Issues sourcing E-comm products


Throwing out our e-comm products

They say you should do minimum 6-12 months of planning before launching a brand!

Is it possible to launch a brand with 3 months planning? Well, the answer is YES, you can definitely launch. BUT AT WHAT COST?

If I said to you its possible to build out your brand, source your products and have a plan on how to go to market all with in 3 months, would you say I am crazy?

I will take you on a little journey of Pache and how we launched our brand, sourced our products and then stopped everything in its tracks before our products went live. Talk about a turn of events right. Yes we were those naive entrepreneurs who thought we could defy the odds. Turns out in this game, which was unfamiliar to us, you can’t click your fingers and put it all together.

In September 2021, in the heart of Cov………… Covi………, I can’t even get the word out, but you get it, we decided that we wanted to launch a slides brand and we wanted to launch before the end of the year. Within a few days of the idea coming to fruition, we jumped on Alibaba and tried to ask all the right questions of suppliers. You know the usual ‘Are you a manufacturer or sourcing agent?’, ‘Do you have MOQ’s?’, ‘Do you support multi size ordering?’, ‘What style logos do you support?’, you know all that jazz. After sifting through numerous suppliers, we quickly identified 3-4 we wanted to get samples from and got them delivered to our house.

The samples arrived, they look great, there was a few minor quality issues we addressed with the supplier to clean up and placed our order of 1500 slides to meet the MOQ. 4 colours in one style. From this point the excitement was real, jumping out of our skin in fact, we were going to launch our first E-comm brand. We worded up all our friends and family about the slides, spent money on a video and photoshoot and wore the samples around like we were going to conquer the world.

November of that year, the slides were manufactured, shipped over and landed at our door step. Now you could imagine the anticipation to cut the boxes open and look at our future.

We pencilled in a whole day to go through 60+ boxes, had our morning coffee and each got a box cutter to start diving in. After cutting through a few boxes each, we quickly realised that we were in trouble. We knew that we had thrown away thousands and thousands of dollars due to a lack of R&D and product testing. Our slides that we envisioned in our head, didn't come to fruition. We came to realise that a sample could look amazing, but after bulk manufacturing we didn’t have a product to sell.

Some of the issues we faced were logos being poorly printed, texture of EVA material inconsistent, scuff marks, left and right slide being different sizes. These are just a long list of problems we faced as we didn’t do enough research on suppliers.

And just like that we stopped our launch and didn't have a product later…. Stay tuned for the next blog on what we did differently to re-launch our business with a better quality product.

A few lessons learnt;
  1. Dive deeper on your supplier; who are they, how long have they been in business, can you fly over and tour their factory?
  2. Get multiple samples from multiple suppliers
  3. Try understand potential pain points in the manufacturing of your product
  4. Try find a supplier that can generously help on MOQ’s to help mitigate the risk of first order
  5. Make sure you have an agreement on the quality you require before being shipped to your door
  6. Look at a potentially paying a third party to go on site and run a quality control test of your product, may be expensive but saves in the long run.