Hi, I’m Richard Mooner, the owner of an American boot company that has been in business for 20 years. We sell a wide variety of boots for men, women, and children, but they are all produced in boot manufacturer overseas.
Hey, I get this question a lot, which is, “Hey, how can I find a boots manufacturer?” Well, hey, it’s not easy. You know, the first thing that I’m gonna ask you is to think about – are you really ready? Because if you approach a boot factory and your specification, your design, and your strategy, you don’t have that together, they’re not really going to want to deal with you, right? Because you’re not serious. So make sure that you’re ready.
But here’s a few things, basically sort of the top 10 questions you should ask a the boot manufacturer:
Question 1: What’s your minimum order quantity? Because if you go to a monster factory and they tell you, you got to make ten thousand pairs, well, that might not be your thing. If you go to a really small factory, maybe they’re hungry; they’ll make you 300 or a thousand pairs. Of course, they’ll charge you more.
Question 2: What’s the current lead time for production? Don’t mistake lead time with current lead time because they might say 90 days, but when you say, “What’s your current lead time?” get what is their actual backlog? Because it could be 180 days; you’ve got to know these things.
Question 3: Is the person you’re talking to, do they actually own the boots factory, or are they a trading Company? There are considerations either way.
Question 4: Do they allow outside inspection companies? You really do want that. If a boot factory tells you, “No, no, you don’t need to send inspectors; we have inspectors,” that’s your cue to run.
Question 5: If you have a local developer to handle your business, they should accept that too. If they say no, we’ve got it, or we don’t allow that, then again, same thing, run.
Question 6: Do they have experience manufacturing this type of item? You don’t take a boot like this to a sandal factory, and you don’t take a sandal to a sneaker Factory because different factories have different specialties, different equipment to help make that kind of shoe.
Question 7: How long has the factory been in operation? If they’ve been there for a long time, say 20 years , that tells you that they have a stable business and repeat customers, and it’s pretty good. It might mean it’s a little older and maybe not as clean as a brand new fancy Factory, but if they’re alive, then they have a good track record. I usually choose a boot manufacturer that have been established for more than 25 years.
Question 8: Ask the factory to provide you with a sample of their boots. Then you can assess their design and manufacturing capabilities.
Question 9: How many assembly lines does the factory have? Are they a one-line factory or are they a 20-line factory? The issue is when a one-line factory gets behind, they stay behind. If a 20-line factory has your order and they get behind, well, there’s a lot of bodies they can throw at the problem.
Question 10: Try to understand what other brands are at the factory. If they’re making Walmart brands, that might not be good for you unless you’re trying to make that kind of shoe. But if they make Nike, Adidas, Zara, or New balance or some other big, internationally well-respected brand, then you know that you have a pretty good understanding that their quality level is going to be pretty high.
Again, these are pretty important questions you should be asking. The next question is really try to dive into what their MOQ is because, you know, oftentimes a big tragedy will invest in a small brand. They’re always on the lookout for the next UGG or the next Red Wing. Somebody took that project. In your brand, you might be the space filler, and the factory might be able to make your whole production run in the morning. You know, before coffee, but that’s okay. I mean, you know, you get big brand power or big factory power.
Anyway, so when you’re ready, take action! If you have let me know and we can help you find a good boot factory. And we have a nice article here that talks about all these things that I just mentioned. There’s lots of places to look: 8 Tips to Quickly Identify a Good Shoe Supplier
Next question, can you really trust the factory you found on Alibaba? Maybe, but that factory on Alibaba really might be a Trading Company; who knows? You gotta find out.
So anyways, have a look. You know, I think it’s worthwhile. You know, really keep these things in mind. But the most important thing before you go looking for a boot manufacturer is to make sure you have your stuff ready so that when they have a look at your stuff, they have confidence and can invest in your brand. And again, you gotta have your act together; otherwise, they’re gonna take a pass.
So yeah, the answer is you can find a factory. It’s not easy. Hey, if you’re having trouble, go ahead, give us a mail. I think we can help you.