Finalize your design BEFORE you reach out to vendors

What people are saying about Mulberry Fields
“…very impressed with your blogs and knowledge.” – former Director of PD at Williams Sonoma

A lot of small companies reach out to vendors in China with product designs that are not finalized. What results then is that the vendor becomes involved in the Product Development process while companies experiment with different details, from product specifications to packaging. This is frustrating for vendors who may be used to working with companies that simply give them orders. As I often like to say, vendors are busy people and they do not want to spend their valuable time redesigning your product for you, especially when no orders are coming in. The one exception is if you have a longstanding vendor who values your business and whom you are asking to help you design a new product or improve an existing product. In this situation most vendors are more than willing to help out and they can be of great help to you. .You are after all their customer.

I would add that if you continuously approach a prospective vendor with myriad product changes, you are sending them the message that you don’t have a product with strong sales (whether that is the case or not). This is all the more the case if you go at least 6 mos without giving them an order. They will sense that you simply do not have the orders yourself, they will become less enthusiastic about their relationship with you and you may be eliminating a perfectly good vendor.

So a good general rule is this: Finish your product development before you approach new vendors.

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