Are you planning to start your clothing brand but are having difficulty finding the proper clothing manufacturer for your startups? You are not alone. Finding a good clothing manufacturer is one of the most challenging and arduous tasks for your start-up. You cannot expect to start a clothing brand without having a solid manufacturer.
Is it Essential to have a Clothing Manufacturer for your Fashion Brand?
Unless you don’t plan to run the production yourself, you can not start selling your clothes or even start promoting your start-up without meticulous manufacturing. It is because of the following reasons:
- Pricing – How can you finalise the selling price of your clothing item if you don’t know its production cost in the first place? Therefore, you must have accurate production costs to calculate wholesale or retail price as estimating the production prices can turn out to be a disaster.
- Identicality – The clothing samples you show to buyers must be identical to those they will receive if they order it. If you can’t provide what you ensure, you will start losing customers. Thus, it is vital to have a diligent clothing manufacturer before you start your brand.
How to Find a Clothing Manufacturers for your startups Fashion Company?
Finding a solid clothing manufacturer for your start-up is all about finding the perfect fit while ensuring the quality of work. You have to be picky and know what kind of work you want from the manufacturer to get the right fit for your clothing brand.
However, before you can even decide whether a particular manufacturer is a suitable pick for your start-up, you first need to find that right fit as well.
So here are a few steps that you can follow to find a good clothing manufacturer for your brand:
If you plan your future in this field, you need to dig in a bit deeper. You need to know the other start-up brands and the ones already established. You need to go to different fashion events and socialise with various start-up brands since you are not the only one who is planning to start his fashion brand.
Once you are into these gatherings, it gets a little easier to find sources and acquire information. However, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Still, the key here is to give information to get some in return as every brand is just not going to provide you with all the information and open up to you about their sources which they found by working hard over a long period. So, the highlight is, you help them, they help you. That is how it works.
In addition to this, ask around. See if you have any contacts within the industry or at these events. This way, you can find out what they are using, or maybe you can get to the right person through them.
While networking is one of the most efficient ways of finding a manufacturer and other numerous things, a comparatively more accessible way to find a clothing manufacturer is using the internet to find local and offshore manufacturers, especially keeping in view about the current pandemic situation.
One of the ways in which the internet can come in handy is through Forums. There are multiple forums with various communities and groups where people can share their resources and solve your queries. Facebook and Reddit are two great digital networking platforms where multiple start-up groups allow you to ask questions and where people share their resources easily as well.
Another way in which the internet can be helpful is through online searches on Google. While Google is a vast platform to search for custom clothing manufacturers for start-ups, it does not mean that a manufacturer who ranks higher in the google search results will be a good fit for your fashion brand. Therefore, you need to be cautious about it because the online search is not as easy as it looks. In addition to this, Trade Shows and Online Databases on google will also lead you to the clothing manufacturers. While these databases are more scrutinised, they don’t give access to every person.
Other methods may include speaking to your suppliers in case you are lucky enough to have a few. Possibly, you might have already sourced materials, fabrics etc., from your suppliers. These suppliers do have contacts within the industry and know manufacturers all around since the nature of work is the same. Therefore, suppliers can be helpful too.
Moreover, you can also look into other related fashion fields such as magazines or trade shows as these related fields also have their contacts and tend to know about clothing manufacturers.
Finding the Perfect Fit:
Once you have found out where the clothing manufacturers are and made a shortlist of potential manufacturers, the next step is to decide which one will be the perfect fit for your brand. Here are a few pointers that will help you find the best fit for your company:
Size of the Manufacturer:
The size of the clothing manufacturer matters a lot before finalising one.
Don’t Go for Large Manufacturers:
One of the biggest mistakes of the start-up brands is that they go for those manufacturers who are already working with already well established and famous brands. While working with such manufacturers provides you with many guarantees, the timing is not correct. Going for such big manufacturers as a start-up is an amateur move.
There are several factors involved:
If you are going for a prominent manufacturer that other big brands are already approaching, you directly compete with those big brands. That is because big brands have already been established and in-demand. Therefore, they already will have a higher demand than yours and, hence, a more extensive supply demand from the manufacturers than yours. While those big brands might be ordering thousands of pieces, you will be ordering a hundred or maybe even lower than that.
The manufacturer will always find more profit in big orders, and hence they will always prioritise more prominent brands compared to your small start-ups. That is because the amount of time and work needed for both the orders will be the same. Therefore, it is natural for a manufacturer to go for the more significant demand, making more money. Remember, they are also running a business. It is not personal.
