How to Find a Reliable Manufacturer for Your Clothing Line
Shared by Tukatech— Millions of new businesses have been started in the United States alone from 2020 to the present date, causing what some have called a “Small Business Boom”. Savvy entrepreneurs and aspiring fashion designers are looking to break into a $2.5 trillion industry. It is a sound decision on their part. Fashion is never going to go out of style. As long as people are still wearing clothes, someone still needs to keep making them. But how can someone know where to source a quality clothing line manufacturer for their brand or fashion line? We have put together some tips to help you find the best clothing line manufacturers for your brand.
1. Design Your LineYou could take the time to source clothing line manufacturers before your fashion line is complete. It never hurts to know the lay of the land and have a ballpark estimate for a particular industry. But you will not know what you are going to need until your clothing line is ready to be manufactured in earnest. 2. Decide On ScopeBefore you begin to seriously look into clothing line manufacturers and get estimates, you should spend some time thinking about how widespread you want your fashion line to be when you are first starting. This answer will play a big part in deciding on a clothes manufacturer.
Say you decide to start simply, with the humble aspiration of getting some garments in a few local boutiques. That is a fairly reasonable goal, and you would not need much outside manufacturing help at all. At this scale, enlisting the help of a friend or two who is handy with a sewing machine would likely be more than enough for your needs.
But imagine that your goal is to launch a fashion t-shirt line that would get picked up by Target. That is a whole different galaxy in terms of logistics and demands. At that level, you need to be thinking like a corporation if you want to succeed. You will want to take bids from a few different clothing line manufacturers to get an idea of the cost and find the best possible deal. You will also want to think about things like supply chain, warehousing, promotions, and so on.
Even if you are new or just starting, you will want to think about decisions like these before you go to market. You will want to think about these things more as your reputation is somewhat fragile when you are new to the fashion industry. Satisfying your customers and delivering world-class products needs to be your main concern.3. Domestic Vs. International ManufacturersNow that you have done your due diligence and a bit of introspection, it is time to start sourcing a manufacturer for your clothing line for real. The first question you need to ask yourself is if you want to work with someone in your own country or if you want to outsource to somewhere else.
Countries like China and India are well-known as a source of affordable bulk or wholesale goods. If you are set on getting the absolute lowest price per item, your best bet is to work with an international manufacturer. Still, the fashion industry is just like any other business in specific key ways. “You get what you pay for” is not just a cliché – it is a way to temper your expectations. It also brings to mind another common cliché – “if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.”
Even if the price is a concern, you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your products are as high-quality as possible. Remember, even if you are not making the garments yourself, your name and reputation are still attached to them. There are a few other potential issues that can come up when working with overseas manufacturers. The first and most prevalent is disruptions to the supply chain as we alluded to earlier. Anything from a global pandemic to hazardous weather conditions can seriously delay your shipment from another country or increase pricing significantly. Making the Most of International Manufacturing PartnershipsEthics is particularly important in the world of fashion, as well. Different countries and different cultures have different rules and labor laws, which is part of how these garments end up so cheap in the first place. They might have different environmental regulations, as well.
The cost to the environment sometimes offsets the lower price. Even if you are not doing the manufacturing yourself, these ethical violations can reflect on you and your brand, as well. If you are going to work with international manufacturers, you need to take every precaution to ensure these downsides do not come back to haunt you.
One way to ensure that your international partners live up to your ethical standards is to go above and beyond during the research stage. Look through some review sites to get a sense of the public perception of the company. Look through some news publications as well to see if they have been involved in any news stories.
If you do decide to work with an international manufacturer, there are still ways you can make sure the products you get are as ethical as possible. Say you choose to find a manufacturer via Alibaba, for instance, which is one of the most popular portals for finding Chinese manufacturers. Alibaba features several filters you can use to find the right manufacturers to partner with. These filters will help you make sure their workers are being treated humanely and that they are following environmental guidelines.
Honestly, it is good to take these precautions no matter who you are working with. Domestic manufacturers are every bit as capable of cutting corners, neglecting responsibilities, and acting unethically. Taking the time to source quality products will benefit you, your customers, and the fashion industry as a whole.
Even if you decide to work with an international manufacturer, you should have at least some sort of local provider. This way, if a shipment ends up getting delayed or unable to be fulfilled, you can call on someone closer to help you get your products in time to fulfill your orders. 4. Ask Your NetworkEvery single professional industry directory is going to have some sort of bias. It is far too easy to game social review sites with paid reviews or pay to have negative feedback expunged. Even industry articles can sometimes just be glorified puff pieces. Even though sponsored content is supposed to be specified far too often, it is not.
There is a reason that word-of-mouth advertising and recommendations are so powerful and popular. Who better to trust than your friends, colleagues, and people that you know directly. You will have a much better sense of their particular morals and ethics, so you will be able to make sure you are both on the same page.
People you know will be far more likely to tell you harsh truths or unpleasant details. People are afraid to appear too negative online, and even journalistic and critical outlets are often unwilling to dish out criticism. This can make it easy to overlook potentially fatal flaws in a business partner. When you get to the place of going to market, you should ask other fashion designers you know if they can recommend clothing line manufacturers. They will be able to give you all of the details, good and bad, that will significantly impact manufacturing your clothing line. 5. Decide on a Business ModelYou do not necessarily have to finance a full fashion line to start as a fashion designer or get into the fashion industry. There are countless ways you can get involved in today’s fashion industry at any level and at every price point. One thing you might think about is dropshipping or print-on-demand services. Say you are a graphic designer or artist and feel like your designs would look good on apparel. There are a ton of print-on-demand shirt companies at this point, some of which are quite good. You might dig around and see which ones are better than others to ensure your customers get high-quality products featuring your designs. As you can see, the fashion industry has changed and evolved a lot in the last ten years. It is exploding and blossoming in every conceivable way in every potential market. There has never been a better time to be a fashion designer, especially if you are just starting.
So You Have Found a Clothing Line ManufacturerCongratulations. You are one step closer to being a professional fashion designer. Whether you are in your fashion journey, from sourcing a clothing line manufacturer to drawing croquis, Tukatech will empower your creative process. If you are ready to find out more contact Tukatech to learn more.
About TukatechTukatech was founded in 1995 to have pattern makers create patterns digitally on the computer. On their silver anniversary, Tukatech is an influential fashion technology company known worldwide for innovative solutions and superior technical support. They are the industry’s leading provider of fashion software and machinery for product development, cloud collaboration, and garment manufacturing.
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