Get ready for a long and painstaking search. Alibaba is your friend if used with caution and discretion.
In searching for suppliers for beachyheads products I spent many months trawling through the products of hundreds of companies, each specialising in nine hundred and eighty seven things. In trying to pare down the list of those companies I would approach, I read reams of company profiles each littered with spelling mistakes (including the odd amusing one) and lofty claims to blue chip retail supply contracts.
Once I had identified the port I wanted the factory to be close to I then emailed suppliers. For each of the products or components I required I sent approximately 50 emails to those companies who seemed to have the right products. Of those 50 companies I would receive back approximately 10 replies, with the quality of the content ranging from useful to completely illegible. However, once a functional relationship has been established, it has to be said that the emails from my contacts in China can be ever so sweet and can really brighten up a busy day!
Also, although the task of wading through the information overload on Alibaba was a pain, there was the odd gem along the way to keep one amused. Such as the now famous: “Elegant evening dress for Fat Women” (sic).