I am trying to launch a new product. How do I network to reach manufactures of products - so I can get them custom made? Thanks
Tony asked the right question. Are you just looking to customize existing products with your logo/design, or are you looking to design new versions of these category items that can't be found anywhere else?
There are tons of promotional items companies around that let you put your logo on just about anything imaginable. While you can go directly to them, unless you already have a designer who will format your logo/imprint for the items, I instead recommend going through a print broker. There are two advantages to a print broker when you're looking at custom imprinted stuff, over going direct.
1) you have access to other related resources (graphic design, copy editing) and they will be able to buy from dozens of different suppliers on your behalf to get the right product at the right price
2) they become responsible for quality of the finished product, which is your guarantee that what you receive that you ordered isn't crap
My print broker is Source4, but you can use any that you like.
If you are talking about having a completely new design (a picture frame that is wreathed in green LED lights, a wonky shaped pen that looks like a leaf, or whatever...) then you need a factory that does custom die work and can build a new product completely from specifications in whatever material you are thinking about. Sourcing those things takes a lot more effort and way more lead time, but it's do-able. If it's the latter, speak up and I'll add some specific suggestions on how to get started on tool and die creations.
Finding anything these days should start with a quick Google search. If you search "custom pens" or "custom picture frames", you'll come up with pages of options. If you were going to order products in huge quantities, you might want to search Alibaba (https://www.alibaba.com/). If you are just launching, probably won't be ordering enough to hit some of the Alibaba minimums.
When you say custom, do you simply mean custom printing, such as logos, or are you talking about custom design?
How do I grow my Business and grow my Network?
Just contact those guys in your country or travel to China. You can get cool.