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Education 003: Before we buy, one must have a taste

First contact, Get samples

You have searched. You have meticulously narrowed down your results of finding the correct suppliers. You have binged a Netflix season but now you are back to business. It is time to make first contact.

Communication is hard. We want to be clear but not aggressive. We want information now but we rely on others to get it to us.

The best way to achieve mostly clear real results is having a template and process on your side. Know what you’re working with and how you want to convey information.

I mentioned this before about having an RFQ template and clear specification drawings. The next task is actual contact and getting that information.

Writing an email to a foreign country can make things difficult. It is their second language and you want to make sure you are clear. Let me show you and example of what I recently sent out to get a quick idea on pricing.


My name is Jamon Yerger and I’m interested in your product.

I want to make 2 proto type band-aids.

Are custom items also CE, ISO9001, ISO13485 and FDA approved?

Product details:

Pickle design-

Quantity: 1000 pieces band-aids.

Packing: 10 units per envelope. (see attached file)

1. I want the shape to be custom and to be shaped like this pickle.

2. Use Hi resolution photo to print on top.

3. 72mm length (Width is according to pickle graphic)

Sample fee - ?

Sample time - ?

Ex-works price - ?

Production time - ?

Bacon design -

Quantity: 1000 pieces band- aids.

Packing: 10 units per envelope. (see attached file)

1. I want the shape to be custom and to be shaped like this bacon.

2. Use Hi resolution photo to print on top.

3. 72mm length (Width is according to bacon graphic)

Sample fee - ?

Sample time - ?

Ex-works price - ?

Production time - ?

Please feel free to contact me directly on my QQ: 2229xxxxx



Band-Aid Deli inc.

QQ#: 2229xxxxx

Phone: +1 (123) 456-7890

Here are all the details I sent:

-Drawings – Hi Res photo of pickle / Hi Res photo of Bacon - In the future, I will need to get them drawing on how I want the bandaid constructed.

-Example of packing they have on their site.

If I proceed with this supplier, I will ask for the "dielines" for this packing. I can then add my own art on the packaging. I would not rely on the factory to do this for you. If you don't have someone, get someone on Fiverr to place the art.

-RFQ sheet – Filled out with details

Band-aids are a simpler product but there are always questions. Make sure to find a way to have a conversation on a chat platform.

That might be Skype, QQ, or Wechat.

This can help you take the conversation to real time and clarify anything the supplier might have. Here is my rule:

-All official communications over email.

You can talk about items in a chat or on the phone but you want to write those details down in an email after you are done. Make communications official. It also helps to find the information as well.

-Don’t be afraid to call or use chats to reach out to your supplier.

A lot of people only rely on email. They don’t want to get on the phone. This is going to be the fastest way to clear up any confusions. Going back and forth on email can really slow things down.

Getting a quote back

After some back and forth you should have a quote or many quotes. You should be getting many quotes back to compare what is the best price but also what supplier best fits you. I will do a walk through on quote sheet in a coming post.

Let’s say we land on a supplier and we want to continue to make a sample. Your quote sheet should have the price of samples and how long it will take.

*Remember to think about shipping of the sample! This is something that gets forgotten all the time.*

We want to look at the range of prices and understand what we are seeing.

-Are they quoting the same materials I am asking for?

-Why are some quotes higher than others?

-What are the mould fees for each?

-What are the production times for each?

When I look at quotes, I want to be cautious of the highest and lowest price. How are they coming to these prices?

Choosing a supplier to work with

Think about the three items I have mentioned before. Price, Quality and Speed. Cheap price is not the only indication of the product we want. That cheap price might also mean a lower quality product. We want to sample with a minimum of two suppliers.

Find the best two suppliers that meet your requirements and sample with both of the suppliers. You might find there is no difference between the two, you might also find a huge difference.

Working with two supplier in the beginning helps you save time when trying to get a product to market. If you only go with ONE supplier, you put yourself in a position with no backup plan. This could delay getting your product to market or you possibly settling for an inferior product.

Sample fees

In general, sample fees are paid 100% up front. If the sample includes complicated moulds and is expensive, there could be an option to pay for milestones to be completed so not to pay out completely for a sample. This is a case be case situation.

Don’t wait and assume all is ok

Once you pay a sample fee, don’t wait until the end and make sure it is ok. We want to be in constant contact and learn if there are problems or areas that need clarification. Everyone has a camera on their phone. I would ask for updates weekly to make sure the sample is on track.

Sample complete...Get photos BEFORE it is sent to you

This is a chance for you to review if you see anything wrong BEFORE it is shipped out and you pay for shipping of a product you cant use. If you have a quality control person in said country of production, have it sent to them to review.

If you find problems, see what can be done to correct them before they get sent to you. In the case that there is a problem, this should be done for free. But this all depends on the complexity of the project. We also need to figure out was the problem because a lack of clarity or was it a detail completed ignored.

If you fail to be clear in the beginning of your project, it is also your responsibility.

Receiving the sample

It is beautiful, do you love it or is it a piece of junk and disappointed? You will meet with both situations. Take a deep breath.

This is why we sample with more than one supplier.

Once you get the sample, take photos and make a list of all the updates you want to the product. If there are updates or changes, ASK FOR A NEW QUOTE. Make sure you have the most current price if you change things.

Where do we go from here? I will follow up on the next post!

Have questions? Contact me a Jamonmichaelyerger((at))

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