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I want the China manufacturer of a well-known brand to manufacture the same product for me, under my own brand name. What's your advice?

Posted: 2012-08-14

Full Question

After much research, I was able to find all the suppliers of a high quality but affordable US cosmetics line.

Now my question is: since I am very much interested in starting my own cosmetics line too, how do I tell these suppliers that I want the exact same products/quality as this US company [of course in my own brand name and package design] without getting the bluff?

"Without getting the bluff" I mean here, without me getting their attention.

I have used many items from this US cosmetic line, and I really appreciate that they are high quality and that the prices are fantastic. Other, higher-end brands didn't give me such satisfaction.

So, I do know that I could go to these suppliers (that I know are the Asian manufacturers for this US brand) and request to work with them to manufacture my own goods for my brand, and they will be willing to, of course.

But now, my question is, how do I tell them that I know they are the manufacturers for this US brand, and that I want same product quality, but in my own brand name and my own brand packaging.

Answer

I am sure you are not the first person to contact them and ask for a similar product to what they are already making. So it is OK to be upfront and say you want that type of product packaged in your brand. If they own the rights to the formula and have no exclusivity agreements with the other brands you mention, then they may be open to doing your private label work for you. Even if they don't own the rights and/or even if they are under exclusivity contacts, they may lack ethics and may still offer to do business with you. But in that situation you need to be a realist and know that if somebody tries to knock you off next time, this supplier has no loyalty. Another concern is that the formula is protected by those brands you mention and that you are violating somebody's Intellectual Property (IP). Yes, the factory would be violating the IP too, but the lawyers in your home market are not going to go after a factory in China, they will go after you first. So here is my recommendation:

  • Find out if law protects the formulas that you are interested in.
  • If not, then contact the suppliers you mention below and see if they have any exclusivity agreements in place and would they be willing to work with you.

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