If you’re considering starting your own fashion brand, you’re sure to encounter a many costs, from design to advertising and of course, choosing the right small batch clothing manufacturer. While it’s practical for any new business to start with a lower inventory, it can be challenging to find a manufacturer willing to produce a small amount of clothes since most factories will enforce strict minimum order quantities.
In addition, some companies may be unwilling to take on smaller quantities because the processes involved in creating a garment – from initial concept all the way through to a production can be intensive and time-consuming. This often results in added costs for manufacturers who have fewer orders coming in each month.
Flat design for new collection
This is why it’s so important to understand the different types of clothing producers and the type of manufacturing services that can offer your growing clothing brand. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about small batch clothing manufacturing and how to get started today.
Marketing professionals reviewing technical packets
Table of Contents
What Is Considered A Small Batch Production?
In the world of small batch production clothing manufacturers, “small” can be a relative term. For some apparel factories, anything below 500 pieces per order would be considered a small quantity. However, this number may vary depending on your chosen manufacturer and the type of clothing product you would like to sell. However, certain manufacturers might not even require a minimum order quantity, allowing you to produce 1 or 100 units. In those situations, you’ll usually end up paying a higher cost for your garments.
The Benefits Of Choosing Small Production Manufacturing
There are quite a few benefits to working with small batch apparel manufacturers, particularly for new brands. Working with smaller companies can be beneficial in many ways:
Smaller Minimum Order Quantity: The most significant benefit is that you’re not locked into a large minimum order quantity required by larger apparel factories. This allows you to produce a smaller quantity of clothing without having to worry about excess inventory. A low minimum per style let’s new apparel entrepreneurs give customers more options and identify which styles are selling the best before placing a bulk order.
Small batch manufacturing USA
Shorter Production Time: Small batch clothing manufacturers also tend to have shorter lead times, meaning you won’t have to wait months on end for your order to be fulfilled. Domestic factories in the USA may offer in stock fabric and material to quickly help you customize and launch your goods.
Individualized Attention And Support: Since many private label athletic apparel manufacturers are typically smaller, it can be easier for suppliers to provide your brand with more individualized attention and support – particularly when working under tight deadlines. When dealing with with a new team you will want to stay focused on the communication to make sure the details of your project aren’t missed.
Customer service is key at Texas clothing manufacturers
Minimizes Your Risk: Since there is a lower investment in terms of money and time, you can test out your creative ideas without facing huge losses if they don’t do well. This is especially important when starting your fashion business as you may not be able to make hundreds of units per style. Once you get to know your consumers you will be able to focus on a catalog of unique content that will bring you sales.
Should My Brand Use Small Batch Clothing Manufacturers?
There are pros and cons to producing a small quantity of clothing with a small batch manufacturer. It really depends on your specific business, your business growth plan, and what factors are most important to you when creating your brand.
Fashion designer preparing flats for his sewing manufacturer
While you’ll have more control over the entire process – from design to delivery and faster turnaround times, you’ll still end up making less of a profit margin by only producing a small volume of apparel. However, if you’re looking to produce a larger assortment of styles, sometimes using a small batch clothing manufacturer may be the only way to go. Generally, these factories are experts in producing a limited number of items and can do so more quickly and more efficiently than larger apparel manufacturers.
How To Find The Best Small Batch Manufacturers
Once you’ve decided that using an apparel development company is the right choice for your business, it’s time to find the best small batch manufacturer for you and your brand. Here are a few of the easiest ways to get started and find the right fit for your brand.
Understand Your Industry
The first step is to do your homework and understand the apparel manufacturers that exist within your industry. For example, suppose you’re looking to create fitness apparel. In that case it makes sense to search for athletic clothing manufacturers that already have experience in that niche instead of custom swimwear manufacturers.
While you don’t have to work with an clothing manufacturer in your niche, it will make narrowing down your options easier and ensure you’re using a company that is passionate and has interest in your product segment.
Manufacturing clothing in USA is a team effort
One of the best ways to find great private label apparel manufacturers is to connect through networking. Do you have any brands that you admire that already produce clothing on a small-scale production? If you do, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for guidance on who they currently use for their manufacturing.
Searching 3rd Party sites
Many websites, like Thomas.net, act as databases for manufacturers that are a one stop shop for developing a clothing line. By simply entering your specific industry and the types of products you’re looking to produce, these sites will have suggestions of qualified private label apparel manufacturers for you to partner with. One service that these sites provide is the ability to review clothing manufacturers to make sure they have a happy customer base. Be sure to read their reviews across multiple platforms like Facebook and Google.
Searching for small batch manufacturers
Visit Trade Shows
If you’re looking to meet with factories that produce private label clothing one of the best ways to do so is by visiting trade fairs. These events are typically held in different parts of the world like and Europe and the USA and allow you to see the latest apparel trends while networking with some of the top suppliers in your industry. Show the booth workers that you care about their time by having information about your idea ready to share. Samples and swatches for them to touch are the best way to cut out back and forth and helps gets them interested in your clothing line.
Clothing manufacturers for startups can be found at trade shows
Questions To Ask Your Small batch Clothing Manufacturers
Once you’ve created a list of potential small batch clothing manufacturers, it’s essential to take the time to understand their process to ensure that you’re choosing the right fit for your brand. Here are the top questions you should consider asking before agreeing to work with any clothing manufacturer.
What is your minimum MOQ?
MOQ stands for “minimum order quantity” and is the smallest number of pieces you can purchase per style. The MOQ will depend on the fabric and trim choice, branding required, materials, labels, etc…
A standard clothing manufacturer may have a minimum MOQ that begins at 500 units, which isn’t ideal if your brand sells a variety of styles. Make sure to understand how small of an order they are willing to accept.
Minimum order quantity
How many sizes are included within your MOQ?
Within that MOQ, you’ll also want to understand how many sizes are included. Generally, you can expect a small batch manufacturer to produce your product in the standard range of sizes (XS-XL for women and S – XXL for men) unless otherwise stated.
How do you calculate your quotes?
Another critical factor to consider is how the manufacturer calculates its quotation. Since small batch clothing manufacturers operate on a smaller scale, they may include certain fees that larger apparel companies don’t typically have for services like packaging or shipping. Make sure you understand all of these charges ahead of time, so there are no unexpected costs to pay down the line.
small batch clothing manufacturers calculating costs
How fast of a turnaround time do you offer?
This question will help you understand the manufacturer’s production speed and how long it will take to produce your order. A good rule of thumb is to expect a minimum of four weeks, though some companies may be able to turnaround orders in as little as two weeks if they’re not backlogged. The reality is that the lead time you will receive will be based on many variables and it is hard for a factory to assure the exact date that you will receive your garments.
Task and action sheets are important for staying on track
What is included in your clothing development process?
While clothing manufacturing involves the creation of clothing garments, clothing development encompasses the entire process from start to finish. It includes designing, pattern-making, sample creation, grading, and even sourcing fabrics and trims. This level of service is ideal for brands that are launching their clothing line from scratch. Before you pay check to to make sure everything that you need to produce your garment is included.
Small batch clothing manufacturer
Choosing the right small batch clothing manufacturers can be a daunting task, but by asking the right questions and doing your research, you’re well on your way to partnering with a supplier that will help bring your brand to life.
If you’re looking for an athletic apparel manufacturer, custom swimwear manufacturer, or private label apparel manufacturer, reach out to Arcus Apparel Group. We specialize in manufacturing knitwear for the athleisure, swimwear, and intimate sectors. Send us an email today to learn more about our company and how we can help you with your small batch clothing manufacturing.