Questions you should be asking clothing manufacturers for the first time

You’ve designed your first apparel or just starting your apparel business and now need to find a clothing manufacturer. Fortunately, there are aplenty of clothing manufacturer companies out there which you can reach online. However, with large number of manufacturers available online, especially in China where clothing manufacturers are aplenty, how do you determine if the manufacturer is the one you’re looking for?

First, there’s the quality standard question and the samples to know that the end product match your expectations. Secondly, the cost. How much exactly is the cost after including insurance and freight charges because a miscalculation here may be costly for your business since you are more likely to order in bulk quantities. Third, it can be really difficult to find a supplier or a factory that is able to consistently meet the high standard in terms of not only the product itself, but the communication, delivery schedule and quality of the end product.

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With our extensive experience and feedback from our clients, we’ve compiled a list of questionnaires you should be asking the clothing manufacturer for the first time:

1. Are the manufacturing company taking on new customers?

More often than not, many clothing manufacturing companies may be operating at full capacity and may not be taking new customers at that time. If this happens to be the case, move on to the next clothing manufacturer.

2. Ask for their portfolio of brands.

Asking for their portfolio of brands that they’ve worked with may give you at least some indication of their manufacturing quality. Many china clothing manufacturer in our experience, will be proud to share with you some of the well known brands that they’ve worked with. From this portfolio, it shall give you some idea on the reference quality as some famous brands have tight quality control.

3. Are the manufacturing process outsourced partly or fully done in house?

You need to ask if the clothing manufacturer companies are manufacturing all parts of your apparel or they will be outsourcing part of it to third party companies. If they are outsourcing, ask for the company name. Often times, clothing manufacturing companies who outsource part of the production process face delays and misunderstanding. It may be harder to do quality control as well.

4. Can they manufacture your products?

You will need to ask them if they are able to manufacture your products. If you have special requests you need to check with them if they are able to manufacture it. For example, if you need to manufacture a winter jacket with taped seams, you need to know if the clothing manufacturer have a seam-sealing equipment to do that.

Make sure you have the answer replied written in black and white too. Often times, many clothing manufacturer happens to overpromise and unable to deliver and dispute will happen.

5. Ask for more information on their pricing details.

The pricing estimate given by clothing manufacturers may not be transparent. You may need to check and see if it includes freight charges and insurance. You also need to check if there’s tariff imposed on importing clothing from other countries. These add up costs at the end of the day so you will need to be aware of these hidden costs.

6. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

Some clothing manufacturers imposed minimum order quantity to qualify for their manufacturing. You need to check with the clothing manufacturers for the basis of MOQ. Some manufacturers calculate on the per colour basis. Other imposed it on the type of apparels. If the manufacturers decided to take on your order without meeting the MOQ, you will need to check if there is any additional or hidden cost upfront as this will avoid other disputes or issues later on.

In conclusion, these are the basic questions you should be asking for the first time if you need to assess and qualify a clothing manufacturer.

Mohamad Latiff Bin Rahim