Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Manufacture Custom Plush Toys In The United States?
We can now offer our customers a choice between domestic (U.S.A) or foreign (China) custom plush production. In addition to our very own U.S.A. factory, we also work with four Chinese factories.
If You Aren't Actually Manufacturing My Product, Isn't It Cheaper For Me To Deal Directly With A Factory?
It is cheaper to source directly from a factory, however there can be many pitfalls associated with this action:
- Miscommunication - A language barrier may exist, where instructions can be misunderstood and even more frustrating to clarify. Most of the time, you may also be be speaking to a factory representative, who resides in their own country. If phone communication is needed, this may add up to unnecessary long distance bills.
- Shipping Costs - With overseas factories, some of them quote pricing (FOB or Freight on Board) from their port city. (Our own factory port cities are Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.) This means that even though you might have obtained a great product price, it is still your responsibility to import the shipment into the United States or your own country (if you are an international customer). This can be an arduous task (at times even for the most seasoned importers) and will involve additional costs outside of the factory's each pricing. If you lack import experience, and unintentionally make an administrative error, the financial consequences could be large.
- Minimum Quantites - Most factories deal with large companies who may order many thousands of pieces. Therefore, the factory's minimum quantity requirements may be higher.
- Sample Development - Some factories may charge a substantial sample development fee, and the initial prototypes may take weeks to complete, much less the length of subsequent revision time.
- Accountability - Should you receive missing and/or damaged product, depending upon the factory's policies/ethics, they may not replace the product or offer any credit.
- Availability - Should you need to communicate with a factory, E-mail communications may be sporadic. If you are dealing with a China factory, their time is approximately (12) hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. This could mean late nights, especially if you live on the west coast.
- Accessories - Some factories charge extra fees for tags and packaging.
- Government Plush Regulations - There are plush regulations for most countries (including the U.S.) You would be responsible for researching and applying for the necessary credentials.
- Payment Terms - Depending on the factory, they may require a large deposit or payment in full. Many overseas factories also expect payment through international bank wire. If you are unfamiliar with international wires, the paperwork can be intimidating and some banks charge hefty wire fees.
- Production Timeframe - Some factories can take months just to produce your order, and then just as long to deliver it.
Why Should I Choose Gann Memorials?
We stand between you and the pitfalls associated with factory direct association.
- Miscommunication - Since we've worked with some of the same factories for years, we have learned to better communicate with them on our customer's behalf. These communication methods include E-mail and phone exchanges. One of our factories' co-owners actually resides in the U.S., so we hope this provides an extra level of comfort. If needed, we can immediately reach them by phone or airplane and even arrange for face to face* meetings. (* if deemed necessary) Occasional communication issues may still arise, but we always do our part to resolve them as efficiently as possible.
- Shipping Costs - Unless other arrangements are made, our production with ocean or air freight delivery quotes are billed separately from your order (so that your costs are as transparent as possible and with no hidden fees). Our seasoned freight managers willl handle all aspects of your delivery (including but not limited to): factory to China port trucking, U.S Customs clearance, administrative, as well as domestic port to door delivery. Gann Memorials production and shipment administrative/paperwork processing fees are included in your production pricing.
- Minimum Quantities - Due to the number of customers we represent, we are able to negotiate lower factory quantity requirements. Our standard minimum order quantity is 500pcs, but for an added "micro-order" fee (contingent upon design complexity) we can produce orders in quantities as low as 125 and 250 pieces. We can also mix and match styles starting at 250pcs of each, with an additional mixing fee. (i.e. 250pcs of two styles = 500pcs)
- Sample Development - In most cases, our factories can produce initial samples within 7-10 business days (spring months) possibly sooner. However, depending upon sample complexity, it is impossible to estimate how long the entire sample development process may take. We must also collect a sample fee, but it is usually nominal and 100% refundable upon order placement. 125 and 250pc order sample deposits cannot be refunded until you have ordered 500 total pieces. Fee amounts also depend upon sample size and complexity. If you expect to order multiple sample designs within a given period of time, it is highly recommended (but not required) that you order them together. By doing this, we can negotiate discounted sample development pricing and save you up-front costs. Upon sample completion, sample photos (including initial and subsequent corrections) are E-mailed prior to sample shipment. Since we must pay our factory for designer/sculpting time and materials used, once you've paid for and received your initial sample images, we cannot offer a credit or refund for that particular sample, under any circumstances. However, we will continue to fabricate unlimited revisions (excluding design replacement) until it meets your satisfaction. Upon sample receipt, if further revisions are needed, you must ship the prototype back to us for correction, or an additional redevelopment fee may be accessed. Sample Development (Materials) - For orders of 125 to 2500pcs, the factory will search the marketplace to find your desired spot* fabric (* smaller yards of fabric available for smaller order quantity use) but please be aware that if an immediate order is not placed upon sample approval, the marketplace fabric may sell out (due to its scarcity) and a substitute fabric may need to be utilized. Please be aware that some production fabric colors may vary slightly from the approved sample fabrics. This is due to small chemical changes that can occur during the dye process. However, we will always do our very best job to ensure a precise color match.
