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industry be able to circumvent these protections and produce a similar product? This remains a major concern as the venture moves forward.

CROSSING THE PACIFIC: A TRIP TO CHINA After developing her concept and seeking legal protections, it was time for Angie to consider strategies to manufacture her product. Her first instincts were to have the lip gloss and reel made in her native U.S. As she researched and pursued U.S. manufacturing opportunities, she discovered that manufacturing her product would not be a simple task. The U.S. manufacturers that she contacted seemed to resist her product customization ideas. For example, they placed a limitation on the color of the reels and prevented her from altering the reel to fit her invention. Angie began to wonder if the people she was contacting were actual manufacturers. She suspected that they were U.S.-based representatives of foreign manufacturers – and that they preferred to sell her an existing product that they were sourcing from others.

After receiving many roadblocks from U.S. manufacturers, Angie decided that attempting to make the reels in the U.S. was fruitless. She felt that U.S. manufacturers could not (or would not) work with her on the specific product design she wanted. They also made the ordering process difficult. Angie says that the U.S. manufacturers “were limiting and difficult to work with.”

Now that Angie decided not to make the reels in the U.S., where was she going to manufacture them? She found it convenient to use Alibaba to locate and communicate with suppliers in China. “Alibaba.com Corporation is China's leading e-commerce company, operating the world's largest online marketplaces for both international and domestic China trade.”3

Via Alibaba, Angie identified a reel manufacturer in Ningbo and a lip gloss manufacturer in Yiwu. She conducted some introductory meetings with them via email yet did not feel comfortable ordering from companies with whom she was not personally acquainted.




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