I see a lot of people offering services as a reply to your question, but not any answers.
My first bit of advice is to think like the manufacurer. If you are the manufacturer, you want the customers for sure, but you can't give cheap prices to make samples and low minimum orders, too. You would go out of business right away. The customer says they will be the next big thing if you just work with them to get started. The problem is that everyone thinks the same thing. So you are feeling kind but you still have to stay in business, right? You say, "okay, Low minimum order, but I must charge you a lot more for samples and much more for each piece I produce."
I am facing the same thing. I work for a company that is considered a manufacturer, but we have all of our stuff made by others. Now I am venturing on my own. My employer dominates their industry, and I play a big role in that. I deal with this stuff everyday, so if I know anything, I am happy to help you with advice. I am not selling you anything, so you can trust me. Keep asking questions and moving forward! Good luck!
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