Those of you looking to create a successful brand or clothing company know the importance of building a strong foundation. Building a strong mission statement, design, and logo are just some of the essential steps that create a clear vision for you and your customers. One of the most vital, but often overlooked, steps in starting your clothing company is finding the right apparel manufacturer. Finding the right apparel manufacturer is important because it directly impacts so many aspects of your line and can ultimately save time, money, and stress.
Here are a few steps in helping you find the right manufacturer for you:
1. Not All Manufacturers Are Made The Same
You may be surprised to find that different manufacturing companies specialize in producing different styles. One manufacturer you find may only produce jeans where another manufacturer may only produce shoes. This is due to the special machines and labor required to produce each style. It is important to find a manufacturer that can not only produce your item but has experience in producing your item.
2. Overseas vs. Domestic
There are pros and cons for manufacturing overseas and domestically. It is important to identify your business needs and choose which will benefit your company.
The main pros of producing overseas are cost, high output, and production capabilities. The cons are language barriers, lead time, shipping/duty costs.
The pros of producing domestically are easier access to the factory, low turnaround time, and low minimums. The cons are higher labor costs, lower output, and limited production capabilities.
3. Know What You Want
A manufacturer is there to produce YOUR vision, not what they think your vision is. You must be able to tell the manufacturer what type of fabric, stitch (if necessary), size run, dimensions of item, tags, and finish that is required for your item. This will help you assess whether or not the manufacturer is capable of producing your item. This will also help in getting a more accurate quote from your manufacturer.
4. Say Hello
After you have a list of potential manufacturers, pay them a visit. It does not matter how many emails or phone calls were exchanged beforehand. Speaking face to face is vital in creating a long lasting business partner. During your visit, ask for a tour, ask questions about the manufacturing process, and discuss what you want from a manufacturer. The more you familiarize yourself with the manufacturing process the easier it becomes to work with your manufacturer.