Selecting how and where to manufacture your products will give your brand an edge. These are some of the most important decisions you will have to make for your company. Let’s talk about sourcing factories and the selection process.
1. ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS – Asking for recommendations from your peers in the apparel industry or designers of some quality factories they have or currently work with that would fit your production needs. Usually, textile suppliers have closer relationships with factories and can be the perfect referral.
2. SEARCH FOR GLOBAL TRADE DATA COMPANIES – Whenever sourcing overseas factories, trade data companies have a big database of suppliers and manufacturers in different countries that provide referrals and help narrow down choices.
3. ATTENDING MANUFACTURER TRADE SHOWS – This is the direct way to look for factories. Right now, due to the pandemic, there aren’t any trade shows happening. But look for past events and try to check the names of participating companies, then look for their info online. You can quickly know whether the factory is suitable and willing to work with your brand by trying to get to at least a video call with them. Some factories will showcase their product line on their websites.
4. CHECK ONLINE SOURCES – I also recommend looking at Alibaba’s Ali Express in finding suppliers internationally, from raw materials like fabrics to actual full production of most of your products. Although these companies prefer to work with higher quantities, do negotiate the MOQ to the lowest possible. The prices might be a little higher, but it’s still relatively cheaper overall.
5. WORKING WITH GOVERNMENT TRADING AGENCIES – Your last option is this. They have a list of factories or contractors that might suit your needs. Some other countries’ government agencies will even help introduce you to a new potential business partner if negotiations go well.
1. SHOP AROUND – Don’t just contact 1 factory. Research as many as you can and reach out to as many as 4-7 factories so you have backup options in case these factories close all of a sudden.
2. ASK FOR SAMPLES OF THEIR WORK – Ask for previous work samples or if you can do so, visit their factory to know whether they have the expertise that you need.
3. GET A PRICE QUOTE – Ask for a quote of your ideal volume, so you can know if you’ve reached the minimum order quantity (MOQ). Consider whether the quote given to you is within your budget and the production time given is amenable for you.
4. QUALITY CONTROL PROCESS – Ask for their quality control standards and procedures are. Ask for proof of their ISO certification to verify if their company is legitimate. Factories with strict standards are more likely to provide quality products which saves you time and money in the long run.
5. PRODUCE SAMPLES BEFORE PRODUCTION – Ask your manufacturer for a sample and see if their work meets your requirements. This saves you time from correcting mistakes during the middle or towards the end of production.
We’ll continue with the types of factory services, the difference with working with local and overseas factories including the challenges and quick fixes to common manufacturing.
Question of the day: How many suppliers do you currently have or work with?