Customize and Import Bags from China: A Step by Step Guide

Are you looking to customize, private label and import bags from China and sell in your local market, or online with an E-commerce website?

Then you’re reading the right post.

This post is a step-by-step guide to help you start your own bags business.

Whether you’re looking for leather bags, PU bags or any styles or materials of bags, you’ll find the post helpful.

And without further ado, let’s jump right in.

  1. Things you need to prepare
  2. Find a supplier
  3. Process the order

1. Things you need to prepare

If you don’t have experiece importing from China, here are some basic facts that will save you a ton of time and hassle for your projects.

To develop your own designs of bags, clothes, or anything, don't count on your suppliers on the design part. 

Do it on your end, and have your suppliers handle the production part.

1.1 Prepare the product design and logo

Design Logo

I understand some new startups may feel it’s cost-saving to have FREE designs from the supplier, as some suppliers may offer, but you should also know that their capability in design may not be as good as yours, or that of a third party design service provider.

Having your suppliers design to your expectations can be time consuming and may not generate satisfactory results.

And it’s well worth the money to have a professional designer do the job.

I also understand that startups may face challenges in funds, so it’s important to control the cost on this part as well.

If you dont have a designer on your team, hiring a freelance designer on platforms like upwork, 99designs or fiverr, can probably meet your budget while still delivering satisfactory results.

In another scenario where you want to customize a bag from a photo or if you have a physical sample at hand, that will also be very helpful.

Factories in China like to have your physical sample to make a new bag on top of it, whether it’s exactly the same, or slight changes applied, with a sample at hand, they can customize the bag to your requirements with the least amout of time and potential improvements.

The reason?

There are wholesale markets for bags’ parts as well, the meterials, parts, hardware, zippers, hooks…

With a sample at hand, they can find the same materials to the largest extent, efficiently.

Unlike customizing a bag from a photo, where their designer will need to be very professional and experienced to be able to make a design out of a picture, it’s strongly suggested to prepare a physical sample.

1.2 Prepare money for samples


Remember, when you’re small, or when you just start your business, suppliers in China probably will not offer free samples to you.

I know this doesn’t sound friendly, but it’s hard fact.

Charging for sampling is a security method for suppliers to filter out real buyers.

We've dealt with many suppliers in China and this is what's in their mind: "If a buyer doesn't have a budget for sampling, they're either too small or trying to scam for free samples. Either way is a bad sign for us. Plus, we offer to refund sample fees after order is placed, we've shown our willingness to cooperate."

Even though this is not 100% the case, as some companies may offer you free samples as a way to show their sincerety, spending time on finding one that does so isn’t always worth the time spent on it.

So get prepared with sampling costs when you are still small.

When you’re a big buyer, don’t worry, there will be free samples for you.

But here’s the thing: nothing is really free.

Suppliers offer free samples to big buyers for the purpose of getting big orders.

It’s just a give-and-take.

When you can’t figure out the logic, just imagine you are the seller and they are the buyer. And everything will be clearer.

You get what you pay for.

2. Find a supplier to develop your bag

Finding the right supplier for your bag is probably THE most important thing in your whole business process.

A good supplier can be extremely beneficial and helpful throughout your whole import and selling process.

I’m sure this is an obvious fact that everyone knows.

But HOW to find one is the most difficult part.

Find a supplier on B2B platforms

In today’s world, information is easily accessible and you can find thousands of, if not tens of thousands of, bag suppliers on platforms like Alibaba, Global Sources, Made in China, HKTDC etc.

And you may feel overwhelmed finding a supplier out of so many.

The truth is, there is not only one approach to finding a good supplier.

You can search for the bags you want on B2B platforms and talk to potential suppliers one by one.

This is so straightforward that I believe everyone knows and I’m not going to extend it in this article.

Find a sourcing services provider

Another approach you may not be aware of is to work with a sourcing services provider, like us.

I can imagine that you may think: why would I pay extra to work with a sourcing company when I can work directly with a factory? I’m not that stupid!

It’s understandable that you think this way, and it works perfectly fine as well.

But the fact is: the suppliers you can find on the web, including alibaba, may not be a direct factory at all.

There are a large number of trading companies on the platform who are investing a lot to rank higher on search results page, become more accessible by potential buyers, like you.

And believe me, in some cases, it’s not easy for you to tell if a supplier is a trading company or a direct factory, even though there are filters on the website.

Plus, working directly with a factory may not be as ideal as you think.

People usually think that working directly with a factory will save a lot of money because there is no middleman cost.

This is true if you find a good factory, a factory that doesn’t scam you, that understands English well enough to understand your requirements, that has a sense of service and responsibility.

But the fact is, factories don’t usually have good English speaking staff to cater to your needs.

Most of the time, they use machine translation for text-based communications with you. And you may need to hire a professional interpreter to interpret your live meetings with them, at your cost.

