Choosing ideal factory for custom clothing manufacturer is a challenge. Clothing manufacturers are dime a dozen. But finding the right factory that takes up your order and execute production on time is rare. Startups have lack of understanding on how to approach clothing manufacturers. You think it’s silly right ? Remember you are not approaching a manufacturer to buy something. You are sourcing a factory to convert your ideas to a tangible and salable product. In this case you are trying to convey your idea and expecting the factory to execute it. However, ground reality is factories prefer to follow the process of working. Workers do not understand instructions if not given in a certain format. You have to present your ideas in the form of tech pack and spec sheet. And you need a skilled tech pack designer to help you convert your ideas to tech packs.
Things to Consider Before Approaching Custom Clothing Manufacturer
Dealing with custom clothing manufacturers especially without proper technical document is a nightmare. It’s not that clothing manufacturer will cheat you. The reason is not the trust rather it’s the communication gap. The problem can be from your end or may be the issue with clothing manufacturer. 90% of the clothing manufacturers charge double when you approach without any preparation. Because they know for the fact that they have to put some extra efforts understanding your idea. And they don’t have time to do that. Some even deny your order outright without even considering. I mean it’s fair, everyone wants to save time and make money and this illusion is not helping them making money. So the best way to contact them with proper style document that is tech pack and spec sheet. Try it, do a test run without document. You will get to know it.
So, in this post I am trying to jute a simple guide to working with clothing manufacturers. In this post I have put 5 points that you must know while working with a clothing manufacturer. You must know the five points and ask your questions to clothing manufacturer. We will be discussing those points one by one in this post. So let’s get to it.
Step 1: Prepare Your Collection Line-Sheet
I have explained this in detail ” how to give your style idea a shape “. You can follow this to prepare your collection line-sheet. Once you complete your collection line-sheet it’s time to contact a tech pack designer. A tech pack helps you in many ways. Saves time , money as you can avoid several revisions and courier cost. Because, tech pack communicate your vision to the sample maker with precision. A detailed sketches and tech pack is helpful and add value to your collection. Moreover, your sample maker and clothing manufacturer will take you seriously.
Step 2 : Prepare Tech Packs and Spec Sheet
Once You are done with your line-sheet ideas. Now it is time to fine tune it and make it in a way that a factory executing your idea can understand. Take all necessary steps to make sure your ideas may fall short of becoming a reality. You can do it by taking help of a freelance fashion designer with tech pack design expertise. Not all freelancers have the expertise in apparel technical drawing. Only those with ground level product development experience fits the bill. So, make sure the tech pack designer has industry experience on the factory floor. And he / she understand the operational detailing of garment development life cycle.
Step 3: Sourcing Custom Clothing Manufacturer
Sourcing garment manufacturing unit that match your production inquiry is not a joke. Factory refuse for sampling and product development unless they see solid order. Moreover, not all apparel units make all kind of apparel. Some specialized in knits and some in woven or denim. So depending on your style details you must find the right factory which can develop your sample. So, with a tech pack the factory will tell you whether they can do it. If they do not have the capability, you have every chance that you get a reference of the factory that can produce. But without tech pack and spec sheet you stand no chance. It’s a hard truth, nobody wants to put effort unless they see your effort in it. You want them to be serious ? then you got to be serious too.
Step 4: Budgeting and Optimizing Product Quantity with MOQ
Factories refuse to take your order just because your Order quantity is low. This is a common issue for most startup. They lack in their bandwidth and it leads to a lot of refusal from many factories. Having worked with factories one thing I learnt is factories MOQ relates with fabric MOQ. And fabric quantity has its bottom line. For example if you are buying fabric you got to buy certain minimum amount in a color. Below that quantity its difficult for factories to buy the fabric. That is why, plan your collection from the beginning in a way that you can use the same fabric in more than one style. This will help you match the fabric MOQ and you can order lesser quantity. Only an experienced technical designer can tell you this during your collection design.
Determine your production count for each style. Based on your production quantity you can sort your custom clothing manufacturer. MOQ varies from factories to factories. The larger the production run the lower the cost. If you do not have a distribution chain, I recommend hedging your bet and doing a smaller production run. Storing your product while finding buyers could add to your cost.
Step 5: Promote your Fashion Brand to Get Sales
Promoting your fashion brand is tough. But, with a consistent approach from the beginning you can get a sizable sales volume. There are several ways to promote your brand, blogging, social media, influencer marketing. You can also use paid advertisement both offline and online to promote your brand. Use social media to source your buyers. If you are getting in to e-commerce, it is very effective to pitch your product. Trade exhibition and events also helps pushing your brand. All that you know already. But with right custom clothing manufacturer you can secure your supply chain. And this gives an edge to your brand over your competitors.