EMAIL OPTION 1
EMAIL OPTION 1: Detailed E-mail
My name is [name] from [company]. My/Our owner/boss asked me to contact your company about working together/ in a potential business venture/to expand our product line. We’d like to introduce ourselves and express an interest in creating a profitable partnership between our two companies. We are looking into your [product]. After a lot of research, we feel that your company could be a great supplier for us. We would like to get some more information and we have several questions.
1. May we get a sample of the product, and how much will you charge, including DHL Express shipping to the United States Zip code [zip code]?
2. How long will it take to receive the samples?
3. Can we pay for the samples via PayPal?
4. Can we brand the product with our label? OEM?
5. Can we change the color/design of the product?
6. What is the cost of this product per unit including shipping via Air Express to the United States for Zip code [zip code]?
7. Do you accept escrow payments or PayPal for the full order?
8. How long does it take to manufacture once an order has been placed?
I would be grateful if you would contact us with the answers to the above questions as well as your shipping and other policies we may need to know. Can we discuss a sample order of three pieces?
We hope that we will be able to start a mutually beneficial relationship. Please contact me on Skype/WeChat/Whatsapp/
Purchasing Agent / Purchasing Manager / Buyer / Merchandise Manager
EMAIL OPTION 2
EMAIL OPTION 2 - Short and sweet
My name is [name] and I am the purchasing agent for [brand name]. We are looking at expanding into [category]. We are interested in partnering with you and are seeking answers to the following questions.
1. What is MOQ for ____ size of product?
2. What is your sample charge to: [your address]
3. What is your Skype account for easy communication?
4. Can you please attach a catalog of your other products?
5. What is your PayPal address to pay for a sample?
Thank you for your time.
Purchasing Agent, [brand name]
Both templates work, while some may answer all of the questions from the e-mail we find quicker responses with e-mail No. 2 template. However, email No. 2 may require you to exchange a few more messages back and forth before moving onto getting samples.
Don’t worry about if you don’t have a company or website yet, give them the name of the future brand and they should be more than willing to work with you.
Referencing yourself as the agent and claiming to have a boss makes your company seem much larger than it is. You can tell your supplier that you need to check with your boss with the information you’ve gathered.
We test suppliers by asking them to e-mail us back with the requested information to see if they can follow directions. Others are OK using Alibaba’s messenger system to communicate.
If you’re in a rush, click on the chat feature if the supplier is online. Ask them to jump on Skype so you can gather the information more quickly through a call or chat.
From here, you will begin to exchange e-mails with suppliers. You will figure out the product costs, how much to order, the time it takes to manufacture, and how long it will take to receive the items.
Here’s a product manufacture-to-selling timeline. While shipping by air is a significantly shorter time compared to ocean, it is also significantly more expensive. You will have to determine your calculations based on these factors. These are estimates based on our own experience and will vary by courier services.
Things to note —
Factories may or may not cease production during major holidays. Below are a few to note when you’re talking with factories.
National Day Holiday: First week of October
Chinese New Year: Factories typically take three weeks off in February.
There are various ways to get your products from overseas to your warehouse.
• You can ask your factory if they work with a shipping company to get products into the States.
• You can ask if they’re familiar with shipping to Amazon. A lot of factories are becoming more able to fulfill a buyer’s needs and have experience in this.
• Find a freight forwarding company such as AirTiger Express to help get your products to the warehouse.
Inquire with your factory on whether it knows the shipping estimates for air and sea. Sometimes your business model depends on shipping costs. To get started and begin to get your account ready, you can order a small batch of inventory to be sent first by air and the remainder by sea. This will allow you to get your Amazon listing set up to sell and, when timed correctly, have your new batch hit the warehouse for a consistent flow of inventory.
When discussing samples with the factory, you can inquire about covering the cost if you make a purchase order. If you paid $30 for a sample unit, and make an order, they’ll deduct the cost from your purchase order.
If you are thinking of re-ordering product, please make sure to account for the timeline before placing the order. Don’t forget to factor in production and transportation costs. If products take 45 days to arrive to your doorstep, make sure you also account for shipping the product to Amazon’s warehouses. This is crucial. Make sure to order products ahead of time so you do not run out of inventory.
Never send money to an individual in any Country. Always wire money to a company and not an individual. When paying for a sample, they may ask you to Paypal the funds to an individual account. This is normal - make sure the recipient is a verified individual with PayPal so you are covered under PayPal's buyer's purchase protection policy