Language, or more precisely communication, is an important factor to consider when choosing a supplier, as it not only determines if a supplier knows what you need, but also influences communication efficiency, thus your cost on the product as a whole.

Evaluate if you prefer to spend the time on dealing with your suppliers or the marketing of your business.

As a startup, the most important part of the business relies heavily on sales, which I believe should be the NO. 1 priority of your focus.

Working with a sourcing services like us is a good alternative to working with direct factories.

First, no language barriers.

We understand English, speak good English and we save you time on communication and avoid misunderstandings.

Working with us is like working with locals and you can enjoy the pleasant experience under so many uncertainties.

Second, we can actually provide you with better prices.

This may sound untrue at first, but let me tell you: not all factoies have a web presence.

There are many factories with no budget, language capability or marketing staff to support their business online.

Thus, you can’t find them.

And this is what we can do, as a Chinese local.

We simply make use of the resources, find good unknown suppliers and bridge us all, without adding extra burden on you.

This is a triple win result.

Third, you enjoy the best services.

A sourcing service agency like us usually has service in mind.

That’s what we make a living fundamentally.

We turn your ideas into products with efficiency and without hassle for you, from cummunicating your initial idea, to design details, sampling, ordering, order followup, product inspection, shipping and delivery, we do almost anything that’s needed throughout the whole export and import process.

Find a supplier from wholesale markets and trade shows

There are many wholesales markets for bags in China.

If you plan to visit China, here’s a list of bags wholesale markets in China that you can explore.

One thing to point out is that sellers in wholesales markets don’t usually speak English, though most of them know how to use a calculator to discuss business with you.

If you don’t speak Chinese, hiring an interpreter to go with you to the market is essential to help you translate and navigate the markets more efficiently.

This approach is more suitable for experienced buyers.

And it’s similar experience if you try with a trade show, though there can be more English speaking suppliers.

3. Process the order

Once you have your designs, logos and/or photos or physical samples, you’re ready to go to the sampling stage.

3.1 Sampling

By working with us, all you need to do is sending these files or samples to us, make payment for sampling and we’ll take care of the rest: determining the best factory for the product, have them make our sample with priority and provide their best price and send the made sample to you for evaluation.

We can provide you with the best deal because:

3.1.1 We think for you.

If you work with a factory or trading company, they will all advocate their own advantages.

But we don’t have to.

We simply pay visits (in case of new factory) or select from our database to make sure the factory we used is the best for your case.

It aligns with our own interest and thus, you don’t need to worry about us using unqualified factories.

3.1.2 We handle issues instantly.

In case the sample made isn’t the same as requested, we can find it out when the sample is still in China and negotiate for a solution.

This will save you a ton of time since it easily takes 10 days, and another 10 days for international shipping back and forth and it costs a lot.

When you’re happy with the sample, it’s time to place an order.

3.2 Place an order

Remember a philosophy: always start small.

Even if the sample is good, start with the MOQ (minimum order quantity).

Let me put it this way: we want you to succeed so that we can succeed. We want mutual success.

We will be your supplier with patience, support and all that’s needed for you to succeed.

Since there’s always uncetainty, like that the products are well made, but the sales just didn’t work well.

Things like this happen. So we would suggest our customers to go slowly with more safety.

If you have a clear prediction of your sales, we’re capable of satisfying your requests as well.

3.3 Order follow-up

Once the order is placed, we will follow up the order intensively.

There can be unpredicted issues throughout the production process, things like shortage of raw material supply, factory personnel change etc. can happen and influence the process.

But we’re here to handle such issues.

We keep a close contact with the factory and negotiate solutions for any clarification and issues. And in case needed, we’ll talk with you for further resolution.

3.4 Quality Inspection

Generally we follow a procedure of in-production inspection – finished products inspection.

We do in production inspection for the purpose of avoiding severe mistakes that will be too late to handle when the goods are produced.

Sometimes factories make mistakes unintentionally, well, who don’t?

We all make mistakes.

And that’s why we want to avoid the occurance of mistakes before it’s too late.

And we believe it’s good for you, and it’s our value as well.

Working with a direct factory doesn’t have this external inspection step, which is a layer of risk.

Finished products inspection is a normal process to make sure the final products are same as the order details.

In case there are issues found, we will also try to resolve the issues while the products are still in China.

3.5 Shipping

We work with shipping agents frequently, which gives us more advantage in shipping cost, product safety and services, which will all be transferred to you in one way or another.

When the goods are ready, we will discuss with you for the best shipping solution.

In some countries, we can also deliver to your door for bulk shipment. This is a door to door service that is favored by many customers.

As for specific countries or ports, please reach out to us to check for you.


By now, you should have an idea of the whole process of turning your idea into products and shipped to you.

As a local sourcing agent company in China, we look forward to helping you succeed.

In case anything is unclear, please feel free to leave a comment below or email us directly.

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