Whether you want to become the next big fashion entrepreneur or just want to sell everyday clothing online, finding the right manufacturer is critical to your success.
The apparel industry is extremely competitive and dominated by major brands with large budgets, popularity and decades of experience.
However, the rise of e-commerce and boutique clothing lines has enabled many aspiring fashion entrepreneurs to find success online-there is no reason why you can’t do the same thing.
If you are reading this book, it may be that your clothing business idea has been well developed. Your positioning is a niche market, and maybe there are some clothing designs or ideas for clothing products you want to sell.
But you are not sure where to start-or whom to trust-making clothes.
Unfortunately, this is a barrier that many aspiring entrepreneurs give up. There are several reasons:
1. This means implementing your ideas, which can be frightening
2. This means you have to trust unknown people (manufacturers)
3. It means investing to get your business started
I want to assure you that finding a clothing manufacturer is not necessarily difficult or frightening. In fact, in this article, I will share with you some outstanding clothing manufacturers.
I know why this part of your business journey may seem daunting, but let me guide you through the process of finding a quality clothing manufacturer so that you can turn your ideas into reality.
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• Apparel Manufacturers: Getting Started
• Looking for something from a clothing manufacturer
o 1. Can they manufacture your product?
o 2. Domestic or foreign garment manufacturers?
o 3. What is the minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
o 4. Can they provide product samples?
o 5. What are their fees and transportation costs?
o 6. What is their production capacity?
o 7. What are their quality standards?
o 8. What other brands have they worked with?
• Where to find a reliable clothing manufacturer
• 7 garment manufacturers that can be used for online business
o 1. Pineapple costume
o 2. Good clothing company
o 3. Apparel production company
o 4. Independent source
o 5. Portland Garment Factory
o 6. Billoomi fashion
o 7. Thirst
• You are ready to start a clothing business
Apparel Manufacturers: Getting Started
When starting a clothing business, you must first ask yourself: Do I really need a clothing manufacturer? If you just want to sell clothing online, it’s best to start by shipping and purchasing products directly from clothing suppliers. In this way, you don’t have to worry about production issues, because you can choose pre-made garments from the catalog. You also don’t have to buy a lot of stocks that may not be sold. It can save you a lot of time, money and unnecessary risks.
For example, if you plan to sell blank T-shirts, it doesn’t make much sense to try to redesign the wheels when there are many vendors who have stored various blank T-shirts in the sun.
However, if you have unique insights into the new collection of clothing, or if you want to create your own brand of fashion designer, then you will need to work directly with the manufacturer.
The pros and cons of working with apparel manufacturers.
Advantages of clothing manufacturers
• You can produce unique clothing
• You can build your own brand
• You can usually sell goods at a higher price
• You have greater control over branding and marketing
Disadvantages of clothing manufacturers
• You must make a substantial investment upfront
• You must buy bulk items that may not be sold
• You assume greater legal obligations
• You expose yourself to more risks
Bonus: Learn more about the pros and cons of manufacturing in our “Beginner’s Guide to Finding Private Label Manufacturers”
What to look for in a clothing manufacturer
If you are the beginning of a clothing business, there are a few things to consider before choosing a clothing manufacturer.
1. Can they make your product?
This seems to be an obvious problem, but it is an important one. Not all clothing manufacturers have the ability to produce all types of clothing. For example, outdoor or sportswear usually requires special materials, such as Lycra or waterproof fabrics. You need to make sure that the selected manufacturer can produce the clothing products you need. Even better, you should try to use a manufacturer that specializes in making the clothes you need. If you want to start a clothing company that sells fashionable swimwear, it is best to cooperate with a manufacturer with extensive swimwear experience.
2. Domestic or foreign clothing manufacturer?
You need to determine whether you want to cooperate with local manufacturers or overseas manufacturers in your country or region. Usually, this means choosing between manufacturers in the US and Europe or manufacturers in Asia (usually China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh). It is very rare to find an economically viable clothing manufacturer in a smaller country, but if local manufacturing is important to you, then you may be able to get it working.
