Finding the right supplier is always the most nerve wracking part of product development process because this will be the source of your product. And everything that comes after it will be tied back to the quality of the supplier and the products that they produce. There are a few method of finding the right supplier for you. And in this video, I'll be showing you how to find your suppliers through competitor research and Alibaba research. So one of the first option is to use public data.
We can use as tool call Port examiner. Which is a database of US customs and import data. If a brand imports their products and declares their shipments through customs, their import data will show up on this website. So let's take a look at Port Examiner, and search up the brand that we'd like to check out. For this website, you need to use the registered legal company name rather than their brand name.
And for legal purposes, they actually have to state their legal name here. And as you can see, it says, welcome to Steel Technology LLC, DBA, which stands for, doing business as Hydro Flask. So let's copy this, and go to Port Examiner. I'm going to paste this in, and I'm going click Importer Name, because this is the name of the company who is importing in.
So let's click Search. And once you click that, you can see that there's a bunch of listings of this company importing their items. There also are other companies with similar names, so make sure you be careful. As you can see, there's Steel Technology LLC, and there's Advanced Steel Technology. The one that we're looking for is this one.
So let's click into this. And you can see the supplier name is Hangzhou Everich Houseware Co. So let's copy this. And also, on this page, you can see how heavy was the shipment. This is 1019 cartons. Where it was received?
Where it was loaded? When did it arrive? And this is a pretty dated record base, but it also tell you who their supplier is. So let's google this, and you see that the manufacturer actually has a website. So once you click into it, you can see bottles that resemble Hydro Flask, but the cool thing is that there's no branding on it.
So you're actually able to get Hydra Flask without the branding, and most likely a lot cheaper than what you're paying on the Hydro Flask website. So you can see that this company is a OEM supplier. Where they actually design and develop the products, so that other companies like Hydro Flask can place their logo on the product. They actually offer pretty similar stuff to Hydro Flask, but maybe with more colors, with different shapes.
So this is a really good way for you to check out what other stuff their supplier makes, and maybe you can use the same supplier. And this is part of the easiest approach to finding a supplier, because you can essentially use a supplier that the other branch trusts and have purchased from, saving yourself from hours of research on your own. The only downside is that you may be getting the same product as your competitors, reducing your products uniqueness by offering the same product without much difference.
But this is still a really good way to start your research process, because you can start using these companies to compare prices against the other manufacturers that you may find on Alibaba. Which brings us to our next method. The next option is to find your manufacturer through a website called Alibaba. And Alibaba is a company, or platform actually, that is primarily B2B, meaning that it is business selling to businesses.
And they actually have a lot of suppliers from around the world, but primarily in China. So let's just say I want to find a manufacturer for my large company, [INAUDIBLE] I would first begin with searching a description of my product in the search bar on Alibaba, and select supplier. So click false eyelashes. Let's try to search this on their products, and I'll show you why we have to click otherwise.
If you just search false lashes, it'll bring you to 60,000 results. But obviously, no one can really go through, how many pages of these, and try to find one that they like. And the reality is that, when you search this under the product category, it'll show you every single listings from every single suppliers that matches this keyword.
Meaning that, the same supplier can actually have like 100 or 1,000 listings. And they'll all be under the same page. So the strategy here is not even a strategy, but this is the actual method. You have to click suppliers and then click Search. And once you click that, you can see it narrows down to 1,500 suppliers.
And then you guys see on the page, there's different filters for it too. Let's go over what they mean. You can see the two filters called Trade Assurance and Verified Supplier. Factories with trade assurance mean that your transaction will be backed by Alibaba. With this badge if something goes wrong with your order, and you submit a claim to Alibaba, they'll review it, and if they agree with you, they will give you a refund on your order.
Factories with a verified badge means that Alibaba has had a third party company visit the factory to check out their facilities. If you're outside China, checking both options is something that I would recommend because that offers you the most protection, but the one downside is that it may reduce search results significantly. Sometimes qualified factories that are suitable for you may not have paid for their part inspection firm, and so they wouldn't get the verification badge.
And there are some instances where I have worked in factories that didn't have the verified badge, that produce really good products. So this something for you to use at your own discretion. So let's tick both these boxes. And you will see that it brought down our results from 1500 to 600. In terms of the filters on the left, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
They're, really, just for like geographic location, or if it have any certification. If you're doing electronics, or things that do require certifications, this is a really good filter to use. But for eye lashes, there really isn't any specific certifications that they have to have. So the next thing I'll do is do a quick scroll down through the suppliers. And open up 5 to 10 tabs.
Just a start. I like to work with companies that are a little bit more dated. So at least five years, five to however many years, anything less than that I like to steer away from, because that implies that they're newer companies, and so their selections might be more limited. And they may not be as competitive in price because they don't have that much volume.
