Designers without manufacturing facilities must locate a company that can make their clothes, which are referred to as apparel manufacturers or contractors. A designer and her production coordinator must find factories that have the type of industrial machines needed to produce her garments at a low cost. Although Internet searches may help locate a factory, it is imperative to meet with a representative, visit the facility and verify that other manufacturers have produced their items at the factory.
Decide what garments you want produced. For example, if you are producing denim jeans, do not research or meet with knit-top manufacturers. Facilities are categorized by the types of industrial machines available to fully stitch the garment. If a contractor tells you it will be able to manufacture items without specific industrial machines it is likely that the company will subcontract your designs. Expect the company to mark up the cost to make its profit.
Conduct an Internet search and research facilities. Narrow your search by country, state and garment type. Generally, there are apparel manufacturing directories available online.
Calculate the quantity of garments you want made. Factories typically are accommodating if you are placing a large order, which usually means 1,200 pieces or more, and may offer deep discounts. Conversely, minimum-quantity orders generally have high costs, and factories will not treat the order as a top priority, which could mean you will not receive your garments by the requested delivery date.
Call apparel manufacturers and schedule an appointment. Owners or salespeople should provide you with contractor samples and quantity pricing lists. It is important to meet with at least four or five agents prior to deciding which one best suits your needs.
Ask to view the production facility. Keep your budget in mind when considering factories outside of the United States. Your budget should include expenses such as airfare, hotels and meals.
Check the factory or contractor’s certification or license. Although each country and state works differently, all manufacturing facilities must have documentation. For example, some U.S. states require apparel manufacturers and contractors to apply for an Apparel Manufacturing Industry Certificate of Registration, which certifies that the entity is permitted to perform cutting, sewing, finishing, assembling and pressing to produce apparel.