Taiwan Number 1… Alternative to China! – Why American importers are switching production to Taiwan

Taiwan Number 1… Alternative to China!

Why American importers are switching production to Taiwan

By: John D’Angola / 26 August 2019

 

President Donald Trump is urging American companies to move back to America, or at least out of China. For those American importers looking for an easy switch, Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China, or the OTHER China, the democratic one!) has some fantastic options. 

Taiwan has been an export powerhouse for decades. First, with consumer goods. Later, after much of the low-skilled manufacturing left for Mainland China, Taiwan differentiated itself as an exporter of high-tech products. To this day, Taiwan excels in information technology, advanced materials, and a variety of other sophisticated industries.

But what about apparel and related accessories? Although it is true many of these producers relocated from Taiwan to Mainland China, many remain and continue to compete globally by offering superior quality and production capabilities. And now, in light of the tariffs on Chinese products imported into the United States, many of these products are competitive on price, too.

So are you ready to reconsider Taiwan as your new location of production? Great! This article will review which products are ripe for sourcing from this highly capable manufacturing nation.

 

Apparel

Hong Kong may be known for their custom tailored suits, but Taiwan is definitely the regional capital for performance apparel. Taiwanese brands such as Outerboro have built a worldwide following through their innovative shirts, pants and outerwear. Each item features unique tech fabrics that provide superior comfort and value-add features like four way stretch, upcycled materials, and advanced thermal regulation. 

In addition to offering better quality and more advanced features, Taiwanese manufacturers are also able to offer lower minimum order quantities compared to other manufacturers in the region.

Check our Apparel Sourcing page to learn more.

 

Socks

Earlier this year, a Taiwanese sock supplier was shocked by order for 600 million socks as Trump tariffs kicked in. They were shocked, but we were not. Socks are one product that Taiwan produces exceptionally well, both in terms of quality and price. 

Compared with other sock manufacturers, our Taiwanese partners offer superior sewing accuracy, production efficiency, and packaging options. They have produced billions of socks over the years. Because they are awesome.

Check our Socks Sourcing page to learn more about sourcing custom socks.

 

Towels

In recent years, branded towels have become essential merchandise for streetwear, fitness, and corporate segments. Fortunately for American importers, we have several outstanding sources for towels in Taiwan as well. Gym towels, beach towels, kitchen towels, you name it. 

Check our Towel Sourcing page to learn more.

 

Sunglasses 

Taiwan’s merchandise manufacturing capabilities are not limited to soft goods. In fact you may be surprised to learn that we can source custom sunglasses from Taiwan as well.

The quality of Taiwan’s sunglasses are on par with the big name brands sunglasses manufactured in Italy, and available at lower price and minimum order quantity. Their capabilities are just as comprehensive, including custom acetate colors and patterns, custom metal frame designs, custom hinges and accessories, and more.

To learn more about sourcing custom sunglasses from Taiwan, check our Sunglass Sourcing page.

 

Watches 

China may be the best place to manufacture cheap watches, and Switzerland is hands down the most reputable. But a little known fact is that Taiwan offers the best value. 

Our Taiwanese watch manufacturing partners import movements, crystals, dials and other components from Switzerland, Japan and other elite supplier locations. They then delicately assemble the final product to a standard that sets them apart in terms of cost and quality.

Check our Watch Sourcing page to learn more.

 

Umbrellas

Taiwan’s unique topography and tropical climate results in a massive amount of rain each year. So it is no wonder Taiwan has retained a strong umbrella manufacturing industry. 

Given the locals in Taiwan are both sophisticated and price sensitive, the umbrella sector is especially competitive. Low cost umbrellas must be resilient to hold up during typhoon season. Meanwhile, value-add features such as automatic open and close, extra durable fabric and upgraded handles are not the exception, but the norm.

To learn more about sourcing custom umbrellas, check our Umbrella Sourcing page.

 

But wait, there’s more! 

Much more, actually. Too much to include in this short post. So if there is anything you need manufactured that is not included on this page, comment below or contact us directly to see if we can source that in Taiwan as well.

Because Taiwan number 1 (alternative to Mainland China)!

 

Not everyone loses in a trade war: How one order for 600 million socks confirms supply chain adaptability

Not everyone loses in a trade war

How one order for 600 million socks confirms supply chain adaptability

By: John D’Angola / 19 June 2019

 

“Everyone loses in a trade war” says virtually every economist and pundit on tv. Simple yet foreboding, the warning is persuasive. But it is also fundamentally false.

 

Clearly, trade wars disrupt business as usual. But the truth is that trade wars do indeed have winners, both on a national and business level. And although the question of which nations will come out ahead long-term in the current US China trade war remains unclear, many manufacturers are clearly winning as they experience windfalls of new business.

