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How to find a manufacturer?
I often get emails from people wishing to start their own companies and asking that I help them find a manufacturer. Believe it or not finding a good manufacturer is probably the second biggest challenge when starting a fashion company, second only to successfully wholesaling your product. I know of many, many production nightmares, and now I am adamant that a good, reliable manufacturer is essential to start a fashion company.
Denim requires specialist manufacturing and machines.
Basically, you can’t really start selling, or even promoting your company without solid manufacturing, unless you plan on making the production runs yourself. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the samples you show to buyers must be close to identical to the ones you will be delivering when they place an order. If you are making delicate bias-cut chiffon dresses, you need to make sure that you can find a factory who will be able to make them as nicely as you can make them in your studio. Secondly, you cannot cost a garment without knowing how much it will cost in production. I have tried to do this before (with another company), it was a disaster. You usually can’t guess how much it will cost in production, and you must have accurate production prices to properly calculate your wholesale or retail prices.
So here are the steps I would suggest you go through, if you are looking to start your own fashion company, and need to find production.
1. Figure out what you are making. Different countries make different items. For example, with footwear, the big manufacturing countries would be China, Italy, Spain, or a few places in South America. You won’t get high quality shoes made in Canada, so don’t expect to produce there. Specialist products (lingerie, footwear, high tech clothing) are usually only produced properly in a handful of places. If you are doing something quite basic, like tailoring or jerseys, then there are more options.
Gucci has a Made in Italy label on all of their bags, although this only means the last few steps are done in Italy. Rumour has it they get the first steps manufactured in China.
2. Determine your product’s price point. If you are going to be making t-shirts and you want them to sell in stores for $30 (which means you have to sell them to stores for $10-$15), then you’ll have to be looking overseas (most likely to Asia) for production. If you want to make $5,000 suits, then you can pretty much go anywhere that knows how to make suits. But the likelihood is that initially you will struggle to get the price you want, so figure this out and work backwards. Keep in mind that sometimes your margins need to be a bit lower at the beginning because your quantities will be smaller.
3. Think about where you’d like the product made. Chances are, the price will in some way dictate this, but if it is a priority (ex. part of your concept is producing locally), then this could be step 2. For The Sleep Shirt, we wanted the product made in Canada, so I researched factories here, and knew my margins would be low at the beginning, because my quantities are so small. If you are open to options, then research as many as possible. Many people tend to think China=cheap, but with their long lead times and expensive shipping (unless you are doing it by sea) it can sometimes make sense to produce closer to home.
4. Start to research manufacturers. This is tough. So few manufacturers are easy to find online, so few good ones even have proper websites. Here are a few tips:
Ask around. If you have contacts in the industry, find out who they use.
Speak to your suppliers (if you have any.) You may have already sourced some fabrics, materials, or services, so ask those contacts if they have any recommendations.
Online searches. Very difficult, and SO many to sort through, but I’ve found good ones this way.
Other industry sources: trade magazines, websites, tradeshows, etc… tend to have information on manufacturing. You need to be a detective here, but sometimes it can be worth it.
Manufacturing in China or the Far East can be inexpensive, but watch out for high duty and shipping prices.
5. Interview your manufacturer. Once you have a shortlist of potential factories, you need to contact them and find out if they are right for you, and whether they are willing to work for you. Note that you should not approach them with the frame of mind “I am a customer” because manufacturers are difficult to work with and good ones are PRECIOUS. Approach them with the tone of “I am a great company and I would be thrilled if you’d be willing to work with me.” Here are a few questions to ask:
Are they taking new customers?
Are they taking new customers?
What kind of products do they produce?
What brands do they work for?
Where do they manufacture (some companies may be based one place, but manufacture somewhere else.)
What are average prices (ex. since I am making shirts for The Sleep Shirt, just knowing the price of a classic men’s shirt gives me a good indication of what their price points are like.)
What services do they provide? Can they do patterns, grading, samples, fabric sourcing, packaging, etc… As a smaller company, it often makes sense to source these things through the manufacturer, as they may have better buying power, and therefore get better prices. (On that note, they will probably add a commission to the materials they source.)
What are their minimums? This is the minimum amount of product they will produce for you in one order. Don’t just ask number of pieces, ask about whether this is per shape, colour, and size. For example, a company that has a minimum of 500 pieces per order is not much, however a company that does 500 per piece per colour per size is a whole different story, if you are selling 8 different styles of shoes with 4 colour options and 5 sizes in each one (that’s a minimum order of 80,000 pieces, by the way.)
