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.