So let's take a look. Let's do this, this looks good, this looks good. So you see a lot two years suppliers, two, three years, one year. Alibaba has been here for over a decade now, so any factories that have over a decade in experience means they have really, really been on this platform.
So I generally want to trust them a lot more. I see a lot younger ones coming in here. So let's go into here. And here are some things that you should ask yourself whenever you go through the suppliers. Number one, how structured is their page? Number two, do they have multiple professional looking pictures of their products?
Number three, do they have descriptions of the products? Number four, do they have a description of the factory and their location? Number five, do they describe their QC process? QC stands for a quality check. Number six, do they have keywords that make sense, or do they just type a bunch of irrelevant keywords on to the page? So you can see that these suppliers have been verified, and they have taken pictures of it.
And this is really important because there is a lot of companies that are actually not factories, they're called trading companies. Where they essentially act as middlemen. And when they're a middlemen, they will go in to find factories, and try to resell their products to you by acting as a manufacturer in the process. So just going through it, we can see that they describe their company well.
They have pictures of their factories. They have established since 2014, so about six years from now. The region sounds right. And the reason why the region sounds right is because China is actually a very region specific manufacturer. Meaning that, if one thing is manufacturing in one region, typically the similar product will all be in the same process.
And the reason for this is because a lot of raw materials need to be sourced, so it doesn't make sense for it to be in the opposite end of the country. So a lot of false lashes and wigs are made in Shandong You can typically find this type of information before even going to Alibaba. And you can see that across the board, you see a lot of factories in the same location. And when factories are not in the same location, that raises a red flag for me because it tells you that either they're a strictly trading company, or they're just an agent, or they're not really a manufacturer.
So the fact that all these four we saw have shown us that they're in the same location, it is a little more reassuring. One thing that you should always do on Alibaba is spot the fake factories from research. Once you're on supplier's website, you will see the other products that they make. And if a company's making leather belts, the other products on their website should also be made out of leather.
And you click on to the main product, right here. So you can see that they make a lot of stuff for false lashes, they make some eyeliner pencil, it makes sense that this is all within the same category. I have found a listing that I'll use as an example here, of what a bad manufacturer would look like.
So you guys see, this is a company called Shenzhen E-commerce Co. Which was a red flag for me already because factories do not do job shipping services. Factories do not accept small MOQs. And then factories don't name themselves as e-commerce, whenever they name themselves as e-commerce, it means that they're usually in [INAUDIBLE].. And when you go in to their factories, you can see that they sell mosquito lamps right here.
And then they also sell the diffusers, OK, makes a little bit more sense. And then you guys see that they sell lip gloss. Factories in China are not going to be making multiple products that are drastically different in terms of categories. So they're not going to have an assembly line for lip gloss, and an assembly line for mosquito lamps. So this tells me that this factory is not that specialized, and therefore they're not that trustworthy.
I won't go with something like this. And going back to that age of the manufacturer thing, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it. I know, I previously mentioned that you should always look at this age, but look at this as a reference because you can see that for this factory, they've been here for 14 years. But there is also a chance that they were once specialized and they just changed the name. So as part of your due diligence, always check every single part of their store, even if their store has a very long age, still check their product categories to make sure that it's aligned with what you're looking for.
So after you check out all these factories, if they all look good, you're going to build them into a list. A factory is essentially a spreadsheet of all the suppliers that you have approved based on your initial findings under Alibaba listing. And this list will allow you to organize different vendors and help you begin the next steps of the vetting process. So you can either use an R table, or an Excel sheet, or even just a Notepad, but I typically like to do everything on the computer, so I can find it easier.
And here's some information that you need for each supplier. You going to need their name. You're going to need their location. Whether they're a factory or a trading company? How many employees they have? And you can typically find these within this page. Contact information, either their telephone, or their email, or their WeChat. Minimum order quantity, price. And their lead time becomes really important for you to know because some factories can make their items in 10 days, some will take 20, some will take 45 days.
So knowing how long it takes to produce your product is important for you to plan your inventory ahead. And also their link to the website. I like to have this or whenever I need to reference back to their website, I can go back and look at their catalog And once you have this list, it's time to order a sample. And once you order a sample, which we'll cover in another video, it's time to start narrowing down from the supplier list.
So typically, I'll have 10, or 15 people on my list before I start getting samples from them. And once I start getting samples from them, I'll start narrowing it down to 10, 8, 5, and eventually top 3. And based on the top three, I'll look at their price or lead time to quality. How easy are they to work with? And if I see any potential of working with them. And based on those, I'll find the final manufacturer.
So, yeah, hope this has been helpful for you guys. Again, you guys can use public data like Port Examiner which uses US customs database, or Alibaba which has been very helpful for me to find manufacturers. All right. See you guys in the next class.