers. Your supplier potentially works with several other customers. You can try to obtain their Skype ID for better communication.