Real-life Communications with a Chinese Supplier

Below is a real back and forth conversation between my assistant Veronica, a supplier named Elaine, and myself, that eventually lead to a bulk order. These were for real products that we actually do offer.

My assistant’s communications are in blue, the supplier in red, and mine remain in black.

Personal, identifying information has been redacted, as well as images (only because they take up too much space) and some miscellaneous conversations that took place regarding another product we decided not to pursue. The rest, typos and all, are the real communications.

You’ll notice my strategy at work here. I get an idea of price before the sample is shipped but after a relationship of sorts is built.

You’ll also see negotiations on price. Notice that I did not press the pricing of the blankets so hard. The reason is because the supplier already gave us a deal on the nursing pads, and the math worked out to be greater there than on the blankets. Negotiations with suppliers are give and take, and you should do the math to figure out what battles to pursue and what battles to leave alone.

Ultimately, this ended up an order that was VERY close to our target price. The communications back and forth were plentiful but the process was rather swift, since we knew what we were after and the supplier wanted our business.

So without further ado, here is the process:

V: Hi Elaine,

My name is Veronica and I represent a successful baby brand, REDACTED.

We’ve been very successful selling a number of baby products on ecommerce platforms in the US, such as Amazon.com. We’ve also expanded our operation to sell on platforms in Taiwan, such as PC Home.

We sell a variety of products ranging from baby carriers and wraps to diaper bags. However, we’ve recently expanded into baby “essentials” as well. This includes swaddle blankets, changing pad covers and reusable nursing pads.

Currently we work with a number of different factories, but we are looking to consolidate. Ideally we’d like to find a single textile factory that can manufacture a number of our products for us.

My first question is, are you the manufacturer of these swaddle blankets?

If so, would you have the ability to manufacture fitted changing pad covers as well? These are jersey knit, which is quite different from muslin cotton, in that it is much softer. Would your factory still be able to accommodate?

And finally, would your factory be able to manufacture our reusable nursing pads? They are three layers, bamboo/terry blend, microfiber in the middle, and a PU waterproof backing.

If your textile factory has these capabilities, please let us know, as this could lead to a fruitful relationship.

Thank you for your time.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

very happy to receive your kind reply !

we are a factory speciazed in textiles ,blankets ,towels ,table linens or hotel linens , can customize products as your reuqest .

for baby products , our factory have more than 15years experience in this line , we also cooperated with many our domestic trade company who do Amazon, aliexpress ,Taobao ,Tianmao  etc. other ecommerce platforms.

here is our Chinese website for your ref https://redacted

kindly please check if any interested , and email me more details about your products we will quote you price accordingly .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

So your factory can manufacture all three of these products!? That is excellent news.

The next thing we are concerned with is quality.

It is important that our customers continue to receive the level of quality they have grown accustomed to. So we need to compare quality samples.

Do you have samples of these products on hand? Or can you make them?

If so, I would like to arrange to have them sent to my boss in Taiwan as soon as possible.

Thank you again. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

yes we can customzie all the products for you. quality can be guanranteed , please don’t worry . for the samples , kindly please check if you need as below ;

  1. muslin swaddle blanket *Picture of swaddle blanket
  2. reusable nursing pads *Picture of nursing pads
  3. fitted changing pad covers using jersey knit fabric *Picture of changing pad with cover

i will prepare samples as your request accordingly

if any question or help , please be free to contact me .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

Well received product photos.

Yes, these are the samples we would like to see.

Also, we like to confirm Jersey knit and GSM.

We typically do all our shipping by sea since we don’t have an air courier account.

 Is it possible for us to use your factory’s account and you can add shipping cost to the sample invoice?

 Please provide bank account or PayPal info for reference.

 Let me know if any.

 Thank you for your attention.

 Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica , 

ok , noted

for some samples , we need customize for you do you have any requirement about it ?we can customize as your request

for the jersey knit fabric, regular is 200gsm , do you also need water-proof about the fabric ? kindly please send us your detail request about the products you need .

we will make right samples for your confirmation . also could you send me your detail address ?

i will check the samples fees accordingly .

 Best yours

Elaine 

V: Hi Elaine,

Please see below info for reference.

  1. Swaddle blanket is 100% muslin cotton, 120cmx120cm
  2. Size should fit a standard changing pad (16x32x4in or 41x81x10cm), water-proof
  3. Nursing pad, please see attachment for reference.

 The shipping address is –

Anthony Lee

ADDRESS REDACTED

Taiwan

 Let me know the total sample fee and freight cost.

 Thank you for your assistance.

 Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

ok , noted

for the fitted changing mat , do you only need fitted jersey cotton cover or a set of it ? i will check if any availble water-proof fabric in stock tmr. if water-proof fabric not availble ,do you accept non-waterproof fabric for the samples ? we can do waterproof when bulk .

for other samples ,we will prepare as your request . the samples fees , i check it’s 85usd including the shipping fees , kindly please note our paypal ID is address redacted

once you pay , we will arrange your samples soon .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

We will make samples fee transaction to you by PayPal shortly.

Please confirm the samples are included –

  1. Swaddle blanket fabric
  2. Changing pads fabric
  3. Nursing pads fabric

Let me know if any.

Thank you.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

yes,all three include. once you pay , we will arranged the changing pad samples soon , kindly please note .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

Well noted. 

Please confirm the sample fee including shipping cost is USD85.

PayPal account is: address redacted

Thank you for your attention.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Hi Veronca,

yes,confirmed ,including the shipping fees,smile…

Best yours

Elaine

E: Hi Veronica,

have you arranged the sample fees ?

still waiting …if any problem, please let me know.

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

I may need your assistance to provide a quote for reference.

  1. Swaddle blanket – 4,500 pcs for three designs(1,500pcs for each design, we have the designs)
  2. Nursing pads – 10,000pcs for 5 colors(2,000pcs for each color)

As for changing pads, we will wait for next order and see how the first order goes on the market.

Please let me know if any.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,

Veronica

V: Hi Elaine,

Please let me know when will receive a quote for our expected quantity order.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

sorry for the late , just back from outside. kindly please see our price as below ;

  1. Swaddle blanket – 4,500 pcs for three designs(1,500pcs for each design, we have the designs) 100%cotton material ,size 47”x47”

1.95usd FOB Shanghai

  1. Nursing pads – 10,000pcs for 5 colors(2,000pcs for each color) size 12cm dia

0.29usd/pc FOB Shanghai

bulk time around 20-30days,if any question , please be free to contact us .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

Please see attached image as payment transaction completed.

The shipping address is as below –

Anthony Lee

ADDRESS REDACTED

Taiwan

Please let me know if any.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica,

well received with many thanks. we will deliver out asap and advise you the tracking no .

Best yours,

Elaine

E: Dear Veronica,

your samples have been delivered out today by TNT , the tracking no is 543012923 , kindly please note i send you diffrent quality and material for your ref .once received , please be free to contact me

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

Well noted.

Will inform you once recevie and get back to you for more info next week.

Sine we are on biz trip this week.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,

Veronica

V: Hi Elaine,

Hope this mail finds you well.

We have received the samples and love the quality of nursing pads.

For swaddle blakets, we like the quality as well.

However, there is another factory can meet our target price. 

I am hoping your factory can meet the price tho, our target price is $1.77 for each pc.

If you can meet the price, I can convince my boss to place an order immediately.

Please let me know if any.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Hi Veronica,

do you mean musin baby blanket , your target price is $1.77usd ?

V: Hi Elaine,

Yes, muslin baby swaddle blanket, our target price is USD1.77 for one piece.

Please let us know if your factory can meet the price.

Thank you.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear Veronica ,

sincerely i haven’t quote you high at the first. i just confirm with our boss , if your pattern color within 3colors each, we will free all the pate-making fees for you recently , the rate of USD to RMB decrease a lot again and our domestic material increase a lot ,kindly please the best price of ours as below ;

100%cotton muslin baby blanket , 47”x47” ,

4,500 pcs for three designs(1,500pcs for each design, we have the designs)

price : 1.85usd/pc FOB Shanghai

we will gurantee your quality always goods worth it’s money , sincerely hope you can understand and support !

if any help , please be free to contact me .

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

Well received.

Also, may need your help to provide the quote of nursing pads.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

Veronica

E: Dear  Veronica ,

for nursing pad , the best price of ours as below ;

Nursing pads – 10,000pcs for 5 colors(2,000pcs for each color) size 12cm dia 

 0.28usd/pc FOB Shanghai

Sincerely hope that have an opportunity to cooperate with you in the coming days!

Best yours

Elaine 

V: Hi Elaine,

Well received.

For further conversation, we need your business email and Skype for more contact info, such as payment transactions and orders.

My Skype ID is – redacted

Email is – redacted

Please let me know if any.

Thank you for your attention.

Regard,

Veronica

E: Hi Veronica ,

mine is – redacted , and skype : redacted

i have add you as friend. for payment , we accept T/T or alibaba trade assurance 30% deposit and 70%balance paid before the delivery you can be free to contact me throught email or skype or here . smile …

Have a nice day !

