Cut and Stitch understands that finding the right clothing manufacturer is a TOUGH decision. It can make, or break, your apparel brand. Regardless of whether this is your first time creating an apparel brand, or you’re looking for a new sourcing partner – we can help. We’ll work with you to understand the competitive advantages you’ll enjoy by working with us.
Cut and Stitch provides domestic and overseas clothing manufacturing, making us the perfect partner for startup brands, and large enterprises alike. We have factories in countries like India, China, and Taiwan, in addition to having a presence in the USA. Regardless of where the product is sourced, all final products go through our QC controlled factories, with a quality guarantee. We work with you to identify whether domestic or overseas manufacturing is beneficial for your project, and help you safely source products.
- Higher quality
- Higher labor standards
- Easy, and efficient to communicate with
- Similar time zones, holiday schedules
- Made in USA is great for branding and marketing
- Faster shipping + cheaper shipping
- No duties / tariffs
- Higher cost of goods
- Smaller list of factories
- Smaller product choices
We are committed to providing high quality services, and we believe that begins with consulting. We provide each client with the necessary education they need to make a start in the industry. In addition, we learn about your product so we can make educated recommendations. It’s a crucial step for those who have no manufacturing experience.
Consultations can be done over the phone, or in person. Each consultation is done with an expert in our team who has many years of experience in the apparel industry.
One of the first things a lot of companies ask, is do we really need a manufacturer in order to launch our clothing business. If you’re just getting started, then YES – it’s important you work with a producer who is trustworthy. Working with one can be a risk, in terms of finances and time – but if you find the right one, it’s the most profitable thing you can do. When you’re working with a manufacturing company, you’ll place orders for inventory in bulk. It means you receive a large number of products, which you have to store and manage. This can take away from business funds that might be used elsewhere, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
This isn’t a problem if your clients like your clothing, but there’s no guarantee that’ll be the case. It’s an issue even the biggest brands face. The big difference is they can absorb the loss if the product fails – you can’t. Bottom line, working with manufacturers is risk business. If you’re getting started with a business, we recommend you start learn, and order the absolute smallest amount possible. The worst thing possible is you try to clear inventory at a discounted price – losing money in the process.
Fashion is a glamorous business, and seeing your creations worn by the public is huge. The process of getting your ideas into production is a length and complicated task. But the great thing is, the internet has made it possible to find clothing manufacturers who are here to help you. There is a wide array of things to think about before bringing your product to the market. But, rest assured, when you speak to Cut and Stitch, you’re speaking to one of the top and most well respected brands in the industry.
Statistics show that the clothing market is growing, and with the rise of social media, this isn’t decreasing. High street fashion brands seem to be disappearing, and niche clothing brands are growing. Online shopping is popular, and growing. Cut and Stitch makes it easy to find a suitable manufacturer for your niche. If you need business funding, we can help you get a small business loan with Delancey Street.
Create a brand plan for clothing manufacturing
Starting a new fashion brand is exciting. One of the first things to think about before jumping into a new enterprise is establishing your objectives. Some of the best ideas are never able to make it to the prototype stage. It’s important you have everything in place before you get started in the production process. It’s important you establish your business, and create a brand plan, before you make your dream a reality.
Before you speak to a manufacturer, it’s important you define the reasons for making your clothing brand. The fashion industry is competitive, and you need to have a lot of resources in order to CREATE your product and make sure people are able to purchase it and learn about it. Before you begin manufacturing clothing, you should define your target market. Many businesses fail to identify their target market. For small businesses, it’s important you target specific customers in order to make sure you have the highest chance of success. When launching a clothing business, you really need to ask yourself – do I really need a clothing manufacturer. If you want to sell clothing items online, you don’t necessarily need to hire a manufacturer. You could just start off dropshipping and sourcing products from a supplier. This can be VERY helpful – since you don’t need to worry about manufacturing, and producing, and can focus on pre-made clothing items from a catalog. You also don’t have to worry about a lot of stock, which might not sell. It can save you time, money, and reduce your overall risk. For example, if you want to sell basic t-shirts, simply working with an existing manufacturer and dropshipping will save you immense time and money. More importantly, making t-shirts isn’t a big endeavor – why reinvent the wheel when there are suppliers already selling virtually every type of blank t-shirt.
However, if you have a unique idea for a new type of clothing, or if you’re a fashion designer who wants to launch a brand – then working with a manufacturer is a good idea. If you have a custom design, then working with a clothing manufacturer might be necessary and mandatory. There are pros and cons of working with a manufacturer though.
Clothing Manufacturer Pros
- You can get unique clothing
- You can create a brand
- You can sell items at a higher price tag
- You have control over branding, marketing, and quality
Clothing Manufacturer Cons
- There is a significant investment up front
- You have to buy items at bulk, which may fail
- You have greater legal exposure
- You are taking on immense financial risks
Here are some things to consider as you embark on your clothing business journey.
Can the clothing manufacturer actually make the product?
