Today I have received 2 phones calls from fledgling start up sportswear brands that have both been duped. They both trawled the internet for days looking for a factory to help turn their designs into finished bulk production and eventually sourced what seemed to be a fantastic factory that was simply too good to be true. The factory claimed to produce for some of the best established sportswear brands, offered very small minimums for start ups and all for a great price. Too good to be true? Unfortunately so, as they both wired money to the factory for samples to be produced and then spent weeks trying to communicate with the factory trying to get them to produce the sample. In the end, both of them received nothing and eventually gave up chasing the factories for the samples.
We also pick up a couple of clients a year from other start ups that have a similar story, however they did receive a sample, but nothing worth while as the sample was so far removed from the design with terrible service that progressing would be pointless. Again, these customers end up walking away from their investment in these factories and start again through us.
So how do you prevent this from happening to you?
Start ups are incredibly vulnerable as they all want to reduce risk of overbuying, want to produce in good quality, ethical factories and need to source product at a competitive price to make sure they can reinvest in their business. Unfortunately, the world of garment production is huge with thousands of factories all pitching for your business, some great, some good and some bad, very bad.
If you are a start-up looking to reduce minimums, source competitively and work with an established factory that produces for the best brands then you will need to be either introduced or work through someone who already has an established relationship with them. Factories are contacted daily by potential customers wanting to start-up brands, all promising a great, long term future and commitment to increasing volume after they launch. The “great and good” factories simply don’t entertain these enquiries as they are already busy supplying their long term established clients. It’s the bad factories that will usually respond and confirm that they can achieve your goals, great quality, small volumes at great prices. Yep, that “Too good to be true” scenario again.
Some of our partners will not entertain start-up clients unless you commit to spending an agreed amount over the next 3 years and also have a social media following that gives them the confidence you will reach these agreed commitments.
We work with many start-up brands and can offer an almost “Too good to be true” service but only because we have worked with our production partners form many many years. We only take on brands that we believe have the potential to grow and our partners trust us to help develop the business so that volume increases fast.
When we work with our start up clients, we can provide smaller volumes 3-500 pieces and great quality, however, we cannot match the same margin that the established brands achieve so if you have intentions of taking on Nike with a product that is as good (or better!) produce smaller volumes and reduce cost then keep trawling. If you are realistic with understanding something needs to be compromised, then we could be the solution you have been looking for.
When we quote for production, it’s usually based on including the surcharges that will be added to nearly every component of the garment, from fabric, trims and labour as it’s not just the factory that works to standard minimums, most trim and fabric suppliers also work to standard minimums and if they reduce this to work with startups, then they apply a hefty surcharge that will need to be passed onto the brand.
This doesn’t mean you won’t earn any profit from your first production, it just means you won’t earn as much profit, however it will give you the confidence and proof of concept so that you can order larger volumes in the future that will then increase your margin and help you compete with the rest of your competitors.
If you are looking to start your sportswear brand, want to produce in a great factory with small minimums then get in touch for a no-cost, no-obligation quote.