Should you visit possible suppliers, tour the factories, talk with the manager and shake hands on a deal?
No way. It would take up too much of your time and money. Unless you're an industry expert, you wouldn't know what you're looking for anyway.
What you need is a quality product from a reliable supplier at great price. So do what millions of people already do: shop Alibaba.com.
Alibaba is to wholesale in Asia what Amazon is to retail in North America. A few indicators will help you choose a trustworthy business partner:
The “Trade Assurance" badge is Alibaba's guarantee you'll get what you pay for and can return it if you don't.
The “Gold Supplier" medal indicates how many years the seller has been a verified premium retailer.
“Transaction Level" measures the volume of sales for each seller.
Transactions over the last six months are shown clearly in US Dollars.
Once you find the product you want to sell, you'll have choices of who to buy it from. Choose a supplier with the Trade Assurance badge that has been a Gold Supplier for multiple years and has a high level of transactions.
Click the “Contact Supplier" button. You should get a swift response. Like any business communication, if you don't experience clear and easy interaction, go with your instinct and choose another partner.
You're buying bulk, but you shouldn't have to shell out more than a few hundred bucks for enough inventory to get started. But don't spend your money until you have your online store in place.