Article in NYT today about entrepreneurship and manufacturing in the US

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/business/birdwell-beach-britches-california-surfwear.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share NYTimes: How a Facebook Executive Revived a Fading Surf Brand

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An incredibly important read for any Importer – Amazon is getting into global logistics – shipping your goods from factory to their Prime Warehouses

I wouldn’t normally think about just posting an article. But, this is just an incredibly important read for any importer, ~ basically anyone in the CPG, fashion, other industries. 
And, doubly important for anyone that sells such goods on Amazon.
Amazon is getting into the global logistics business. Meaning you’ll be able to ship your goods from your Asian factory using Amazon >> directly to their Warehouse.
Amazon Expands Into Ocean Freight http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-expands-into-ocean-freight-1485357884

Selling to Stores – Store 4

This is how the 4th store placed their first order – 3 locations in Tri State area – 
1 – We walked into the store and pitched the front salespeople > to which they responded something along the lines of “The owner is not here right now” > they gave us contact info etc. > and we ended with “would you like to see our toys anyways”? > we showed them the line and they all thought it was really cute > I think someone took a picture.
2 – We email followed up with the owner but received no response. Maybe twice.
3 – Walked in cold again a week later to drop off a toy sample for them to consider. When we walked in,  we asked for owner’s name, and someone went back to get them. The owner said they’d like to see the toys there and not keep any samples. They did not necessarily like and were not moved by the toys. They showed them to another family member that also works in the business and they did not like them either. They then took the toys to a few people on the floor (store manager, front clerk) and both said they loved them. Wrote an order on the spot. Visit all under 20 minutes.

Carton Markings

This is what we are marking our cartons (that are getting shipped over water) with. Asian and Far East manufacturers refer to these as Carton Markings. These carton marking instructions are supposed to be included in your Purchase Order upfront.

Name of company
Description: Item name + UPC #
QTY: __ PCS
CTN. No.: ___ of 25
Made in __Country__ + Manufacture Date

We should start shipping our first shipments mid-October. Last week, we hired a shipping broker.

shipping_marks_diagram1

Any questions?

Switching from Squarespace to Shopify + Setting up a Splash page w/ Shopify

Most warehousing companies (all?) will integrate with a Shopify website. Only some will integrate with Squarespace without additional integration work. (Again, warehousing companies are those that will receive & store your product, and handle customer shipping and returns). So, we are actually switching from Squarespace to Shopify. We’re working on this now. But, we aren’t ready to launch a full website. We’d like to start with a Splash Page. So, we’re just in the middle of looking into whether and how we can do this EASILY with Shopify. Some Q&A with Shopify customer service.
Us:

We’d like to start with just a splash page, where we collect email addresses so that we can notify people when we launch. What is the easiest way to do this? Should we have our coder create the custom HTML? Or, is there an out of the box template that we can use?

Shopify:On this page,: https://help.shopify.com/themes/development/templates/password-liquid halfway down it shows how to collect customer email addresses, it would require a tiny bit of code but it is possible 🙂

 

Us:We don’t want the “Password protected” messaging on our splash page. Is that required?

Shopify:You can remove it but it would require some more advanced coding unfortunately but a Shopify Expert would be able to set that up for you if you go tohttps://experts.shopify.com

 

Us:OK. And, could we also remove that “powered by Shopify” text at the bottom? We can’t do a solution that has 3rd party advertising.

 

We estimate it might cost us $100 to have a Shopify expert or our own software engineer customize the HTML to handle these slight tweaks we need. No big deal. And, goodbye Squarespace.

Q&A on U.S.’s Permanent Tracking Label Requirement for Children’s Products

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires children’s toys to have something called a tracking label. Essentially, this is a label or sticker that has certain information on it (company name, where/when manufactured, manufacturing batch number) that allows the government and consumers identify if their children’s product is subject to a recall. One is required to have a tracking label on both the children’s product AND the packaging of the same children’s product. We had lots of questions about how this requirement would apply to our toy dog house.

One of the items we are manufacturing (in our line of children’s toys) is a printed box that children can color and decorate. The box is printed with a design (so we need to build steel printing plates for that). And, the box will be shrink-wrapped (to protect it from factory > shipping > storage > customer purchase > child).

doghouse_5-12
Question: The permanent tracking label requirement applies to both toy + toy packaging. Does this double requirement apply to one of our toys that is merely packaged in transparent shrinkwrap?

>> According to Small Business Ombudsman @ CPSC, we would not need to have a permanent tracking label on both because our packaging is shrink-wrap. This is because (and according to the CPSC website here), one is exempt from placing a permanent tracking label on packaging if the permanent tracking label is visible to the customer through “disposable packaging”. This was great news for us because it saves us the time & $ & hassle of putting tracking label stickers on our finished shrink-wrapped products!

Question: Can we merge the Date of Production requirement with the Batch Number requirement (of the U.S. permanent tracking label requirement)? For example, let’s say we have Batch # 123 & we manufactured the items on 10-1-2015, instead of having these two pieces of data in two separate places on our tracking label, >> could we instead just print it as Batch # 10-1-2015-123?

>> Answer: According to our friend at the SBO @ CPSC, yes! (Cool, this saves us space, and saves us from extra ugly random text).

Question: This particular product that we are manufacturing is a colorable box (Think McDonald’s Happy Meal Box). We need to build printing plates to make our products. It is not practical to engrave the date of production or the batch # into the steel printing plates. We need to be able to use the steel printing plates over many courses of manufacturing batches. Can we put an adhesive label onto these boxes instead?

>> Answer: There seems to be some ambiguity in the language of the label requirement on the CPSC website about adhesive labels. But, in this case scenario, as long as the sticker that we are placing on the box is a strong sticker that does not easily come off, then this adhesive permanent tracking label satisfies the label requirement.

More info. on tracking label laws for PA-MA-OH

Massachusetts
(617) 983-6712
What do they regulate? Stuffed toys and bedding. They don’t regulate art supplies for kids or clothing accessories for dolls/toys sold separately.
Reg applies even if toys only sold online and delivered via post to MA residents.
When you apply, you will receive an MA # but you are not required to use that MA # on your toy labels (using PA # good enough).

PA
What do they regulate? Anything with stuffing in it that is intended to be played with by children. And, bedding. Not art supplies for kids or clothing accessories for toys sold separately.