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How to Find Custom Clothing Manufacturers for Your Brand

Published on
October 15, 2023
Clothing rack with various garments that alludes to personalized clothing.
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Fashion Designer and Content Creator. Daniela leads the social media operations at GAT Fashion Lab

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How to Find Custom Clothing Manufacturers for Your Brand

To find custom clothing manufacturers, the first step is to understand what they are to determine if it's the service you're looking for. After that, we will outline the steps to find the ideal custom clothing manufacturer for your brand.

 

1.What Are Clothing Manufacturers?

Custom clothing manufacturers are responsible for bringing a design idea to life from scratch. It's a service dedicated to garment production, where the process primarily depends on the client (brand or designer) rather than the manufacturer.

The client is responsible for providing the fabrics, patterns, and manufacturing specifications, while the manufacturer's role is mainly to cut and produce the garments. In some cases, the manufacturer may receive pre-cut pieces and focus solely on manufacturing. To learn more about this service, don't miss our blog here.

There are several types of garment manufacturing services:

- Private Label

-Cut, Make, Trim (CMT)

-Full Package Manufacturing

-Wholesale

If you want to know more about these services, click here.

 

2.Essentials Before Starting Your Search

-Define Product Objectives:  

Establish all the information regarding your product and brand objectives before starting. This is the first step in determining what you'll need and setting a budget.

-Determine the Needed Service:  

You should have clarity regarding the capabilities you're seeking in your manufacturer (as discussed in point 1). For example, does your brand require a full package? Do you only need cutting services? Do you require pattern making? Etc.

-Set a Timeline:  

Establish a schedule for starting and delivery times. This is a crucial tool for determining if the manufacturer can meet your brand's needs within the defined deadlines.

-Production Quantities:  

Determine how much you can produce according to your initial budget, which will help filter out manufacturers who cannot meet your budget.

-Sample Discussion:  

In some cases, clothing manufacturers may not include sample making (a prototype of the garment to be produced) in their service. Therefore, it's important to ask the manufacturer if they provide physical or virtual samples or if it's necessary for the buyer/client/brand to provide them.

-Quality:  

Knowing the quality you want for your garments will be a crucial factor in choosing a clothing manufacturer since not all manufacturers maintain the same quality standards.

-Prices and Payment Terms:  

The budget your brand is willing to pay is the starting factor. Are you looking for cost-effective prices? Can your finances support higher prices? It's necessary to ask these questions to narrow down your search.  

Setting clear payment conditions is a way to protect against possible non-compliance. Define how and when payments will be made, and it's generally recommended to make the largest payment when production is completed.

-Minimum Order Quantities:  

The minimum order quantity offered by the manufacturer should be in line with your initial budget, so you don't end up producing something you can't afford. Remember that a lower order quantity usually results in a higher unit price.

-Location:  

The location of the manufacturer represents a crucial cost within the initial investment budget. Local production reduces shipping costs, while producing abroad increases costs due to distance, taxes, and other factors. We'll delve into the benefits of each (point 3).

-Certifications:  

If you're looking for a manufacturer that prioritizes factors like sustainability, the company should provide sufficient information about the certifications supporting the veracity of their promises.

-References and Experience:  

When working with these manufacturing companies, it's important to inquire about past customer references and, if possible, speak with them to gain a clearer idea of the quality of work, service, and overall experience.  

Regarding experience, the best manufacturers stand out from the rest by having worked with prominent clients or having many years of experience in the industry. Researching the companies they've worked with is a good exercise.

-Inspections:  

When speaking with custom clothing manufacturers, the topic of inspections or spontaneous reviews to monitor production progress should be part of the conversation. Ask the manufacturers if they allow these practices as part of their service.  

To learn more about inspections, click here. There are many more essentials, which you can find here.

 

3.Where to Manufacture? National or Foreign Custom Clothing Manufacturers?

The choice between national and foreign manufacturers is a lengthy discussion, and it depends on the country where you are located.

NATIONAL CUSTOM CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS

ADVANTAGES:

-No language barriers, making communication easier.

-Production and follow-up processes are facilitated due to proximity.

-Shorter and more cost-effective shipping times.

-The possibility of face-to-face meetings with the manufacturers.

DISADVANTAGES:

-Possibly a more limited production capacity.

-In some cases, higher production costs.

-Do you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of national manufacturers? Click here.

 

FOREIGN CUSTOM CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS

ADVANTAGES:

- Lower production costs.

-Various options for manufacturers to choose from.

-High production capacity.

-Qualified talent.

DISADVANTAGES:

- Language barrier.

-Longer shipping times and delivery periods.

-If the manufacturer is located in countries like Bangladesh, it's likely that labor exploitation is common.

-Lack of ethical standards.

-Questionable quality.

-Few or almost non-existent progressive production reviews.

To learn more about foreign clothing manufacturers, click here.

 

4.How to Find Custom Clothing Manufacturers?

NETWORKING:  

Attending textile, fashion, or design fairs/events and interacting with people, both attendees and exhibitors, helps build a network in the industry. These contacts can assist in providing recommendations for reliable custom clothing manufacturers based on previous work experiences.

FORUMS:  

Platforms like Reddit are excellent places to ask questions in the community, seek manufacturer recommendations, and share resources.

GOOGLE:  

Google serves as a worldwide directory of custom clothing manufacturers. However, when conducting a search, be very precise with the keywords you use to make the search more localized and relevant, such as "women's blouse custom clothing manufacturers."

TRADE FAIRS:  

Attending trade fairs is a valuable way to discover the best custom clothing producers. Most of them participate in these events, and they typically have well-reviewed profiles. These fairs are not limited to well-established companies; they also feature manufacturers for brands of all sizes.

In Colombia, a country with qualified custom clothing manufacturers, there are several annual fairs and events to attend, including:

-Colombia Moda and Colombiatex


-Bogotá Fashion Week


-Cali District Moda


-Ixel Moda


To learn more about these fairs, check out our blog here.

 

FAIRS AND POINTS OF INTEREST IN THE USA

On the other hand, the United States offers ideal trade fairs and websites for emerging brands or designers to connect with custom clothing manufacturers:

Sourcing at MAGIC - Apparel Manufacturing Trade Show:  

One of the largest fairs in the USA, held twice a year.


Common Objective:  

This website provides a wealth of information and free resources dedicated to educating newcomers in the fashion industry. Their focus is on ethical and sustainable manufacturing, making them a great resource for finding custom clothing manufacturers.


Kompass:  

This website is a global database with information about custom clothing manufacturers from over 70 countries.


Facebook Groups:  

Facebook hosts communities of people who aim to help and share information about manufacturers, distributors, and more. To learn how to join these groups and find custom clothing manufacturers, click here.

 

5.Key Questions for Manufacturers

Before making a decision, it's crucial to ask potential manufacturers key questions such as:

-What is their production specialty?

-What is their minimum order quantity (MOQ)?

-What are their production times per item?

-Do they provide physical or digital samples?

-How do they handle payment methods?

-Do they offer innovative features in their production process, like 3D technology, artificial intelligence, sustainable processes, etc.?

To learn more about these key questions, click here. At GAT Fashion Lab, we specialize in both full-package manufacturing and custom clothing manufacturing. Learn more about us and our services by clicking here.

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