Are you about starting a clothing line but you are stuck with finding a clothing manufacturer in China? This article will teach you everything you need to know about finding a clothing manufacturer in China.
Dedication: This article is from Profitable Venture who provide some in-depth advice on Clothing line startups.
This article is culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Clothing Line from Scratch.”
The success of your clothing business depends on a number of factors of which manufacturing takes the forefront. Getting the right people to manufacture your products at suitable costs would save you a lot of money and trouble. Therefore, you have to take serious steps and do your due diligence before you choose a manufacturer.
China is a favorite manufacturing destination for clothing brands because of its cheap production costs. In China, you may be able to get up to 90% off the costs of production compared to producing in other countries. But since you don’t live in China but in a different continent entirely, how do you get a reliable and trusted clothing manufacturer in China?
Finding a Manufacturer in China
1. Decide on what you want to produce-: This is where a business plan comes into play? Here is a sample clothing line business plan template you can use. The first step is to decide on the type of items you want to manufacture.
This would give you an idea of the type of manufacturers you should look out for. If you want to manufacture denims for instance, you have to look out for a manufacturer that has the required equipment to produce denims.
2. Figure out your sales price-: Next, you should factor in all your start-up costs and find out how much you can spare for manufacturing clothes. This is where a marketing plan comes into play? Here is a sample clothing line marketing plan template you can use.
For instance, if you want your denims to sell at $30 per piece, and other costs have already gulped about $5 per piece, you know that you have less than $20 to spend on production so that you can make enough profit too.
3. Determine the quantity of items you want produced-: Now that you know how much you can spare for production per piece, it’s time to figure out how many pieces you want. Manufacturers in China usually have minimum order quantity so you have to know if you would be able to afford the minimum quantity required.
4. Conduct a research of suitable manufacturers-: There are two ways to do this, you can either search online or offline. To search offline, you can choose to use a professional agent who would carry out a research on your behalf and link you with a suitable manufacturer based on needs. When selecting an agent, it is advisable to use someone that is very experienced, trusted and reliable. You can ask people that are already in the business to refer someone that they trust to you.
Another way to search for a clothing manufacturer offline is to actually visit China. You may feel that it’s a lot of trouble but this might help to save you a lot of money. In china, you would be able to visit different factories and speak to the manufacturers to find out the most suitable company/person to work with. You would be able to see if they have the necessary equipment and facility and also be able to negotiate better prices.
5. Search online-: For online searches, you might find websites like Alibaba.com or MadeInChina.com very helpful but you do have to use extra care because there are a lot of scammers out there.
6. Schedule an Interview with your selected manufacturer-: When you have chosen someone you wish to work with, don’t just jump into making decisions, you should find out as much information as you can about them before you make your decision. Ask as many questions as you feel would be useful in helping you make your decision. Some of the questions you should ask are-:
- What kind of items do they manufacture?
- What equipment’s do they have?
- Names of the companies or brands they currently work for.
- How much do they produce the item you want per piece?
- What is their minimum order quantity?
- What is their payment procedure like; do they offer credit and seller financing options?
- Do they provide after sales and free shipping services?
- Do they have the necessary equipment and facility to handle an increase in demand?
- For instance, if you have to increase your demand to about 3,000 pieces from the initial 500 you ordered, would they be able to handle this?
- What are the services that they would provide?
- Who would be responsible for fabric sourcing and pattern drafting?
- Would they offer you samples?
- What about packaging?
Once they have answered these questions, you can now make a choice based on the answers they provide.
7. Evaluate them-: You should also evaluate the manufacturer to see how fast they respond to calls and e-mails and how willing they are to help. If you receive slow responses or the manufacturer seems indifferent to your needs or has too many clients to deal with and as a result has little or less time to attend to you, you should probably think of finding another manufacturer.
8. Negotiate terms and sign contract-: When you are satisfied and convinced that you want to work with a particular manufacturer, you can now negotiate terms and when you have come to an agreement, you can sign a contract with them. A contract is very necessary so that you can protect yourself and so that the terms of the agreement can be strictly adhered to.
9. Ask for samples-: Next, you should ask for samples to be made and sent to you so that you can actually see what the products would look like. You would be able to look at the texture and quality of the fabric as well as the way the dresses are sewn.
10. Send your sketches to them-: If you like the samples, you can now send your sketches to them for production and shipping.
11. Search for alternatives-: You shouldn’t just settle for one manufacturer. You should try to consider at least 2-3 manufacturers so that when one manufacturer is not able to meet up with your demand, you can automatically switch to another manufacturer.
12. Sell your products and obtain feedback-: The last thing is to sell your products and see how well your products do in the market. If you receive positive reviews about your products, then you would know that the manufacturer is doing a great job but if the reviews are on the negative side, then maybe it’s time to start looking for another manufacturer.