Many of you involved in inventing know me as The Sourcing Lady (SM), owner of EGT Global Trading, which I established in 1997. I have been involved in manufacturing, importing and exporting all over the world for the past 30+ years, working exclusively with factories in China since 1990. You MUST learn these critical steps in bringing a new product safely to market:
1) Create a prototype from your sketches. OK if it’s rough. To properly develop your new idea, a model is essential, especially for step 2, below:
2) Gather prototype, sell sheets, brochures and specifications and submit to a Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) accredited laboratory (see sidebar), for a Product Design Evaluation (PDE). Typical cost for an evaluation should run about US$1000, for a comprehensive report addressing all government regulations, production testing, and design concerns.
3) Create a packing mock-up, especially with a baby product. For a baby product, send the packaging sample along with your prototype as indicated above, for the PDE. Not creative? Go to a big-box store, look for a product like yours, and make something similar. If necessary use a polybag or blister pack from the dollar store, and insert your prototype, changing your printed inserts accordingly. This should only be done AFTER your PDE, in case you need to fix your prototype and/or packaging.
4) Have your sourcing consultant review your PDE report for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act regulations (if applicable) and all other federal and local regulations (i.e., Federal Trade Commission, Food & Drug Administration, US Customs and Border Protection – see sidebar). Have her/him note key excerpts to be translated into the language of the country of your prospective factory.
5) Give your graphic artist a copy of PDE excerpts concerning packaging (i.e., country of origin and content statement, etc.), so final packaging can be created to conform to various government and local mandates. Have your sourcing consultant review the packaging before it is completed.
6) Provide your sourcing consultant with your prototype, packaging samples, a list of required production testing, labeling, etc. (from PDE), and your translations. She/he should have 3-4 identical sets of these items (see #7 below).
7) Depending on how many prototype sets you have given your sourcing consultant, she/he will provide you with several quotes and counter-samples from prospective overseas factories (I have worked with China factories for the past 22 years).
8) Once you and your sourcing consultant have reviewed your price quotes, the quality of counter-samples, as well as the factories’ references, ability to communicate, and understanding of the various government regulations addressed, a formal purchase order contract is drawn up, which MUST include a stipulation for defective merchandise, along with your standard details such as pricing, quantities, shipping terms, import documentation, etc.
9) Your sourcing consultant and factory must arrange production testing, usually done in the factory’s (overseas) country. Best case scenario: all tests pass, and soon the factory will be ready to ship.
10) You MUST hire a final shipment inspection (FSI) firm. (See sidebar – KRT Audit Corp.) Provide them with your inspection criteria such as packing marks (boxes), production functionality (how it works or is used), appearance, etc. The FSI firm will provide you with a report and photos, and now you are ready to have your sourcing consultant arrange shipping and import of your great new innovation!
Contact Edie Tolchin, aka The Sourcing Lady (SM), at www.egtglobaltrading.com – EGT@warwick.net, for further information including rules and regulations for shipping and importing from overseas, customs clearance, and the Import Security Filing (ISF) documents, required for all imported products. And, to design, develop and host your invention’s website, contact www.widgetsontheweb.com, a division of EGT Global Trading.
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Here is a list of vital links to assist you in developing a safe new product:
1) www.cpsc.gov – The Consumer Product Safety Commission – government watchdog for safe products and product recalls.
2) www.cbp.gov – US Customs and Border Protections – for rules and regulations concerning shipping and importing from overseas.
3) www.FTC.gov – The Federal Trade Commission’s website which can assist you in properly labeling your invention.
4) http://www.cpsc.gov/cgi-bin/labsearch- List of accredited safety/testing labs endorsed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
5) www.chinainspect.com – KRT Audit Corporation, for final shipment inspections, among other important services. Costs run appx. USD 275.