[MUSIC PLAYING] Module 2, getting your first product made. Once you found the product that you would like to start with, it's time to start looking for suppliers. Our first suppliers and factories came from going down rabbit holes on LinkedIn and Google and finding people in the industry. You'll usually find that one connection leads to another. Other sources that are incredibly helpful are Maker's Row, Alibaba, Global Sources, and platforms like those especially before you found PMF.
Your first supplier who makes your first prototype doesn't have to be the one you scale with. You might even outgrow them pretty quickly. The best factories have larger MOQs and are much harder to find, so that will come with time. For now focus on getting your product made and finding PMF. So you actually don't even want a bigger factory at first because smaller factories will let you iterate and they'll give you the flexibility and the room to change if you need to.
A story I love sharing is how I found one of our current suppliers. A few months after we launched, I started feeling like we were outgrowing our supplier and that we really needed to find a few more factories. I started looking for new factories, and in May 2019 I decided I would just go to Asia for another brand partnership we were working on. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to visit other potential factories.
I started looking for people in factories on Google and LinkedIn, and after hours and hours and weeks and weeks of searching I found this man in Vietnam. He said he wouldn't be able to help me at this time because his factory was at full capacity, but he could maybe connect me to a friend of his. His friend was in Dongguan, China. I was so excited at the potential of finding someone who could help us.
I got to China on my own, and this man sent me a text asking for my address and that he would be at my hotel at 8:00 AM the next morning to take me to his factory. This dude showed up. I got into his car and drove two hours out of the city. I didn't have a phone that worked. I was super jet lagged, I hadn't really told anyone I knew I was going to be picked up by the stranger.
And halfway there in between cities with a huge language barrier and in the middle of nowhere I started questioning whether I did the right thing and whether I would ever make it back to my hotel. In retrospect should I have gotten into a car with a stranger I barely knew anything about? Probably not. It was simultaneously one of the dumbest and most valuable decisions I've ever made.
But I was literally willing to go to the end of the world to find a manufacturing partner that we could scale with. Luckily it worked out, and he's now become one of our main suppliers. Now I probably wouldn't recommend getting into a car with a complete stranger on the other side of the world, but sometimes as an entrepreneur you just have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations in order to get what you want.
Another one of our manufacturing partners came from someone who connected me to someone else who knew an amazing familia factory in China. As you grow, more suppliers and factories will come through warm intros. MOQs are always the hardest part of starting a new relationship with a supplier. As a reminder, an MOQ is a minimum order quantity that is usually set by a factory determined by how big or small they require in order to be.
This is because a factory always optimizes for a larger order run so that they're benefiting from economies of scale. Sometimes they might even refuse to take an order below their MOQ. At this point, it's important to find suppliers who believe in your potential and will let you move forward with smaller runs. This is a little harder to do if you haven't figured out PMF yet.
But you can always sell the supplier and what your vision is, and what you want out of your product. Suppliers are also looking for the next best product and thing to reduce. You can also always ask them to charge you sample cost. Sometimes factories have a sample room in which they make samples. Sample costs are usually three to four times the actual product cost if you were manufacturing in bulk.
I highly recommend this option because it'll enable you to test out the product and the market with relatively low investment instead of hitting their MOQs which could be pretty high. [MUSIC PLAYING]