 

One such winner is in Taiwan. A sock producer in Changhua County recently reported receiving a single order for 600 million socks. Initially planned to be sourced in Mainland China, the huge sock order was redirected to Taiwan following U.S. President Trump’s announcement that his administration would increase tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on US$200 billion worth of goods made in China. 

LOHO Hosiery Museum. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)
Taiwanese township shocked by order for 600 million socks as Trump tariffs kick in

 

“Although Taiwan may no longer be the cheapest, it still has strong production and distribution capabilities. The 300 million pairs of socks can be entirely eaten [produced] by Taiwan,” said Wei Ping-i, chairman of Taiwan Hosiery Manufacturers’ Association.

 

Other Taiwanese industry leaders agree: while Mainland China’s low labor cost and weak regulatory environment priced Taiwanese manufacturers out of the market for most consumer products decades ago, the new tariffs imposed on Mainland China by the Trump administration now make Taiwan a prime alternative location of production.

 

Of course Taiwanese manufacturers are not the only country reaping the rewards of the trade war. Indeed manufacturers throughout Asia, especially in Vietnam and Bangladesh, are seeing significant increases to their US-bound exports. Supply chains are evolving; it seems for every manufacturer hurt by the trade war, another benefits.

 

Companies who rely on outsourcing production to Mainland China have been vocal in their disapproval. Nike and Adidas recently published an open letter to the Trump administration warning increased costs would be passed on to consumers. But this argument falls a bit flat, as inflation has remained low, under 2% annualized, throughout the entirety of the current US-China trade war, suggesting that the Trump tariffs do not directly translate into a consumer tax.

 

Massive brands like Nike and Adidas have the resources to lobby Washington to implement their preferred policy. For everyone else, considering alternative supply chains is the correct play. Manufacturers like the sock producer in Taiwan have the quality, capacity and capability to compete.

 

Social Media and Social Proof: How Understanding Consumer Psychology Can Boost Results

Social Media and Social Proof: How Understanding Consumer Psychology Can Boost Results

By: Tim Wang / 14 March 2019

 

Ever see a long line at a food truck and wonder if it’s worth the wait to try? Or maybe  you’ve seen videos shared by friends of juicy pulled pork on top crispy fries with oozing cheese and immediately went to eat that dish?

Okay, maybe you’re not as food-obsessed as I am. But still.

This train of thought and action is deeply rooted in the subconscious and is often referred to as social proof. This phenomenon is absolutely pervasive in modern consumer culture, so let’s take a closer look at what social proof is and learn how to best apply it your merch marketing.

 

What is social proof?

 

Social proof is defined as the interaction between psychological and social influence that refers to people’s dependence on the response and behavior of others to self-determine what they should do in a given situation.

What does this actually mean?  In layman’s terms, people look at others actions as a source of what they should or shouldn’t do, then imitate  that behavior.

Even though the term social proof didn’t appear til the 1980’s, the marketing concept dates to the mid-nineteenth century with early testimonial advertisements. But more recently, with the introduction of social media, the social proof is now ubiquitous in our lives.  Social media users are constantly inundated by products and services liked, shared and commented upon by individuals in their network. These are all forms of modern social proof.

 

Why is social proof important to you?

 

A 2018 survey by Bright local showed that 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations. A decision is then usually made after one to six recommendations, which may come in the form of  online reviews, comments, or posts. Therefore, businesses ought to create and maintain platforms that encourage customers to share their experience with the community, and then engage with these customers by directly replying to their messages online . This two-way dialogue around client feedback will not only help project  quality customer care, but in turn will help you run your business better.

The different types of social proof

 

In general, social proof can be broken into the following six types:

  1. Customers: Customer social proof is when your users recommend your products, services, or business based on personal experiences with your brand.
    • Examples: ratings through review sites or posts on social media platforms.
  2. Celebrities: Celebrity social proof is when an influencer or celebrity endorses your products. Might be a paid ad or endorsement of their own volition.
    • Examples: a tweet or Instagram post about their experience with your product or establishment
  3. Expert: Expert social proof is when a specialist in your industry recommends your business or is associated with your brand.
    • Examples:  An expert in your field discusses your business in a book, speech or online video.
  4. Crowds: Also known as wisdom of the crowd, this type of social proof is the popularity or when large numbers are seen to be endorsing your brand.
    • Examples: long wait lines at a restaurant or millions of followers on social media platforms.
  5. Friends: This type of social proof is when people observe activities of a friend.
    • Examples: You hear a friend raving about a new product they recently experienced; you see a friend post about a service on social media.
  6. Certification: This type of social proof is typically communicated by  a stamp of approval,certification or award by a high-quality, trustworthy, authoritative body in their industry.
    • Examples: USDA Certified Organic label or the blue check mark on Twitter

Now that we’ve discussed what social proof is, let’s take a look at ways to implement this into your marketing

 

How to use social proof in your marketing

 

1. Encouraging customers to leave a good rating

 

Before purchasing any product, most customers  wants to know “will this work?” The best place to find answers is  the reviews section . User reviews are perhaps the most common form of social proof. This is why it is important to provide customers an area to review products on your website.