Domestic (U.S., European) clothing manufacturers
There are many benefits to working with domestic apparel manufacturers. First of all, it is much easier to meet with manufacturers, inspect their factories and discuss your specific needs without language barriers. There are stricter labor regulations and better working conditions. Consumers are becoming more aware of these things, and “local manufacturing” can become a powerful selling point. You will also benefit from faster shipping times, thereby satisfying customers. The quality also tends to be higher.
However, all of this comes at the expense of financial costs. The cost of using domestic manufacturers is usually higher, although you also have reasons to charge higher fees for clothing products.
Overseas clothing manufacturers
The main benefit of using overseas manufacturers is cost. They are almost always much cheaper, which is why so many clothes are made in China. However, this is usually because labor standards and working conditions are not regulated, which is something you need to keep in mind.
It is also more difficult for you to visit and inspect the factory. Although overseas manufacturers can produce high-quality clothing, it depends on your choice of a reputable manufacturer.
When the product is sent internationally, the shipping time is also longer. However, if you want to buy clothing in bulk and transport it yourself, this is not the main issue.
Another benefit is that you can usually have more choices-fabrics, styles, etc.-from overseas manufacturers and they are more inclined to bend back to do business with you.
3. What is the minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
When working with apparel manufacturers, you need to know what their minimum order quantity is. This means that you need to purchase the minimum number of items in a single order. The minimum order quantity ranges from 200 to 2000 pieces or even more. It is very rare that the manufacturer does not have an MOQ. This is important to you, because if you start working with a manufacturer and place your first order, and they tell you that you need to buy 1500 units of the swimsuit you want to make, you may not be able to afford it. . In addition, if you are not sure whether you can sell them all, it is best not to buy 2000 pieces of clothing. In this way, your remaining inventory will be difficult to transfer.
In short, before working with a clothing manufacturer, please make sure that your MOQ is manageable.
4. Can they provide product samples?
Try it first and buy it later. There is a reason why clothing stores want to change rooms. This is because people want to know what they want to buy before buying. The same is true for your manufacturer. If you want a manufacturer to produce clothing for your business, you need to make sure you can get samples before you make a large order. This is important because if there is something wrong, you can make adjustments until it is correct. Imagine if you ordered hundreds of designed jackets and found that they did not fit well or used the wrong buttons.
The easiest way is to show it in your newsletter as early as possible. Most manufacturers will be happy to provide samples, usually for a small fee, but it is up to them to decide from the beginning.
5. What are their fees and transportation costs?
In the excitement and impulse to make your apparel business flourish, it’s easy to overlook basic due diligence. It only takes one or two lines in an email to ask the manufacturer if you should know about any other costs, and what their shipping costs and time are.
This is very important information that can help you determine whether to cooperate with the manufacturer, so please make sure to resolve it as soon as possible.
Bonus: Check out our guidelines for communicating with manufacturers and suppliers (including email scripts you can use!)
6. What is their production capacity?
You may not think of this until your business is booming. When you first started using a clothing line, you might focus on getting the first order and selling it. But what happens if the business is better than expected and your clothes are sold out soon? Can you rely on your manufacturer to quickly produce larger volumes of clothes? This is why you should ask your suppliers about their production capacity. Make sure they have the ability to tag them when needed. Also ask about turnaround time or delivery time, which means how long it will take for the manufacturer to complete your order. You don’t need to wait for weeks or months for orders, and you will miss potential customers and sales in the process.
7. What are their quality standards?
Unfortunately, this is not something you can ask the manufacturer via email and accept its request. However, you can conduct your own research by reading the manufacturer’s reviews online, visiting the factory (if possible) and ordering samples. Remember, the quality of clothing determines your reputation, so you need to ensure that the quality of the clothing produced by the manufacturer is high. It is better for you to pay a higher price for high-quality goods than to risk a famous reputation to save a few dollars.
8. What other brands do they work with?
This is one of the best ways to test the manufacturer’s reliability. Ask them what other brands they also produce for clothing. Then check the websites of these brands. Did they succeed? What is their customer feedback like? Contact the owners of these brands and ask how they can work with manufacturers. Do they have any problems? Are they satisfied with the quality? There is no proof in the real world that allows you to contact the manufacturer with peace of mind. Otherwise, they may sound alarm bells, which will help you decide to choose another manufacturer.
