The true reality of creating
a clothing brand from scratch
We started manufacturing clothes in 1994, and most of our clients told us how their journey has been before they found us. Most of them had the exact same problems, so it might be a good idea to learn from their difficulties.
How to start?
There is something magical about the idea of creating and developing your own clothing brand. As most magical ideas, the reality is way harsher than the dream.
When we imagine a clothing brand, we think about the products we want, how we would sell and at what price. Then we start wondering about a catalogue and website, and plenty of other small parts of the business.
All of these are essential if you are thriving for success, but it must not be forgotten one of the most difficult parts of putting everything together: Finding a key manufacturer and partner that you can rely on.
This is the place to start. Contact and visit as many potential partners as you can and choose one you think you can trust and rely. Follow your instinct but choose wisely, as this might be a deal breaker if you make the wrong choice.
I found a good manufacturer, now what?
Even if you find a good partner, then you might hit some big walls:
- Huge minimum order quantities (MOQ)
- Long delivery lead times
- Quality inconsistency
- Overall low quality
- High prices for smaller quantities
There are no easy solutions for these obstacles.
It’s way too risky to invest all your budget on stock to overcome the MOQ situation – check our article: How much does it cost to create a clothing brand?
Long delivery times might not be a huge problem for your first order, but just imagine if you need an urgent reorder!
Now imagine you find a good quality product, which is not as easy as it might seem, and on your second order you find a displeasing surprise: there is no consistency on sizing, colours and overall quality! This is even worse than buying a low quality product knowingly, because you are not expecting this to happen. Usually you need to pay extra to have good quality consistency, which will drain out your margins and leave no room for your company to grow.
Why do these problems happen so often?
Clothing industry is historically designed to manufacture big quantities. From the sourcing of the materials, in which looms are profitable only above a certain quantity, to cutting and sewing, where mass production is the norm, to distribution and logistics which are cheaper per unit as the volumes increases.
This causes the huge minimum order quantity and subsequently the long delivery times, as it takes pretty much the same time to manufacture 50 or 500 T-Shirts. The process is too complex to make it profitable in low quantities, even with ridiculous high prices – a margin of 300% in a 50 T-Shirt order might not enough to cover expenses and opportunity costs.
Overall low quality of product and/or service is easy to explain: it’s either a choice (keep prices low) or lack of professionalism.
Quality consistency is one of the most difficult things to achieve. It’s quite usual to find different weights, colours, sizes or quality in different batches. There are only two reasons for this to happen: multiple factories manufacturing the same product, in which each factory will impose its imprint, or lack of quality control.
I’m ready! Let’s start manufacturing.
After you find a solution for the problems above-mentioned, which usually costs way too much money and time that you will not be able to invest in other priorities, you start developing your products. Here are some steps you will need to take:
- Choosing materials and colours
- Pattern making
- Choosing accessories and details
- Material sourcing
- Ironing and packaging
- Shipping and logistics
After that, you may feel that all your energy and money was wasted trying to reinvent the wheel: you are doing all the work from scratch, costing you way too much, which will ultimately make you start wondering if you made the right choices.
Is there a better solution?
What if there was a better way? What if you could reduce your risk and investment? What if you could find a partner that takes care of everything for you so that you can focus on what really makes your company grow?
We should always be doing what we do best. The opportunity cost to learn and doing everything from scratch is way too big.
This is what brought us to this business. As problem-solvers, we started thinking on how we could supply good quality products without MOQ for smaller brands.
And we found a solution!