Example: Many big brands such as Amazon display a rating system and customer reviews with all their products.

  • The number of reviews indicates  the popularity of the item
  • The number of answered questions represent  engagement and feedback
  • The rating/star system show the overall satisfaction with the product

All together, this creates a sense of confidence in the product, which in turn encourages customers to buy. These few lines of script to enable reviews for your website can help market the product all on its own.  

Beyond the company website, you may want to consider third-party platforms that support a customer review system. Some examples are Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google, and Facebook. Depending on the service and product, it is best to register with a few of these platforms.

G/O Digital, a marketing solutions company, published a study that showed:

  • 80 percent said they’d be more likely to purchase if they saw positive user reviews on the company’s Facebook page.
  • 41 percent said the most important factor in engaging with a local business’ Facebook page is seeing customer reviews or ratings.

Enabling onsite reviews and being active on social review sites is a great way to take advantage of user social proof.  

 

2. Share customer appreciation for your products or services  

 

Another easy way to generate customer social proof is to share the @mentions or shout-outs on your social media accounts. This quickly shows the love that users have for your business.

Example: Slack, a international service for internal business communications, created a Twitter account, @SlackLoveTweets, which retweets @mentions from their users.

 

Is your business not as big? No need to worry! Another easy way to share customer love is to generate a unique hashtag that only pertains to your business. This hashtag will allow you track and re-post user-generated content.  

Example: Herschel Supply Co. uses #Herschel. It is simple and easy to use, yet unique. The simpler the better  so it’s easy for people to remember when showing their appreciation, though it’s generally best to avoid terms that are already commonly used.

Pro Tip: If your business has an Instagram account, you can re-post the content as soon as it is made available. Learn how here.

 

 

3. Re-post  honorable mentions from reputable sources

Every so often you might receive acknowledgement from the press, a big brand, or a specialist in your industry. This is a great form of expert social proof. To make the most out of this, you can take the featured content and publish it on social media.  If it happens to be an @mention on their account, great! Go ahead and re-post for everyone to see.

Example: Tesla earned the Best Car Award in Germany for three years in a row.

  • To publicize this, they tweeted a thank you note and link to the awards list.  This informs their current and future customer base of their accolades.
  • The last sentence in the tweet also works as wisdom of the crowd because it received votes from a large sample size

 

4. Use Brand Ambassadors

 

Social media is perfect for brand ambassadors. In addition to celebrities and athletes,  internet personalities, industry experts, and loyal users all make great brand ambassadors on social media. Ambassadors may display  their ambassador title in the bio section, but most importantly will help promote your business by sharing their experience with your brand directly to their audience.

Example: Virus Intl is a performance apparel clothing line. They choose top performing athletes from many sports across the board to promote their athletic wear.

  • Each athlete has their sport and location mentioned as well as a click-thru link to their individual Instagram accounts

 

Collaborations like Virus Intl, paid endorsements, or natural endorsements help prove the value of your product or service to potential customers.

 

5.  Strength in numbers

 

If you have a large customer base, you could mention the size of your customer base in your profile bio.  It is a great example showing wisdom of the crowd Apart from the size of your customer base, here’re a few other stats you could mention:

  • Number of countries your company serves or your customers are in (e.g. in 100+ countries)
  • Number of goods sold every day, week, month, or year (e.g. X burgers sold daily)
  • Number of recommendations given (e.g. more than 1000 5-star ratings on Yelp)

Customers feel more comfortable participating  when they see large crowds. If you have an email list or subscription, a practical application would be to mention the size of the community the potential customer would be joining. Let them know they are joining something big!

 

6.  Collaboration with experts for a live event

Many platforms now offer live streaming such as Facebook live, Instagram TV, twitch.tv,  Youtube Live or Apple podcasts. You can invite specialists for a social media event to discuss your business or product. Their positive influence and will give your audience an opportunity to learn from leaders in the industry.

