Overseas or Local: Finding a Manufacturer for Invention Development

Overseas or Local: How to Find a Great Manufacturer

When trying to find the perfect manufacturer for your invention development, there’s a lot of things you need to take into consideration. For starters, you need to determine the type of supplier you’re looking for which will help you in your research and invention development. Another thing you need to think about is whether you want to use a domestic or overseas manufacturer. Once you have the basics down, you can start your search for the perfect manufacturer for your product.

Invention development for manufacturing

Local manufacturing is a great way to get your product created quickly and efficiently.

Now, where do you start?

  • Directories
    Some of the best resources are free online supplier directories like ThomasNet or Makers Row.
  • Google
    This can be a bottomless pit of information but using Google can still be a great option. Search on the higher pages of your Google search results and use a combination of search words. It’s also a great source to find the best of the best product design firms for your invention development.
  • Library
    Sounds crazy that people still go here right? But surprisingly many libraries have monthly subscriptions to business and manufacturer publications you wouldn’t normally have access too.
  • Referrals
    Ask around! You can never underestimate the value of talking to others and getting their recommendations. A good product design firm will have many local and overseas connections with manufacturers. Reach out to discuss your options and get referrals for your invention development.

Once you find some manufacturers, reach out to them to receive more information and a quote. Find out what their minimum order quantity is, pricing for samples, turnaround time, payment terms, etc.

Sourcing manufacturers is an important step in your invention development process, so it’s critical to do your diligence while researching and to source the right people to ask questions throughout.

What are your biggest tips for finding the right manufacturer? Share in the comments!

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!


  1. Charles Volkema

    May 31, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    I am currently in the beginning stages of acquiring a parent. It is a simplistic and simple design. With that said I am also researching potential manufacturers for either a finished prototype, or mass production. I look forward to your reply and additional dialog moving forward.

    • MAKO Design + Invent

      June 7, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Charles!

      Thanks for reaching out. We would love hear more about your project and help you out in any way that we can. Please send us an email at info@makodesign.com and we will set up a call to discuss the next steps. Looking forward to hearing from you!

      Mako Team

  2. Andrea

    October 28, 2020 at 6:06 am

    In some industries, the potential suppliers are a few and usually are making the products for different competitors.

    In such cases, I would like to suggest to investigate what are the suppliers of the competitors.
    Especially if you are a newcomer, it would be a great advantage to work with a supplier that has a long experience in making a specific product.

    How to discover the suppliers of competitors?
    It is a detective task.
    However, in some products, there is a double logo: the one of the seller (your competitor) and the one of the producer-supplier (hidden somewhere).

    • MAKO Design + Invent

      October 28, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Andrea, Thanks for your comment! We definitely agree – great insight!


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