This is an obvious question, and it’s an important one. Not all manufacturers are capable of producing all types of clothing. For example, outdoor/excercise clothing requires special materials. You need to use a manufacturer that is able to make the clothing products you want, and is proficient in the “know how,” of making them. You need to be sure that the manufacturer you choose is able to make the products you want. More importantly, you should try and use a manufacturer that specializes in the exact type of clothing you want. If you’re starting a clothing business which sells swimwear, you should work with a manufacturer which has experience with swimwear.
Should I go for a domestic or overseas clothing manufacturer
You really must decide whether you’re going to go local, or international. It means choosing between manufacturers in the USA, Europe, or Asia. Typically Asian manufacturers are in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, and Bangladesh. It’s rare to find an economically viable manufacturer in the USA.
Domestic Clothing Manufacturers: There’s a lot of benefits in working with a domestic manufacturer in the USA. You can work meet with manufacturers, inspect their factories, and discuss your needs without any language barriers. There are more stringent labor laws, and better working conditions as well domestically. In addition, many consumers are becoming conscious of these things, and this is aselling point for your brand. You’ll also have the benefit of having faster shipping times, which means your potential clients are happy. The quality of domestic manufacturers also tends to be higher. All of this convenience comes at a financial cost. It costs more to do domestic manufacturing.
Overseas Clothing Manufacturers: The main benefit of this is cost. These manufacturers are usually cheaper, which is why so many manufacturers are based out of China, and why so much clothing is made in China. Labour standards and working conditions are unregulated, and less stringent in China, and other 3rd world countries. The issue is its much more difficult to visit and inspect factories in China. Also, its harder to find a reputable manufacturer due to the fact you can’t visit the factories. Also, another issue is that shipping takes longer. When you buy clothing items in bulk, and shipping them – it is an issue.
What is minimum order quantity(MOQ)?
When you’re working with a clothing manufacturer, you need to know what their MOQ is. MOQ means the minimum number of items you need to purchase a single order. The MOQ can range from 200 to 2000 items, or more. It’s rare for manufacturers NOT to have an MOQ. This is important for you to know, if you work with a clothing manufacturer and go to place your initial order – and they tell you buy 1000 units of the swimsuit you want to manufacturer – you might not be able to afford it. Moreover, it’s not a good idea to purchase 2000+ clothing items if you’re not sure you can sell them all. In short,
Will the clothing manufacturer provide product samples?
It’s always good to try clothing before you buy the MOQ. There’s a reason changing rooms exist in clothing stores, and its because people want to know what they are buying before they commit to buying it. The same should apply for a manufacturer you work with. This is important because if something’s not right, you can make adjustments. Most manufacturers will give you product samples, but not for free.
What are the fees and shipping costs associated with the clothing manufacturer?
When you start your clothing brand you can be full of excitement. It’s easy to overlook basic items and questions. It’s important to know about any additional fees that the manufacturer might charge. One way that manufacturers sometimes try to make additional money is through inflating shipping costs.
What is the clothing manufacturers production capacity?
This is something you don’t think about until your business is crushing it! When you get started with your clothing line, you get focused on your first order and first sales. But, what happens if your business is doing well – and your clothing sells out? Can your manufacturer produce your clothing quickly enough, and at a capacity that is large enough to fulfill your needs? This is why you should ask your supplier about their production capacity. You want to make sure you’re working with a manufacturer with ample production capacity. When hiring a manufacturer, make sure you work with one who can grow with you.
What quality standards does the clothing manufacturer have?
This isn’t something you can ask in an email. You can do your own research by reading reviews, visiting the factory, and ordering samples. The quality of your clothing dictates your reputation, and the price you can charge your clients. Sometimes its better to pay more to your clothing manufacturer in order to make sure your reputation isn’t at risk.
Domestic vs. Overseas Clothing Manufacturers
This is a classic question many people face when looking for suppliers to either manufacturer, or wholesale. You often will ask yourself repetitively, whether to source domestically or overseas. Overseas can mean any location outside of the USA. For example, India, China, Taiwan, etc. It’s obviously always cheaper to source products overseas, but there’s a lot more to the decision making process than just the upfront investment and the cost per unit.
Both domestic and overseas sourcing has its respective advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of USA clothing manufacturers
- Higher quality of manufacturing
- Higher labor standards
- Easy and efficient methods of communicating
- Similar time zone / holidays
- Made in USA is popular
- No import duties/tariffs
- IP protection
Disadvantages of USA clothing manufacturers
- High manufacturing costs
- Smaller choice of factories
- Smaller product choice
Overseas Clothing Manufacturing Companies
- Lower clothing manufacturing costs
- Greater number of clothing manufacturing factories to choose from
- Well established directories like Alibaba have made it easy
- Lower perceived quality
- Lower labor standards, and manufacturing standards
- Custom brokers to deal with
- Potential language/communication barriers
- Timezone differences
- Import tariffs
- Higher shipping costs
- Lower payment security needed
We get many inquiries from clients with a lot of questions. Clothing manufacturing is a complicated process, and many people simply don’t know where to begin, or what steps to take. Here are the 8 things you need to know about when it comes to clothing manufacturing from beginning to end.