Do they have terms for companies? What are their credit terms? More on this below.
Are they scaleable? You may only need 500 pieces at the beginning, but what if you get an order for 10,000? Can this factory fill an order of that size?
If you are satisfied with most of the answers to the above questions, it is time to trial the manufacturer.
6. Send them drawings. Now that you think you’ve found someone who might work, send them drawings, technical sheets, fabric swatches, research, whatever, and ask them to look it over and tell you whether they think it is something they can make. Remind them of your quantities. You should also give them a rough price point (if you know what is reasonable) and ask them whether it will be possible for them to work at that price point, and if not, what it would be. They should be able to get back to you about this quite quickly, usually a manufacturer knows straight away whether it will be something they can make or not.
Broderies Lesage in France is one of the most famous embroidery studios. If you can;t afford them, India is the next best place for extremely high quality embroidery.
7. Check your calendars. If you think this manufacturer will work, then make sure they have the time to help you. Give them a rough estimate of your collection and production schedule. You may not know quantities just yet, but come up with some estimates, and see if they can squeeze you in. You don’t want them to make you a sample collection, only to find out their production is booked solid for four months.
8. Have them make and cost a sample. Once you’ve confirmed the calendar, you can send them a pattern, fabric (unless they are sourcing it), and a sample (if you have one) and they can make you a first prototype. This is a great way for you to check their quality and construction, and this also gives them the opportunity to properly price the item. If there are any changes needed to the sample, get them to produce another one. And make sure your technical sheets are 100% accurate, so there is little room for errors! Mistakes are expensive.
9. Negotiate terms. If the sample is good, and you want to go ahead and work with this factory, you’ll need to negotiate (or at least agree on) prices and terms. Note that you’ll have very little negotiating power at the beginning, which is normal, but make sure that in future you will be able to get the prices and terms you need. At the beginning, if quantities are small, prices are likely to be high, which means margins will be low. But make sure that you get an idea of what prices will be like when orders are bigger. For example, if you want to pay $20 per t-shirt, but they are charging you $30 for an order of 500 pieces, make sure that when you order 2500, or 5000, that the price will be to your liking.
10. Reserve time. If you are satisfied with the agreement and the sample, then reserve time. Make sure they have a rough idea of your quantities and schedule, and that they will have time to produce your collection. Get this in writing!
11. Get your sample collection made. Now you are ready to order your sample collection, which will be the garments you use to show the buyers and eventually, media.
12. Sell your collection. This is the most difficult part of having your own collection! Good luck.
13. Put it into production! Once you have some orders, or if you are selling the product yourself, you are good to go! Place an order, and make sure to regularly follow up with the factory. They often need hand holding, so check in once a week or so, and make sure they are on schedule.
Finsk get their shoes made in Brasil because they have high quality footwear manufacturing there, and that is the only place the company can source the unique woods they use in their heels.
Wholesale dog clothes TIPS:
Never quit searching once you’ve found one great manufacturer. You ALWAYS need backups, and who knows, the first one might go bankrupt or things may not work out, so you will need someone else you can depend on.
Document all the manufacturers you have contacted, and what the result was. Maybe they make a product that is too cheap for you, but you may want them down the line when you offer a lower-priced option. Or perhaps their minimums are too large, but in theory your quantities will grow and you will always want a manufacturer that can do larger quantities for you.
Evaluate them as you go. Do they respond to emails? Answer the phone? Are they quick to get back to you? If I get someone who is impossible to contact or who rarely responds to emails, then I get concerned. It is one thing to deal with this when you are researching manufacturers, a whole other when you just got a huge order from Net A Porter and you are frantically trying to reach your factory to find out if they can make it on time. Reliability is key from a manufacturer, and if they are slow responding or late with their first set of samples, you should be listening to the alarm bells.
It is really important that communication with your factory is easy. Do they speak your language? Are the time zones close enough that you can speak to them during their business hours, without having to be up at 4 in the morning? This is when manufacturing close to home can make sense.
You can try and get your factory to sign a contract, but note that this is very difficult and complicated. Many won’t, and even if they do, the contract will likely not be worth the paper its printed on. That’s why gut instinct is important in these situations, you want to make sure you trust this person to do the job they say they will. And make sure to keep records of EVERYTHING, so that you can reference it should there be a problem down the line.
Find contact details for the 22 best Clothing Manufacturers in Australia. Listed Clothing Manufacturers are verified by the PureLocal Business Directory Wholesale dog clothes research.
