Welcome to the Fashion Angel Blog

A platform for Fashion Industry News| Business Advice Reviews | Resources

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Getting it Made - Part 1. Tips for finding a manufacturer for your fashion brand

A challenge for anyone starting a small fashion business is finding a good, reliable manufacturer. This is just one of many fashion start-up topics addressed in my new book Design Create Sell, published by Brightword Publishing.

Every designer needs the skills and support of a reliable manufacturer if they want to scale up their business. Finding these factories can be difficult, so make sure that you use
any friends, contacts or professional networks, and scour the web to identify the best candidates. Once you have done your research and compiled a list of manufacturers, it is important to assess their suitability to be part of your network of suppliers. this can only be carried out by visiting their premises and seeing how they work.

When you visit a potential manufacturer, it isn’t just to assess the physical conditions and their manufacturing procedures, it’s also to get some idea of how organised they are. Look to see if all the trims for the factory’s dockets are kept clearly labelled in one place. Are the working areas clear of clutter and is their paperwork neatly arranged?

The UK Fashion and Textile Association has a directory of UK manufacturers called Getting it Made and there are some LinkedIn in groups, such as Made in UK, which are worthwhile joining. Our Fashion Angel Business Club also provides members with a useful suppliers directory, as part of their benefit package.

Find a manufacturer: a 10-point checklist

1. What other designers do they work for and do those designers have the same quality and pricing strategy as you?

2. What type of products and/or materials do they manufacture?

3. Do they have all the machinery you require?

4. Is the factory willing and able to make your quantities by your deadlines?

5. Are the factory’s health and safety, ethical and housekeeping working practices compatible with your business?

6. Can they achieve the quality that your customers expect, within the price that you can afford to pay?

7. Are the premises easy to get to? Will you be able to pop in if there is a problem?

8. Is the owner/manager the sort of person you can create a business relationship with?

9. Have you discussed, and do you understand, the factory’s payment terms? You are unlikely to get credit terms straight away, but if you stick to your part of the bargain and pay promptly then they may offer you credit in the future.

10. Now that you have compiled a list of potential manufacturers, you have to match the factory to the orders. If your collection is multi-category and includes, for example, jersey, denim and lightweight dresses, then your choice of manufacturer will be determined by their technical capabilities. If, when you visited them, they were making tailored woven jackets, are they going to be able to successfully make chiffon dresses?

  • The most effective way to select the right factory is on the basis of a sample that they make up of the style in question at a cost agreeable to you.
  • You want to avoid being totally reliable on any one supplier, so try to source an alternative as a back up.
Find out more about how to source and manage your sampling and production effectively at our GETTING IT MADE workshop on 3rd July 2013.

More about this topic and the processes you need to have in place when outsourcing your manufacturing is in the Design Create Sell book available
 for £12.99 in the Fashion Angel Shop.

By Alison Lewy

No comments:

Post a Comment

We'd love to hear your comments on this blog