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5 Great Tips on Choosing the Best Clothing Manufacturer for Small Runs

by Boris Hodakel  • June 18, 2019 • 4 min read

clothing manufacturers for small runs

As an emerging designer or a small business in the fashion industry, it can be difficult to know where to turn when you are looking to produce your first collection. As a smaller entity, budgets will be tighter, and often order quantities will be lower than mass-produced clothing. This can present some challenges and finding a suitable clothing manufacturer that can accommodate small runs is essential for securing good quality garments for your brand.

If you are new to the world of clothing production, then sourcing suppliers may seem like a daunting task. To make the process easier, Sewport has developed a unique platform that brings clothing manufacturers and brands together to connect and build strong business relationships. This innovative resource is also perfect for beginners, as you don’t need any experience or connections to take your ideas to clothing manufacturers. It’s easy to join, and this creates a stepping-stone to the world of garment creation.

Once you’ve taken the first steps, deciding on the right clothing factory for your requirements will help get the production process started.

Check out some of the things to consider when searching for a clothing manufacturer for your small business.

Chat with fashion industry experts

fashion industry expert

The perfect way to start your journey in apparel production is to connect with industry experts for helpful tips and tricks in getting the most from your business. Unless you have a degree or started your career in the industry through a fashion apprenticeship, you may not have access to information and support from a relevant mentor. By joining the Sewport community, you can find a host of private label manufacturers and experienced individuals that offer support and advice on everything from design, production management and costings. This valuable resource will help you build the foundations of your new collection and make the process less overwhelming and more manageable from start to finish.

Connect with a clothing manufacturer or industry expert today

Determine minimum order quantities (MOQ)

Naturally, as a designer or small business, you will be looking to produce small runs for your fashion brand. Researching clothing manufacturers that offer lower minimum order quantities will help you achieve a smaller production level to manage costs more efficiently. There are a number of clothing factories that can accommodate small runs of a minimum of approximately 50 pieces without compromising on quality.

Another aspect of small run production to consider is how apparel producers prioritise clients, as you may find that low order numbers put you at the back of the queue due to the way their production process works. This could also affect sampling and lead times so be sure to check when enquiring.

In some cases, you may require lower order quantities, and this is often the case for fashion designers. Some companies will be able to accommodate very small and exclusive runs, but this style of production will usually be more expensive and undertaken by textile studios to meet individual requirements.

Discuss production capabilities or restrictions

For fashion brands that require smaller runs, some clothing manufacturers are only able to produce limited styles or designs at lower quantities. If this is the case, it could restrict the type of products in your collection and potentially see you compromise on the type of garments that are produced.

If you have an idea in mind and don’t want to settle for a limited run, then be sure to look around at what other private label manufacturers can help you achieve. There are a variety of garment producers on Sewport that are able to help you realise your brand’s potential.

Consider the production process

clothing production process small factory

If you have little or no experience in the apparel industry, partnering with a garment factory that can help throughout the process is a valuable resource that will make production smooth and straightforward. However, Full Package Production (FPP) can be expensive, and for aspiring designers, this could impact on the selling price of your product, as you have to incorporate production costings.

It is always a good idea to check with clothing manufacturers any ways that you can help to keep costs down. Of course, they are a business that also requires profits to continue trading, but they are also looking to establish long-term relationships with fashion brands to boost their reputation and standing within the industry. By working together, you will develop a great business relationship that will help you get the most of your production requirements for a reasonable cost.

Work to a realistic budget

Private label manufacturers will understand the constraints that small businesses are under concerning budget but approaching a clothing factory with a low budget and big ideas won’t be helpful for either party. To establish a good relationship with an apparel producer, you have to provide a realistic budget so they can create a scope to work within.

For smaller runs, you also have to consider the margin of error is a bigger issue than mass-produced clothing. For example, to a fashion brand creating thousands of products, there will be an expected room for error in production, which won’t majorly affect its overall costings. However for smaller runs, if a few items have faults, this will eat into your profits and overall finished product. Creating a budget that factors in these scenarios will help to manage expectation, plus ensuring you supply correct information such as a Tech Pack for production will reduce miscommunication.

Further information: A Guide To Working With Clothing Manufacturers

With the help of Sewport, finding and selecting a clothing manufacturer for small runs is a simple process. You can research and connect with clothing factories across the world all within the platform, and filter your requirements to short-list the best options for your business.

Alongside initial contact and enquiries, you can place orders and submit information through your account and track progress for a quick and easy production process.

Join the Sewport community and start connecting with clothing manufacturers today!

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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.