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Practical Manufacturing

In this transcript, Clay Clark (U.S. SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) and Jill Donovan (founder of celebrity endorsed, Rustic Cuff) discuss the importance of emailing in business and mass production on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Jill:    Now initially people ... I have a lot people who come up and say, "Okay. I want to get this product made. I've contacted this factory. They want $250 for a sample to be made and then they want $25 to ship it. I'm going to wire them 200 and X dollars to ... I've never met them before." This is what they say initially. Which to them seems like a lot since they've never wired any money. Now of course that seems ... Now that I've done it so many times it doesn't seem like it's a big deal. You just blinding sending your money. If you can initially start off with somebody who's representing you and who you know you have the safe guards already put in place? 

Clay:    Yeah.

Jill:    Much much better way to go about it. 

Clay:    Okay. The recommendation here is definitely try to get some sort of concierge liaison. Someone to help you through this. Also would it make sense to get references in your mind from these companies?

Jill:    You know one of the things I do ... As I look at it I'm interviewing you. I do research on your company. How many employees do you have? How long have you been in business? There are ratings that each company has that they're mandated to have. Certain ratings on their websites. I can tell also from the ... It has a percentage that they put on these particular websites of what their response. How quickly their responses are back to you. 

    So they have a 75% response. I'm looking for an 85% and above response rate from these companies. I look at like, hey guess what? I have thousands I can choose from. I'm going to look for the highest quality factors. The quickest response rate. How much are you producing each month? That's going to tell me a lot about the company and whether I feel comfortable enough to wire the money. 

Clay:    Do ever in fact physically go out to the factories and look at the buildings? 

Jill:    I have. 

Clay:    You did?

Jill:    I have done that. 

Clay:    Where'd you go?

Jill:    I went to Hong Kong actually one time and saw some of the ... I did see one of my factories that was making part of this metal but I went and visited some other factories. Very interesting.

Clay:    What did you gain from this? What was the reason why you went? Do you recommend other entrepreneurs should go?

Jill:    Actually it definitely is an eye opener. It doesn't hurt. I was going to a trade show and I on the side I decided to just go visit some factories and some showrooms in factories. It's just really interesting to see how the whole process works. It varies. There's some that have ten that are working very hard. There's some that have thousands of employees. It's really interesting. Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA, is also very helpful.

Clay:    Do you recommend every entrepreneur should go out there and look at the factory before sign up with them?

Jill:    No. 

Clay:    No?

Jill:    You don't have to do that. I will say if you want to have all you eggs in one basket and you're creating a very large amount of what you're doing, it doesn't hurt to invest the money and go visit that factory because this is something long-term that you're going to be doing. It not only doesn't hurt because you get to see the process and see as far as the quality goes. The relationship face to face, it changes everything. 

Clay:    Now emotionally what does it feel like when it gets down to the time where you actually need to step out and faith and start hiring the factory. At you at that point ... Were you ready to say ... I know you mentioned the 2,000. At that point are you ready to go, "Let's do this. Let's get this show on the road." You've already spent all that time doing your due diligence. I mean are you ready to just ...

Jill:    It's scary. It's very scary because you're taking step out in faith. Because if you have to order ... Let's just say you negotiated and say, "Okay. My first order's going to be 3,000." Okay? Units. You probably don't need 3,000 units at the time that you order it. Okay? It's very scary. You're going to invest this money to this company who you can't even see, you can't feel and you can't touch. Now you're going to be getting 3,000 units of something that you don't necessarily ... Are not sold yet. 


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