Approaching a manufacturer: the step-to-step guide on how to place your product idea

Why is formulating your request so important

If you want to start your own brand or product line, having a manufacturer is an essential part of the process. Both you and the manufacturer are looking for a long term relationship, in terms of production, so it’s very important to establish a good connection from the very first contact.

To do that, make sure to really put effort into the request and put as many details as possible about your product idea. This way, we can find the best match for you, and the manufacturer can have all the information to make your idea come true.

How to establish a good relationship since day one

The market is competitive and manufacturers are constantly getting requests for products. In order to filter out the bad ones, they focus on the most specific requests with the most detailed information included.

But what makes a request good? What should you include when formulating the request? Here is a guide for what you should and shouldn’t do when first contacting a manufacturer:

Formulating the request

1. Be as precise and descriptive as possible

There is no such thing as writing too much about your idea. Make sure to give all the details of the product you want to launch. The more information they get, the better the outcome, because then we can make sure to pair you with the perfect manufacturer to turn your idea into reality.

Put yourself in the manufacturer’s shoes for a bit. If you were trying to give life to someone else’s idea, wouldn’t you want to hear about every detail? That is exactly what manufacturers want.

It’s okay to not know every single detail about the product you want to launch, especially if this is a first time for you – you can figure that out along the way – but you need to give them all the information you already have.

2. Manufacturers love benchmark products

Were you walking on the street and saw a product very similar to the one you want to launch? Or perhaps while scrolling on Instagram you saw the packaging of your dreams? Don’t be afraid to share that along with your request. There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other brands, and it helps manufacturers to understand the idea you have in mind.

If you don’t already have a design of your own, the best way to illustrate your idea is to reference other products that are similar to your idea.

3. They want to hear about the features, effects and values a product should have

This is your very own product, your baby, and you must feel very passionate about it, no? When formulating the request, be sure to communicate all the love and hope you have for it, to the manufacturer.

They don’t know anything other than what you tell them. For you, something that seems obvious or unnecessary is completely unknown to them. So make sure to tell everything that is essential in the production. The very first enquire you send needs to be as specific as possible.

Ask yourself, what can’t be left out of the process? Which features are fundamental? What is essential for you, and what do you value?

4. Explain exactly how you want to sell your product

If they think your idea is worthy, manufacturers will be interested in maintaining a long term relationship with you. For that, you have to prove that you have discovered a gold mine and that your idea has everything it takes to be successful.

Be clear about your distribution strategy and how you plan on selling it, whether it’s online or offline. Give them a clear view of your distribution and make sure to present it like you know what you’re talking about – even if you don’t.

5. Give deadlines and be realistic

Manufacturers need to know when you plan on launching your product, so they can personalize the production line and deliver everything on time.

But don’t forget to be realistic. If you work with a private label manufacturer, for example, it can take 4 to 8 weeks after the order confirmation, for your product to be shipped. White labelling is a faster process, while contract manufacturing is a longer one since it’s more customized. It’s important to always keep in mind that this is not an impulsive process that happens overnight, it takes weeks of planning and adapting to produce and deliver your product.

Are you a first-timer and don’t know what is the difference between white label, private label, and contract manufacturing? Click here to find out more!

6. Be transparent and reasonable

When you have an idea, it’s normal to want to start producing right away and have samples on your table Monday morning. However, this is not realistic. You need to be reasonable with manufacturers and understand the complications that come with the industry. Depending on the product, the supply chain can be complicated and is constantly affected by external forces.

Be aware that the unstable era we live in can slow down, even more, the production process. It can happen, for example, that a supplier is having a hard time getting the raw materials needed, and because of that, the production line is delayed. Big worldwide events such as pandemics or wars can come in the way of the supply chain as well since many raw materials are imported from other countries.

The 3 most important parameters to include in your product inquiry to private label manufacturers

In every request, there are three parameters that should always be included, in order to be as specific as possible with the manufacturer. Your request should include:

  1. Quantity
  2. Target price
  3. Total budget

The ideal would be to include all of the items in the list above, but sometimes that is not possible, so make sure you include at least one of the three. All of these parameters are necessary for the manufacturer to be sure that they can provide you with an estimate that matches what you have in mind.

Samples: the last step of the process

It’s normal to have an idea and go running after the manufacturers asking for samples, but samples are one of the last steps of the process. Typically, this is how the process happens:

First of all, you send your request and define, in detail, what the product will look like. Then, once the manufacturer understands what you want, and if it’s possible to produce it, they will offer samples. Samples can be free or paid – and is up to you to test them to see if they are what you pictured or if any changes need to be made.

It’s important to be transparent when giving feedback and respond to the manufacturer as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to make changes or ask for something different, manufacturers will tell you if your idea is doable or not. Very often, they will react and adapt to your request and send another version.

MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)

The minimum order quantity is the lowest number of units a manufacturer is willing to produce. This happens because, in order to produce a personalized product, it’s necessary to make adaptions to the machinery and set up the production line. This is a very costly and time-intense process for the manufacturer. For many products, it is simply too expensive to produce small order quantities, because this would either lead to an unattractive price or the manufacturer would lose money before even manufacturing the goods. Therefore, manufacturers have minimum order quantities and it is important for you to be realistic here as well.

The MOQ varies from product to product and it is dependent on many factors, such as raw materials, packaging and suppliers, and sometimes can be higher than expected. The more steps the supply chain has, the higher the MOQ tends to be since every step of the process has its own MOQ.

White-label production often has lower MOQs than private labelling or contract manufacturing, because they already have all the machinery set up for the production and can be produced faster. If it is important to you to have a low MOQ, search into white-labelling production for a generic packaging that is only missing the branding. Private label manufacturing already has the formula set for the production line and, every customization, although possible, demands a higher MOQ. On the other hand, contract manufacturing has the highest MOQs of them all, as well as longer production-phase time, since all the production line is completely individualized for that one product. The time of the production depends on the kind of product and can take up to a year in total.

Keep in mind that you will most likely not reinvent the wheel. But that’s okay!

Sometimes we have an idea and think that it is completely unique and contract manufacturing is absolutely necessary. However, more often than not, that is not the case. Something similar to your product has probably already been done, and it is much cheaper and faster to take an existing packaging or design, and brand it the way you imagined. Even if you go for white label manufacturing, contract manufacturers have very often hundreds or thousands of products in their catalogues.

Before asking for a contract manufacturer, do your research and try to find similar packaging or product design that can be used in your favour. Also, contract manufacturing comes with high MOQs and longer and more expensive production time.

Why not start with a private label or even a white label, and gradually individualize the product?

Create your own product line with Wonnda – the European platform for white label, private label and contract manufacturing

Are you interested in leveraging these trending products but don’t know how to get your production up and running? Whether you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur with an innovative product idea, or an existing retailer looking to diversify your assortment with your own products, launching your own brand through a private label or contract manufacturing could be just the step you need to take your business to the next level.

Here at wonnda, we work with top European producers for private labelling and contract manufacturing. The first step in getting your supplement product to market is probably the most crucial – finding the right production partner for your project. The great advantage of wonnda.com is that you can simply let us do the heavy lifting. Just tell us quickly about your project or product idea. We will then approach the most suitable producers for your project and connect you with them. Sounds interesting? Then just fill out the form or send us an email with your desired product.

Ready to launch your product?

Wonnda enables entrepreneurs and aspiring brands to launch the next generation of consumer products with the best manufacturers and partners.