If you are in the clothing business and have yet to commission some clothing manufacturers to produce your products, you can always arrange with them to procure materials. You also have the option to purchase the raw materials yourself and entrust the garment factory to process production (CMT). If you are not familiar with the procedure, here are some guides on how to engage the services of custom clothing manufacturers in China, from procuring materials to labor.
- Provide a design draft and external embellishment sample. Try to include and be specific on the fabrics and accessories pieces you want in your design. To achieve this, you need to give the custom clothing manufacturers the precise requirement. Therefore, having a demo is a smart move. You can look around the wholesale market or sellers to find the accessories you need. Ask them to give you an estimate. Transacting directly with them when obtaining textiles can be difficult; therefore, you can always ask your intended clothing manufacturers to contact them. And if you cannot provide any sample, you can make a specific text description and details (for example, fabric composition, pattern, texture effect, weight, etc.). Your clothing manufacturers in China will assist you in reaching your requirements and specifications.
- The design draft you present to the garment factory must be technical drawings, not only fabric renderings. However, both are essentials. Many designers don’t understand the difference between technical drawings and clothing costume renderings. If you only give the custom clothing manufacturers renderings, it could be vague. Either way, you will eventually convert it into a technical sketch. Technical drawings should have a specific product description, including length, proportion, position, or if the product has unique requirements, etc.
- Determine the type of clothing category your prospective custom clothing manufacturers in China regularly produce. Each garment factory needs to explain which classification they can accommodate. Tell them the kind of clothing you need. If it’s a sweater, look for a sweater factory. Most of these factories have a partnership with yarn producers where you can always inspect directly. For the cutting process (woven, knitting), a corresponding department concentrates on such a job. People who are in charge of weaving may not know how to knit. Although blended fabrics are now available, they are usually made in different ways and require other equipment. In addition, some factories are good at making coats and trousers; Some are good at making skirts. And custom clothing manufacturers require different methods and processes to create other clothes. The equipment for making down jackets is not similar as well. In short, you have to find the corresponding garment factory.
- Give renderings, technical drawings, fabrics, and accessories samples to reliable custom clothing manufacturers in China. Then, ask them to give you a quote. The offer during the initial transaction is very introductory, but they need to prepare it. If the cost is beyond your budget, you can either try to adjust the design or find another garment factory. Keep in mind that the quotation is closely related to the quantity ordered. In principle, the larger the quantity, the lower the unit price. In addition, the production and processing of a minimum order quantity (MOQ) are all considered.
- Afterward, ask the custom clothing manufacturers to make the sample. When making one, you can usually use similar fabrics (unless you can buy the fabric on the spot market) to make a pattern. In the meantime, use this time to find fabric suppliers.
- Confirm the outcome of the sample clothes. It is mainly to test whether the design is feasible. Custom clothing manufacturers in China do understand that some designers lack experience in making a draft. Some design features may be excessive, resulting in less aesthetic appeal. Some fail to use and take advantage of more quality fabrics. And if the structural design is not flexible enough, the production cost may increase to achieve such products. Weigh which features are necessary and why they matter. Is it to be attractive or the structural design? Designers must balance sensibility and beauty when creating a product. Some materials have limits, in leather garments. Hence, acquiring them can be a challenge.
Many stylists, who clothing manufacturers meet, only want to see accomplish their finished product. But any design must be based on logic and purpose, not just satisfying oneself. In addition, the goal should be how comfortable the sample clothes have become and not just the aesthetic look. The issue one can encounter with sample models is that looking good is not equal to comfort. Some may view comfortable clothes as not gorgeous.
Another thing is that printer is vital as some designers do not have much regard for clothing manufacturers. And this condition needs to change. This is so because designers often assume that custom clothing manufacturers do not understand their design. On the other hand, printmakers often feel that designers don’t understand technology. Frankly, a designer who can only draw is not a designer. Designers have to understand technology, which does not happen overnight, but you have to be studied.
