Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article
Looking for bag and luggage factories in China? Look no further.
In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about finding the right manufacturer, ensuring product compliance, drafting product specification sheets and much more – when importing all sorts of bags.
How to select the right bags and luggage factory
Many established bag and luggage manufacturers are based in China’s southern Fujian province. However, there are far more important factors to consider, when selecting the right manufacturer.
This is a rather developed industry, with some manufacturers dating back to the late 1980s. But with so many factories, and trading companies, to choose from – you need to understand what really matters:
1. Product focus and price range
The bag and luggage industry is big, and manufacturers are always specialized in a certain category. Within different bag categories, you’ll find that the suppliers also specialize in different price ranges.
Some manufacture high end bags for luxury brands, while others are geared towards fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M.
If you go even further down the ladder, there are manufacturers that specialize in promotional bags. ‘Giveaway quality’ might not be the right choice if you aim for something more high end.
Yet, a “Giveaway cosmetics bag” supplier might have big brand name buyers, like Nivea. They may also look really good on paper in all other aspects – but still not be the right for your business.
Thus, the most important thing to consider is the product focus and price range.
Let’s summarize it as follows:
- High end
- Medium / Fast fashion
- Promotional / Giveaways
Categories (one or more combinations)
- Leather bags and other leather goods
- PU bags and other PU goods
- Canvas bags
- Fashion bags
- Cosmetic bags
- Laptop bags
- Travel bags
2. Company Data
Every company in China holds a business license. This document is maintained by all factories, but the data can also be obtained online (in Chinese only though).
When you source bag producers, this is what really matters:
a. Registered Capital: You cannot access reliable financial data from Chinese companies, but you can get a clue about their scale of operations, by looking at the amount of registered capital.
While this is not a very capital intensive industry, suppliers with RMB 1,000,000 or less, are less likely to be a manufacturer. The more, the better.
b. Business Scope: Look for words such as “bags” and “luggage” to determine if the supplier is truly focused on bag manufacturing.
In addition, “production” or “manufacturing” should be mentioned, as this indicates that the company is licensed as a manufacturer, and not a trader.
Finally, we look at the documentation.
a. Product Certificates
In the EU and US, chemical regulations apply to bags and luggage. For example, PU leather may not contain certain plasticizers, such as phthalates.
Many suppliers don’t have any control of such substances, meaning that they don’t know whether or not their materials are compliant.
Given that you are responsible to ensure compliance, it is critical that you select a bag supplier that can deliver on this. Ask for test reports of all kinds: REACH, California Proposition 65 and Heavy Metals Screenings.
b. Company Certificates
Another way to identify an organizer supplier is to look at their quality management certification, such as ISO 9001 – and their social compliance certification, which includes BSCI and Sedex.
Such suppliers tend to be geared towards developed markets.
The kind of customers that’s buying from the manufacturer can tell a lot about the supplier. However, big names don’t always mean the manufacturer is the right choice for your product.
Remember what I said about different quality segments?
Regardless of whether you buy Private label products, or design your own bags, you need to define quality in terms of product specifications.
This is what a product specification for two types of bags might look like:
|Specifications||PU Leather Bag||Laptop Bag|
|Design||OEM (Custom)||ODM (Private Label)|
|Material||PU Leather 420 gsm||Nylon, 210 gsm|
|Lining||100% Polyester||100% Polyester|
|Dimensions||32 x 23 x 13 cm||44 x 24 x 14 cm|
|Zipper||YKK, 12 cm||YKK, 9 cm|
L: 800 mm
W: 8 mm
Material: PU Leather
L: 1500 mm
W: 35 mm
|Net Weight||620 grams||590 grams|
|Max Weight||7 kgs||15 kgs|
In addition to the spec sheet, you must also provide the supplier with design drawings for the product unit, and the inner compartments.
If you buy an ODM product, however, you can base the design on product samples provided by the supplier.
There are generally no regulations that apply specifically to bags in general. That said, there are multiple substance regulations and labeling requirements that apply to the materials that bag is made of.
Applicable to all children’s products sold in the United States. Bags and luggage marketed as suitable for children 12 years or younger, must be CPSIA compliant.
For example, ensuring compliance involve the following steps:
- Identify applicable ASTM standards
- Create a Children’s Product Certificate (COC) and additional documentation (i.e., Bill of Material)
- Create a tracking label
- Submit batch samples for compliance testing and obtain test reports
CA Prop 65
Restricts more than 800 substances in consumer goods, and is mandatory if you intend to sell to buyers in California. Many companies outside of California still use this standard to cover many substances at once.
Restricts substances in all consumer goods sold in the European Union. For example, PU leather may not contain certain plasticizers and heavy metals.
While there are no labeling requirements that apply specifically to bags, there are two categories of labeling requirements that are relevant:
- Material labeling requirements
Country of origin
First, country of origin (i.e., Made in China) labeling is mandatory in the United States, but not in the European Union.
Second, material labeling requirements depend on the main materials of the bag. If you buy canvas bags, you must ensure compliance with applicable textiles labeling requirements. This involves the fiber composition, care labeling and more.
However, if you import a bag made of leather, or even PU, a completely different set of labeling requirements applies.
Ensuring compliance when importing from China
As mentioned in this article, it is critical to work with suppliers that have experience with American and European product regulations.
However, even when you are sure of the supplier’s capability to manufacture compliant bags, you must communicate all your product compliance requirements in advance, and provide them with ready made labeling files.
Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
The MOQ for bags is normally set at around 500 to 1000 pcs per model. However, some manufacturers, which may not always be the smallest as many do assume, offer lower MOQs.
Sometimes, as low as 100 to 200 pieces per model. This does, however, come at a higher unit price.
When importing bags, there’s more than just one MOQ requirement to take into consideration. While the supplier sets an MOQ on a per model basis, there are also two separate MOQs on a per color and material basis.
These two MOQs are mostly reflections of the requirements set by the subcontractors, and can vary based on the material and the color. This is how the MOQ might be structured:
- MOQ per design: 500 pcs
- MOQ per material: 250 pcs
- MOQ per color: 250 pcs
By researching the suppliers MOQ structure, you can create several different models, or at least variations of the same models, rather than buying that one blue bag in 500 pcs.
Compliance requirements also have an impact, as the MOQ for REACH and CA Prop 65 compliant materials tend to be higher.
What could possibly be worse than a laptop bag that can’t carry the weight of a laptop? Well, that actually happened.
The only way to ensure that your bag is made according to specification, is to hire a quality inspector to check up on the goods prior to shipment.
A quality inspection is never improvised, but follows a specific checklist. This is what a quality control checklist for laptop bags might look like:
- Visual inspection: Dirt, damages, incorrect colors, other cosmetic defects
- Maximum weight check
- Water resistance check
However, this requires that you have communicated your specifications and quality requirements prior to production.
Ready to import and launch your own bags or luggage collection?
We know how hard it can be to go from an idea, to a mass produced and profitable product. The Starter Package is the only all-in-one solution that includes everything you need to get through every step of the process:
a. Private Label & OEM Product Manufacturer Lists
b. Product Specification Templates
c. Product Label Samples
d. Compliance Document Samples
e. Tutorials, Video Walkthroughs and Task Lists that guide you step-by-step through the entire process
In addition, you can also book quality inspections, lab testing and shipping directly from the platform. Click here to learn more.