4 Tips for Picking a Factory and Ordering Production
You’ve got an awesome tech pack, graded pattern, and a perfect sales sample. All that is left is choosing a factory and ordering production. Here are some things to expect when picking a factory and ordering production.
Sometimes factories can’t immediately give you pricing. And that’s ok.
When you sit down with a factory representative, typically, they are happy to show you samples of work, talk about their services, and answer any questions you may have about lead times, references, etc. But, when it comes to pricing, they are a bit quieter.
This isn’t because they are being shady, or leading you on, but because it is very difficult to price production off a garment without sewing it up first. A lot of factories base their pricing on how long it takes to sew the garment together.
So give them a little space and time to get back to you on pricing production. That way you are getting their best price and they are able to pay their employees.
Yes, getting a final sample is important.
Before you start manufacturing anything, it is highly recommended that you request one sales sample for each style before you order your production. This allows you to get one last look at quality and address any concerns before you’ve got 400 of something waiting on your doorstep with the wrong pocket placement.
Your tech pack may be magnificent, but we are all human. Misinterpretations happen, questions may go unanswered, and so you want to make sure that you and your factory both have the same vision for how the garment is assembled.
Know what your tolerances are. Nothing is perfect.
Your tech pack should have graded specs along with acceptable tolerance. On your spec sheet, you will notice that there is a column labeled with “+/-” followed by a small measurement, such as 1/8”. This means that any given post-production spec should come within this tolerance. That also means that one size may have one garment measure at 27 1/8” and another at 27 3/8” and both pass tolerance.
A great example is trying on jeans! Two pairs of the same style/size can fit completely different. It is important to note that humans make mistakes, even computers and laser cutters can make mistakes. From the fabric(s), to the cutting, sewing, even pressing.
There are so many factors that go into why two identical garments are slightly different in size. A good factory will do everything within their power to limit this, but, it is impossible to make everything perfect.
Price breaks are nice, but selling all of your inventory is nicer.
Factories will give you price breaks for ordering higher quantities. The reason for this is because each machine needs to be set up for the run, including adjusting the machines, re-threading with your threads, cutting, etc. The higher quantity ordered, the more you are able to stretch that time across your run. That is why sample runs are so expensive, you aren’t spreading the set up time across very many garments.
With that in mind, it isn’t necessary to start your new business off with so much inventory that it is improbable to sell it all. Fashion moves quickly. With the internet it moves more quickly than ever. You have to be able to refresh your stock with new items (or colorways) on a fairly regular basis. Otherwise, you risk becoming irrelevant as the new season’s trends come through. It may mean sacrificing some of your margin, but that is always better than sitting on dead inventory, which makes you no money at all.
JLD Studios offers Apparel & Textile Design, Technical Design, Patternmaking, Packaging, and Manufacturing Support. We are passionate about seeing designers succeed by providing the tools to help promote growth regardless of company size.
From initial design to your technical package, we work with you and help to guide you through the entire development process.