Pro Tip: Ask your audience to submit questions or consider a live Q&A session

Example: The Joe Rogan Experience

  • Joe Rogan is an actor, comedian, and businessman.
  • He invites experts ranging from philosophers  to rocket scientists
  • By engaging in conversation with so many leading figures, Joe promote his personal brand to establish his foothold in the film and entertainment industry.

 

7.  Getting Verified

On certain platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can get verified and receive a blue check mark on your bio. Receiving a blue check mark in your account bio is a form of certification social proof. Depending on the social media platform it is meant to signify that you are an authoritative figure, that you are popular or influential, or  that you are interesting enough to be awarded the check mark.

Example: Facebook Verified Page

In addition from gaining credibility and respect from the community, you may also gain access to new features reserved for verified accounts or Pages only.

Each platform has a different methodology to be verified but here is Facebook’s process.

 

8.  Getting Tested

Statista.com reports that in 2018, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online.  During the same year, global e-retail sales amounted to 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars. As online sales continue to grow, customers want security. There are many ways to go about this such as: website and payment security and business accreditation. Below are a few examples of badges your company website might receive upon passing the test.

Example:

 

  • The certification is based on numerous data points, which provide reference points for comparing the criteria shoppers want to know in advance of making a purchase.
  • Also this hits 2 bird with 1 stone. This is a combination of expert and certification social proof.

 

What other ways have you been using social proof and marketing?

As we’ve seen, social proof comes in all different shapes and sizes. The 8 practices listed here are a good start, but by no means represent a comprehensive list. There are plenty of other ways businesses can utilize the concept of social proof to maximize brand value, so  e would love to learn from you, too. Tell us how you have been using social proof, social media-related or otherwise, in your marketing. How well has it been working for you? Let us know in the comments.

The Perfect Baseball Cap for Every Face Shape

The Perfect Baseball Cap for Every Face Shape

By: Miriam Tai / 25 January 2019

“I don’t look good in baseball caps.” 

I hear this a lot and it’s almost always wrong. Yes, we all look silly in certain hats. But balance is key to finding the most flattering hat to complete your outfit; it’s all about size. Specifically, it’s all about making sure that the visor and crown aren’t too big or too small. 

 

Long Faces // Dad Hats + Sport Caps

Wear – Short visors, curve visors, low to mid crowns

Avoid – Tall crowns, flat visors

If you have a long face, tall hats are not very flattering – as this elongates your face even more. Work with crowns that are deep enough to cover a good portion of your forehead, this will allow to even out the length of your face.

Ryan Gosling & Kim Kardashian

 

Square Faces // Dad Hats + Snapbacks + Sport Caps

Wear – Curve visors, unstructured, low to high crowns

Avoid – Flat and wide visors

Square faces are characterized by an equal proportion of forehead, cheekbones and jawline. Soften your features by choosing styles that have a softer shape and have curvilinear lines. Avoid hats that are angular, this will compete with your structured face and come across too strong.

Brad Pitt & Fergie

Heart Faces // Dad Hats + Sport Caps

Wear – Curve visor, low to mid crowns

Avoid – Angled crowns, wide and flat visors

Heart faces are characterized by a wide forehead and cheekbones with a narrow jaw. To maintain attractive proportions, people with this type of face ought to avoid visors and crowns that are too large. Other than that, this face shape is pretty versatile in terms of hat selection.

Ashton Kutcher & Halle Berry

 

Round Faces // Snapbacks + Sports Caps

Wear – Sharp lines, structured caps, mid to high crowns, flat visors

Avoid – Unstructured caps, low crowns

If your face is relatively equal in width and length with rounded cheeks, you might have a round shaped face. Round facers tend to look best in hats that feature harder angles and higher crowns, this will balance out the roundness of the face.

Fat Joe & Hayden Panettiere

 

Diamond Faces // Snapbacks + Sports Caps

Wear – Mid to high crowns, structured

Avoid – Low profile crowns, unstructured

Diamond faces have a lot of width around the cheekbones and eyes but also a narrow forehead and chin. From my experience, diamond faces look best in hats that elongate the face, i.e. styles that have higher crowns.

Ryan Reynolds & Jennifer Lopez

 

Oval Faces // Dad Hats + Snapbacks + Sport Caps

Wear – Curve visor, flat visor. Low crown, high crown. Pretty much anything goes!

Avoid – Nothing.

Oval shaped faces is essentially the longer version of the round face. The length of your face is more than the width, while your forehead and chin stay rounded. The options are virtually limitless with the lucky people with this face shape! Most hat structures are suitable, it all comes down to personal choice.

Will Smith & Rihanna

Keep an eye out on T-shirt trends followed by Dad hat history in the coming weeks. Let us know what you think about the baseball cap face shapes in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!