Selecting the right supplier for your label is important as it will affect a great deal of your business. Choose the right clothing manufacturer and they will work with you to achieve time lines, quality, detail and fit.
A Fitting Connection can recommend clothing manufacturers to you, however if looking for your own we suggest asking a few of the following questions to help you find one that will be the best fit for your label.
1. What are their strengths?
We all have our strengths and clothing manufacturers are no different. So ask them what their strengths are. If their strength is sport wear and uniforms and your label is casual day wear, I would suggest this is not the best fit for your label.
2. Ask them who they currently produce for?
They will give you 1-3 of the top labels that they produce for. This will give you a great indication of their quality and the volume that they can produce.
The volume of work is an important factor; if their current clients are large brands that order large volumes and you are just starting out and wanting to do small orders this may affect your label if they accept you as a client. For example depending on the time of year it may affect how long it takes to receive fit samples and in turn how long it will take for your order to be produced once you have approved the fit. Unfortunately the larger and more profitable orders in most cases will be slotted in front of your order (no matter how fair or unfair this is it’s just how they operate).
3. What are their terms of trade?
With this simple question they will send you all the details relating to their sampling cost and production lead time. It will NOT indicate how long the sampling process will take as this depends on many factors.
4. Do they understand your label and designs/product?
By sending them an image of what your product will look like and a brief outline of what you want to achieve with your label they will be able to establish if it’s something they would like to work on and from their response their level of understanding of your product and label.
5. What is their MOQ (minimum order quantity)?
This is a very important question to ask as it will determine if you will be able to afford to do business with them. It will also give you an idea as to where you will sit in their level of importance.
If you are one of their smallest clients your samples and business will take less priory. When you're starting out it’s going to be hard to be anything but their smallest client but what you need to do is find the right clothing manufacturer that is willing to work with smaller labels. This will show you they have patience and the skills to guide you and your label in a forward motion rather than put up obstacles each way you turn.
6. How many staff do they have?
This question is related to their office staff and in particular how many merchants they have. This will give you an idea of the size of their business. If they have 1-2 merchants (these are the people that receive your email, translate it and process the work to the various people to produce your article of clothing) then their business is small which could be a good or bad thing depending your your level of understanding of the business/industry and how much time and energy you or your team have to work with them.
It’s a challenging industry which is especially the case when you're starting out, so be willing to be patient and try a few clothing manufacturers before finding the right one for your label. And we highly recommend having more than one clothing manufacturer that you deal with.
Good luck and remember A Fitting Connection is here to support you no matter what stage you are at in your business.
Katrina and team x
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