Trying to blog a bit more (even though i find it quite hard timewise) I will share some of my experiences from the start of TUG´s existence choosing to start off with the topic “Will they work with you?”.
When i founded Tac-Up Gear 10 years ago I had the vision of simply contacting a factory and have my own products made and then sell them at a profit, having fun, feel the freedom of creation and generally see if it was all possible and boy was in for a challenging wake up!
In 2006, surfing the web for possible manufacturers (which there was plenty of) I soon discovered that being a newbie/nobody on the market and trying to get answers/contact from manufacturers was no good at all, in fact there was no replies to my inquiries and I could not understand why!? After some frustration I soon understood I needed to have an account on the major websites that was providing or rather acting as a window towards the manufacturers, and that account needed to be set up as a company account.
That threshold beaten I now had a live company account that was filled with requests about what sort of products I wanted to be manufactured. It was a bit like having an ad out you could say, or posting yourself on a dating website etc… now surely the manufacturers would crowd and scream pick me! pick me! because they all want to make business (ie money) right? Not so…
Again… nothing happened, when I say nothing that is not entirely true, some manufacturers did take contact but in a manner I did not expect, suddenly when I saw that there was a contact reply through the website account it was mostly someone who wanted business in a totally different product area than what my “ad” was out for… it was all very discouraging and was one of the first wake ups how this type of business works, with the shark factories circling out there that bites on anything…
Why was not the companies that I saw nice pictures from or that seemed to have exactly the competence to manufacture the products I wanted interested in my queries!? Why did they not even answer back like “We are fully committed right now” or something like that”?
I overlooked my account one more and stated frankly that it looked shaky, I mean here was this brand new company (TUG) “How many years in business?” ahhh.. barely a month..!? “What is your company’s revenue/financial security?” ehhh…what!? . Ok I am overstating this a bit but you get the drift, this was serious business done over the boarders of countries (the world basically) and no one likes taking a risk or chance.. and why would they? looking back why would they want to do business with me at all? a newcomer, small orders etc etc.
The manufacturers have issues of their own lets not forget that, they need a trusty buyer that ensures fast replies, that is workable on many levels, ensure payment for goods on time and how about the long-term, the future business relationship? contingency? will this be a onetime order or what? is this a buyer to build a long-term business relationship on from the manufacturers point of view? etc ect.
I did not realize any of this at the time, basically i thought of my own so much i figured the world was spinning around that… so therefore I had a rough and slow start, there was also some early disappointments that almost sank the ship (yes TUG´s logo is a Viking ship..;) but that is another story!
Ok so what have happened during these 10 years you say?
Well for starters I rarely use this type of web-based accounts to contact manufacturers anymore, in the end i started to get contacts the more time i gave shaping my account and progressively talked with manufacturers to try me on and fortunately that action worked.
Nowadays manufacturers tend to seek me out and offer their services, in fact sometimes overwhelmingly much, but that alright with me. Secondly it is possibly not just that TUG has evolved and is a more reputable company but rather also that the manufacturers have changed the way they seek leads for more business which also easily could be understood in these competing days where the world is yours a click away on a website.
Notably there are many many manufacturers out there that drive excellent business, that are totally reliable and want nothing more than to expand their business in a proud and professional manner, of course there are others out there that do not have the same ethics (which is also another story!).
So in the end for you whom ever you are or what business you want to start-up there should be no stops for you to begin your journey, with your own business and making your own brand, you just need to get going, get out there and establish yourself in the vast void of internet!