Last One on the List:
Moreover, even if you are lucky enough to get big clothing manufacturers on board, you are still going to be the last one on their priority list. Once again, it is natural to prioritise their most prominent customers first and complete their orders rather than yours. The risk of not meeting a significant demand for a bigger brand is more than a small order for a tiny start-up. Thus, you will be the last one on their priority list.
Large factories are very highly specialised in various skill sets. More prominent brands usually do not rely upon just a single manufacturer. They are working with numerous factories simultaneously since these factories are highly specialised, which makes them more efficient. While this goes in favour of the big brands, it does not mean that it is beneficial for new start-ups.
That is because more prominent brands have bigger teams as well. They have a huge team who can effectively communicate with these various specialised manufacturers. The problem with a start-up is that it is usually started by a group of two, three or maybe four people, which is still a minimal number to communicate with such large manufacturers.
Therefore, opting for an oversized clothing manufacturer for start-ups is a rookie move.
Don’t Go for Small Manufacturers:
Like there are problems associated with large manufacturers, going for smaller manufacturers is also not a good idea. Here’s why:
They are Expensive:
The fact that you are just starting your brand means that you are new to this. There are chances that you don’t know the cost of pattern making, sampling and various other things involved in the process. Smaller manufacturers know that you are just a newbie, and they tend to take advantage of this. They do not plan to sustain a long-term relationship with the client and look forward to working for one time. Thus, they charge higher prices, and there is a high possibility that such small manufacturers will provide you with quality work as well. So, you will be spending more pounds while getting a lower quality of work.
They Might Outsource:
Another downside of smaller factories is that they often outsource. Manufacturing clothes requires huge machinery, not just in size but quantity as well, which small factories cannot afford all of those machines. Therefore, they tend to specialise in those items only while they outsource everything else. When these smaller manufacturers outsource your order, they are still making a profit for themselves.
It means that you need to dig a bit deeper and try and get in touch with the person making your order. It will save you money and as well as ensure a better quality of work. You should always be clear about who is making your goods and where they are being made.
How to Finalise the Clothing Manufacturers for your Start-up?
Now that you know the problems associated with more extensive and smaller clothing manufacturers, you will also know that the right supplier will balance these two.
Following are a few things to keep in mind:
Having the Resources and Skills to Meet your Requirements:
The first thing you should ensure is whether the manufacturer can produce the desired outcome or not. The clothing manufacturer should be an expert in his specialised field and only then will you get your required goods.
Reliable Human Resource:
You should be in contact with the person who is directly handling your account. What manufacturing factories do most often is that the owner or the upper management deals with the clients initially to attract them, and once a client gets on board. They get the order, and the direction transfers the responsibility to the lower management, who are less experienced and less skilful. It leads to inefficiency, and you don’t get the desired results in the end.
Therefore, make sure to clear this out before finalising a clothing manufacturer who exactly will be dealing with your account. It ensures safety throughout the process. Moreover, if the manufacturer tells you clearly that the lower management will handle your account, always check their quality of work before getting them on board.
No Third-Party Vendors:
While there is nothing wrong with factories outsourcing work, they should be clear about it and not keep you in the dark. Thus, it is not a hard and fast rule of having no third-party vendors, but you have every right to know the person who will be producing your goods even if the manufacturer is outsourcing.
Look for Growth:
It would be best if you do not go for a large manufacturer or a tiny one because the larger ones have already been established while the smaller ones may or may not be looking to form long-term relations and growth. On the contrary, the medium-sized manufacturers are growing, but they are still going through that process. Hence, they will be ready to take risks on a smaller scale and form long-term client-based relationships.
Now that you know everything about how to evaluate manufacturers for your clothing brand, always remember these tips even after you have found a good clothing manufacturer for your start-up:
- Never stop searching about manufacturers even if you have got a good one. You should always have a backup in case of any emergency or mishaps.
- Make a report about every manufacturer you have communicated with and the final results you helped you analyse and shortlist them further. Moreover, it is possible that once your start-up gains popularity and it starts expanding, you may need a few of these manufacturers which you once couldn’t afford or you didn’t shortlist because the timing was just not right.
- Always check your manufacturer’s response time. Ask yourself these questions: Are they quick to respond? Do they take more time to respond? Is it easier to contact them over a phone call or through an email? Is it easier to reach your manufacturer?