Where to find a reliable clothing manufacturer
It is relatively easy to find clothing manufacturers online. The tricky part is to know which ones are reliable and which ones are not.
Here are some tried and true methods of finding clothing manufacturers.
Industry gatherings and trade shows
Trade fairs (also called trade fairs) are exhibitions where manufacturers display their products and services. This is a great way to meet with the manufacturer in person, so you can discuss your specific needs. The same is true for industry gatherings. You cannot talk to the manufacturer face to face. It helps build trust and confidence, and build more personal business relationships.
SaleHoo’s Verified Supplier Directory
The SaleHoo Wholesale Catalog has more than 8,000 low-cost suppliers and 1.6 million products and brands. There are more than 200 clothing suppliers worldwide. The best thing about SaleHoo’s supplier catalog is that all manufacturers have been verified by SaleHoo employees, so you know they are trustworthy. With just one click, you can view all the contact information of the manufacturer, including phone numbers, emails, and physical addresses, as well as detailed information such as its trustworthiness score, product range and quality, and customer service information.
You can find manufacturers on popular online markets in China, such as Alibaba and AliExpress. Manufacturers usually sell directly through these platforms, so if you come across a list similar to the clothing product you want to make, you can try to contact the seller and ask if they are the manufacturer. You also have the added benefit of being able to read reviews and contact previous customers. However, you do need to be alert to scams, and you should still perform due diligence in accordance with the guidelines above.
Bonus: Learn more about how to find a reliable manufacturer in China
7 clothing manufacturers you can use for your online business
1. Pineapple clothing (SaleHoo characteristic supplier)
Pineapple Clothing is a clothing supplier headquartered in the United States. It is a manufacturer of women’s and children’s clothing. It is known for its unique prints and designs that are suitable for daily use and special occasions. When they sell directly to consumers, they also provide and manufacture clothing for retail stores.
Find more outstanding clothing manufacturers in SaleHoo’s supplier directory
2. Good clothing company
Good Clothing Company, headquartered in the United States, provides small batch and large-scale production services for independent designers and well-known brands. The company prides itself on adopting environmentally friendly and sustainable production methods and paying reasonable skilled workers for workers. They provide a simple online form to query information about their manufacturing.
3. Apparel production company
Apparel Production Incorporated is a well-known and experienced clothing manufacturer in New York. Founded in 1949, the company has been committed to producing high-quality clothing at the most reasonable prices through its domestic and international manufacturing network. The company cooperates with high-end fashion brands.
4. Independent source
Indie Source is a comprehensive apparel development and manufacturing consulting company based in Los Angeles. It provides a personalized internal product development team for fashion designers and apparel companies, including dedicated project managers and experienced procurement experts, pattern makers and sample makers.
5. Portland Garment Factory
Portland Garment Factory is a full-service creative design and manufacturing studio located in Portland, Oregon. They provide concept, design and manufacturing services, specializing in more creative designer clothing. Zero Waste Studio is committed to subverting the traditional factory model through ethical labor practices and environmental sustainability.
6. Billoomi fashion
Billoomi Fashion is an Indian private label clothing manufacturer, which mainly produces woven and knitted clothing for men and women. The company has customers all over the world and has the ability to handle any quantity and any type of garment production, which shows that production capacity will no longer be an issue.
Dewhirst designs, develops and manufactures all kinds of men’s and women’s clothing. The company was founded in 1880 and therefore has more than a century of experience. Dewhirst has manufacturing capabilities in multiple countries/regions including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Given the location of some of its factories, Dewhirst will carefully maintain ethical values in terms of workplace conditions, health and safety, and sustainability.
You are ready to start a clothing business
Now that you know what to look for in apparel manufacturers, where to find them, and have some starting options, you should be in a good position to start your apparel business.
Although this is a highly competitive market, there are still many opportunities to take advantage of new trends and ideas and build a sustainable online business. If you have a great idea and have the motivation to put it into practice, then there is no reason why you can’t create a successful clothing line.
So what do you think? Do you have experience in sourcing clothing manufacturers? What are the common obstacles you face?
Hope this guide is helpful to you. If you have any questions or other tips about working with clothing manufacturers, please leave a comment below.
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