How to Manufacture Private Label Products

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Manufacturing Private Label Products in China

Private labeling is a great way to capture high profit margins while keeping operating costs low. In order to take advantage of the benefits of private labeling, it's important to properly follow steps to ensure you find a supplier you can trust and can brand products that entice customers and cements your brand authority.

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Step 1: Find a Trustworthy Supplier

You don't want to private label a low-quality product, so finding a supplier in China you can trust is crucial to successfully manufacturing private label products. Businesses can find suppliers in China by using referrals from trusted associates, shopping on platforms like Alibaba, or connecting with a sourcing specialist, like Kanary.

Step 2: Brand and Modify Your Product

You need to decide how you want to modify or change your product to set it apart from competitors private labeling the same product. This can be an improvement in build materials, the addition of another feature, or better packaging that makes your brand appear unique, higher-quality, and more trustworthy.

Step 3: Streamline Your Logistics

Making the perfect, private label product is only half the battle. Your business needs to choose the right freight forwarder to ship internationally, especially if you need consolidated shipping to transport from multiple suppliers. Using the right HTS codes for clearing customs will make sure you pay the lowest legal taxes possible, maximizing your profit margins

Kanary: The Best Sourcing Specialist for Private Labeling in China

Connections to the Best Suppliers

Private labeling requires connections to suppliers that can modify generic products to your specifications. Kanary has been managing factories for years, including factories that produce private label products for our clients.

Custom Packaging and Product Modification

We do more than manage factories. Kanary makes sure to choose factories with engineers that provide flexible, dependable product modification for your private label products. In addition, Kanary's in-house graphic design team can incorporate custom brand designs onto products and packaging to help solidify branding.

Smooth, Dependable Shipping

Shipping from China suppliers is an enormous hurdle for businesses, but Kanary makes it easy. We can coordinate with multiple suppliers to make use of consolidated shipping, or to make sure that all of your products arrive at the same location. Our customs experts will make sure you use the right HTS codes for the lowest, legal taxes, and our team can even help you find a 3PL if you plan on shipping from a U.S. warehouse.

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Private Label FAQs

What Are Private Label Products?

A private label product is one that is manufactured by one company and sold by another brand. For example, store brands, like Equate at Wal-Mart, are an example of private label products. While they are sold under the Equate brand, they are manufactured by an unrelated, third-party supplier. 

The key to a private label product being private is that a supplier exclusively sells to one brand to sell. To use Equate as an example again, you can't find the Equate brand in any other store besides Wal-Mart. This is what makes it a private label product, as opposed to a white label product, which is a product made by a supplier and sold to multiple brands or retailers.

Why Would a Company Choose Private Label Branding?

There are several reasons a business may choose to pursue private label branding of their product:

Quickly Get to Market

Private label products aren't unique, novel designs. They are products that are already on the market and a supplier has opted to make them for a brand exclusively (or a supplier has altered an existing product for exclusive sale). This means a brand can start selling a product far more quickly than creating something new from scratch.

Less Risk

Since private labeling doesn't require the creation of a new product, there's far less time and resources invested in getting a private label product to market. Should the product flop, a business loses far less than if they invested the time, effort, and money to create a brand-new product.

Brand Solidification

Even though a private label product isn't new, it can be different enough from what's on the market to help solidify your brand presence. This is why altering generic products for private label is so popular. A business can create a "different enough" option that the market hasn't seen to help build authority for their brand

What’s the Difference Between Private Labeling and White Labeling?

Private labeling and white labeling are very similar, though there are some notable differences. A white label product can be sold under several different brands, while a private label product will be sold under only a single brand. Usually, products that can easily fit into any brand are ideal choices for white labeling, including metal water bottles, mugs, and tote bags. 

Another difference is that the specifications of white label products aren't usually modified by brands. Instead, a generic product is chosen and branded (for example, placing a logo on a generic coffee mug). A private label product is often modified specifically for a brand (to use the example of a mug, a private label mug may have a design change, or materials used to make the mug may be altered, and then the supplier sells that mug exclusively to that brand). 

Both private and white labeling have pros and cons, and businesses should consider which method is the best fit for their business needs.

How Do I Find a Private Label Supply Partner in China?

It can be a challenge to find an ideal supplier in China to help you with a private label product. However, there are several options for finding a supplier that can help you with a private label product:

●  Use Alibaba: If you're looking for a supplier on your own, then Alibaba is a      decent place to start. It's the world's largest ecommerce platform for B2B      suppliers, and many of those suppliers are able to customize products for private      label purposes.

●   Go to Tradeshows: Suppliers often go to tradeshows to advertise their services,      especially suppliers that operate in niche industries.

●   Use a Supply Specialist: A supply specialist (or a supply agent) is a third-party      expert that can help you connect with a private label supplier. Kanary is a supply      specialist, and helping businesses find China-based suppliers is our specialty,      including suppliers that have the engineering capability to create custom, private      label products.

