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HELP - Manufacturing Products - Sourcing Manufactures etc.

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Benjaminjhs

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Hello! My name is Benjamin, located in Norway.

I am currently working on my first ever business of creating a product from the ground up. I am posting this thread to ask for some help from anyone that got some experience with this.

I am working on developing car mats custom-fitted to each car model much like an original mat.
The first products are going to be produced in leather / faux leather (TBC - depends on the final strength/price/value) the product will be premium targeted.
There are plenty of competitors in this field, having their factories in China. I want to differ from these and create a feeling of higher quality by having my products manufactured in Europe, which is the market I am targeting. Doing this from Alibaba is fairly easy, but it's not an alternative for this company.

Here comes the problem; I have googled, contacted, brainstormed... I can not seem to find out how I can properly source manufactures in Europe.

Do anyone in here got tips for me to find manufacturers/factories in Europe that can produce my requirements?
I can either have one manufacture Producing raw material rolls to my requirements and then another separate one sewing it together completing the product. (Manufacture A shipping raw rolls to Manufacture B, Manufacture B using the material to complete products to my requirements)
OR
Have one manufacture Produce material as well as sewing the product, acting as my sole contact from material to complete product.
What do you think is the best choice for these two alternatives? I am leaning a bit towards having two separate because of the greater expertise in each field I'd get from each.

Any tips, thoughts, or feedback is greatly appreciated.

- Benjamin J.

*EDIT
To help others in the same situation I will update this thread as time passes with information as to what I have done to get from Idea -> Market. Hopefully, this can be an informative thread that others can learn from when working towards similar goals.
 

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Benjaminjhs

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To help others in the same situation I will update this thread as time passes with information as to what I have done to get from Idea -> Market. Hopefully, this can be an informative thread that others can learn from when working towards similar goals.
 

Walter Hay

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The first products are going to be produced in leather / faux leather (TBC - depends on the final strength/price/value) the product will be premium targeted.

I am assuming that you want a mat that covers the entire floor pan in the car. If so I am sorry to disappoint you, but I know what products and processes would be involved, and I suggest you think again.

Faux leather is polyurethane coated on a fabric base. It could be used to fabricate fitted mats, but would require skilled workers such as ones that make horse blankets or tents. But faux leather would fail quickly. It will scuff, tear, and peel off the backing.

Genuine leather would be much harder to fabricate to be a good fit. It would also lose its smooth surface very quickly. Leather is tough, but the smooth surface is very subject to abrasion.

The only perfect fit mats are ones made from rubber or plastic, and if they are to fit over the driver's foot rest for example, the cost of setting up would be enormous. The mold cost would run into thousands of dollars.

I hope you are thinking of a different mat to what I think you are referring to.

Walter
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Never heard of leather mats, carpet maybe for a premium feel. Leather will just get nasty.

Gonna have to agree with @Walter Hay that setup costs will be very high. Imagine how many different car models are out there!

Not just makes, but models, years, trim levels, etc.

Now....here’s an idea: Custom molded DIY floor mats. Provide the raw material to the customer, and have them mold it to their exact specs. Like with a heat gun or something.

I don’t know of any such material, but it could sell.
 

Benjaminjhs

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I hope you are thinking of a different mat to what I think you are referring to.

Walter

Never heard of leather mats, carpet maybe for a premium feel. Leather will just get nasty.

Gonna have to agree with @Walter Hay that setup costs will be very high. Imagine how many different car models are out there!

Not just makes, but models, years, trim levels, etc.


This is actually way easier than you'd initially thought. Getting this produced from China is basically just click and buy according to Chinese car measurements, but you'd get a horrible product so would have to get your hands on better material. For example, check out one of the established in the niche market 'Diamond Car Mats' - Selling custom fitted car mats. DCM is selling their mats covering walls as you can see, I would only want to sell it to cover the floor.
They way they do business is to produce and ship on order, so there's no stock as the products are being shipped directly from their factory in China.

They advertise their material as Eco-Leather (Genuine leather with 'Vegetal' tanning process).
I have tested this and it is in fact very durable.

The mats aren't molded, it's stitched together. Doing this in China makes for a pretty cheap product, but the shipping is 2-3x the product price (Air-Shipping if dropshipped like my competitor).
Now what actually is expensive is of course if I am to stock all these variants for different cars in a warehouse, but not at all impossible I imagine.

Knowing what you know now, have your opinion on it changed? I should have included some more information from the start, sorry about that. Do you believe I can manage to get the whole process done in Europe, or do you reckon I'd have to look back at Asia?

I do not want to dropship this, by the way, I am way more comfortable maintaining control by keeping stock where I can quality check the product before shipping to the customer.

- Benjamin
 

Walter Hay

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They advertise their material as Eco-Leather (Genuine leather with 'Vegetal' tanning process)
Eco-Leather is not genuine leather and it is illegal to advertise it as such. It is plastic, supposedly made from vegetable sources, which as an industrial chemist I would doubt.

The manufacturers in China call it leather, but advertise that it has no smell, which apart from anything else is proof that it is not leather.

Whether sold by importers in the UK, or bought direct from the factories in China, the products look identical, and have very similar specs. The big problem with buying direct is the MOQs, but if you follow the advice in my importing book you would be able to order much smaller quantities.

Prices vary for order quantities of 1pc @ $35 to 100 pcs @ $20 - $30.

I doubt that you will find any manufacturers in Europe, other than some in the UK, but you would probably have to supply them with the faux leather.

Walter
 

Benjaminjhs

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Eco-Leather is not genuine leather and it is illegal to advertise it as such. It is plastic, supposedly made from vegetable sources, which as an industrial chemist I would doubt.

That's what they told me when I asked, but I don't care. My plan isn't to be associated with these anyway.

Yes, I realize finding complete manufacture in Europe might be a problem, there are some for sure and also got some help from @refrus22 providing me with information. Something I assume might be an obstacle though is getting these often-times big European manufacturers to cooperate with me.

Plan forward
- If I can't find a European manufacturer to do the whole job from start to finish, I will still try to look towards Europe to get the final job done. I don't see any big problems ordering Raw materials from China, which then can be shipped to European manufacture to produce the finished product.
 

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