Where to Find Reliable Clothing Manufacturers Wholesale dog clothes?
Where to Find Reliable Clothing Manufacturers Wholesale dog clothes.
It’s relatively easy to find clothing manufacturers online. The tricky part is knowing which ones are reliable and which aren’t.
Here are a few tried and true ways to find clothing manufacturers.
Industry Meetups and Trade Shows
Trade shows (also known as trade fairs) are exhibitions where manufacturers showcase their products and services. It’s a great way to meet manufacturers in person so you can discuss your specific needs. The same goes for industry meetups. You can’t beat talking with a manufacturer face-to-face. It helps to build trust and confidence and establishes a more personal business relationship.
SaleHoo’s Verified Supplier Directory
The SaleHoo Wholesale Directory has more than 8,000 low-cost suppliers and 1.6 million products and brands. There are more than 200 clothing suppliers all around the world. The best thing about SaleHoo’s supplier directory is that all of the manufacturers have been verified by SaleHoo staff, so you know they are trustworthy. It just takes one click to see all of the manufacturer’s contact information, including phone number, email, and physical address, as well as details such as their trustworthy score, product range and quality, and customer service information.
You can find manufacturers on popular, China-based online marketplaces such as Alibaba and AliExpress. Manufacturers often sell directly via these platforms so if you come across a listing that’s similar to the clothing product that you want to make, you can try contacting the seller and asking if they are a manufacturer. You have the added benefit of being able to read reviews and contact previous customers. However, you do need to be wary of scams and you should still undertake due diligence using the guidelines above.
BONUS: Learn more about how to find reliable manufacturers in China
7 clothing Manufacturers You Can Use for Your Online Business
1. Pineapple Clothing (SaleHoo Featured Supplier)
Pineapple Clothing is a US-based clothing supplier and manufacturer of women’s and children’s apparel, known for its unique prints and designs intended for everyday use and for special occasions. While they sell direct to consumer, they also supply and manufacture clothing for retail stores.
Find more great clothing manufacturers in SaleHoo’s supplier directory
Good Clothing Company, based in the US, provides both small batch and large scale manufacturing services for independent designers and established brands. The company prides itself on using environmentally sustainable production practices and paying its workers fairly for their skilled labor. They provide a simple online form to make an enquiry about manufacturing with them.
Apparel Production Incorporated is a distinguished and highly experienced garment manufacturer in New York. Established in 1949, the company has always been committed to producing superior garments at the most reasonable prices with the help of its domestic and international manufacturing networks. The company has worked with high-end fashion labels.
4. Indie Source
Indie Source is full-service clothing development and manufacturing consultancy, based in Los Angeles. It provides fashion designers and clothing businesses with a personalized, in-house product development team which includes a dedicated project manager and experienced sourcing specialists, patternmakers, and sample makers.
Portland Garment Factory is a full-service creative design and fabrication studio, based in Portland, Oregon. They provide concept, design, and manufacturing services, specializing in more creative, designer clothing. The zero-waste studio is committed to upending the traditional factory model, through ethical labor practices and environmental sustainability.
Billoomi Fashion is an India-based private label clothing manufacturer of ready-to-wear woven and knitted garments for men, women, and children. The company has clients around the world and is equipped to handle any volume and any type of clothing manufacturing, which suggests that production capacity won’t be an issue.
Dewhirst design, develop and manufacture a wide range of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. The company was established in 1880, so it has more than a century of experience. Dewhirst has manufacturing capabilities in several countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Given the locations of some of its factories, Dewhirst takes care to uphold ethical values in terms of workplace conditions, health and safety, sustainability.
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What to Look for in a Clothing Manufacturer?
If you’re getting started on your clothing business journey, there are a few things to consider before you choose a clothing manufacturer wholesale dog clothes.
1. Can They Make Your Product?
This might seem like an obvious question, but it’s an important one. Not all clothing manufacturers are capable of producing all types of clothing. For example, outdoors or exercise clothing often requires special materials, such as lycra or waterproof fabrics. You need to be sure that the manufacturer you choose is able to make the clothing products that you want. Even better, you should try and use a manufacturer that specializes in making the clothing that you want. If you’re starting a clothing business that sells stylish swimwear, then you would do well to work with a manufacturer that has a lot of experience with swimwear.
2. Domestic or Overseas Clothing Manufacturer?
You need to decide whether you’re going to work with local manufacturers in your country or area, or overseas manufacturers. Typically, this means choosing between manufacturers in the United States and Europe or manufacturers in Asia (typically China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh). It’s quite rare to find economically-viable clothing manufacturers in smaller countries, but if being locally-made is important to you, you might be able to make it work.
