How to choose your crowd funding manufacturer?
Completed your design on paper and now its time to choose a manufacturer for your crowdfunding project or how to find a reliable manufacturer for your brand?
Its easy to find a manufacturer. Since internet has made easy access to many web resources on helping people find every day things they want to buy, sell or get manufactured.
So the answer is, you will look to the web for searching hundreds and thousands of manufacturers or trading companies to get your design manufactured. Most probably you will hear from every one of them, "Yes" we can make it.
Now, how will you know if the manufacturer is upto the mark of bringing your design to real life? Thats not easy to answer. Your best shot will be to get a prototype done and see how your relation goes during that period till a prototype comes into your hands. This will define how you score your manufacturer. Do you think a prototype is the deciding factor of how trustworthy is the manufacturer in their commitment to you?
Once you have set up your campaign on one of your chosen crowdfunding sites for example, kickstarter.com or indiegogo.com, you will be happy to put up images of your jewelry or watch concept and start getting in backers to put in their funds to back your project. You will also receive feedback on how you may want to improve your design and and between all this happening, your dollar backing has reached its funding stage. Congratulations 100% funding complete. What next?
Yes, you will knock doors of the same manufacturer who made the prototype for you. We strongly suggest, don't change your manufacturer unless there is "no trust" left in the relation. That manufacturer knows your inside-out requirements and they may be able to give you what you want, if truly they are capable. Again, you should have done your home-work about them and their manufacturing capacity well in advance, before even starting your kickstarter or indiegogo campaign.
As normal transactions happen overseas everyday, you will need to pay a deposit sum to your manufacturer and get the ball rolling. Now, this is where the crucial part comes in. You paid your deposit, right? Its now as good as gone into the hands of your manufacturer. What you will need to be sure of, if they do have:
1) Reliable services to complete what they have promised.
2) Your paper work with them is official and confirmed by the management and not the staff attending to you.
3) Did you get to know manufacturing capacity of your factory. Probably if your project runs over USD20,000 it will be good to hop on a flight, visit the manufacturer and pin down your requirements face-to-face.
4) For us in China, we build relation by sharing drinking 5 to 10 glasses of beer or Chinese white wine. Talking about unrelated business topics and a grand dinner to impress you with our hospitality. These tips come in handy when visiting China and how to build closer ties with your factory.
5) After happy beers guzzled down, you still need to insist on what you want Vs what they will manufacture. No compromise of any sort and no cutting corners because you wish to have best price.
6) Before you leave back for your country. Ask them to send you a package of samples matching exactly to your final order requirements within 35 to 40 days, nothing less, nothing more.
Remember, its the backers who you need to satisfy. If your manufacturer cannot get you what you need within 35 to 40 days as final samples, its time for you to go back to square one and start looking for another one. By this time, your clock has been ticking and all your anxious backers are looking at their calendars when Santa (you) will be ready to ship the toys (their purchased item) to them? If you disappoint those anxious, happy and looking forward kids (backers). You are bound for some serious slap on the wrist moments with negative feedbacks pouring in on your kickstarter or indiegogo campaign.
As big momma would ask with a straight stare "would you like that to happen? The answer is a big, big, gigantic 'no".
Lets reel back a little bit, remember we said that you should get a package of all your samples within 35 to 40 days. Well, if its a jewelry project, yes its possible. If its a watch project with much attention to detail needed, its better you offer not more than 60 days to have your full functioning watch with extra leather straps or a beautiful stainless steel band attached to the watch, ready for you to test and ensure all ends are covered without any quality (QC) issues.
You want your watch to work for a long long time, so would your backers too. This one circled component is the heart of the watch and never compromise on it.
Although manufacturers or a trading company you work with may promise you astonishingly early delivery dates. If you have your expertise in the jewelry or watch industry, you can sniff out dishonest practice and strike off such manufacturer from your list.
At Donny J China, we have completed 3 crowdfunding projects. Working with crowdfunding customers is different than our normal manufacturing experience for large brands and wholesalers.
90% of crowdfunding customers are new to jewelry or watch industry. We have their back covered by offering them un-biased suggestions and to-the-point solutions. Although, they may have a beautiful design concept but they may not understand the hurdles of manufacturing. In our experience, we had to sadly decline a customer who was not able to compromise design anesthetics while wanting to keep the cost low. In short, there is no way to make gold jewelry for the price plastic. Trust you understand it will be difficult and time consuming for the customer to expect miracles to happen without a big sacrifice in terms of material or design features, if the customer insists on extremely low cost. We as an 18 year experienced factory may heavy-heartedly decline such projects.
Advising and assisting customers with step-by-step guide on how to make their project successful is our major strength. Once a customer has confirmed to work with Donny J China as their preferred manufacturer. Our team will thoroughly ensure all details are listed out clearly on a contract or proforma invoice, so the customer will have all information upfront. Secondly our factory having state of the art manufacturing capabilities, we can attain Swiss manufacturing standards when it comes to watches, at reasonable China prices.
For jewelry projects, we are capable of manufacturing stainless steel jewelry completed with ease. Our first major achievement was "Floating lockets" for an American 'home-party' company. Just to share for your understanding, there are between 18 to 23 steps involved in manufacturing a floating locket. We were the first factory in all of China to manufacture 90 degree opening floating lockets. Whereas customers buying lockets at cheaper prices were made of alloy and did not open more than 35 to 40 degrees. The saying goes, "as sweet as you need your tea, that much sugar you will need to add". Which means, with quality comes price, or should we have said it the other way around?
Our strengths are manufacturing jewelry and watches. If you have a simple or a complicated project, crowdfunded or even your own brand manufacturing, in any of these two areas, we will be glad to assist with initial feedback and approximate cost for comparison. We will not tie you down to work with us, but if you feel there is room to work together and grow our relation, we will be happy to join hands and make your manufacturing experience a happy one with Donny J. Please feel free to contact us with your requirements, our experienced team will be happy to assist you.