Manufacturing is Hard

I honestly didn’t think finding a manufacturer was going to be so difficult. It got extremely daunting and stressful in fact, I wanted to give up so many times. I started the process by googling manufacturers and I created an Excel spreadsheet, which included the company name, contact name, contact email, contact phone, and the date of contact. I now have a hefty spreadsheet that may never come in handy, but what can I say, I like to feel organized.

After sending about 50 emails, I started to receive responses. “We don’t custom manufacture.” “We don’t have hexagon plates.” The responses were crushing. Then a bright shining angel came down from the heavens, in the form of a kind lady named Patti. She works with Amscan, which I would later learn is one of the largest paper manufacturers in the United States. We emailed back and forth with product descriptions and quantities, etc.; which led to our first phone call.

We jumped on a call and talked about my goals, plans for distribution, and minimum quantities, etc. During the call, we both realized we were not the right fit for each other due to the fact they had a 50,000 unit minimum. I mean I believe in my product but I don’t want a million paper party supplies taking up my entire basement. Before I knew it, she was putting my in connection with one of the biggest party supply distributors in Utah. I was thrilled and on a massive high. All the stress and disappointment I had been experience for the last two weeks was wiped away in a single phone call.

Patti made an email introduction with the distributor and the following week I was sitting across from the man. I was completely in a dream after I presented my product idea to him and he declared that once manufactured he would love to distribute my products.

He gave me the name and contact for his manufacturer, Mike who does everything out of China, which was going to save me a ton. I drive swiftly back to my office and emailed this new manufacturer right away.

Mike and I emailed back and forward with the product details and estimate for my products. Then another shoe dropped. I had a 1,200 minimum order quantity, which was great, but I had to pay for a 20-foot container to ship my products over from China. I was slapped in the face with a 25k estimate. I was crushed. I didn’t have that amount of money, I was just starting out.

I wallowed in my 20-foot shipping container dilemma for a couple of weeks. I was discouraged, pissed, and contemplating if this was a good idea. I knew I wanted to make party supplies. I love planning, parties and hosting and I didn’t want to give up on the new venture, but damn was I discouraged.

After eating a tub of ice cream and many mini Cadbury eggs, I talked to Thomas about my frustration. He was positive and asked, “Why do you want to do this?”

I responded with, “Because I want to make pretty parties supplies and put them in a box for people who don’t know how to plan parties. I want to make it easy for them.”

He replied with, “Then figure out how to make it happen.”

I thought about his comment for the days that followed. “How in the hell am I supposed to ‘make it happen’ just like that.” Around that same time, I was reading Sophia Amoruso’s #girlboss and in that book she said, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for. So just ask.”

There was my answer. I was going to ask Mike about sharing a container with someone. He emailed me back quickly suggesting that I asked the Utah distributor. I am so pleased announce that the distributer was more than happy to share a container with me.

Currently, I am waiting for Mike to get back to me with a new estimate. I started with four collections of party supplies, and have scaled back to start with two collections that can easily be integrated with one another.

I am so excited to see these supplies be made. I can’t wait to hold them in my hand and to share them with all of you. I do hope that you like them as much as I do. Now I would give you a seek piece of the collection, but they are my intellectual property, so until my trademark comes in I’m keeping everything top secret.

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