How much does it cost to develop a sportswear range?

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn by a freelance sportswear designer who asked this question.

They answered their own question with “Impossible to say, too many variables”!

They concluded that the only way to find out is to design the range, push it around factories and make samples!

What a load of tosh.

This post really annoyed me as it’s not only totally inaccurate but it’s taking advantage of entrepreneurs who want to start-up a sportswear brand by convincing them this is how it’s done.

Could you imagine all the established sportswear brands acting this way or any other product related brand for that fact. Imagine BMW, Apple or Nike working this way, designing stuff with no idea how much they might end up paying for the finished product and then working out the selling price! Ludacris indeed I hear you say. Instead, they all have a very specific target market and therefore understand the price point, quality and performance they need to deliver. The product is then engineered to hit these specific requirements.

We pick up so many start-up clients that have followed this type of advice, spent thousands on designs and tech packs without a clear idea of the finished cost, to then spend more money and time developing samples to find out the cost of production doesn’t fit their budget.

In the end, the entrepreneur has wasted month and spent thousands, developing designs, tech packs and samples that are completely uncommercial for their target market and brand positioning.

Sportswear design and production is like designing and building your own house. You have a very strict budget to adhere to and know the styles and quality you want to achieve. You therefore need to find a qualified architect that understand these requirements and critically has the experience to deliver something that not only hits the mark in terms of style, but also delivers to your budget.

The shot gun approach most freelance sportswear designers take results in producing pretty pictures that look great but are completely worthless. The tech packs they produce are usually only 30% complete with no fabrics, trims and components specified, the core ingredients that make up the bulk cost of the garment.

When these are then passed to the entrepreneur to find their won factory, then then realise that the designs don’t fit their brief and the work needs to be redone. We know this because we get approached by potential clients every week that have gone through this scenario.

Quite often we take these clients on, however on the understanding that we would need to start again and work from the concept upwards, agreeing the target price of the production so that the designs are engineered to hit these. Fabrics, features, components, and trims are chosen based on these parameters so the client doesn’t end up with another pretty picture and tech pack that isn’t commercial.

When we work with our clients, we agree the RRP of each piece within the collection and where the goods will be produced based on skill set, quality, volume, and margin requirements. This then drives the cost price, which is agreed too, before we start to design the garments.

It’s only when you work this way, can you answer the clients brief completely.

If you are looking to design and develop your own sportwear, then please make sure you work with someone that truly understand the cost of production and delivers bulk production to their clients on a regular basis. If you find a freelancer that can’t break down the cost of bulk production before they start the process, then run as fast as you can.

If you are looking to find out the cost of developing your own sportswear, please get in touch and we will be more than happy to provide a free quotation.

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