How Do I Get Custom Boxes Made for Private Label?

"Custom boxes" can mean unique boxes that offer novel packaging for products, getting your brand logo printed on packaging, or both. The way to get this kind of custom packaging is to make sure your supplier offers this service before you make a commitment to a product order. Some suppliers don't create novel packaging, some don't have the capacity to print brand logos, and some offer neither. 

If you know for sure that your supplier offers these services, then you need to send them design files of your preferred packaging design and of your brand logo. There will usually be some back and forth during this process, including making sure that your packaging design works and can be affordably produced. 

If you need novel packaging, and you haven't partnered with a China-based supplier before, we strongly encourage using a supply specialist, like Kanary. We can help to navigate this process, including finding you a supplier that is equipped to handle custom requests and regularly prints logos on packaging.

How Do I Choose a Custom Private Label Manufacturer in China?

The process of choosing a custom private label manufacturer has several steps, and you owe it to your business to not rush the process. While the specific steps will vary from business to business, here is a general process to help narrow down your choices:

●   Create a Shortlist of Potential Suppliers: You can find suppliers on Alibaba or      other B2B ecommerce sites. You need suppliers that make the kinds of products      you need and have the engineering ability to alter products for private labeling.

●   Narrow Down Choices: After you have a list of around 20-30 suppliers, you      need to start narrowing down choices. Factors that can help narrow down choices      include pricing, MOQ requirements, a supplier's ability to communicate, and      where the supplier is located.

●   Sampling: After you've narrowed down your list to a few promising suppliers, you      should start the sampling phase. You'll provide the specifications of what you      need, and the supplier will create a sample and ship it to you. This will serve as a      test for whether the supplier is capable of following instructions, has the capacity      to engineer your product as requested, and if the supplier can clearly and easily      communicate.

●   Place an Order: If you have found a supplier that meets your quality standards,      is easy to communicate with, is within your budget, and has made a sample      you're happy with, you'll place an order and formal production of your product      will begin. 

If you don't feel confident in going through the process to find a supplier, or negotiating pricing or production requirements, we recommend using a sourcing specialist, like Kanary, instead of going through the process alone.

We quickly find a supplier that can meet your production needs. We may already have a relationship with a manufacturer that's a good fit, but if we don't, we'll go through the process ourselves to find a supplier that's a perfect match

What Are the Best Products for Private Labeling?

If you decide that using a private label product makes sense for your business, there's a handful of products that are a little easier to get started with. However, these products are guaranteed wins, and you should choose products that complement your established brand.

With that having been said, here are some products that often fit well with a private label strategy:

●   Skin Care and Cosmetics: Skin care and cosmetics heavily rely on branding,      which makes them an ideal candidate for private labeling. However, you'll need to      make sure that you find a high-quality supplier so you don't hurt your brand.

●   Supplement and Vitamins: You've likely seen private label supplements and      vitamins without even realizing it. These products rely almost entirely on branding,      since the actual impact they have on customers will vary from person to person.

●   Clothing and Accessories: It's straightforward to make simple modifications to      existing clothing and companion accessories, which makes them ideal targets for      private labeling. Private label clothing is often paired with social media influencer      marketing, since it's easier to brand and sell products that customers can see      being regularly used.

●   Food: Food is a product that is easy to modify and regularly makes its way into      private label strategies. Sometimes, modification isn't required at all (for example,      a food that is naturally gluten-free but isn't currently being marketed as such).      Quality control is a major concern for food suppliers, so you must take your time      finding a qualified supplier (or you can partner with a sourcing specialist, like      Kanary).

●   Fertilizers and Farming Chemicals: If your business is involved with agriculture,      especially cannabis cultivation, then you should consider fertilizers and farming      chemicals. These products are essentially the same across the board (with maybe      some minor differences in the formula), but rely heavily on branding to be sold.

What Are the Drawbacks of Private Labeling?

While private labeling has a lot of benefits, there are drawbacks that businesses need to consider:

●   Competition: Even if you alter a generic product for private labeling, that      general product still exists. Another brand could make a similar alteration and      begin to compete against you, and if they happen to have a stronger brand      presence, it will deeply cut your sales.

●   Brand-Building Ceiling: While a custom private label product can help to      establish your brand, there's a ceiling to how much it can help. Similar to      competition, a private label product is still a general product that already exists.      This may limit your brand's ability to be seen as a thought leader or authority in      your industry.

●   Customization Limitations: While businesses can customize private label      products, there's still a limit to how much you can change a product without      needing to completely redesign it. If a business wants to make significant      changes, they might actually be hampered by customization of an existing      product instead of simply making the product from scratch.

How Does Private Label Help Branding?