Step 1: Are you ready for this?
Before we chat about the clothing manufacturing process, it’s important YOU are ready to be an entrepreneur. There are things that are important in every business, and if you’re in-tune with them – your business will run more smoothly and seamlessly. The first thing is you have to be more flexible. Things are constantly changing, and you have to be ready for back and forth communication with members of your team and the clothing manufacturer you’re going to be working with. It takes time. It won’t happen overnight. You also need to understand the process of manufacturing clothing, and most importantly timelines.
Production can take 2-3 months. After the completion of patters and samples(which in itself can take 2 weeks or 2 months). If you finish production sooner – great, but that can vary on a number of factors. There’s literally SO many moving parts when it comes to clothing manufacturing like
- sourcing fabric
- making screens
- strike offs
- leather work
- mass production
- …the list goes on
Your first production run will take longer because you have to go through the learning process. Quality also comes at a cost. Once you discover the process, you have to work with your manufacturer to negotiate production costs and keep these costs low will allow your brand to grow fast. In addition, you have to be mindful about ethical way of manufacturing and making sure everyone in your supply chain is manufacturing ethically. Many places cannot compete with countries like India and China – so what will you do when you face economic choices like that?
Step 2: Spec Sheets and Quotes
The first thing the clothing manufacturer will need from you is to provide a spec sheet. These are full designs, including measurements, fabrics, printing techniques, images, etc, for the garments. It’s best to provide the amount of information possible. Any delays are usually due to lack of sufficient information. Some clothing manufactures will request tech packs. These are designs which have detailed information like measurements, linig information, button and zipper customization. It is VERY detailed. Based on your spec sheets, manufacturers will be able to provide you with cost quotes. It’s hard to gauge the true fabric usage, and product 1 piece. Some manufacturers will produce the sample and then bill you for payment. It might be that you’re surprised with the cost you’re now obligated to pay. Once you get the quote, you may want to still negotiate to see if you can bring costs down. If you’re happy with the production cost of the sample – then and only then you should continue with the clothing manufacturing process.
Step 3: Sourcing Materials, Fabrics, etc
Getting materials and fabrics can be daunting. There’s a lot of fabrics. Where do you begin? The best thing to do is have some concept of what materials and fabrics you want to work with before you go to your suppliers. Once you are there, the suppliers will give you some information as to what is the best fabric. If you go to a supplier with no direction, you’ll be lost. Some widely used fabrics are pre-dyed colors. If the fabric doesn’t come in the color you want, it will need to be dyed. This usually has an MOQ of 50 to 100M. If you’re looking for printed fabrics, sometimes the design you like will be available but not in the material you want. In this case the supplier can usually help you by providing printing services in house, or will know of a company which screen or digitally print the fabric. When you’re printing fabrics or dying them, there are MOQ’s for this. Rather than buying fabrics that you may not need, or be in the print you want, manufacturing it from the factories might be an option. For example, Indonesia is one of the world largest textile producers. It’s a great place to make your own prints, and fabrics weaves as well.
Step 4: Patterns / Sampling
After you’ve confirmed your production cost and sourced everything needed, you’re now ready to have your pattern and sample made. The cost of this process is normally the production cost, multiplied by a factor of 2-3X. Some will charge separately for the patterns, and samples. The pattern essentially means taking all of the information in the spec sheet, and physical samples provided, and then making paper outlines/designs which are used as a template, laid into fabric, traced, and cut out. From the cutouts, the fabrics is sewn together to make the samples. The fabric is sew together to make your sample from the cut outs. The initial sample will be a sew sample. It won’t have the full details like the specific color you want. The point is to get the right fit, fabric, and in order to see the quality of sewing before going to full production. This initial sampling phase will take 1-4 weeks, depending on how complex your design is. When you speak to your manufacturer, it’s good to give them a sizing guide that you’re comfortable using. There’s so many options with sizing for US, UK, Euro, and Australian.
Step 5: Get samples
Once your samples are completed, they will be shipped to you so you can review them. What you’ll be looking for is the feel, fit, of the fabrics. You should look to see if it feels right, and flows/fits properly. If you need to change the fabric choice, and proceed to make more samples, you will be charged. You should check the seams in the garments, and ensure their strength. If there’s changes required, communicate this to your manufacturer so you don’t have to make many adjustments and corrections — each of which you will be charged for. Take pictures of the samples and edit the images by adding text, circling areas, etc. If you need to make adjustments, they should be free for the first correction. More than this, you’ll be charged fees. If you decide the garments have to be wider, or longer, this will require new patterns. You’ll be charged sampling costs, etc.
Step 6: Mass Manufacturing
At this stage, you have perfect samples. This will be used as a basis for all the other garments to be mass produced.