How To Find A Manufacturer For Your Kickstarter Campaign

Your ideas are amazing!

But amazing ideas don’t count for much unless you can make them real.

And when it comes to physical products, there’s only one way to do that – manufacturing.

Almost every person alive is more familiar with buying than manufacturing, so the process can seem a little like magic. But it’s not, and you’re as capable as any other creator of finding the right manufacturer to help you make your dreams tangible.

In this video, we’re going to cover the basics of manufacturing and common problems. We’re going to talk about how you find manufacturers. Then we’ll talk about quality assurance and estimating costs.

My name is Brandon, here on behalf of Fulfillrite. If you need help shipping your orders, go to and request a quote. We’ve shipped thousands of Kickstarters and we’re happy to help you ship yours. The quote doesn’t cost a thing, so if nothing else, you get some good information about pricing. Link in the description.

But enough self-promotion. Let’s start with the…

Basics of Manufacturing

At its core, the manufacturing process is about converting raw materials through various stages until you have a finished product. The type of manufacturing you’ll encounter varies: there’s batch production for limited quantities, mass production for large volumes, and bespoke for custom-made items, among others. Knowing your product will determine which method suits best.

If you’re making custom-made jewelry, then your manufacturing process will be bespoke, and possibly done in-house. But if you’re making electronics, you will probably find an overseas manufacturer to produce in runs of 1,000 or more.

No matter what, though, from the earliest stages of product development, you need to think in terms of Design for Manufacturing (DFM). This is all about designing your product in a way that’s easy and cost-effective to produce. This is the surest way to make your design isn’t just great on paper but is also practical for the production line. Ignoring DFM is a mistake. One that can lead to higher costs and production headaches.

You also need to know about Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ). This is the smallest amount of product a manufacturer is willing to produce in a single order. Your Kickstarter goal, most likely, will need to be based on the amount of money you need to produce your product’s MOQ.

Knowing about the concepts of DFM and MOQ will help you make sense of the communications you have with manufacturers. Then, you can ultimately make informed decisions.

But before you make any kind of decision at all, you should be aware of…

6 Common Problems in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is expensive and the learning curve is steep. So you don’t want to screw up!

It helps to know where the trouble spots are first, though. So with that in mind, here’s a list of what you need to look out for.

1. Poor communication and misaligned expectations.

You and your manufacturer have to be on the same page. This is true of things like payment and delivery, but it’s extra important when it comes to product design itself.

For example, imagine expecting a silver finish and getting a matte grey one – not great. Always be clear in your communication, using prototypes and visuals to prevent misunderstandings.

2. Delays and unexpected costs.

Maybe a raw material’s price surged, or there’s a sudden labor shortage. You never know what issues you’re going to run into, so your best bet here is to add a cushion in your budget and timeline. Assume something’s going to go wrong that you can’t foresee or prevent.

3. Late design changes.

Design changes mid-production can cause a cascade of issues. Avoid this by finalizing your design before starting and resist the urge to tweak unnecessarily.

4. Poor quality control.

It sounds obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Quality control is super important. A bad batch of goods can tarnish your reputation, so make sure to have stringent quality checks in place.

5. Poor logistics planning.

It doesn’t matter how good your goods are if you can’t ship them. Make sure you factor in freight, customs, and fulfillment costs and times when choosing a manufacturer. Plan your logistics strategy well in advance.

6. Payment issues.

Manufacturers usually require a deposit, and there might be disagreements about final payments, especially if there are defects or disputes. Always have clear agreements in place and consider using escrow services for peace of mind.

Don’t let all these possible issues scare you away from manufacturing entirely, though. Once you know what the problems are, you’re a lot better positioned to either prevent them or handle them when they come up.

So with that in mind, let’s talk about…

Finding Manufacturers

First, there’s no substitute for patience and research. So keep that in mind when you’re looking – you’ll need to ask tons of questions and be extra sure you’re getting a good deal.

Start by searching online, visiting trade shows, or tapping into industry networks. You’re not just looking for a manufacturer, but the right one.