Best yours

Elaine

V: Hi Elaine,

This is Veronica.  Please e-meet my boss, Mr. Anthony Lee.

Before we place bulk order, we like to confirm few info.

  1. For payment, do you accept RMB? Does your factory have business account?
  2. For pricing, we need to confirm if it is included packaging. Please confirm.
  3. When is your factory opened and closed dates for Chinese New Year?
  4. What is production time based on 5000 units swaddle and 10000 units nursing pad?

Please let me know if any.

Thanks.

Veronica

E: Hi Anthony,Hi Veronica,

 Happy to meet all of you .

sorry for the late reply , a little busy today , a lot goods need to be arranged before CNY

Kindly please see my detail reply as below ;

-For payment, do you accept RMB? Does your factory have business account?

 for bulk payment , we accept T/T or alibaba trade assurance , yes we have business account

will you pay RMB from Taiwan ? if so , it’s also Ok , better usd

-For pricing, we need to confirm if it is included packaging. Please confirm.

we quote you inluding our regular packing ,  with polybag as below ;

*Picture of polybagged items

if you need customzied packing , we can also do for you ,such as box packing , cost will be around 0.25-0.6usd/pc

*Picture of custom box

-When is your factory opened and closed dates for Chinese New Year?

our factory will be closed around Feb.9 and open Feb.23 for CNY . kindly please note .

-What is production time based on 5000 units swaddle and 10000 units nursing pad?

our  production time around  25days , bcs of CNY , we estimate delivery time around Mar 20.

if can confirm the orders before CNY , then we will arrange all your fabric in advance and confirm all the details

thus can rush your order asap .

if any other question , please be free to contact me .

SKYPE CONVERSATIONS

Anthony Lee: Hello. I hope Elaine monitors this Skype channel. If so, it is a pleasure to meet you. Have you received Veronica’s latest email? It had some important questions.

Elaine: hi Anthony , nice to meet you ,yeah , have receive Veronica’s email , i will confirm all and reply you soon 🙂

Anthony Lee: Hello. Just received your email. I had a few followup questions.

Elaine: ok , please

Anthony Lee: First, you said in the email that USD is better. But you also said that recently the value of USD against RMB went down. So I am confused. However, we can pay however you prefer as long as you have a business bank account (we will do T/T from Taiwan Bank)

Anthony Lee: Next, for packaging, the swaddles have a paper wrap. Like this:

*Picture of packaging

And the nursing pads actually have a mesh wash bag with them and come in a hemp sack, like this:

*Picture of packaging

Elaine: ok , we can customzie as yours , i will check the fees

Elaine: about the payment , as we usually handle through usd , so i say USD better , we declare all our export goods  by usd ,

Anthony Lee: I understand that. I was just pointing out that using the strength of RMB against USD as a factor for quoting a higher price is no longer valid if you are going to choose the weaker currency. 🙂

Elaine: thank you soooo much , ok , that’s why i say RMB also ok , i will learn how to declare through RMB this time if you pay RMB 🙂

Elaine: you can choose what convient for you

Elaine: for the mesh washing bag , price around 0.24usd/pc  and hemp bag price 0.55usd/pc  , paper crap : 0.05usd/pc

Elaine: so for the price if including your packing , will be as below ;

Elaine: muslin blanket :  1.89usd /pc FOB Shanghai including your packing

Anthony Lee: The added price to the nursing pads equals $0.08 a piece, bringing the total price to $0.36. unfortunately this is not a price we can work with

Elaine: nursing pad :  0.35usd /pc FOB Shanghai including the packing

Elaine: so the bag is expenisve for you ?

i will ask if they can reduce more for us

Elaine: Hi Dear ,today i research a lot bags factory , most of quote high for only 1000pcs the best price we can got is 0.34usd/pc FOB Shanghai muslin blanket :  1.89usd /pc FOB Shanghai including your packing nursing pad : 0.34usd/pc FOB Shanghai including your packing please recheck ,if any question , let me know

Anthony Lee: Ok. I think we can work with those prices

Anthony Lee: However, for the first order I need to reduce the number of muslin blankets to 3000.

Elaine: thank you so much

Elaine: 3000pcs for one pattern ?

Anthony Lee: No. 1000 each. I need them to match our current product. I will send you our blankets and nursing pads in their packaging so you can copy them

Anthony Lee: Our blankets come in a package of 3 and pads in a package of 10

In the End

The remainder of the conversation was just the invoice and details on when to expect shipments, communications with the inspection agency and connection with a freight forwarder. This relationship will yield two products with an average profit margin of about 55%.

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