- Accountability - Again, since we've worked with some of the same factories for years, we can mediate any potential order issues and hold our factories accountable for replacement and/or credit. NOTE: We have never pursued legal action against any Gann Memorials factory.
- Availability - Even though our home office is located on the U.S. east coast, we work a mix of both U.S. and China hours. This allows us to be available day and night. We also make every effort to respond to all communications (phone or E-mail) within 24-48 hours.
- Accessories - Some packaging (depending upon complexity) may warrant an additional fee. However, a black and white sewn tag is always included in our custom plush pricing, and depending upon plush requirements, a 4-6 color paperboard tag may also be included. (Due to the small quantity, we can only include free sewn tags for 125, 250, and 500 piece orders. For an additional fee, we can still produce hang tags for these order quantities.) Unless otherwise specified in writing, all sewn tags will carry the Gann Memorials logo. To use your own logo, or for hang tag printing, please provide artwork in (a.i. - Adobe Illustrator format) If you are unfamiliar with this format, please let us know and we will advise accordingly. All sewn tags are printed with black and white ink, although color sewn tags are available for an upcharge.
- Government Toy Regulation - If you are selling product in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and/or Massachusetts, it must be registered with each state. As an importer, our customers' products are always covered under our own registration number. We have also been registered in Canada.
- Payment Terms - Our payment terms vary, depending upon order quantity. We also handle all factory communication and international wire transfers. Price estimates are always good for 30 days, after which they may increase due to marketplace fluctuation. If paying by credit card, we now offer convenient processing through Intuit (maker of Quickbooks) and PayPal, which means that a 3.5% Intuit/PayPal surcharge may be added to the transaction total. Otherwise, electronic check or bank wire is also accepted. Defective product and/or refund requests will be honored through factory credit or replacement product only.
- Production Time Frame - Due to our factory relationships, from the time of production payment, most of our ocean freight orders take 60-80 days for combined production and delivery. Depending upon order quantity, some air freight orders can be completed and shipped within 30-45 days. Please note, due to the unpredictable nature of imports (holidays, ocean conditions, Customs exam holds, even vessel engine malfunctions) we cannot guarantee any time frame. If you are in a rush, factory to door air freight is always the best alternative. We now ship ocean freight from China twice a month, so standard orders will ship accordingly. By consolidating shipments in this manner, we are able to offer you a shipping allowance.
- If you are working under any deadline, we usually recommend that our customers prepare a back-up plan. This should involve shipping at least 1 carton of your order (from factory to door) via air freight. This is only a recommendation, but again due to the unpredictable nature of imports, it is strongly advised.
- There are also many custom plush companies/agents, who are located in the United States like us, and who may offer "to good to be true" price estimates or even free samples/discounts. In this industry, you will always get what you pay for, and there are no free rides without a "catch". If you pay extremely low production costs, you could very well end up with a low quality order, which could cost you much more in reproduction time and additional monies. Our testimonials speak for themselves, and we are always willing to provide references to back them up.
Are You Factory Representatives Or Do You Own Your Factory?
While we wear many hats as plush toy designers, factory brokers, and importers, we are not employed by, nor do we own any China factory. However, we do own our USA factory! If necessary, we can even choose to discontinue a China factory partnership. This position affords us the ability to make sure that our overseas factories continually maintain the high level of plush quality that our customers expect. Just because a custom plush company owns it's overseas factory, don't be fooled into thinking that is necessarily a better option. Unless the company owns multiple factories, depending upon the size of the one they do own, they are essentially sending all of their business into that single location (placing all their eggs in one basket) which can lead to production bottlenecks and subsequent extended delivery lead times.
