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The Benefits of Specialist Clothing Manufacturers for Small Businesses

by Boris Hodakel  • January 21, 2019 • 4 min read

When you’re starting out, ordering large quantities of stock can take up a considerable chunk of your budget. For many small fashion businesses, having the option of smaller runs provides a cost-effective solution before taking the leap into full-scale production.

In the current market, there is a large selection of specialist low MOQ suppliers that cater to a variety of requests. By searching on Sewport, you can filter these to find the best fit, and start reaching out to gain quotes and information for your next project.

By choosing a clothing manufacturer that specialises in small business needs, you will enjoy a host of benefits that help provide a cost-effective and hassle-free production solution.

Take a look at how it could help your business below:

Low minimum order quantity

For many small businesses, order quantity is a significant factor when choosing a clothing manufacturer. Historically, many garment factories would only consider bulk orders due to production costs. However, there is a more competitive choice for startup fashion brands.

With the development in technology both in the UK and overseas, clothing manufacturers are able to offer small production runs. Specialist small batch producers also provide technical support from start to finish, even if you have little experience in the technicalities of textile manufacturing.

Garment producers understand the budget constraints small businesses have when entering the market and are able to cater to a range of requirements, outside of the standard pre-set. Many factories will be happy to produce MOQs as low as 50 pieces. In some cases, you will be able to find factories that will accept small orders between 1-50 pieces dependent on design requirements.

Further information: Minimum order quantities - what you need to know

Tailored service for your niche

All brands require those unique touches to garments. Small batch production is ideal for companies in niche sectors such as luxury clothing and sportswear, as this type of apparel requires particular attention to detail.

By choosing a niche clothing manufacturer, you will experience a dedicated service which offers your brand a hands-on approach during design and production. This will help to give you peace of mind and helps build a strong relationship between you and the manufacturing partner.

Full-service production options

Many clothing manufacturers now offer a Full Production Package (FPP) if your business needs a helping hand in the design and production aspect of a new collection. This service covers all elements of garment manufacturing from start to finish including:

  • Technical (CAD) drawings
  • Souring materials
  • Pattern cutting
  • Production samples
  • High-quality garment production
  • Quality control

There are significant benefits for small businesses, as this takes away the complex and often technical stresses of clothing production. It also gives you more time to focus on building your brand before launch.

Further information: Cut and sew manufacturers and full package manufacturing: Choosing what’s right for you

Competitive pricing for small businesses

Historically, large MOQs were the only way to achieve competitive pricing. However, as the variety of clothing suppliers has increased, smaller brands are able to tailor their requirements for cost efficiency. By working closely with garment factories, this enables businesses to look at the finer details of production, rather than bulk costs.

For full package production, costs may be slightly higher due to the input from your manufacturing partner. However, with cost-effective fabric sourcing and other collaborative efforts, this could still remain a profitable way to create your designs.

Questions to ask small MOQ clothing manufacturers

Whether you are an established brand or a startup looking to break into the industry, there is a selection of questions that will help you find the right clothing manufacturer for your small business.

Take a look at some of the most common areas to consider before starting your next project.

What is the minimum order quantity?

This is one of the most critical questions to ask on initial enquiry, as not all clothing manufacturers will have the same MOQs. Some clothing factories will have strict guidelines on order amounts and styles, while others may be able to relax these slightly, dependent on design.

NOTE: It is essential to be realistic about budgets and MOQs at this stage. Small orders will naturally cost more to produce, plus sampling costs may also be higher.

What are the average lead times?

Lead times or turnaround times are also important elements to determine especially when meeting launch dates. Smaller runs sometimes take longer to produce if you are you are in a queue with larger orders. So it vital to check how long production will take.

NOTE: Discuss timelines with the clothing factory and agree on regular updates to ensure everything is on schedule.

Can they source sustainable fabrics?

The textile market has increased substantially over the past decade and provides a host of fabrics for clothing brands to choose from. Clothing manufacturers often have a strong relationship with fabric suppliers and sourcing partners, so obtaining specific designs and styles is usually straightforward.

NOTE: Don’t be afraid to ask whether a manufacturer can source sustainable fabrics or specific fabric types. Clothing producers will do their best to accommodate special requests and are on hand to answer any questions.

What type of clothing do they produce?

Large clothing factories produce a variety of garment types. However, manufacturers that specialise in small runs and niche markets may only produce specific types of apparel. This can be a huge benefit for your brand, as finding an expert in your niche will ensure they fully understand your vision.

Are they able to produce larger orders as your company grows?

All businesses have aspirations for success and growth in the future. In most cases, this will lead to larger order quantities for production. To support this growth, considering a manufacturer that upscales with you could prove beneficial for your brand. With this assistance, you won’t have to worry about finding another supplier for bulk orders or going through the initial stresses of getting ready for production.

NOTE: Don’t rule out smaller or niche clothing manufacturers if they can’t guarantee to upscale production. This type of growth could be a few years away, in which the factory may have grown too.

There are plenty of options for small fashion businesses looking to produce smaller runs. By joining Sewport, you can search for specialist clothing manufacturers with our MOQ filter and select the best partner for your next project.

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About the author:

Boris Hodakel is the founder and CEO of Sewport - an online marketplace connecting brands and manufacturers, former founder of various clothing manufacturing services. He is passionate about e-commerce, marketing and production digitisation. Connect with Boris on LinkedIn.