What are the private label and white label?

White label meaning and example

White labeling means you take ready stock items, slap your logo, and customize the packaging for product differentiation. This is a quick and affordable way to enter the market with minimal upfront investment and low risk.

For example, if you’re a cat owner and want to try selling in the niche market of pet treadmills, you can start by purchasing a small batch of cat treadmills. Then, relabel and repackage them for quick sales and market testing.

Pictures are from social media platforms.

The core selling point of white-label products is their high cost-performance ratio, meeting consumers’ needs for affordable yet quality items. For example, on Amazon, you can find economical and practical white-label products like bottle openers for a few dollars and bedding sets for a few dozen dollars.

White labeling extends beyond physical products. It’s also common in software services like white-label websites. Regardless of the industry, the essence of white labeling remains the same: taking existing products and branding them as your own to meet specific market needs or preferences.

Private label meaning and example

With private labeling, you can not only add your logo and packaging but also improve existing products in terms of functions, patterns, colors, shapes, sizes, and other specifications. You can even develop a new product from scratch.

For example, suppose you are a cycling enthusiast planning to enter the niche market of cycling gloves. In that case, you conduct market research to import some popular-type gloves from Chinese suppliers, add your unique pattern designs, and then sell them on Amazon. This is selling private-label products.

Pictures are from Amazon.

White label vs private label: what are the differences?

1. Private label offers more customization than the white label.

Both white labeling and private labeling involve selling products with your logo, but they differ significantly in customization.

white label vs private label
white label vs private label

White labeling only involves adding your logo and custom packaging to ready-made products. This is the simplest customization method for startups with tight budgets.

With a somewhat flexible budget, private labeling allows you to customize more aspects like color, material, pattern, size, shape, function, etc. These are common private-label methods. Most of our successful startups and small to medium-sized clients have done just that.

For example, we had an Italian client who noticed “tufting rugs” were trending on TikTok. Most Amazon results were for tool kits, not finished rugs. He started selling custom-sized tufting rugs with unique, attractive patterns as selling points. Ultimately, he achieved good sales.

Pictures are from social media.

2. White labeling a product is usually quicker & cheaper than private labeling.

Product white labeling involves purchasing ready-made stock and adding your label plus custom packaging. These steps are simple and easy. Once you finalize your logo and packaging design, the factory can quickly produce samples and mass-produce the items.

For example, if you order 500 custom corrugated colorful mailer boxes (195*137*150mm) from China, sample making takes 3 days and mass production takes 7-10 days. The total custom packaging cost is $300.

packaging boxes

If your private labeling involves adjusting the appearance, size, or function of an existing product, or developing a completely new one, the time and costs required will vary and should be specifically analyzed.

Simple customizations are usually fast and affordable, such as printing your patterns, and changing colors, sizes, materials, etc.

For complex customization and product development, significant time is spent on prototyping and modeling. Especially mold making is a huge expense. For example, a client custom-made a silicone baby plate, and the mold alone cost $2,000, not including labor and materials.

what is injection molding
Picture from Alibaba

Manufacturing silicone products, metal parts, plastic, and rubber products requires molds. Many beginners are completely unaware that customizing such products—whether design, size, or shape changes—can lead to high molding fees. Just like our client Mazin.

White vs private label: which is better for startups to make money?

White labeling is an easier way to start an e-commerce business. All you need to do is customize the packaging and add your own logo to existing products. These tasks are easy to learn and require minimal time investment, with customization costs being affordable and friendly for beginners.

In contrast, private labeling generally requires you to better understand the products, target audiences, and marketing. Over the past 10 years, we have successfully assisted over 4,000 clients worldwide in their private label businesses, mainly Amazon and e-commerce sellers in the US and EU markets. Subscribe below to learn about real private-label case studies.

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Further Asked Questions

Is private label the same as white label?

No. White labeling products are only limited to logo and packaging customization, while private labeling products have no limitations. In simple terms, white labeling is just a small subset of private labeling.

Private label vs brand, what is the difference?

Private-label products are essentially non-branded items. For example, when buying storage boxes/bags, or garbage bags, most consumers choose private label sellers for lower prices.

However, for items like phones, consumers prefer name brands like Apple, Huawei, etc., and for skincare, brands like Estée Lauder. Compared to private-label phones and skincare products, consumers tend to trust well-known brands that have proven their quality and after-sales service over five to ten years.

Private label vs manufacturer brand, what’s their difference?

Manufacturer Brand means a company designs, develops, and produces its products. For example, Tesla has both the capability to create and manufacture cars.

Private label means retailers or companies sell products under their own label and logo, but these products are produced by third-party manufacturers, also called ODM and OEM manufacturers.

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