Beyond the First Quote: How Wholesalers Find the Perfect Fashion Manufacturer

fashion manufacturer

Getting started in the fashion industry can carry a very strong allure; especially when you’re really passionate about bringing your dream to life. However, before you sign off on that fabled dotted-line with the first manufacturer you meet, be sure to take a step back.

Finding the perfect fit for you is vital for ensuring things like your quality, hitting price targets, and maintaining the best possible delivery speeds – the holy trinity of successful apparel manufacturing.

Thankfully, there’s good news! The fashion industry is vast. It offers a wealth of potential partners around the world, and each region brings its own strength to the table; from the established credibility of the textile mills in Europe to the value and versatility often found in the Asia manufacturing market.

We have a few suggestions for testing the waters on how to find a clothing manufacturer that will align with your vision. Keep reading, because this page is for you.

Beyond the Brochure: Quality Checks You Can Do

  • Find the Fabric Truth – Never rely solely on descriptions. Ask manufacturers to supply you with swatches, and then put those materials through the wringer. Wash them, machine dry them, and then iron them to see how well they hold up. Don’t be afraid to consider regional specialties (i.e., Italian mills may be known for luxurious silks, while Turkish manufacturers may excel at providing organic cotton, etc.).
  • Consider Hardware Heft – When it comes to accessories and footwear, consider the quality of zippers, clasps, and buckles. Their functionality and durability is paramount to user experience. When considering how to find manufacturers for clothing, don’t overlook how regionally-sourced materials can help here. For instance, European zippers may be known specifically for their smooth action and longevity.
  • Use ‘The Wear Test’ – Although it may seem obvious, it’s crucial to finding the right manufacturer. Order a sample of their product and wear it yourself. Evaluate the quality of construction, how it sits on your body, how the material feels when you move, as well as how it stands up to your daily wear-and-tear.
  • Don’t Forget ‘The Tarnish Test’ – For jewelry, a simple water submersion test can reveal a lot to you about a piece’s susceptibility to oxidation (tarnish). Be sure to try this yourself, before starting a partnership that could end up causing you a lot of customer headaches down the road.

DON’T FORGET: Vendor promises are just that – promises. Conducting these simple tests yourself can give you invaluable insights into each manufacturer’s true quality of materials, as well as the durability of their construction, informed by their regional strengths.

Delivery Delays: A Major Dealbreaker

Being able to provide timely deliveries is essential, particularly when you’re dealing with wholesale clients. Here’s a few ways you can assess your potential vendors’ commitment to meeting their assigned deadlines:

  1. Keep a Track Record – Ask for some of their references, and actually follow up with them. How did the vendor perform in terms of meeting those deadlines? Were there any late deliveries? What were the reasons given?
  1. Do a Capacity Check – Do the research to check whether each vendor has the production capacity to handle your order volumes, while still delivering within your expected timeframes.

    Don’t forget to take into account their regional workload and typical order sizes. These factors can impact their deliverables drastically. For example, a vendor used to doing orders in the dozens or hundreds may not be prepared to provide order sizes of several thousand units at a time.
  1. Communication Lines Need to be Open – Open communication is a vital component of every successful partnership. Discussing your delivery expectations upfront and establishing clear follow-up procedures is key.

Use ApparelMagic’s Vendor Portal to easily accomplish this from day one. This seamless, built-in tool facilitates intuitive communication, so you and your clothing manufacturers are always on the same page.

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