Domestic (US, Europe) Clothing Manufacturers
There are a lot of benefits to working with domestic clothing manufacturers. Firstly, it’s much easier to meet with the manufacturers, inspect their factories, and discuss your specific needs without a language barrier. There are more stringent labour regulations and better working conditions. Consumers are becoming more conscious of these things and being “locally made” can be a powerful selling point. You’ll also have the benefit of faster shipping times, which keeps customers happy. The quality also tends to be higher.
However, all of this comes at a financial cost. It typically costs more to use domestic manufacturers, although you will also have grounds to charge more for your clothing items.
Overseas Clothing Manufacturers
The main benefit of using overseas manufacturers is cost. They are almost always a lot cheaper, which is why so much clothing is made in China. However, this is typically because labour standards and working conditions are unregulated, which is something you need to keep in mind.
It’s also more difficult for you to visit and inspect factories. And while overseas manufacturers can produce quality clothing, this relies on you choosing a reputable manufacturer.
Shipping times are also much longer when the products are being sent internationally. However, if you’re buying your clothing items in bulk and shipping them yourself, this isn’t a major issue.
The other benefit is that you can often have a greater range of options with overseas manufacturers - fabrics, styles etc - and they’re more inclined to bend over backwards to do business with you.
3. What is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?
When you’re working with a clothing manufacturer, you need to know what their minimum order quantity is. That means that minimum number of items you need to purchase in a single order. The MOQ could range from 200 to 2000 items, or even more. It’s very rare for manufacturers to not have an MOQ. This is important for you to know because if you start working with a manufacturer and go to place your first order, and they tell you that you need to buy 1500 units of the swimsuit you want to manufacture, you might not be able to afford it. Also, it’s not a good idea to buy 2000 clothing items if you’re not sure you can sell them all. That way, you’re left with excess stock that’s difficult to move.
In short, make sure the MOQ is manageable for you before you start working with a clothing manufacturer.
4. Can They Provide Product Samples?
Try before you buy. There’s a reason there are changing rooms in clothing stores and that’s because people want to know what they’re getting before they commit to buying it. The same goes for your manufacturer. If you’re getting a manufacturer to produce clothing items for your business, you want to make sure that you can get samples before committing to a large order. This is important because if something’s not quite right, you can make adjustments until it is. Imagine getting an order of hundreds of jackets that you’ve designed, only to find that they don’t quite fit right or they’ve used the wrong kind of button.
The easiest way to do this is by bringing it up in your communication early on. Most manufacturers will be more than happy provide samples, usually for a modest fee, but it’s up to you to get them to commit to it from the beginning.
5. What Are Their Fees and Shipping Costs?
In the excitement and rush of bringing your clothing business to life, it can be easy to overlook basic due diligence. All it takes is one or two lines in an email to ask the manufacturer if they have any additional fees you should know about, and what their shipping costs and times are.
This is really important information that can help you decide whether you work with that manufacturer or not, so make sure you address it early on.
BONUS: Check out our guide to communicating with manufacturers and suppliers (including email scripts you can use!)
6. What Is Their Production Capacity?
This is something you might not think about until business is booming. When you’re just getting started with your clothing line, you’re probably focussed on getting your first order and making sales. But what happens if business goes better than expected, and your clothing sells out quickly? Can you rely on your manufacturer to produce your clothing quickly and at a greater capacity moving forward? This is why you should ask your supplier about their production capacity. Make sure they have the ability to notch it up if needed. Also ask about turnaround time or lead time, meaning how long it takes the manufacturer to fulfill your order. You don’t want to have to wait weeks or months for an order, missing out on potential customers and sales in the process.
7. What Is Their Standard of Quality?
Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can ask a manufacturer in an email and take their word on. However, you can do your own research by reading reviews of the manufacturer online, visiting the factory (if possible), and ordering samples. Remember that the quality of your garments determines your reputation, so you want to be sure that your manufacturer produces clothing to a high standard. You will be better off paying a slightly higher price for higher quality goods than risking your reputation just to save a few dollars.
8. What Other Brands Have They Worked With?
This is one of the best ways to test the reliability of a manufacturer. Ask them what other brands they’ve produced clothing for. Then look at the websites for those brands. Are they successful? What’s their customer feedback like?. Contact the owners of those brands and ask them how they’ve found working with the manufacturer. Have they had any issues? Are they happy with the quality? There’s nothing like real-world testimonials to provide you with the peace of mind to proceed with a manufacturer. Or they might sound warning bells that will help you to decide to go with a different manufacturer.
