11
min read

How to find a full service clothing manufacturer

Published on
September 1, 2023
Blog post cover. A man cutting a garment pattern in a fashion workshop. The blog post is about how to find a full service clothing manufacturer
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Fashion Designer and Content Creator. Daniela leads the social media operations at GAT Fashion Lab

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What is Full Service or Full Package Production (FPP) service?

Full Package Production (FPP), or full-service clothing manufacturing, is a service that encompasses all aspects of fashion production, from trend research to the finished product (trends, design, technical specifications, patterns, fabric and supplies sourcing, sample development, final production, and packaging). You can find more details about what full package production is here.

Like most clothing manufacturing services, full package production is a viable option for certain requirements, especially based on the quantity of units. It is a service frequently used by major fashion brands, often subcontracting FPP providers, primarily in Asia. However, thanks to the rise and growth of e-commerce, it is becoming increasingly common to find providers for intermediate and growing brands in other locations such as North and Latin America.

How to Determine if an FPP Manufacturer Is Right for You?

To determine if a full package production (FPP) service is a good fit for your business, it's essential to have a broader understanding of the different types of fashion production. To simplify this, we can divide it into three categories: FPP (Full Package Production), CMT (Cut, Make, Trim), and Private Label.

What is CMT?

CMT stands for Cut, Make, Trim, and it's a service dedicated to clothing manufacturing where the process primarily depends on the client (brand or designer) rather than the manufacturer. In other words, the client is responsible for providing the fabric, patterns, and manufacturing specifications to the manufacturer, while the manufacturer's role is to cut and assemble the garments. This production model has its benefits and drawbacks depending on the client's experience and the manufacturer's specialization. It's the most common service, and you can find manufacturers of various sizes, from small workshops with two or three people to large factories with hundreds of workers.

Advantages and disadvantages of CMT:

- More formal and industrialized CMT manufacturers usually have high MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities) because they are optimized to work on large production volumes with major brands. However, it is possible to find small subcontracting workshops where you can produce smaller quantities. Still, you must be cautious because these smaller operations are often less formal and more empirical. If you are looking for small-scale production, less than 300 units per design, click here.

- Hiring a CMT manufacturer requires prior experience in product planning, pattern making, fabric selection, technical specification creation, sampling, and more because you need to provide everything clearly and ready for production. Without this experience, you may encounter problems during the production process. The CMT manufacturer's focus is on producing items as quickly and efficiently as possible, which can sometimes jeopardize the quality of each garment. Therefore, strict quality control before, during, and after the manufacturing process is essential.

- These manufacturers have lower operating costs compared to FPP (Full Package Production) providers because they offer fewer services. However, they require more attention and control from the client, which can result in higher costs compared to working with an FPP provider.

- Smaller CMT manufacturers can be quite informal, and their workers may not have proper contracts, leading to absenteeism issues that can result in missed delivery dates. Therefore, make sure your provider has a well-organized and contracted workforce.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages, click here.

Full Service or Full Package Production (FPP)

In summary, an FPP is a CMT with a design and development team, production, quality, and logistics available to the client to ensure the best quality and production compliance. Some time ago, we wrote a very detailed blog about What is Full Package or FPP, which you can read by clicking here.

-Differences Between FPP and CMT

Although both services belong to the same industry, they have certain differences that can result in significant risks in terms of time and money.

Key Differences between FPP and CMT Manufacturers:

Comparison chart of GAT Fashion Lab Clothing Manufacturing Services

Differences Between FPP and Private Label

What is Private Label?

Another highly sought-after and sometimes less-known service is Private Label, also known as White Label. It's a service where a manufacturer sells pre-designed and ready-to-produce products that can be customized to the buyer's (brand's) specifications. In simpler terms, these are existing designs to which the buyer adds their labels, tags, and packaging. You can learn more about what Private Label is here.

Advantages:

-Faster production thanks to pre-developed designs (patterns, samples).

-High scalability and flexibility, allowing production from a few units to hundreds or even thousands (though this depends on the manufacturer; for example, our Private Label service allows production from 12 units per design).

-Enables companies to leverage another company's manufacturing experience and capacity.

-Competitive advantage and quality (mostly), for more advantages, click here.

Guide to finding the right Private Label company for your business

Key differences between FPP and Private Label

Comparison chart of GAT Fashion Lab Clothing Manufacturing Services

Don't Miss This Guide to Finding the Best Private Label Company in the United States

With a bit more context about some of the clothing manufacturer formats, it's time to search for the ideal manufacturer based on your brand's needs. In this case, we'll explore how to find Full Package Production (FPP) manufacturers, as they tend to be the most versatile.

Where to Find FPP Manufacturers?