You should consider private label products a "step up" from other options for your business. Consider the following process that many ecommerce businesses take: 

●   First, they may start with dropshipping. There's typically no product branding      (though your online store will be branded). Your packaging is straightforward      without unique branding, and you're selling generic products. While it's an easy      way to get started, if you want to continue to grow, you need to figure out a way      to brand.

●   From there, many businesses move to white label products. White label products      are still unaltered, generic products, but you can brand them more effectively. A      white labeled product can be sold to multiple retailers, which will give more      exposure to your overall brand.

●   White label products still suffer the branding problem of being generic products      available from multiple brands. Private label products help to solve this issue,      since you'll have an exclusive supplier, you’ll sell to an exclusive outlet, and you’ll      be able to make modifications to your product that white labeling usually doesn’t      allow. 

In short, private labeling gives you more direct control over the product, which means you can brand yourself more effectively with a product that stands out in the market.

How Do I Find a Supplier for Custom Private Label Clothing in China?

Your business will start their search for a supplier on a site like Alibaba, or any other ecommerce site where factories and clients can connect. For example, if you wanted to sell clothing, you could search for clothing suppliers on Alibaba. You may even be able to find suppliers that make the specific kind of clothing you’re hoping to sell.
Once you find several suppliers that meet those characteristics, you need to make sure they can alter the clothing they already make. Ideally, you have the specific alterations in mind (like adding logos, changing the style, or getting specific colors), but understanding the general capacity they have for custom clothing can help you plan general, future strategies as well. 

Finally, you still need to cover your basics. Always go through the sampling process, avoid red flags from suppliers, and don't be afraid to back away from a potential supplier if they don't meet your expectations.

What Are the Benefits of White Label Products?

White label products have benefits that certain kinds of businesses may find appealing:

●   Establish a brand: White label products are the first step for many businesses to      start creating a unique brand. When a business looks at selling white label      products, it may be their first time to sell something that is clearly connected to      their brand (instead of a generic product in generic packaging).

●   Inexpensive: Since white labeling involves branding and selling existing products,      it's usually inexpensive to obtain, brand, and sell white label goods. This is often      attractive to startups and smaller brands who may still be building capital.

●   Fast to Market: If a brand is just starting to sell, or they want to sell a trending      product, white labeling is a great way to get a product to market quickly. The      products are already being manufactured, so all a business needs to do is quickly      connect with a supplier and implement simple, effective branding[JM20] to sell in      multiple stores, retailers, or ecommerce locations.

Should My Business Use White Label or Private Label Products?

Whether you use white label or private label products is completely up to the needs of your business. In fact, you may find that neither are the right option for your goals (and it might benefit you to look at making a prototype of a new product). To help decide what your business might want to pursue, we've collected some points for you to consider. You may want to consider a white label product if: 

●   You want to attempt product branding for the first time without making a large      investment on a brand-new product.
●   You've hit a ceiling with dropshipping and are looking to scale your business      more.
●   Your business is trying to jump on a product trend in a non-saturated market.
●   You're interested in testing a product type to see if it's a good fit for your      business. 

You may want to consider a private label product if: 

●   You have an established brand and are looking for new ways to increase your      brand authority.
●   You want to take a generic product and customize it uniquely for your business.
●   You have connections to an established supplier who is willing to sell you products      exclusively (including exclusive access to product customizations you've      requested)
●   Your business wants to bring a customized product to market quickly without      going through the legwork of making something from scratch.   

At some point, if you're serious about growing your brand authority and reputation, your business should consider creating a novel product that fits your overall brand. If you're struggling to decide which direction to go (or you need help finding a supplier to create a prototype), Kanary can help!

Reach out to us, and we'll take a look at your business goals and help you create a path forward with white label, private label, or a brand-new product

Words from our clients

I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I was surprised that Kanary was able to help find us machines for a 1/3 of the cost compared with US and European manufacturers. What I really enjoy with Kanary is that they constantly keep me in the loop and get back to me almost instantaneously. What’s also great is that they kept me in the loop with the shipping, customs clearance, delivery, and also arrange travels for engineers from the factory to install our equipment.  The quality has been outstanding and I’m in the process of building out a new facility with them.
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I’ve been in the construction industry for over 30 years. We’ve always bought from US distributors. I reached out to Kanary out of curiosity to see if we could find similar construction materials of high quality. I did not think they were going to make much progress and so I was shocked when they found the exact manufacturer that my distributors have been buying from within 2 weeks. They were able to make contact and have the factory send me samples within a week.  By connecting directly with the factory, we’re looking at savings of over 30%.
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We’ve done quite a few different packaging projects with Kanary in the past (Child-resistant packaging, glass jars, plastic bags, shipper boxes, etc.). We sent AI files to Kanary, who then worked directly with the factory's design team to make prototypes of the packaging. Our in-house designer is very particular about our designs and Kanary was really flexible and worked with us when our designers wanted to make changes in the packaging development process. They were able to manufacture different prototypes at different price points, which gave us options when making our final decision.
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