For each manufacturer, you’ll need to consider their capabilities. Can they produce your product as envisioned?

Look at costs but remember: cheapest isn’t always best. You need to think in terms of total cost of doing business, not just what’s on the invoice.

Ask yourself: where are they located? Proximity can affect logistics and shipping costs. And never, ever, overlook reputation. Check reviews, ask for references.

These are the basic questions you’ll need to ask, and they sound simple, but I can’t emphasize this enough – do your due diligence. Vet them, visit their facilities if possible, and check for any red flags. You’re trusting them with your dream.

You might also be wondering? Should I find a manufacturer in my own country or look overseas?

There are pros and cons to both. Going local might be easier for communication and shipping, but overseas manufacturers might offer competitive prices. There’s no right answer, just what suits your needs.

Stuck on where to begin? Websites like Alibaba or Thomasnet are great for finding possible manufacturers. Industry forums and subreddits, as well as trade shows can also provide valuable leads. And sometimes, a simple Google search might yield surprising results. You might even be able to get a good list of options from AI tools like ChatGPT. Start somewhere and refine your approach as you learn.

On that note, once you find a handful of manufacturers, there are two qualities that I want you to pay extra close attention to during your vetting process. They are…

Quality Assurance & Packaging

Before mass production, always order samples. Know upfront that samples cost time and money. It’s a small price to ensure you’re on the right track. Once they arrive, inspect them critically. Provide clear feedback. If they’re not up to the mark, don’t settle. Request revisions or reconsider your manufacturing partner.

Considering sending your product to influencers or reviewers? Order samples for them too. Their endorsement can be gold, but if you provide them with a great experience.

Quality extends to packaging too. This is especially true in the world of social media, where unboxing experiences can have a huge impact on your campaign’s overall reach.

Obviously, the packaging will have to be beautiful, but you also need to consider its more utilitarian aspects too. It protects your product, affects shipping costs, is a branding opportunity, shapes user experience, and needs to comply with regulations. Decide if your packaging is purely protective or if it’s part of the product experience.

Your manufacturer needs to be able to either make or procure packaging that fits your specifications.

And speaking of shipping, packaging can be the difference between profit and loss. Bulky, heavy packaging increases shipping fees. Efficient design can save you tons, which will come in really handy when you’re…

Estimating Costs

From the moment you conceive your product, think about manufacturing costs. Start with designing for manufacturing. It’s simpler and cheaper to make a product that’s been designed with production in mind. No one wants a brilliant idea that’s a nightmare to produce.

Always, and I mean always, get detailed quotes early. Vague estimates won’t cut it. Know your costs down to the penny.

Ask manufacturers how you can produce goods more cost-efficiently. They’re the experts. They can tell you where you might be wasting materials or where a slight design tweak can save you a bunch. They’ve seen it all, so use their experience to your advantage.

Lastly, don’t shy away from negotiating. Prices aren’t always set in stone. Be respectful, but firm. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Once you get all the necessary information, put together a budget and estimate the cost to fulfill your campaign. Don’t forget about stretch goals or add-ons!

Always factor in a bit more than your estimates to account for the unexpected. Every penny counts, so be thorough in your cost calculations.

(We’re going to be dropping a video on how to make a budget in 2 weeks, so more details will be coming soon!)

When it comes to bringing your Kickstarter projects to life, manufacturing is one of the most important parts of the process. That’s why it’s so important to understand how it works all the way from the initial research stage to quality assurance.

My name is Brandon, here on behalf of Fulfillrite. If you need help shipping your orders, go to and request a quote. We’ve shipped thousands of Kickstarters and we’re happy to help you ship yours. The quote doesn’t cost a thing, so if nothing else, you get some good information about pricing. Link in the description.

If you enjoyed this video, please take a moment to like and subscribe. Don’t forget to slap some postage on that bell so we can express ship new videos to you as soon as they drop. And last but not least, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. I will personally answer as many as I can.

Thanks for watching!

You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.

You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.

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