Ever notice that everything you buy, has a sticker or engraved ” Made in xyz-country ” ? I noticed this a long time ago, but never really understood why this was so important, until recently….
Since December 2012 i have been working to scale up my ebike obsession into a viable business, putting into practice all the lessons I’ve learned since my dive into this madness of electric bicycles..
See previous blog entries :
Having used, abused, tested, repaired, mix and matched almost every brand and type of ebike related gear in existence, I had a good idea of what i wanted, and what i did not want… in a kit.
Getting back to the subject of this post, ” made in china ” , well, just about everything these days is made in china.. There is nothing i would love more than to produce an entire thing right here in Canada, but reality is, it would cost way too much…
So, what’s a guy to do ?..
Until this point, I’ve purchased everything by internet, have purchased a few pallets of crystalyte stuff way back in 2008, all by email, not even a phone call was made, using friends and references, money was sent and parts were shipped… It has taken me 5 years to liquidate that stock… not exactly a way to earn a living…. well.. i suppose.. if living in a cardboard box and eating leftover tuna is your thing…… But admittedly this was done by word of mouth and during my spare time purely as a hobby…
Now, things are different, I need a complete kit, done the way i want it, and after trying to source this thru North American distributors, i quickly became apparent that everyone wants their own brand… and exclusivity to their products !
Me on the other hand, I welcome other vendors with like minded goals, to be open with customers and match the right product, to the customer’s needs. If that’s not my product, so be it, instead of selling someone a product you know full well will not do the job proper, just to make a sale. yes.. I wrote that.. and I stand by it.
Alright, so i need to put together a kit, got limited funds, and time, no luck buying some of the parts i want locally to mix and match a kit to my standards, so it’s either book a flight to china, or start fishing thru the 1000′s of Chinese suppliers on the internet.
I’ve done lots of fishing, tested out those waters, some good, some bad, but when you plunk down your life savings into a business deal, you best make sure to hook the right fish….. This is possible, but it comes at a premium.
I got lucky, thru my dealings with the ebike industry trail blazers over the years I have made lots of contacts… Spent a few hours going thru emails, and I have a LOT of emails.. oh my god……
Pure luck, I stumbled upon an American I knew, who happened to be in china at the time !.. Bonus !… after many emails and a Skype call… the wheels were set in motion.
When buying large amounts of anything from China, get a sample, understand who you are dealing with… Would you buy a car without trying it ? hell no… So after working thru an ocean of emails, detailing customization and options I wanted done, a first prototype was shipped !
Did I get what I asked for ? no .. was i surprised ? .. no..
Par for the course, I am quite used to this, so another ocean of emails and a second prototype, this time, much better, and looking good… After much testing, agreed to 100 pcs and to the bank I went. When dealing with large orders, you use wire transfers, not paypal..
All this took months, in December I was aiming for a spring delivery date, but by spring I was still testing prototypes, so much for 2013′s early start, but a good thing I suppose, it gave me time to relax from my old life of cubicle cramps.
By September 2013, the boat landed… Pure excitement, it all became real, not just an ebike kit, a Ypedal kit !.. woot !
Now, remember the ” Made in China ” part ?.. well.. it all comes down to this : Importing !
Crossing the border, and getting the rubber ” ok ” stamp, is like passing airport security, rules, regulations, manifests, Bills of Lading, Commercial Invoices, Duties, Brokerage, migraines…
The fine people at Canada Customs will not just take your word for it, they need to know what you are buying, and why, the amount in grams of ear wax you produced last year, and, and, and, .. cough.. dear lord.. I just want to buy some wheels man.. but nope.. you gotta cross the T’s and dot the i’s ..
How cool would it have been if the entire kit could be made in Canada …. some day.. maybe…