- Trade Shows: Participating in a trade show or business expo is an option to discover a manufacturer. The main advantage of attending these events is the opportunity to meet with company representatives in person. You can inquire about their production costs, minimum fabric/piece quantities, logistics, and payment terms. This moment is also suitable for assessing your manufacturing needs and determining if their factory is the best choice for your brand.

- Online Searches: Online searches are effective for finding these types of services. It's advisable to explore all the search results, not just the first option that appears. You can use Google, which offers a review feature for companies listed on Google Maps. Users can rate and provide detailed feedback about their experiences at these locations. This is commonly used to gauge customer satisfaction and identify warning signs.

- Online Directories: Online directories are a quick and easy way to find manufacturers. Many manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers register in these directories. The only requirement is to know the precise keywords for the type of company you are looking for. You can use online tools to simplify the search process.

- Referrals: Another way to find these manufacturers is through recommendations from third parties. These can be designers or entrepreneurs you have known previously, providing a more reliable reference for the service you intend to hire. If you don't have these contacts, you can request recommendations directly from the manufacturer's previous clients, which can be a beneficial tactic. By openly discussing with these clients, you can gain insight into communication, product quality, punctuality, and the overall professionalism of the manufacturer.

- Social Media: You have the option to track them on social media to observe their activities or what they are doing related to what you are looking for. You can engage with them directly. Participate in relevant discussion forums, Facebook communities, LinkedIn groups, and local meetups to receive guidance from other business owners. Many Facebook groups have entrepreneurs eager to support their community.

While it might be said that the process concludes at this point, it is advisable to take some additional steps to locate a company that offers a guaranteed and secure service.

What Should You Consider When Searching for an FPP Manufacturer?

- Customer References:

It's essential to have customer references when looking for a full-service clothing manufacturer, especially if the manufacturer has worked with well-known clients. This allows you to gauge the size of the companies they work with and the quality they provide. However, be aware that manufacturers working with large brands often have very high MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities). Therefore, it's crucial to thoroughly research or inquire about the MOQ of each manufacturer to determine if it aligns with your requirements.

- Location:

Depending on the country you are in, it's advisable to choose a manufacturer relatively close to your location to reduce transportation costs. For example, if you are in the USA, consider searching for FPP manufacturers in Latin America. This can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than producing in Asia, where labor conditions can be precarious, and transportation distances are greater.

- Process Efficiency:

Time management and meeting delivery deadlines are crucial aspects of a full-package production service and manufacturing in general. In the case of FPP, the phase of designing and developing prototypes or samples can be time-consuming and may incur logistical costs. Therefore, it's highly recommended to seek providers that utilize technologies like 3D modeling to expedite the design processes. At GAT Fashion Lab, we have been partners with Optitex since 2021 and are pioneers in the use of 3D technology within the fashion industry in Latin America.

Representative Image of 3d Garments creaded by GAT Fashion lab in Optitex 3D

What Is 3D Design?

3D modeling provides designers with the ability to digitally portray their designs and visualize them in a virtual environment before creating a physical prototype. This dramatically reduces design approval times and also saves a significant amount of money and materials by avoiding excessive sample production.

3D modeling is employed for both the creation of unique items and for large-scale production intended for retailers or wholesalers. Additionally, 3D modeling can simulate the adaptation of clothing to various body silhouettes, enhancing accuracy and saving time and resources in the production process.

Optitex 3D Screenshot

Advantages of 3D Modeling with an FPP (Full Package Production):

- Faster Design Approval: Normally, creating a physical sample can take between two and six weeks, but with 3D, it can be done in hours.

- Virtual Fit Validation: You can test a garment in different sizes with different models without the need to manufacture it. Simply by configuring avatars with different measurements, you can identify the adjustments required for each size.

- Real-Time Changes and Adjustments: You can try different colors and modifications to materials and designs without the need to cut a single centimeter of fabric.

- Cost Reduction: Being 100% digital, there's no need for raw materials or labor for development. It's well-known that creating samples is a costly task, and thanks to the use of 3D, fewer samples are needed to move into production.

- Sustainability: Typically, samples are a byproduct that is discarded in the manufacturing process. Normally, a design can require between three and eight physical samples before production, which are often discarded. With the use of 3D, it's possible to eliminate the need for physical samples or minimize them, often requiring only a single sample before production.

If you are looking for an FPP-type manufacturer or a Custom Clothing Manufacturer for your brand, contact us and let us assist you. At GAT Fashion Lab, we have a flexible MOQ of 300 units per design, and if you're looking to produce fewer units, we invite you to explore aparel.co, a GAT Fashion Lab business vertical dedicated to fulfilling orders starting from 24 units per design.

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