How to Find High Quality Clothing Manufacturers?
Whether you want to be the next big fashion entrepreneur, or you simply want to sell everyday clothing items online, finding the right manufacturer is critical to your success.
The clothing industry is extremely competitive and dominated by major brands with big budgets, celebrity endorsements, and decades of experience.
However, the rise of ecommerce and boutique clothing lines has seen many aspiring fashion entrepreneurs find success online - and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
If you’re reading this, your clothing business idea is probably already well developed. You have a niche in mind and, perhaps, some clothing designs, or ideas for the clothing items you’d like to sell.
But you’re not quite sure where to start - or who to trust - to get your clothing manufactured.
Unfortunately, this is the roadblock that causes many aspiring entrepreneurs to give up. There are several reasons for this:
- It means executing on your ideas, which can be scary
- It means putting your trust in the unknown (a manufacturer)
- It means investing money to get your business off the ground
I want to assure you that finding a clothing manufacturer doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. In fact, I’ll share some great clothing manufacturers with you in this article.
I understand why this part of your business journey can seem daunting, but let me guide you through the process of finding quality clothing manufacturers so that you can take your ideas and make them your reality.
Post Contents: [ hide ]
- Clothing Manufacturers: Getting Started
- What to Look for in a Clothing Manufacturer
- 1. Can They Make Your Product?
- 2. Domestic or Overseas Clothing Manufacturer?
- 3. What is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?
- 4. Can They Provide Product Samples?
- 5. What Are Their Fees and Shipping Costs?
- 6. What Is Their Production Capacity?
- 7. What Is Their Standard of Quality?
- 8. What Other Brands Have They Worked With?
- Where to Find Reliable Clothing Manufacturers
- 7 clothing Manufacturers You Can Use for Your Online Business
- 1. Pineapple Clothing
- 2. Good Clothing Company
- 3. Apparel Production Inc
- 4. Indie Source
- 5. Portland Garment Factory
- 6. Billoomi Fashion
- 7. Dewhirst
- You’re Ready to Start Your Clothing Business
Clothing Manufacturers: Getting Started
The first thing you should ask yourself when launching a clothing business is: Do I really need a clothing manufacturer? If you’re simply wanting to sell clothing items online, then you may be better off starting with dropshipping and sourcing products from a clothing supplier. That way you don’t have to worry about the production side of things as you can choose pre-made clothing items from a catalog. You also don’t have to buy a whole lot of stock that might not sell. It can save you a lot of time, money, and unnecessary risk.
For example, if you’re planning to sell blank t-shirts, there’s not much point in trying to reinvent the wheel when there are a lot of suppliers already stocking every kind of blank t-shirt under the sun.
However, if you have a unique idea for a new range of clothing, or you’re a fashion designer wanting to launch your own brand, then you will need to work directly with a manufacturer.
There are pros and cons of working with a clothing manufacturer.
Clothing Manufacturer Pros
- You can produce unique clothing items
- You can establish your own brand
- You can generally sell items at higher prices
- You have greater control over branding and marketing
Clothing Manufacturer Cons
- You have to make a significant investment up front
- You have to buy bulk items that might not sell
- You have greater legal obligations
- You expose yourself to more risk
BONUS: Learn more about the pros and cons of manufacturing in our Beginner's Guide to Finding Private Label Manufacturers
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It is worthwhile reading this blog. I was searching such kind of blog for a long time but now I think I got a blog of my interest. I am thankful for all suggestions mentioned under this blog. However, I have a See their dresses . This is also very beautiful.
Great article on finding private label manufacturers, but it doesn't appear that the seven companies you mentioned also have white label services, which is less expensive and easier to start, then can move into private label manufacturing.
Clothing is one of the most popular niches to sell in, but it can be hard to profit if you do not have the right clothing manufacturers on your team.
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Now that you know what to look for in a clothing manufacturer, where to find them, and have a few options to get your started, you should be in a good position to get your clothing business underway. While it’s a highly competitive market, there are still plenty of opportunities to capitalize on new trends and creative ideas and build a sustainable online business. If you’ve got great ideas and a drive to bring them to life, there’s no reason why you can’t create a successful clothing line. So what do you think? Have you had any experience sourcing clothing manufacturers? What are the common obstacles have you faced? I hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any questions or any other tips for working with clothing manufacturers, please leave a comment below.
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