- Generally, there are few samples done in one step. It is usual for custom clothing manufacturers in China to have model pieces adjusted several times, especially if you have specific requirements for quality. It is suggested to find goods directly from the wholesale market. This practice will save you so much trouble.
- When it comes to mass production, the fabric is the first thing done. If the material is in stock (it is strongly recommended that beginners start from here), then directly buy from the garment factory. If you have to customize, specify the color from the color card confirmation, which is an iterative process. There is also the hand-woven sample confirmation (small sample confirmation) before clothing manufacturers begin to produce large goods.
- Once the fabric is available, inspection is required. It should at least follow and pass international standards; it should also not exceed the shrinkage rate and lose color. These two are the most common problems in fabric creation. Clothing manufacturers must make another production sample from here. This is not the same as the previous sample, often referred to in the jargon as a “selling sample.” Before mass production, we need to make a production sample. The reason is that the fabric of the selling sample is usually not 100% accurate, and the fabric will affect the mass production process. Clothing manufacturers in China must not bypass this process. Otherwise, once the bulk material is cut, a batch of goods may be lost once there is a problem. The production of sample clothing usually needs to seal the sample to knock a seal on the sample clothing. In future bulk inspections, this sample will become the standard.
- After the confirmation of the production sample, custom clothing manufacturers begin fabric cutting begins. It starts with cutting and sewing on the assembly line, and ironing if it involves embroidery. Next is cutting printing, bead ordering, hot drilling, and other additional processes. Some procedures are assigned to the different factories as they have the means to do so. This will involve additional costs and time. Afterward, the product is sent back to the main clothing manufacturers in China, who will do the tail (ironing, tail check), packaging, and packing.
Actual problems one might encounter:
The above process stated is just the initial process, and that is if everything goes well. The harsh reality is that things often don’t go as well as planned.
- First of all, it is not easy to find reliable clothing manufacturers, especially for someone who hardly has experience. Garment factory managers can be hard on people without knowledge or expertise. But one must face the fact that the production process must be done.
- One piece of advice is that it is better to find a small family workshop if you do not meet the minimum order quantity (dozens of pieces). Now, this practice is more common as some homes have several sewing machines. In this way, to find a place with groundwork and to achieve this, cut the first piece. If the quantity is not too large, combining the order with several tailor shops can also be done.
- The minimum order quantity of fabric can be a problem. Fortunately, now that digital printing is available, you can buy regular grey cloth and print on it. Or go to the wholesale market. Finding custom clothing manufacturers in China is not very suitable for small-scale products. You might use the same fabric but in several styles.
- In addition, one must consider the method, time, quality, and cost control.
Procedures for customized products:
- Providing clothing production materials. The contents should include the specific details of raw materials, accessories (trademark/size label/washing label), yard divider, size table (XS-S-M-L-XL), coordinating different parts of cloth, and color to use; Density and width of sewing thread in various parts. This one should belong to the scope of technological design. If you do not understand how it works, the garment factory’s experienced technicians can guide and help you complete the details of the process design, which is, in fact, not difficult.
- Price calculation. Material cost + labor cost + tax = unit price. The labor cost is based on the design, whether it is a simple or tedious process, and the time required to produce. The factory generally charges profits and taxes at 10%~30%, which are all included in the unit price.
- Production contract signing. Does the garment factory follow your instructions? Is the factory able to finish the production on schedule and package delivery within the agreed time? How do you pay the factory? These should be stated in the contract terms and binding measures of the corresponding parties.
- Process supervision. We can ask the custom clothing manufacturers to do a sample first, see the garment factory’s ability to understand the data requirements, and evaluate the factory’s quality control system and technical level. A good sample proves that the factory is capable of making clothes that meet your requirements. For the bad sample, see what the problem is, and then discuss with the factory to see if it can be improved and made up once more. And then make the sample again until you are satisfied with the result. You and your chosen clothing manufacturers can agree to the production process so mass production can commence.
- Clothing manufacturers in China can assist during the inspection. The rest of the process is for you to sell through your distribution channels, design the next model, and repeat the whole process.