4 Tips for Starting Your Factory Hunt


Victoria Chou has 25+ years of experience importing, exporting, and distributing hosiery throughout North and South America. Here’s how she finds factories.

    • Look at barcodes of products similar to yours. Search the UPC or EAN number online to find the name and address of the company behind the product. This gives you a starting place in your hunt.


    • Go to conventions. Many factories now attend product conventions, in addition to distributors and retailers. There are also sourcing conventions. A good one for fashion is MAGIC in Vegas.


    • Find relevant organizations. When Victoria first started, she talked to The Hosiery Association. They asked her about volume, materials, and type, then gave specific factory recommendations. When she considered selling furniture, she went to the Charlotte, NC, Chamber of Commerce because a lot of it is made there. Most states have programs offering manufacturing resources, and the U.S. Small Business Administration runs community business development centers.


    • If all else fails, hit the yellow pages and internet. Some will ignore you, others will invite you to tour. ThomasNet can help with factories in the US and Canada, and Alibaba is a common go-to for China options (most have domestic agents you can talk to).


Next month, we’ll explore how to outsource manufacturing while still respecting human rights with help from our friends at Verité.


Sniff around. How did you start your factory hunt?