Clothing Agent Big Issue!
Discussion in China Dongmen,about sample prices, sharp elbows required as well as a gentle smile and a good handshake:-)
My first order was a big mess!paid for 5-10 days Airmail Delivery but got posted on a boat and got stuck for 2-3 months creating a big delay,posted from Cambodia
Tuesday and cloudy, light rain and cold winds. Yes it's not the most wonderful weather I have experienced but it gives me a good reason to heat up some coffee and work on the sketches for My new collection. I have received a picture from my Manufacturer that needs to be approved and I have been answering some emails today. In the morning I got an email from one of my regular visitors that are struggling with her order in India, facing almost the same problems as me. I would like to warn others from getting tricked by smart agents when abroad and when searching for Manufacturers. The designer that emailed me faced the same problem as I did, to give you a better idea of the issue I have attached some parts of the Email that I got:
Here is the Question from new Designer, about sample and agent issue:
Alice, do you also have agent in India? its so difficult to deal with the factories sometimes i feel they are just not interested in doing business when i email them. I write something they reply something else its so frustrating i do have this driver who also happens to be a middle person/agent he took us to few factories to get things done and that one sample of mine which the designer made it wrong hes taking responsible for it and finally when he fixed it, his employee put the sticker on the parcel as SAMPLE and I was caught by the custom department there and he has to pay for penalty which is not worth it for him because already he is fixing the dress for me free of charge. So now he has to make a new piece for me which hes not charging of course because it was his fault.
Anyways I was talking with him on the phone today on how it is so frustrating to deal with factories there and he said thats why buyers go through us! so i know next time i also have to give him commission but i don't know how much. So i would like to ask if you have gone through an agent like this who helps you deal with the factories communicate with them etc?
Here is my reply:
I have to tell you, I started chatting on Alibaba before going to India to find a suitable Manufacturer and got an email from a guy that presented himself like a Manufacturer, saying that he had factories in India and China and I ended up getting picked up by him and what I thought his employee (the employee turned up to be my future Manufacturer).
He picked us up in the morning the day after and took us around, never mentioning the fact that he was an Agent and it wasn't until a few days after(when he said that I should write his name on the Order Sheet expecting his signature on it for Order Approval) that I realized that he wasn't a Manufacturer, he was an Agent !!
I didn't even know what he was charging me and I got really upset, why can't he sit down and explain how everything works, I'm an agent, I help you with this and that and my fee is this?.
I talked to one of the manufacturers that I liked and in the end she told me that he charges her 7 % on my order and I have to pay him 7 % of the whole order as well. I called him and told him what I thought, that he didn't tell the truth and I was actually really upset, so I broke it off with him,I don't need any middle man taking money from me so I don't like the Agents at all, they sceem a lot and I even heard that they copy the samples by going to several Manufacturers and show 'my dress/the customers samples ' to other buyers that then makes them with a different label,perhaps different fabric which isn't good at all! I recommend not to work with an agent and go straight to a Manufacturer.
It seems like you have that situation as well and I would like to recommend you to find a Manufacturer and just work with them straight off, also I would have a Shipment and Quality Control Firm, they go in when the order is ready and double check the items to see that they look good and then they take care of shipping everything for you, they charge 5-15% on the order but the good thing is that they doesn't know the manufacturer and comes like a third part checking that everything is perfect for you, because once the garments are sent it's up to you to check when it arrives and if your not happy, a lot of Manufacturers will simply ignore you and your complaint.
It's good that you talked to him and that he is supplying you with a new garment since it got stuck in customs, they should always post it like gift.
Getting this email it surprises me that you have to know so much before making orders, no one will tell you anything which was really frustration to me. Then again, different countries work differently and when working in China and Agent is almost a must, especially when your not physically there.
Do you have a question?
Feel free to contact me here by writing a comment in the blogs or in My Guest book..
Regards and best of luck out there Alice!