In the last post titled Importing from China with Alibaba, we used websites such as Alibaba and Shapiro to examine the manufacturing and shipping process. Our main focus was how to manufacture products in China then ship those products to the United States. In this post , we focus on the private labeling and product designing process.
We will first cover the private labeling process using a water bottle as an example. To start private labeling, you first need to create your brand or some artwork that you plan to put on the water bottle. After you have created your brand or artwork, you need to take it to a manufacturer and tell them that you want it put on one of their water bottles. Unless the manufacturer has an exclusive agreement with another company that only allows that company’s label on the water bottle, you are good to go and ready to start producing. As good as this sounds, you could potentially have many other companies putting their label on the same water bottle. You will need to have strong branding and marketing to make sure you product is distinct. Anything you can add that is unique and exclusive to you will help separate you from the competition.
You might want to consider designing your own product from scratch. Before you get into the middle of designing your product, you first want to think about what kind of manufacturing process it would take to create it. Knowing what type of manufacturing process you will use can help you pick the right company or person to design your product. There are five main manufacturing processes each containing numerous sub processes.
Casting: The casting manufacturing process is where you pour liquid metal into a hollow mold of the desired shape and let it solidify. The solidified part is broken out of the mold to finish the process. The main types of casting include metal casting, plaster casting, concrete casting, or plastic resin casting. Metal casting is the most popular.
Molding: Molding is very similar to casting. The molding manufacturing process is where you pour liquid plastic, glass, metal, or ceramic into a mold, and once the the liquid is solid, you take the solid piece out of the mold. This solidified piece is your raw product. Usually, it takes many different molds screwed together to create a finished product, but some products only require one mold. Injection molding is a very popular sub-type of molding. Injection molding is where you inject the raw material under high pressure into the mold used to create your product. This is probably the manufacturing process you would use to make a water bottle.
Forming: Forming is also known as metal forming. Forming is where you move or bend metal objects and parts without changing the piece’s mass. There is no adding or removing of material. Forming would be used to bend a metal pipe a specific way.
Machining: Machining is where a piece of material is cut into a desired shape through a controlled material removal process. The main types of machining include turning, drilling, boring, and milling. Machining would usually be used to create the water bottle mold used in the injection molding process.
Joining: Joining is where you simply connect two pieces together. Welding is a very common type of the joining manufacturing process. Welding is where you melt the two pieces, add a filler material, and connect the pieces together. This forms a strong joint. Joining is used to manufacture many automobiles.
After you have figured out what type of manufacturing process you will use to create your product, it would be smart to find a designer that specializes in designing products using your manufacturing process. Most designers create a broad spectrum of products, so you will usually be fine going to an unspecified product designer. There are numerous companies or individuals you could use to design your product.
Start looking around the internet for companies that design products using your manufacturing process. There are plenty of companies out there that specialize in design using each of the five manufacturing processes. As always, be sure to do your due diligence and make sure the company is legit and will do a good job designing your product. Do not give them any money until everything checks out.
Another option you could use to design your product is a freelance product designer or industrial designer. One website you could use to find these freelance professionals is freelancer.com. These are professionals who work alone and design products for a living. Most of them use a computer aided design or CAD program to design products. The designs using this software are usually very good and include lots of intricate details. Once you get your design drawn up on the computer, you would then send it to a manufacturer and get the process under way. The price per hour varies for freelancers, and most of the time, what you pay for is what you get. You want to make sure the freelancer has the necessary skills to design your product, so do your homework. Do your due diligence, and do lots of research on each of these freelancers before you hire them.
Look and see if there is a Makerspace in your area. Makerspaces are ideal for people who are looking to design their own products from scratch or for people who are looking to make improvements on their current products. They are located all over the nation, specifically in large cities. They are community centers with tools and people you can use to help design your product. The equipment is usually high speed, and you may find professionals who can give you lots of insight. It costs a fee to rent out a table for several hours, but those hours you spend at a Makerspace could be very valuable in the long run. Check out and see if one is located near you.
We have discussed how to design your product in this post and given you a few different options to get it done. In the next post, we will begin to discuss how to market your product once it has been designed, manufactured, and shipped.