Podcast Ep. 16: How to Find a Clothing Manufacturer for the First Time
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Finding the right manufacturing partner for your fashion startup is one of the most important decisions you can make for your brand. You don’t want to take this choice lightly and you do want to make sure you complete plenty of due diligence before signing a contract or hiring. If you’re looking for a clothing manufacturer for your fashion brand but you’re not sure where to start, this is the episode for you. I’m sharing 5 tips for finding a clothing manufacturer for the first time.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Factory45, The Business School For Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneurs
If you’re looking for a clothing manufacturer for your fashion brand but you’re not sure where to start, this is the episode for you. I’m going to share 5 tips for finding a clothing manufacturer for the first time.
Finding the right manufacturing partner for your fashion startup is one of the most important decisions you can make for your brand. You don’t want to take this choice lightly and you do want to make sure you complete plenty of due diligence before signing a contract or hiring.
But before you even get to that step, how do you find a clothing manufacturer in the first place? I have five of my best tips for you and #4 is the best one, so make sure to listen all the way to the end!
TIP #1: ONLINE RESEARCH
Just Google it? Easier said than done, right? Well, over the years, clothing manufacturers have done a much better job of having an online presence. From a helpful website to an engaging Instagram account, many clothing manufacturers can now be found on the internet.
There are also resources like Maker’s Row and Common Objective that act as online platforms for discovering factories that can make your product. I’ll link to both of those resources in the description below.
TIP #2: KEEP IT LOCAL
Whenever possible, try to find a manufacturer local to where you live. Yes, this will be easier for those of you who live in New York, North Carolina and LA but you’d be surprised how many of you live just a few hours drive away from a clothing manufacturer.
When you’re looking for manufacturers online try adding your location to the search. So for example, let’s say you live in Kansas City… instead of typing “clothing manufacturers” into the search bar you would type “clothing manufacturer kansas” instead.
While this may seem self explanatory, you’d be surprised how many people think they can only manufacture in New York in LA. When in fact, there’s often a clothing factory right in your backyard.
STEP #3: NETWORK
Join a community of other fashion entrepreneurs who are also starting their brands and network with each other to refer manufacturing partners.
Factory45, my business school for sustainable fashion entrepreneurs, is one of the best options for this.
The entrepreneurs I work with receive access to a database of over 100 manufacturers who work with startup brands and low minimums. Joining a program or a community like this is a great way to get fast-track access to factories all over the world.
I’ll link to Factory45 below so you can see more about what the program has to offer with extensive manufacturing and product development resources.
STEP #4: SEARCH HASHTAGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
As I mentioned earlier, you’d be surprised by how many clothing manufacturers now have social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook.
Another way to find a factory partner is by searching hashtags on Instagram or Facebook like #clothingmanufacturer #clothingmanufacturing #clothingmanufacturers #patternmaking #samplemaking #clothingproduction
The savviest manufacturers are keeping up with new marketing techniques and trends, so this is a great way to find a factory partner who could align with a young, new brand like yours.
STEP #5: ATTEND A TRADESHOW
If you have the opportunity to attend an industry trade show, jump at the chance! Almost all of them are free for you to attend and whether it’s a local fabric trade show or a big show like MAGIC in Las Vegas, there are almost always manufacturers there exhibiting at the show, speaking on a panel or walking through to network.
This is your chance to get face to face time with a potential factory partner which can make all the difference when it comes time to working with them.
So, there you have it, five ways to find a manufacturer for your fashion brand the first time.
I’ve also put together a free Manufacturing Checklist for you so you’ll know exactly which steps you need to take to get your product made. You can download this checklist so it keep you organized from start to finish – the link is in the description below.
Thanks so much for listening and I’ll catch you next week!