Whether you are starting a fashion brand from scratch or are an established business looking to expand into new areas, selecting the right garment factory for your new collections is critical to ensuring a smooth and stress-free production process. For most companies, the price isn’t just the deciding factor anymore, and there is a concise decision-making process that considers a host of factors from quality, ethical standards, locality and reputation. These key elements help to build your brand identity and will become a statement of your clothing line, so creating a strong relationship with a clothing manufacturer can help you grow your fashion business in the long term.
Choosing from the range of clothing factories across the globe can sometimes make it feel like an impossible task especially if you are a new fashion start-up with limited funds and a small run to produce. With the help of Sewport’s innovative platform, this research is made simple, as you can communicate with potential clothing manufacturing partners at the click of a button whether they are in the UK or overseas.
Due diligence during the decision stage will ensure you make the right choices with the best information available. Getting it right is vital for the reputation of your fashion brand, so check out some of the critical areas to consider when selecting a fashion factory for your new collections.
Determining your fashion business goals
Before you approach clothing manufacturers, it is essential to have all the relevant information collated before you start making enquiries. If you know exactly what you hope to achieve, then you will be able to communicate your vision effectively to the garment factory. Knowing your numbers is one of the most important aspects, as many enquiries will be based on the quantities that you are hoping to produce. This vital information also is a crucial decider for costing purposes so having it to hand at the enquiry point will help lead discussions.
Of course, at this stage, you’re not going to know every little detail but focusing on the bigger picture and establishing solid foundations with a brand plan will ensure you and your potential clothing manufacturer start on the right page from day one.
After you’ve prepared your brand plan and have a list of requirements for your new collection, researching clothing manufacturers is the next step.
Research clothing factory options and ask questions
The apparel industry may seem like a complicated sector to enter, but it’s easier than ever to get your fashion brand off the ground with a range of resources available at the click of a button. Researching clothing factories is a simple process, and with the assistance of the Sewport platform, it is even easier to make contact with suitable suppliers. By signing up for a free account, you can chat with manufacturers and discuss your requirements in one place.
Using Sewport’s handy search function, filters make it easy to drill down and get the most appropriate results based on your requirements. After you’ve short-listed a host of suppliers, there is a range of questions that you can ask to get the best information and quotes for your next project.
Take a look at some of the most important aspects to clarify with a clothing manufacturer:
Have they worked on similar projects before?
One of the best ways to establish whether they are a good fit for your fashion brand is whether they have worked on similar projects before. Seeing tangible evidence from a potential manufacturing partner is a good indicator of the quality and level of service you might expect if you worked together.
Do they specialise in your product?
Many clothing factories produce a range of products and cater to a host of requirements, but just like other sectors, there are some manufacturers that specialise in specific garments or processes. This could be beneficial for your brand, as choosing a garment factory that understands your vision and has significant experience and knowledge of your niche will generally have specialised equipment and tools to produce high-quality goods.
What are the minimum order quantities (MOQs)
Minimums are an essential aspect to consider when producing your fashion label. This number can affect the cost of your final product and in some cases may limit your choice of suppliers. Establishing the quantities you will need for each garment type is also important, as these MOQs are generally dependent on style and not the total number of different garments you need to produce.
Further information: Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) - What You Need To Know
What production processes can they provide?
Clothing manufacturers have a range of production processes on offer to help clients decide on the best path for their products. The choice for fashion brands comes down to how much assistance you require at the outset. Will you need a full-service package from ideation to creation, or do you have everything ready to take your clothing straight to production? The answer to this question will help decide on whether you need CMT (Cut, Make, Trim) production or FPP (Full Package Production).
As the name describes FPP packages are perfect for new fashion brands that need a full-service solution. For established brands that require less input, CMT production is a more cost-effective option and gives you greater control over the final product.
To find out more about each product process, check out: Cut and sew manufacturers (CMT) of full package (FPP) manufacturing: Choosing what's right for you .
Can the garment factory scale up production for future growth?
Many clothing brands have aspirations of becoming well-known names in the fashion industry. Whether that is in the form of mass-produced garments worn by thousands of people or from exclusive collections worn by a limited market, forecasting the potential of your business is crucial for determining whether a clothing factory can scale to your business growth. In the short term, this may not be a decisive factor, as establishing your brand is often the most crucial starting point, but if you expand quickly, choosing a supplier that can grow with you is essential for a smooth and straightforward transition.
Does the clothing manufacturer mirror your brand ethics?
In recent years, ethical practices and sustainability have become a critical factor in the decision-making process. This is especially prevalent for fashion brands that have built a strong foundation for providing eco-conscious clothing. Partnering with clothing manufacturers that share similar ethics will ensure your clothing is produced within your brand standards and helps to form a strong relationship with like-minded organisations. Checking for aspects such as how they source materials, what steps they take to reduce their carbon footprint and whether they hold any ‘green’ certifications will help you to determine suitability.
Take a look at samples
After the initial enquiry, asking to see some samples is a great way to compare the production quality. At this stage, it’s useful to ask for samples that are, as close to your final products as possible but it is also worth noting, not to expect them to fit your exact requirements. There are some crucial areas to look out for when examining samples from clothing factories, and these will help you make your final decision.
The main sample areas to check:
- Stitching – check the quality of the stitching and whether any areas look uneven
- Embroidery or embellishment – check any detailing is securely stitched
- Sleeves – check sleeves are even and the same length
- Collar – check collar is even and the same length
- Inside seams – check the quality is just as good as the outside stitching
- Gently pull sections of the garment – this is a general inspection to see if the stitching holds firm and no areas pull or snag with gentle force.
Local vs overseas fashion manufacturers
With steady growth in clothing manufacturing, there is a host of suppliers to consider alongside overseas apparel factories. Cost is a significant factor when making this decision, but logistics and easy communication are essential factors that can make this process simple and straightforward.
Local and home-based clothing producers are often an excellent option for companies that are looking to produce small runs and limited collections. A garment factory that is based within travelling distance also gives you the opportunity to visit the premises and get a feel for the production methods and quality that is being created. For brands that are looking to craft a collection that has extensive detail, it can often be communicated more efficiently with face-to-face meetings and regular contact.
For fashion brands seeking larger order quantities and simple design, both international and local manufacturers are creating a competitive market for mass clothing production. In some cases, this could be a more challenging decision to make due to the number of clothing factories suitable for this style of production, but using a resource such as Sewport to connect with garment factories can make the process fluid and hassle-free.
The next steps in garment production…
Sewport can help connect your fashion brand with clothing manufacturers all the way from initial ideas to final product. If you’re looking to take the next steps and choose a garment factory for your production needs, join Sewport today to research your options.