If you are importing pillows from China (less than a container), your pillow suppliers are probably very small. One thing that you shouldn’t do is believe everything your pillow suppliers tells you about them. For instance, a pillow supplier may claim to be operating on a large scale basis, employing a multitude of workers. Don’t be lured with a picture of employees and the manufacturing plant, unless you personally visit their pillow production plants or stores.
It has become common for trading companies or middlemen on Alibaba to lie to customers that they are factories. They will even include lots of photos to back this claim. They convince customers that they are a huge pillow manufacturing company with a high quality of pillows to offer. However, most of these photos are usually products of Photoshop. They are doing this because most of their customers will not come to China to visit them or maybe try to find out more about their operations.
Who do small-scale pillow suppliers serve?
Big pillow buyers and international retail companies such as Walmart and Ikea usually tend to buy from big pillow suppliers. These big companies always put high value on the factory’s quality management system. In order to become one of pillow suppliers to any of these big players, your factory must first be inspected by their inspection company of choice. This is to assure them of your eligibility. As a result, small-scale pillow suppliers are likely not to become their suppliers.
However, there happens to be a different and very interesting scenario here. The big pillow factories that usually qualify as suppliers of products to these big buyers may at times ask small-scale pillow factories to produce or supply a part of the supplies needed. This is especially when the buyer’s pillow order is big. Even though the small-scale factory did not meet the ‘requirements’ needed to supply the big buyer, the quality of products produced is similar to that of big factories.
Big pillow suppliers always have high MOQ. Due to this, the pricing for a similar line of quality will be much higher than that of small-scale pillow suppliers. In usual circumstances, large-scale pillow factories always specialize in certain product categories where orders may at times amount to more than $50,000. If you buy daily products that are less than a container, small-scale factories will be more suitable for you since their orders usually range from $1,000 to $30,000. But the quality of products will vary depending on how you source and choose these factories.
For pillows such as microbeads pillow or cotton pillows, small-scale pillow suppliers are the best place to look out for. This is true because small-scale manufacturers usually depend on material and labor cost, something that renders large-scale producers less competitive.
Three types of small-scale pillow factories in China
Lots of news and blogs are circulating the web saying that the environment of small factories in China is terrible. This has resulted in some unrest and tension among customers. They are no longer sure whether these small-scale manufacturers have what it takes to produce reliable and high-quality pillows. In this regard, I will be sharing the three common types of small-scale factories in China in a bid to help you source and inspect the quality of suppliers.
#1. Home-based workshops/factories
I prefer to call them home-based workshops or factories rather than manufacturing companies or factories. These kind of home-based factories are very common in Zhejiang Province because most low-value daily products are produced in this region. These types of products usually demand low technology or skills so they can easily be produced by anyone.
#2. Well-organized small-scale pillow factory
These kinds of small-scale factories are the best for small businesses. The quality of products on offer is good because they are well organized and specialized in certain products. The pricing is also very competitive because of their small scale of operation. These companies exist in every place you visit in China.
#3. Mystery pillows workshops
For people with some trading knowledge about China, they must know that Jiangsu is well known as the capital of pillows. It manufactures 90% of all no-brand pillows in the world, for instance, memory foam pillow, microbead pillow etc. When you are sourcing Chinese pillow suppliers on Alibaba, you will see lots of photos of nice production lines and factory workshops. Don’t fall for these photos easily since some of them are at times fakes. Unless you want to start your own shop or you are buying in large quantities, you won’t consider buying from authentic pillow factories with well managed production lines. There are also others probably made by “mystery workshops”, however, this kind of situation also depends on the products.
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