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Manufacturing Overseas

In this transcript, Jill Donovan (founder of Oprah-endorsed Rustic Cuff) and Clay Clark (U.S. SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) are on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA, discussing the best process to manufacture products overseas.

Clay:    Is there a list of legit factories that anybody can go to now? Is there a site you're ... Go to awesomeoverseasfactories.com or supergreatusfactories.com. [Downtown 00:00:15]

Jill:    One of the things that I did that was really, really helpful ... There are companies that can actually lead you to very legitimate factories. There is a trade show in Vegas called Magic. It's twice a year. At Magic, the day before Magic starts, something called Sourcing starts. It's at the convention center. It's thousands of factories that come from all over the world, from the US, India, China, all over Asia, you name it. People come and they set up booths.

Clay:    It's called Sourcing?

Jill:    Sourcing.

Clay:    It happens one week before Magic?

Jill:    No, it happens the day before Magic and then runs through, concurrently, with Magic.

Clay:    The Sourcing is like a festival?

Jill:    No, it's a trade show. You go to the convention center. There are thousands of booths of factories that come that want your business. "We want to make ... We want to mass produce your prototype. We want to make your prototype and then if you like it, we want to mass produce it." That is their sole purpose for being there at Sourcing.

Clay:    That is awesome.

Jill:    If you want to make a purse, there are people that have purses in their booth. They want you to make a prototype with them.

Clay:    How cool is that? [Crosstalk 00:01:33]

Jill:    ... thousands.

Clay:    That's awesome.

Jill:    When I went to this trade show, I discovered Sourcing. It is really amazing. There is a group with Sourcing, the people that head Sourcing, that you actually work with to narrow down of the thousands who would you most benefit from so it's not just this mass sea of people.

Clay:    We probably need to get out to this Magic conference.

Jill:    Yeah. It's really--

Clay:    What does this dude cost?

Jill:    To just go to Sourcing?

Clay:    Yeah.

Jill:    I would say a few hundred dollars.

Clay:    I want to encourage you guys. [Crosstalk 00:02:05] Sometimes you're going to have to get out of ... If you grew up in a town like me, a small town or you grew up in Tulsa or--

Jill:    Cokato.

Clay:    Cokato a minute. Real quick, a real sales pitch for Cokato.

Jill:    Tell me.

Clay:    It has an event annually called the Corn Carnival that at least a thousand people attend.

Jill:    The Corn Carnival in Cokato?

Clay:    Yeah. It's a deal where if you are looking to take your family vacation to the next level, not only can you go there but within a 10 minute's drive there's the world's largest ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota. Within 10 minute's drive you can see both of the thousand people at the Corn Carnival, get over there to the world's largest ball of twine.

Jill:    What's the population of Cokato?

Clay:    Two thousand and thirty-eight people, last time when I lived there. There was not a stop light; now there is. Things are changing.

Jill:    I love it. [Crosstalk 00:02:48]

Clay:    ... 10 on it. You're going to have to be ... If you're watching this from Cokato, and I know you are, you're going to have to get over to Vegas. This episode could be a waste of time if you're not willing to get out of the building.

Jill:    There are ways that you can do this online. There are definite ways that you can find great factories online. I did. I will tell you that Sourcing is a way to get in front of these people and to have somebody direct you to the people that you need.

Clay:    Come on guys. There's hundreds of Yodas at this event. Go there. Meet Yoda. Bring the light saber. It's going to be [crosstalk 00:03:19] That's where my Star Wars analogy ends there. But we definitely have more at Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Jill:    When you go there, you have a guide almost. They connect you with people to tell you, "Here's a list of 20 of the people in this entire building that you need to meet." Then you walk around [crosstalk 00:03:32]

Clay:    I love this.

Jill:    I don't know how many people know about it. It hasn't been going on for very long. I want to say ... I could be wrong. I want to say this might be less than six times they have done this. It's fairly new. Every time it gets better.

Clay:    I love it. Let me ask you this now. How did you decide to make your products overseas or in the US? What was your decision?

Jill:    I know what we can do really well here. I know the parts that we can't do well. Making certain metals was not what we did and not what I was trained in. We had to do them in such a large quantity. At that point, when I realized I simply could not staff enough people to be able to make this many parts of the metal I needed, I needed to go look for that overseas.

Clay:    How long did it take you? What was that process like of trying to find this great, big factory for your little product? Did this take months, Jill? Was it weeks? Was it hours?

Jill:    It really depends on ... You don't have to narrow it down to just one. You can be asking several different factories at the same time for a sample.

Clay:    Do you believe in the rule of three? I always tell people that you have the rule of three, I say so you don't forget. The thing is, I always tell people that whenever I'm doing build out, I'll hire three builders simultaneously. I'll say, "Listen, we're going to start on Monday. I'm going to have you start building the bathroom, you start building the living room or whatever. I know that two of them are going to flake out. That way I'm not stuck.


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