Absolutely no vegans were offended or animals were hurt procuring this leather. It is totally synthetic. So you can relax.
The rise of conservationism and a greater awareness of animal welfare has pushed the leather industry in a new direction. And Guangzhou as a handbag and bag manufacturer is owning that space. In 2017, Guangzhou produced well over a 1,000,000 handbags for export. If you are umming and ahhing about how and where to start your handbag design and manufacturing ideas let us first explain to you why Guangzhou should be your first port of call.
Manufacturing around China is divided into areas, districts, regions, specialist zones meaning that different cities and townships across China have become specialist in manufacturing different things. Guangzhou has become known as the leather city. The workforce is divided into people that buy and sell leather (known as the material traders) and these place themselves around the city and leather bag manufacturing districts. They operate out of huge four and five story trading centres where you basically go and choose your swatches. For leather bag manufacturers like ourselves this presents itself as a goldmine where we can begin our manufacturing journey. Over the 12 years present here working with leather bag factories we have got our go to suppliers, who we know and rely on. But every now and again we do shake it up and see what else is out there. But having the relationship on the ground and being able to pick first hand is so important if you want to create a good leather bag with a manufacturer.
There is a catch here however. Custom leather bag manufacturers often use particular swatches and particular materials from particular suppliers. This means stock often sells out. Once it's sold out, you have no choice but to wait for the supplier to re-stock. Given that the material you choose for your leather goods supplier has to be such that it is readily available. Our comment about having relationships on the ground is super important here because through A LOT of trial and error we have now got good access to material that can be constantly used and delivered to leather handbag manufacturers. We rarely encounter stock issues. But it can be frustrating if you are starting out and you may find you have a conversation a little like this:
You: "Hey. Yes I got the sample its great. Ready to place an order whenever"
Leather Handbag Manufacturer: "Ok. Sure. Right now we only have similar material, is it ok for you?"
You: "Sure, how similar is it?"
Leather Handbag Manufacturer: "Well, its green not black and the pattern is a bit different."
You: "Hmmm, not ideal. How do we get the original material?"
Leather Handbag Manufacturer: "Well we need to pre-book the material and the MOQ is 5,000,000,000 yards? Can you accept an MOQ of 10,000,000,000 pieces?"
You: "Not really. I am just starting out."
Leather Handbag Manufacturer: "Ok. Bye."
Alright, so this is an exaggeration somewhat, but you get my point. You get so far down your leather bag manufacturing journey and then you get stumped by something that seems so irrelevant it should have been addressed in the beginning.
Well, with 12 years here in Guangzhou, we don't have that problem (much). We only usually source leather goods and materials through suppliers that are readily available. Most of the time for handbags, purses and other leather bag manufacture we can operate with minimum order quantities of around 100 pieces per design (this is not guaranteed, but just a guide). Email us with your idea for a more specific quote. But as I am sure you agree, the material is a huge huge part of bringing your handbag design idea from head space to handbag manufacturer is probably one of the largest and most important parts. Material, look and feel is everything. Next up is construction quality, finishing, zippers, tags, studs etc. Oh boy, this will be fun to try and explain.
Nobody wants their zippers to chip, their stud feet to pop off or their leather to start pocking. There is another link in the chain and that is the acquisition of what I call the bells and whistles. Just like the huge leather supplier markets and factories that churn out material there are equally just as many suppliers that sell the other bits in between. These can be even more hellish to deal with. Let's say the average handbag has 5 zippers.
A couple on the outside, a couple on the inside and one or two elsewhere. And you are looking at an initial order of 100 pieces. You will need around 500 zippers. And you want them plated rose gold. No leather bag manufacturer is going to have a connect that can just get you 500 custom rose gold plated zippers. They will have to buy from a market connect, or a distributor.
These guys hustling on the handbag zippers make cents per piece. So you can imagine by using some high school math, they need to sell a lot of zippers to be able to afford that Maserati. But mark my words, some of the guys selling handbag manufacturers, the zippers they sell are in huge quantity. But in a numbers game, how vested do you think they are in quality, or better still how are their resources to check the quality on all the zippers they receive from the manufacturer...I can tell you, its low. They get bagged up, weighed, counted and priced up. And then when they go out to the wholesale leather bag suppliers its a game of pot luck basically.
Now, again this comes down to experience. 12 years here, we know our good eggs from our bad eggs from our absolutely rotten eggs. And so do our trusted leather bag manufacturers. But if you are just starting out, it could be something that you come across. Unfortunately it's true many leather bag suppliers don't place a lot of value in first time customers, thinking short term rather than long term. This is mainly because it takes a long time to develop the leads and then you make $1000, it's hardly a business model that's easy to scale up without a great deal of time and patience. Even we cannot 100% guarantee that the quality of the zippers used by our leather handbag manufacturers are good every time, its just a numbers game. Some will slip through.
So we have a policy in place to protect our clients and ensure we filter out the bag eggs from the rotten eggs and the good eggs from the rest. We basically say if you buy any handbags and you encounter bad or faulty zippers then we will re-up for you on the next order. Basically re-make for you for free. Usually as a rule of thumb we encounter 3 or 4 leather handbags that have been manufactured sub-par shall we say. So we address where those quality issues are and we add them to the next order.
From here on out, it gets easy. I will say this. If you have a leather bag manufacturer and they are in Guangzhou. Chances are the standard of workmanship will be good. This is because the labour force is most hired on a temporary basis. Bigger orders. they pull workers in. Small orders they reduce the labour force. This means that most of the factories draw from the same pool of workers. So by the time you get your product to the factory floor, 9/10 leather bag manufacturers here in guangzhou are going to produce something that's good. In fact they are so good they make copy designer handbags that are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. That's how good they are. But please don't go into the copy handbag business...let's create something unique and new.
Anyway, I hope this short blog post has been helpful for you to get some insight into how the leather bag manufacturing process works, what you should think about prior to getting involved and some of the potential snags along the way.
Of course The IdeaLabgz, positioned here since 2009 is in great shape and well positioned to help you develop your idea and bring it to the best leather bag manufacturers so please do reach out to us via the form below to discuss your idea. Everything is completely confidential, there are no upfront fees until we start sampling and we will not sign off on anything until you are completely happy with it, whether it takes 3 weeks or 3 months.