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Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) - Everything You Need To Know!

by Boris Hodakel  • May 22, 2019 • 5 min read

The best designers and brands create the perfect balance between what we need and what we desire. This intuitive process stems from the designers own passion to give consumers a wearable item that symbolises the culture and identity of the brand. Building this style of business takes time and patience but if you have the passion to succeed, you can build on your previous experience and education to get the ball rolling.

Take a look at how you can use your attributes to develop a successful brand.

Build on your passion and drive

Passion alone won’t magically create your fashion brand but it’s what you do with it that stands out from the crowd. Using this belief helps to build the foundations for a startups identity and place in the market. You’ll need to sell this passion into people’s lifestyles and wardrobes, so channelling it, can provide the basis of your marketing and promotional efforts. It’s also important to think about the wider audience and the brands influence but also create that balance between staying true to your idea whilst catering to your customer.

Passion alone won’t magically create your fashion brand but it’s what you do with it that stands out from the crowd. Using this belief helps to build the foundations for a startups identity and place in the market. You’ll need to sell this passion into people’s lifestyles and wardrobes, so channelling it, can provide the basis of your marketing and promotional efforts. It’s also important to think about the wider audience and the brands influence but also create that balance between staying true to your idea whilst catering to your customer.

Use your knowledge

Although graduating from a top fashion university may give you a helping hand on the industry ladder, you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in fashion to create your own business. There are distinct advantages to fashion degrees dependent on the route you want to take to realise your dream but if you look at the bigger picture, other paths can have a positive input.

For example, a business education will offer your invaluable insight into different sectors of industry such as manufacturing, supply chain and sales. Marketing qualifications are ideal for understanding promotion of your new business and studies in finance can help plan your company funds and on-going liquidity.

Take advantage of invaluable resources

Most don’t aspire to know everything and those that do never will, so soaking up valuable knowledge can lead to innovative and creative business ideas. Learning from peers, business professionals and taking advantage of industry tools can also give you a head start in your fashion journey.

A new FashionTech tool doing just that is Sewport . This online platform gives new brands and aspiring designers the chance to communicate directly with manufacturers without the need to have prior contacts or industry know-how. The whole process from idea conception to finished product can happen through this portal and any questions, big or small can be communicated effectively in one place without the need for back and forth emails or confusion. This tool helps brands choose exactly who they’d like to work with and filter effectively on specific requirements. The dashboard also has plenty of intelligent features, from initial enquiries and managing orders to tracking parcels and making secure payments. It’s super simple and free to set up and provides an invaluable resource for both fashion start-ups and established companies.

Using your attributes alongside the wealth of resources on offer, not only helps to bring your passion to life but also provides the tools and confidence to create and sustain a successful fashion business.

Whether you’re starting up, getting ready to launch a new line or an established designer, minimum order quantities (MOQ’s) are a way of life for fashion designers and suppliers. Although designers and buyers may have restricted budgets and quantity requirements, production factories must ensure that each job they take on has scale for them to make enough profit themselves.

Why do factories have MOQ requirements?

Different factories will have different MOQ’s, you might find a factory that can offer minimums of 50 units, all the way into the 1000’s for one order. The more units you can adhere to, the lower your cost price will tend to be. This is because clothing production is a very streamlined process, so higher quantities per run means faster speed per garment and therefore, lower costs.

Factories use MOQ’s for 2 main reasons:

  • They have order minimums themselves

Designers must remember that when they order a full unit (including fabric, trims and production), the supplier cannot possibly hold all fabrics and trims in stock. They have to purchase this, and therefore, will have minimums from the suppliers they purchase from.

  • They must stop their other production for you

When a factory accepts your job, they must stop production on any other work in order to complete your job. This means creating and grading patterns for you, changing any machinery required and full production, which involves their staff from start to finish. Most factories are busy and have long standing, repeat clients, so the MOQ ensures that this process is always worthwhile for them, as a business.

What affects a factories MOQ?

Minimum order quantities are not always black and white. There are several factors to consider when you’re at this stage of business, that may affect the number you are given from a factory:

  • The complexity of your design

The design of your garment will often impact the order quantity you are quoted from a factory. For simple garments, such as standard t-shirts, it will be less than a very complex and detailed garment with added trims or embellishments. There are also many manufacturers who specialise in a specific garment type. For example, partnering with an expert t-shirt manufacturer might reduce your MOQ, due to them being able to more seamlessly integrate your order into their production.

  • Your choice in fabrics and trims

Choosing a stock fabric from your manufacturer may help with your minimum order quantity, as they won’t have to purchase the fabric especially for your order. When it comes to selecting printed fabrics, this will impact your minimums directly, as printed fabrics will have a much higher MOQ for your supplier. Depending on your print and consistency requirements, using printed fabrics will also affect your lay planning, and therefore your fabric consumption.

  • Consumption of fabric – Sizes

The lay of the pattern on the fabric dictates how economically you can use the fabric and reduce wastage. Therefore, larger adult sizes, and especially plus size garments, will consume the fabric much less economically.

MOQ’s are all about traditional economies of scale. If you order more units, you will usually get a cheaper price, so this equates to it costing more for smaller units, for both you and the manufacturer. The manufacturer must then put in place a figure of units, by which, if they produce less, it is not economically and financially viable for them. Whilst minimums are often negotiable, it’s frequently found that smaller factories are those who are able to produce in smaller scale, so it’s an important factor to consider when selecting your partner factory.

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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.