Do You Offer A Non-Disclosure Agreement?
Yes, please click HERE for our online agreement. You will need to print, sign, and E-mail/mail the page to us.
I Do Not Have Sample Artwork For My Idea. Can You Provide This Service?
Yes, we can work closely with you to develop your concept. To accomplish this, we can use a mix of the latest graphics software and our own graphic design team. Out team can handle everything from sample development to web site design. Please E-MAIL US for web site related pricing.
Can You Confirm That Your Factory(s) Adhere To All Government Child Safety Standards?
All of our factories meet or exceed child safety standards and can provide appropriate documentation when needed. If your business operates in the U.S., please click this LINK to view our latest information regarding the Consumer Product Safety Commission's new toy safety legislation.
Can You Confirm That Your Factory(s) Do Not Employ Child Labor And/Or Operate Under Harsh Working Conditions?
Our factories have confirmed that their employees are treated well and work in good conditions. We have posted a couple of photos below.
Adequate Sunlight - Fans For Added Cooling/Air Circulation
What Is Included In Your Pricing?
Our pricing includes prototype development (if ordering 500pcs or more) and all manufacturing costs (including fabric procurement, cutting & sewing, black and white sewn tag (with logo if desired)* general packaging (polybag if requested) customized shipping cartons, and standard factory testing. In some circumstances, 3rd party safety testing may be included in your manufacturing costs. Shipping costs are calculated and billed separately by our seasoned freight managers.
* For an additional cost, we can provide full color sewn and hang tags, as well as additional packaging options.
What Sets Gann Memorials Apart From It's Domestic Competitors?
...a word from Chris Gann - Owner/CEO
If you are reading this page, than you are most likely learning about us for the first time. Whether this is or isn't the case, thank you for visiting my home away from home. (just ask my family *wink* hey kids get to bed) Seriously, I pour an enormous amount of energy into this business and I want to thank my family for their support. Without it, I would be glued to the phone or keyboard for 12 hours a day.
Okay, I'm supposed to talk about what sets us apart from the competition, and there are some big competitors out there. We are a family owned company in a big corporate pond. Sure there may be other "family owned" companies, but are they also "operated" by family members or is your first phone conversation with a sales rep? I still personally oversee each customer's project(s) and will never allow anyone in my company to handle 100% of your account. I am always just a phone call away. My mobile number is (919) 692-5559.
However, please don't let the family-owned theme fool you. I've been in the plush toy manufacturing business for over 15 years. I've also been in your shoes, with my own plush line of toys, so I know how it feels to make this leap. If you choose Gann Memorials as your custom plush supplier, we promise to do everything we can to make your experience as hassle-free as possible.
I am just a business-minded dad with a simple vision; to see that each customer feels like they are an extended part of my family. I have also done my homework and believe that we offer one of the most simple custom plush services available.
How Do We Achieve This?
- We don't use flashy web graphics and (based upon our customer comments) our web site is easy to navigate. I think confusing sites make for confused customers.
- We do not charge for any other service beyond sample/art development and custom plush production. For example, if you have questions about how to copyright your design, just ASK us. There is never a charge for information. Okay, so we do also offer web site design, but it is billed out separately through our independent graphic design team. It is not directly affiliated with Gann Memorials, LLC.
- We are flexible, as most of our guidelines are not chiseled in stone. If you have a special request that doesn't fall within our INQUIRY requirements, just tell us more about it in the additional requirement box. For example, we were asked to produce Iron Man 3's 15 foot "Stark Bunny".
- We offer a streamlined sample development process. If you need your character designed from scratch, we will charge one flat artwork fee and not nickel and dime you by the hour. When you pay for sample development, the sample price also INCLUDES FREE REVISIONS!
- We can provide most initial samples within 7-10 business days (winter months) not 4-6 weeks. When it comes to production, most orders can be completed and delivered within 60-80 days (by vessel) and in as little as 35-50 days (by air).
If you would like to know what our past and present customers think, I will let their TESTIMONIALS speak for themselves.
These are just a few of areas that I feel best define Gann Memorials, and I hope that you will take them into consideration when choosing your custom plush supplier. Thanks again for visiting and I hope to hear from you soon!
919-692-5559 (Personal Mobile Phone)